Baranor’s Den #3: My Tribe, Your Tribe
Posted: August 17, 2008
It is currently twenty six degrees Celsius. These are no normal degrees Celsius, but they are ?Dutch? degrees, and in the Netherlands where I live we do not have dry heats. It is humid, my arms stick to my desk, my face is wet because I climbed the stairs, and the two things keeping me cool are my small chrome fan and my Tullamore Dew with two ice-cubes in it. All in all, a perfect evening to get into cattlenet, pardon me, battlenet, and to play. I have started only recently, I play hardcore, and I have a level 39 Werebear Druid, a level 36 Oldskool twinker, and am contemplating a pike whirl-barbie. Then again, I always contemplate a new build and it changes with the minute. Pike-barbie, Bone-nec, or maybe a Daggermancer? Aaah, the choices. What I play however is rather irrelevant.
What I want to talk about today is where I play. I play with a group of people. This group of people named itself after the channel they stay in. I shan?t bother you with the name (if you are interested, drop by the DII HC forum and we?ll take it from there), but I shall bother you with its structure. This group has a leader, who controls a chat-bot, and some ten people who have rights to register and ban users from the chat-channel that the bot in turn controls. Then there is an ever changing number of people in that channel. I know how this system functions, and indeed I am one of the few that has more than just general access to the bot. I can also kick people, ban them and register them.
Now let us take a short look at Gruf. Gruf is twenty-three, lives in a cave, together with his family and four other families, and wears a skin of some sort of animal. He does not look very smart, our Gruf, as he does not trim his hair, does not shave his beard, and indeed, personal hygiene and washing are not very high on his agenda (if this sounds like someone you know, get up, take a shower and start walking? you might burn yourself in the sun a few times, but that?s good for your pale skin). Gruf’s group of people is coordinated by what we could describe as a shaman or holy man, and together with ten of the elders, the shaman makes up the ?ruling? group, or council, of Gruf?s tribe. Indeed, Gruf has a tribe, because Gruf, as you might have guessed by now, lives in 10.000 BC. He might even be your local Neanderthal for all you care.
I?m sure you also understand what is coming next: Yes, the way our channel operates is remarkably similar to the way Gruf?s tribe works. Ten thousand years later nothing has changed and we still operate with under same basic system we once did. I shall elaborate. Gruf lives in a cave, and that cave is decorated with paintings and other objects that the tribe has gathered. It displays the stories of their life, their deaths, their hopes for the future and the obscene graffiti that even cave-men produced. This can quite easily be compared to a forum on which people post about their characters, read the general rules of the tribe (or shall we call it a ?clan? from now on, people seem more at ease with that term), post obituaries in the case of Hardcore deaths and on occasion, someone goes crazy and OT-posts or worse appear. Not much has changed.
I am part of some more clans. I also belong to a clan known as ?GAT?, a co-op hardcore group who has survived, in one way or another, from 2001 untill now. Up until Diablo III hardly anyone played Diablo II anymore, but the people from the group established new groups, kept in touch and in general, we still saw them. Lots of oldies came back after the announcement of Diablo III. Funny that. The support network that Blizzard gives for Diablo and player groups is rather small? in Diablo II we have a 25-player friends list, and that?s it. Of course it is meant for 25 accounts but lots of people have two or three accounts and play on more than one regularly. This means your f-list gets full really quick.
In other games the support for clan-gaming goes a bit further.We have seen bigger lists, in-game structures to form guilds, guild houses and group-orientated dueling. Indeed, Age of Conan has the possibility to structure a guild and give the members rights all from within the game. Nothing to it; you simply pick a guild-style and before you know it you have everything at hand from acolytes to grand wizards and god-knows-what?s. Guild Wars is another game that springs to mind when it comes to co-op gaming and clan-support. As a Guild is simply a different name for a clan, usually associated with a bigger clan, the very name, Guild Wars, suggests warfare between co-op groups.
During the Alpha test of Guild Wars people used a variety of communication software to talk to each other. Ventrilo was very popular, since it allows team leaders to easily communicate with people and yell commands at them? anyone ?seen? that awful WoW video on youtube where some team leader totally freaks out? Ahem, no, getting sidetracked here, the point is that it is a return to the Olden Days when we humans still hunted in packs, and had to yell at each other (?Gruf watch out big Elephant in face!?) in order to make a living. A lot of games come with an inbuilt system these days. I am sure some people have a Gamespy account as well, to keep track of their Gamespy friends. The number of options to maintain a tribe across the world has drastically increased.
I am rather curious as to what Diablo III will offer in the way of tribal stuff. I mean, I would love to see custom tattoos and markings, and I would also love to see a Guild Hall of some sorts, but does that fit in with Diablo itself? A friends list is rather obvious, as that is almost compulsory. Blizzard has promised us a vastly enhanced battle.net. Here is to a nice, large, friends lists, guild halls, guild training areas and sparring grounds, guild arenas and of course special guild tattoos and banners for our characters. Long live the Tribe!
Disclaimer: Baranor’s Den is written by Baranor and hosted by Diii.net. The views expressed in this column are those of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of Diii.net.