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Archetypes of Roleplay I: The Development of the Community


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Intelligence Officer

Intelligence Officer


Reposted from Enjin, Originally posted by Glatix 

The Halo Clan Community has seen a unique development in terms of mentality. Rather than grow into a competitive gaming focused hierarchy (like most games in the FPS genre), the Halo Community has embraced role-play as its primary conduit for involved fun. While a strong sense of community exists via custom games like infection, clans have dominated the Halo population since Halo 2. This post will be the prelude in a series that will discuss the various aspects of the Halo clan community. To better understand how each archetype came into existence, it is important to know the basic history of the Halo Community's development:

Halo CE

This game saw the usage of LAN based parties, and is most comparable to the Paleolithic stage of Halo's development. The concept of clans was relegated solely to competitive LAN parties.

Halo 2

This game gave rise to what can be considered Halo's Neolithic stage. The advent of emblems, variable color sets, playable Elites, and matchmaking set the stage for the developing community. Clans began to form basic cultures, and focused on competitive gaming and amassing numbers. Some prominent roleplay groups did exist (like the earliest UNSC and Covenant themed clans), but these were few and far between. Halo 2 is often seen as a legacy game, with many modern Title Holders tracing their roots to early role players.

Early Halo 3

The beginning of Halo 3 was the definitive Stone Age of the Halo Community. Like Stone Age human beings, Halo players discovered the first tools, and began to construct structures using the Forge Sandbox mode. While crude in many ways, Halo 3's forge gave rise to some impressive maps, and paved the way for later innovations. Increased customization and the ability to alter the world around them allowed players to form structured roleplay groups. The primitive UNSC and Covenant groupes grew in size. This shifted Halo's focus from competitive gaming to a roleplay/community based game.

Late Halo 3

This was undoubtedly the Bronze Age of Halo. With the release of maps like Foundry and Sandbox, groups of players were able to build elaborate structures. Clans became focused on expansion and the gaining of prestige within the community. This age even saw the first form of non-competitive warfare, the siege. Unlike regular warfare, a siege did not utilize established teams and in-game scoring to determine a winner, but instead focused on honor rules. It is important to note that sieges happened primarily among non-UNSC/non-Covenant clans, as such groups tended to be more traditional. This period also saw the rise of Covenant Separatist groups as a clan format.

Halo 3 ODST/Halo Wars

This period can be assigned as the final days of the Halo 3 Community. Anticipation for Reach was at an all time high, and the community development slowed down due to decreased numbers.

Early Halo: Reach

This was by-far the most important period of Halo's development. Comparable to the time of the Roman Empire, Halo Reach saw a massive increase in community numbers, as well as a series of brilliant innovations to forge. Further developed customization and an increased variety of game types spearheaded clan development as hundreds, maybe thousands of clans sprung up in the first months of Reach. The arguably most important aspect of Reach was the addition of Forge World, a massive canvas with infinite possibilities. The only bane of Reach was the lack of Elite customization, but the Sangheili community flourished regardless. An in-game file sharing system acted as a Halo-themed silk road for ideas and innovations, leading to an unprecedented diffusion of community creativity. Clan themes broke away from traditional UNSC/Covenant Format and created a variety of gamer cultures.

Middle Halo: Reach

This period saw the mainstream usage of Insurrectionist formats, as well as grand-scale wars between large clans. Clans like the UN held large member counts, as well as significant sway in the community.

Late Halo: Reach

As November of 2012 slowly drew near, anticipation for Halo 4 created a split in the community. Many clans looked forward to this new world of possibility, while others feared the content of the trailers. Community activity slowed significantly as clans prepared for the true Fall of Reach. By this time, 343 had been accepted as a legitimate creator of Halo, and was beloved in equal measure to Bungie.

Halo 4

As the Roman Empire was shattered by hordes of barbarians, the Halo series fell into a Dark Age with the arrival of Halo 4. The community split as many clans moved to the game, only to realize that a lack-luster forge, combined with an out of touch parent company, would lead to the worst Halo game to be released. Previous knowledge was lost due to a lack of community focus, and darkness fell over the populace. Alliances were broken, and the largest clans were utterly displaced as they grasped at sand and found no purchase in the desert that was Halo 4. Like a stretch of sandy dunes, Halo 4 killed all but the most enduring clans, and made settlement all but impossible. Used to dealing with regular infected, community members had no experience in dealing with the roving bands of Flood native to Halo 4. This lack of experience cost the game many a player.

Post-Halo 4 Reach

With the realization of Halo 4's true nature, a mass exodus of gamers occurred, with many returning to the homeland of Reach. This can be compared to the Renaissance, due to the rediscovery of old concepts and technologies. Gamers blamed the old gods for abandoning them, saying that Bungie had left Halo in the care of 343, an unstable and cruel deity. Infighting between the Halo 4 and Reach communities only served to drive away more community members. A prominent increase in the number of UNSC and Covenant clans marked this era.


With the release of the Xbox One, many gamers anticipated a new Halo game. Hopes were high for the Master Chief Collection, and like in the Age of Discovery, thousands of players moved to this new world in hopes of reclaiming the former greatness of Halo. The initial arrivals were met with hardships, broken gameplay and a lack of consistent matchmaking killed off many of the colonists. Those already native to the Xbox One lacked societal etiquette, and were taken advantage of by fiendish clans. The colonies on Xbox One would eventually become stable, but would not prosper until conditions changed.

Halo 5

While this is the most current age of Halo, it is likely far from any semblance of modern. Halo 5 is comparable to the Industrial Age in that the community is well-experienced, but lacks any sense of focus. Innovation from an advanced Forge is slowly causing a rebuilt in the Halo Community, but there is a long and treacherous road ahead for Halo. UNSC clans no longer hold prominence, and Forerunner clans have sprung up across the Community.

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