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The Decay of Clans


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Intelligence Officer

Intelligence Officer


Dozens of members of the Halo Clan Community have washed their hands of it entirely. They often cite the "death" of clans as their reasoning behind the wholesale denouncement of the franchise they once loved. To say that the clan community is dead is inherently nihilistic because it dismisses the fact that clans will likely always exist in the community. So long as a single group of Halo players follow a role-play narrative, clans exist on Halo.

So is the Community of Halo dead? No.

Nostalgia leads many people to dismiss the more recent incarnations of Halo as a perversion of what made Halo a fantastic game. Others, particularly the newer, more competitive Halo players, have embraced the evolution of Halo with open arms.

Regardless of one's feelings about the different elements of the Halo series, it is undeniable that the clan community has lost significant portions of its population between the "Golden Age" of Reach and now. This leads many to ask the question of why. The answer is fairly simple: A harsh environment requires adaptation to survive.

Halo 4 was the closest thing to a national tragedy that Halo fans will ever face. It was essentially a downgrade of every aspect of Reach with a needless focus placed on a broken competitive system. Forge was gutted, the campaign rendered Halo 3's Legendary ending without value, and custom games fell victim to lighting glitches. Halo 4 even took infection, the most popular game-mode in Halo by far, and made it less fun. 343 took what had been a fairly consistent guarantee of fun and stabbed it repeatedly with a lack of innovation and graphics akin to a video-game adaptation of Power Rangers.

The most important failure of Halo 4, however, was the lack of clan support. Halo games like Halo 3 and Halo Reach expanded what fans could do in such wondrous ways that they attracted a massive fan base. Halo 3 pioneered the 360 gaming atmosphere with hit features like forge and theater. Furthermore, it kept the large maps and core game play that many fan of Halo CE and Halo 2 loved. It added to the franchise in terms of both an extraordinary continuation of the Halo lore, and an expansion of Halo's massively popular game play. Increased customization options also encouraged the usage of uniforms in role play clans. This attracted many new fans who explored Forge and Customs, and who replaced competitive gamers as the majority. Reach further expanded the series by offering even more exciting innovation, and a massively expanded Forge. It capitalized on Halo 3's successes, and focused on them to create a smash hit blockbuster masterpiece that properly blended competitive game play, lore creation, and casual customs. It increased the customization even further, causing even more clans to explode onto the scene. The larger than life game play and fantastically tooled Forge let clans create massive Raid, meeting, and training maps on a scale that had previously been impossible on Console. Uniforms became commonplace, and clans expanded until the modern community was formed. This is why Reach is considered the Golden Age of Halo, because it was Halo's highest point of expansion. Then Halo 4 happened.

Halo 4, as mentioned earlier, was a blatant disgrace to the Halo series. Lack of universal emblems, more cartoon-like graphics and colors, and a pathetically crippled Forge led to a significant downfall for the Community. The Community as a whole acted as an organism, with each member being an individual cell. Now, single celled organisms can easily adapt to environmental change because of their minuscule stature, larger organisms have a more difficult time with this. The Community lost significant numbers due to an inhospitable environment, but was able to flee back to Reach and regain a portion of its numbers. For a while, some clans tried and failed to sustain themselves on Halo 4, and most Halo fans simply kept enjoying Reach. This all ended with Halo 5.

The MCC launch had been an absolute disaster, so most of the Community on the Xbox 360 held off on the move to Xbox One. Halo 5, however, promised to be the next mainline Halo game. Though the beta left the clan community appalled, Reach's aging servers and declining population forced clans to move to sustain their numbers. Most clans didn't survive the transition due to an insane lack of customization (and the lack of Forge for nearly two months after release). The focus on competitive gamplay stripped Halo 5 of any sense of originality and actually mimicked what Reach had done with halo 3, but in a negative way. Instead of capitalizing on the successes of its predecessor, Halo 5 emphasized the mistakes. It removed Infection entirely (later giving us a meager shadow of Infection as recompense), failed to deliver on Forge (prettier objects don't make up for a lack of quantity), and instituted competitive Spartan Companies to replace role play clans. Spartan Companies can be useful for keeping track of member rosters, but in addition to overly-complicated registration requirements, they are assumed to be competitive. Many a time I have sent a recruiting message only to receive a message saying, "I'm already in a company, we do Warzone." Many newcomers don't even know what clans are. This creates an environment in which role play loving hold-outs are being pushed out as "sweaties" move in. There isn't much room for Community growth, and more people are abandoning Halo every day.

While this is saddening, it is important to know that this is a phase. Gaming is reaching an apex that will soon require innovation over imitation. If 343 is to keep their profit margins, they'll have to tap into the same base as Bungie used to. The competitive market is saturated with eSports wannabes, and more and more companies are dipping into the pool. 343, however, is staffed by many a Bungie veteran, and when the time comes, they will adapt to bring back that sweet Clan Community audience. Time has shown that role-play savvy people are far more loyal to a series over the long-term than our sweaty counterparts. So, like the teenager who wears black eye liner and proclaims him/herself a anarchist to the dismay of those who enjoyed his/her company, the Halo Franchise is going through a phase which, once it fails to get the attention it wants, will end and return to a much more sensible style.

The Halo Franchise can and will weather the next few games, but will likely learn from its mistakes, and return stronger for it. That being said, don't expect this change anytime soon. Halo 6 is said to be planned with the same flavor as 4 and 5. However, once 343 is done with their "Reclaimer Trilogy" they'll have a proper chance to do Halo some justice. It's more than likely that all of us will be long gone (from the Community) by then, but hopefully another generation of aspiring young gamers will take the reins and have the joyous experiences that us lucky few did.

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  • 9 months later...



I still like how Halo Infinite is referenced as "Halo 6", anyhow. Clans should die out, to be completely honest. Clan aspects have veered off of their course for a long while and need to reboot or go away.

On the other hand, roleplay ingenuity should stay; as in being a Spartan and a fireteam but not so much as to impose rank upon those who are "inferior".

I would like to see clans re-unite for the better; meaning: If clans don't die out, then all ideals of the current community eradicate themselves; establish a new "order" that is coherent alongside that of when people first started roleplaying: Friendly, compassionate, and trusting.

Agent Nyx

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