February 13, 2000
It almost seems as if everyone thinks those who lead clans come into their positions naturally. This is rarely the case. While there have been numerous examples of leaders who have done a marvellous job with their clan, there have also been countless who failed miserably. As I'm sure any of those who have been successful clanleaders (clanleaders whose clans have thrived and done well in Medievia) can tell you, leading a clan does not come naturally. There is much involved in every aspect, many of these things most never think of. While there are a number of great clanleaders around on Medievia, the most common complaint has been that, while they don't regret their clanleading experience, they had no idea what to expect.
Leading my own clan has been THE absolute most fun and fulfilling part of my Medievian life. Through the years I have learned greatly from my mistakes and the mistakes of others. There are SO many aspects to leading a clan, it's almost hard to believe. I must add that I consider it almost unfortunate that, under the current system, any 'ole joe' can start their own clan if they have the cash, but that's another editorial for another time and a whole other set of flame mudmails and links. So let's ignore a glaring discrepancy in whether or not current playerbase can actually support another clan in Med and get on with the nitty gritty in obtaining and leading a clan. ;)
Part I: Clanleader YOU
If you think leading a clan is a glamourous job worthy of an extreme power trip you are dead wrong. A clanleader should best be thought of as a servant of the clannies s/he chooses to lead. As a clanleader, you are ultimately responsible for your clan's ratings, position in Medievian society (allies/enemies and that sort), your clannies' equipment, their behaviour, their knowledge - everything. Successful clanleaders realize that they are also partially responsible for their clannies' enjoyment of the game. A clanleading character should be your primary character - leading a clan is a huge commitment of time and energy and if you are splitting your time evenly with another character as it is you may not have the time or dedication needed to successfully run a clan.
Of course there will be some argument as to whether or not a clanleader is indeed actually responsible for all this, but if you were to take a detailed look at the current clanleadership where members are happy and the clan is going well, you would clearly see a direct corelation between these things. Just like a president is held responsible for a country's economic condition, whether or not s/he is in direct influence of such, a clanleader is held directly responsible for a clan's ratings and position on SHOWCLAN R. Of course you yourself should not actively seek to improve these ratings all yourself, but delegating of clan tasks comes later.
A clanleader should expect to be representative of their current clan's sentiment, and must be an active and working politician at all times. Everything you say and do as a clanleader is going to have an effect on your entire clan. Of course this goes for everyone in the clan, but it is more so for the leader than any other. Be someone that can and will be respected. Behave with dignity, treat others well, and you will be looked upon as a decent person worthy of leadership.
To this end it is a good idea not to be on any gods' bad side. Of course this is not to say that gods exhibit any favoritism or have a hitlist 10 pages long of bad players - we all know Med gods are just and impartial. However, clanleaders are expected to set a good example and be someone their clan can look up to. If you have a bad reputation you might find yourself in a hard spot for being taken seriously when you need help. Sorry, just the way it is.
Conversely, gods are people, too. They have personalities just like the rest of us and, while it may be normal to occasionally have personality conflicts, any feelings you might have towards any particular gods MUST be set aside or even resolved for the good of your clan (read below on clan politics). If you can't play by the rules you shouldn't be a clanleader anyway; but there again, if you have enough money and levels there is no technical problem with your becoming a clanleader.
Your clannies will also expect you to help in their character development including equipment (particularly those clannies of the newbie sect who often aren't even sure what eq they should be wearing, but this also includes heroes expecting you to be able to take them on eq runs and such.). If you want good ratings and well-rounded contributing clannies, you will also be responsible for teaching them at least the basics of combing, trading, and running zones for eq and xp.
In addition to providing their clannies with their allies, enemies, knowledge, and eq, clanleaders will often find themselves taking responsibility for their clannies' behaviour. It has happened to me, personally, more than once that I have found myself defending a clannie, not knowing if they were in the right or wrong but only knowing that a frozen clannie is not a clannie at all, and that the actions of every member in my clan has an effect on my clan. I have also found myself, like many other clanleaders, in defence of my clannies against other players in pk battles, arguments over auction, petty tiffs over looting rights... you name it and I've been there and done that. It isn't necessarily that I do this because I have to. This is a responsibility I took as clanleader, I do it because it's my job and I want to do the best I can when I can for all my clannies.
A clanleader should expect, and particularly those newly installed into the position, to play nearly every day. You MUST be active in order to be effective. Once a week for an hour will not cut it no matter how active your coleader and the rest of your clannies are. You simply will not be taken seriously and your clan's loyalty will wane. If you find you are going to be gone for months at a time for heaven's sake step down! When you are a clanleader, your clannies should be your top priority. They can be your best friends or your worst enemies depending on how you treat them. If you're not a social person stop right here ;)
You will need to listen to your clannies to get an idea of who they are and how things are really going in your clan. Even if you don't care about your clannies personally (which, if you don't you shouldn't be a clanleader in my not-so-humble opinion) how their real lives are going is going to have an affect on their playing. People won't want to be in your clan, anyway, if they don't feel like they have friends there. You will have an even harder time if you aren't being geniune because people can see right through you, even online. Anyway, who wants a clanleader who only cares about ratings and game stuff? Role-playing or not we are all people here behind the keyboards.
Also, if you are going to be a clanleader, Have a Life! There is nothing worse than clanning under someone whose life IS Medievia. They tend to take things entirely too personally. Think about it: if Medievia is your life then every little thing is going to count tenfold because the 'stakes' are higher.
Probably the best advice I can give anyone thinking of starting their own clan would be to be HONEST with yourself and with those looking to you for leadership. If this is not something you have the time, energy, or patience to undertake... don't!
There is no surer way for a clan to fail than for it to have a failure of a leader, plain and simple. A clan's success is and should be attributed to its clannies, but its failure will almost invariably be attributed to its leadership.
I do not by any means mean this article to be discouraging to anyone wishing to undertake clan leadership, but it is a vital and necessary thing for you to know EXACTLY what you are getting yourself into. For the sake of your fun on Medievia (it is still a game, even for clanleaders..) and for your clannies'.
Part II: Acquiring the clan
Of course taking over an already established clan is going to seem easiest, but it is not necessarily so. When this happens, you as a leader have to deal with all of the already functioning systems and mindsets of the clan. Changes such as a leadership switchover are a very hard thing for a clan to go through. Each and every clan that has underwent a change such as this has and will have its share of hardships. A lot of what happens is going to depend greatly on your own personality and rapport with the current members and outsiders, but most importantly to remember: a clan exists solely because of its current clannie base. So - consider this fair warning to take a good, hard, long look at what you are getting yourself into. A few things to consider:
On the other hand, purchasing your own, fresh clan is no easier. First, let's talk money - it costs 75 million initially to start your own clan. It further costs 300 million for a clanhall and 250k gold for a clan orb, throw in another 3 to 5 million for charges on your clan orb so you can clantalk (HELP CLANCOSTS). Then figure you either must start your own or join an existing clantown for 250 mill ... more if it's your own as you must build rooms at 5 mil each and pay taxes every day. You also have to either form your own town or sister with a town owning clan within 30 days of forming the clan. Note that you cannot start a clan and buy the hall later - you do not get clantalks and telepathy without a clanhall.
380-630 million gold is still no big deal for some people but for the rest of us mortals it's nothing to sneeze at. Figure, also, the cost of enrolling clannies. Assuming (coughcough) that you are going to be enrolling all heroes, just for argument's sake, that is 3 million apiece and most won't be paying their own enroll unless you tell them to. Even then it may be a struggle because you will have to be proving yourself a worthy leader and, after all, how worthy could you be to an experienced hero clannie if you can't even cough up the gold for their enroll? ;)
Let's be more realistic at your enroll prospects and round it to 650million to get your clan going. Yes, loans are possible, but not so easily given. Clans can take out loans to start building on their clantowns or for other approved debts. Clans cannot take out loans to initially start their clan. Regardless of whether your clan succeeds or fails, you, as clanleader, are directly responsible for the financial aspect of your clan.
The clan leader is responsible for coming up with all the cash needed to start the clan. If not by med law, then by the law of leadership. It is a general practice for people to pool all of their money into one person's account, so if you have backing your own personal costs might not be as heavy. At any rate, the money will be coming out of YOUR account. When we don't have enough money for our schools we look to the government, our leaders...not to ourselves. Some people leave the country because of our failing school system. I think that's a good parallel on many levels. It's more of those common sense statements that everyone just holds as truth. If a clan goes too far into debt, the clanleader doesn't have to pay it back, the clan is simply disbanded and the leader is held responsible - not for the cash but for the incident.
Part III: Your Posse
In either case, building your own clan or taking one over, you are going to want a good support structure from the getgo. It is a good idea to have a coleader lined up, for example, someone who will stick by you through thick and thin. Believe me, these are harder than dragon crystals to find!
A good coleader is someone who will give advice, but ultimately support you in whichever decision you make. It should, obviously, be someone with whom you are familiar and get along well with. It doesn't necessarily have to be someone you have known for a long time, however.
If the clan is already made, it would be wise to choose someone familiar with the current atmosphere and politics of the clan, as well as popular with the current membership. At least initially, coleadering someone from within current ranks may ease the leadership transition.
If your clan is already up and going and you need to replace a coleader, you might consider doing a nomination/voting system. There are a number of things to be wary of in this situation, however. It is ill-advised to put clannies who once worked harmoniously together in a position where they are rivals for a coleader position. A lot of hard feelings can and will develop out of this. You must also be careful about these clannies campaigning and making promises to other clannies that they cannot keep just to get votes. As a related sidenote, i think it is important for people to know that there are psychos on the mud just as there are irl, and that as a clanleader you are going (as any "public figure" like a god or imp) to have more than your fair share of contact with them. Major events can turn a seemingly wonderful friend and clannie into your worst nightmare, so be very aware of what you're looking for when you go to choose your coleader, and always be very aware of who you are dealing with in the people that surround you.
This is the checklist I have developed for future coleader assignments:
You should also decide whether or not the coleader will have the same powers and privileges as you. While you cannot change a coleader's privileges, you can ask him to not use them or only use them under certain conditions.
This actually raises the thought about choosing someone who won't make a bid for your slot as clanleader. In Medievian politics (sorry, they do exist :P) there is always someone who is going to try and turn people against you. Yes, even your own coleader could do this. It should always be quite clear, no matter what the balance of "power" and "responsibility" you come up with for your clan, that you are the leader. It is sad that this is the case, but you need to be watchful of a coleader who will woo your clan and try to wrest leadership from you. If it goes too far, to the point of choosing between keeping leadership and destroying your clan, the best choice for any responsible clanleader will have to be stepping down.
In addition to a coleader, you may also consider installing a clan "Council" of sorts. Council members are those whom you have deemed responsible, loyal, contributing clannies. Councillors are those who will give you advice, help you plan out clan strategies and laws, so many things... I can't imagine trying to run a clan without one.
Part IV: Your Clan
If you have the money, the energy, and the drive to make your own clan and people willing to back you up in your endeavors, the next logical step is to think of a name for it. Dark and foreboding is entirely too cliched nowadays, but if it works for you go with it. The more original your clan's name is the more it will stand out and be noticed and maybe someday cloned - imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. It is adviseable to use something versatile. Nothing overly feminine, and also nothing testosterone-laden. One huge piece of advice here, since most clans are known to others by their initials, pay close attention to what your clan's initials could stand for :P
Your clan, at least initially, will be an extention of you and you of it. Whatever name you choose, and I will say it is best to go with a theme of sorts that can be echoed in your hall, key, and other stuff (see next section), let your clan be a reflection somewhat of your personality. Back when I actually took the time and energy to role-play my character, she was a dichotomy between good and evil, wisdom and innocence, magic and skill. A "House" is the term used for a Medieval Guild, or Society (I'm a Medieval buff), so it was only natural that my clan should be called the House of Swords and Magic. It encompasses all and embodies a dichotomization of what our Medieval world is about. The name was approved by the founding members out of a list of choices and just sort of "clicked." This is another thing, if you are going in with a group of people, make it a common choice that everyone can live with and also know that no matter what SOMEONE is going to disapprove of it. Just make sure you and your clan is happy, that, after all, is what counts.
Part V: Hall, Key, and other Nifty Clan Stuff
Once you have purchased your clan, you then have to have the patience and drive to get ahold of the appropriate gods (timezones can vary here...) and get them to set up your clan stuff such as hall, orb, board, clanlink rooms, key, and clantown. To do this, go through WIZLIST to see who is currently in charge of the various clan things, send that god a nice letter or an email (currently email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). From there you need to wait, remembering that the god probably has others in queue. After that point, remind the god maybe once a week NICELY but no more.
It is most advisable to have your plans for your clanhall and key and such all done for when you do get ahold of the right god at the right time. If you want the full details on creating a clan item I suggest you read HELP LENA CLAN but basically it has to be something Medieval in aspect.
Remember that your clanhall is going to be a room in a clantown. It is good to have an idea whether or not you will be joining an existing town or making your own so that your hall doesn't seem out of place. Long hall descriptions can be VERY nice when it comes to nasty pk'ers that run around raiding clanhalls with their briefs off (mwahahaha!!) but it can also be spammy and bothersome to clannies who have briefs off and don't want ten pages of screen scroll every time they GOHALL to read messages or quit. ALL clanhall entry rooms are NPK - no getting around that.
There are a bunch of other nifty options you may choose for your clanhall such as additional exits or rooms that cost extra money, having a "dark" hall, or even a no-flee "slippery" floor. Get a list of options from your friendly neighborhood ClanHall god and know what you want before you ask for it to be done. Gods have many duties and real lives as well - getting it right first time is a must as altering something already there is a relatively low priority for them.
Another nice option for clanhalls is making it your GOHOME. For some nominal fee, you can type gohome to go to the clanhall and not have to pay that money- grubbing imp each time.
Your clankey, also, needs to be written. A clan's key should be a unique, distinct item that hopefully your clannies will remember to sacrifice at logon :P Again, it should theoretically be some sort of Medieval item or an item that would be found in Medieval times - if your clan has a particular theme, you may try going along those lines.
Part VI: Your Clantown
There are a good many advantages to both making your own clantown and sistering with another clan. With making your own clantown, you need to be part writer, part editor, and also part banker. Help on making your clantown is a whole another article in and of itself. There are so many rules and commands that keep changing! At any rate, making your own clantown is a LOT of work, but it can also be a very rewarding feeling knowing that something that you wrote is now a part of Medievia that everyone can visit and (hopefully) admire. Then again, you also get the angst of sometimes hearing that your writing and ideas suck but, hey, even Hemmingway had his critics.
If you make your own town, you are provided with the choice of someday starting or assimilating your own sisterclan. Regarding sisterclans: remember to treat your townies with as much respect and dignity as your clannies, and to hold them to a designated set of rules and expectations. Above everything, though, (and this comes from the experience of having been a sisterclan before we made our own town) your number one rule about those in your clantown should be to treat them with the utmost respect.
Sistering with another clan also can provide a number of advantages. For starters you wont have to worry about building clantown rooms unless you choose to submit them to the leading clan as only members of the leading clan have the opportunity as of yet to edit the clantown. In sistering with a larger, already established clan, you also stand to receive their protection and help where needed. Depending on your clan's size and needs, you should screen through potential leading clans carefully. It is best to choose one whose leadership will follow the 3 main rules of townleading outlined above. A sisterclan should expect to contribute to the wellbeing of the entire town, and not sponge off of the larger clan(s). Talk to the town leadership to see what would be expected and think carefully if your clan could or would want to meet those expectations.
Part VII: Enrolling:
Alrighty, now that you've got your clan and hopefully a town to go with it, the next thing you need is members. Once you have declared to your personal friends and allies that you intend to make your own clan, you will find yourself deluged with offers to join once things are up and running. From personal experience: don't count on them.
Save yourself a lot of waiting, whether or not they are your mud-spouse, don't count on their joining. This is particularly true of heroes already in a comfy hero clan. Why should they leave the comforts of home to struggle in a fledgeling clan? Usually, these are the beginnings of fair-weather clannies, so best get used to it until your clan is well established and posted somewhere in the rankings (SHOWCLAN R).
A fair-weather clannie, just to define really quick here, is someone who sticks around in the clan only when things are good but is always looking for a BBD (bigger, better deal) and believe me, there are plenty of clans and unscrupulous clanleaders who are willing to offer it to them.
The best thing you can do for clannies is to be up front with them. Don't offer them any ponies just to get them in your clan. (Pony: HSM term referring to a promise offered to a clannie in order to get them to leave your clan and join someone else's. A pony can be equipment, gold, zone knowledge, pk protection.. anything like this). So in other words don't make outlandish promises you aren't sure you can keep just to get them in your clan. It's good to already have your coleader picked out and installed just so there aren't any squabbles over clan leadership. Believe it or not, this can be a subject of huge strife and dissention among clannies even with an established, active, and contributing coleader.
Before you go out and enroll, in the first place its a good idea to get an idea of your current demographics. Take stock of what you already have and what is needed. Every month I generate a report of my clans demographics: how many of each class, how many singles, duels, triples, quads, and heroes, how many males versus females. Try to keep your clan as balanced as possible, this includes sex.
My apologies to all the guys out there (not really :P) but Ive come to find that females, on the whole, are GREAT for a clan. In a world with only approximately 10% females (counted it out a couple times then averaged it.. yes this includes all the shemales, obviously), female characters are a breath of fresh air.
Whatever your opinion on female mudders (dont make me smack you), a clan with a low percentage of female characters enrolled simply does not fare as well as that with a relatively high number. I've been racking my brain trying to think of why (again this might be another article altogether). I've come up with a few hypotheses to this effect... Females tend to be more nuturing and encouraging of other players. They are (again, generalizing here people) gentler, less competitive, and definitely more social than their male counterparts. (I can just see the flame mail from this paragraph alone hehe!)
Of course there are going to be female characters out there, and shemales (men playing female characters) who will use their femaleness to certain unsavory advantages. You just can't get around that. As a clanleader you need to be wary of these types, they will just bring the clan down. However, as a clanleader, you can encourage female players that they dont need to try and use their feminine wiles to those ends. Also - do not assume that all female players are like that. Most of us suffer a great disadvantage having to work twice as hard as male players to prove that were not like that and can hold our own (and of course there are always going to be rumours). But I digress, make an effort to be open and encouraging of female players in your clan.
In order to build your ranks, at least at first don't be afraid to enroll newbies. I'd say level 20 is about the lowest any clan should go with green clannies (a clannie who is a TRUE newbie and not just someone's alt char). Newbies, if you 'raise' them up right can be some of the most loyal, wonderful clannies you could ever hope for. I set level 20 as a sort of cutoff because at this level they have a basic grasp of Med commands, they've invested quite some time in their character and aren't too likely to just up and quit Medievia. Of course, at level 20 they will still require a bit of hand-holding to make it through and feel comfortable playing, but if you teach them skills that will give them independence and self-reliance this should hardly be a problem (every 'set' rule does have its exceptions hehe).
Don't also be afraid of enrolling alt characters. Alt characters, or those players with another higher-level character, are often just looking for a clan to actually play and have fun in. So long as they know what is expected of them in terms of activity and commitment, alt chars can be a huge asset to the clan. It is greatly advisable to keep their alt char a secret if it is so desired, but keep the lines of communication and honesty open between you two. Who knows? This person may come to love your clan so much they may stick their higher-level character in your clan and dedicate themselves to you wholly. Here again remembering not to count on any promises they might make in this direction. :P
When and if you do enroll an alt character, keep an eye on their other character(s). For example, I recently enrolled a hero's alt who promised to xp and contribute. I was told that the alt was now his main char and that his hero was basically retired. It makes sense that it'd be more fun to play a hero than try to once again navigate through a single class character.
Also regarding alts: watch their clan choice. A year or so ago I enthusiastically enrolled a recently reactivated triple class character only to find he had an alt. No big deal, though I wish I had found out from him... my only problem was that his alt was in an enemy clan and he was using it as a spy. You need to be careful of these sorts of things! Another one of the alts in my clan has their main char in a clan that isn't on the best of terms with ours. I trust this clannie, and show that to him, but I still keep an eye on his alt char. It is a rule in my clan that you are to behave like a member of my clan whenever you are logged in Medievia - as any character. (You don't want a known alt going around pking your clannies.. it tends to cause hard feelings :P)
No matter who you enroll, take some time to get to know them before actually making the enroll. If they are serious about your clan and not just looking for any clan who will take them (people who ultimately make horrible clannies by the way) they will be patient and understanding. It is more important, after all, to make sure they will be compatible and happy in your clan than just to have one more enroll who might leave after a week. Interview prospective clannies, form with them, see how they interact with current clannies (it is a bad idea to have two mortal enemies in the same clan :P). Give them all the specifications on your clan including rules and expectations as well as what they can expect from you.
Even if you do enroll a newbie, you should make sure that this person is someone who is willing to learn and play solo at times. Your current clan base comes before any new enrolls you will make. It is inadvisable, then, to enroll someone who will constantly be begging for eq, forms, or money.
I will be the first to admit that active recruiting is HARD - I hate going out and actually looking for new members. Fortunately right now my clan is in a position such that I never really have to, we are established enough that people know who we are and what we're about and those who are interested and informed come to us. It's taken over two years to get that way though ;) so don't count on it! I am also fortunate in that I have very good recruiters on my side. The best way to get new members is to let people know what your clan is about. This can be done in a variety of ways, you can encourage your clannies to get out and bring over their friends but more often than not you will find them offering their friends ponies that you can't make good on. You may also find them enrolling complete idiots so make sure you have good people doing this and not just any clannie. You may also post a message on the main bulletin board that you are taking applications for membership. Yes, this looks somewhat desperate on your part, but I guarantee it will get the word out ;)
While I discourage actively recruiting people out of their current clan (it's tacky), if you are close friends with someone or see someone who would make a great clannie let them know! Tell them your door is open if they ever decide to leave their clan and that you'd love to have them. But again, here, don't offer ponies. When you enroll someone out of someone else's clan, regardless if whether they came to you and asked first, you risk making an enemy out of that clan's leader and consequently that entire clan. It irks me to no end to have clannies up and leave for other clans because they think they'll get a BBD (bigger better deal), but we'll go into loyalty a bit later.
The bottom line is: you cannot sit back and expect people to come to you. Even the new hero-clan flavour of the week has to go out and actively recruit new members. People flock to popular, active clans and if you're quiet about it you'll find yourself leading a clan of 15 inactive newbies. Even if you just put up a clan webpage (highly recommendable in any case if for not the simple fact that they are cool!), at least you are doing something.
This might sound funny, considering all I've just said, but even though you want people to join, you need to be very picky about who you let in. This is to say, that while you shouldn't make outlandish offers to get people to join, you shouldn't take outlandish offers from prospective clannies either. This is to say, be very careful about who you enroll. It pays to be picky even as a new clan. You don't want fair-weather clannies, clannies who will make bids for your spot as clanleader or try to control you, and you don't want clannies who are just using you for what they can get either. (See the bottom section on undesirables) At any rate, carefully interviewing the prospective clannie and getting a clear understanding of what they expect out of a clan while giving them a clear understanding of what you expect out of your clannies will help prevent any unfortunate enroll choices. While you dont want to necessarily use your clannies for the skills and talents they possess on Medievia, you also want to make sure that you don't enroll people who are going to require your attention 24/7 and be a nuisance when they dont have it. Above all you should look for people who are willing to work and learn independantly as necessary.
Part VIII: Expectations
Once you have your clan and a solid playerbase it's time (or even past time) to start working on what you expect out of your clannies. It needs to be clear what you expect out of them in terms of commitment, clan dues, clan rules, the whole bit. On the other hand they need to know what they can expect out of you in terms of clanrank and clan benefits.
One excellent word of advice here is: be approachable. You will always have the handful who are too timid to come to you with problems, but make it known to everyone that your lines of communcation are open. Another great tip: value advice you are given! This is true especially from clannies. Believe it or not, a lot goes on in your seemingly angelic clan behind your back. Of course you will want to investigate most claims but it pays to have an ear to the ground so to speak. Also, don't be afraid to be creative and try stuff out. Try out a new rule or policy, see how well it goes over. Your rules should be somewhat flexible and evolve as your clan grows and changes.
More than anything make good on the promises you do make. If there is something you'd like to be able to do, but cannot promise, make that clear. It is far less disappointing to be told "maybe" than a definitive "yes" and be let down. If you do break a promise, Vryce forbid ;), do your best to apologize and make good on it. Better late than never but the damage may already be done.
It is important, and should be noted here, to let your clannies know that you are indeed a real person with a real life and not a machine. You are fallible! Sorry, I know it's a huge blow to the ego, but everyone including you makes mistakes. As a clanleader, expect to make or at least be held responsible for a lot of them.
If your clannies don't know what is expected of them in terms of contribution, more often than not they won't be as driven to contribute. Since your clan is going to need money for taxes and such, it is a good idea to make monthly clan dues. Put someone else in charge of this (see the section on delegation) or you run the risk of being seen as a money-grubbing ogre even though the clan money is for their sake. Give your clannies a clear idea of what the money is spent on, this includes future plans, enrolls (some people still don't realize it costs money to enroll), current taxes paid, and account for all monies withdrawn out of the clan account. Just because you own the clan does not make the clan account your personal piggy bank.
Part IX: Your Clan Style
After you get your clan stable with a nice, steady group of core members, you will find that your clan will develop a style. Now, while many clans are buddy clans, groups of friends under one clan name, your clan may choose to be an eq, pk, combing, trading, or themed clan. Themed clans are cool and add a bit of the role playing that is missing on the game. Huge kudos to Nash here for their tenacity in being one of the few and most prominent role-playing clans around. Refining and making your clan even more distinct will make it stand out in peoples' minds, and also make it a bit more fun for your clannies to logon every day.
Your clan's particular style can be pre-decided as a part of the theme or name you come up with or it can be something that just develops and that you go along with and help facilitate. This again is up to you.
Part X: Clan Cohesion, aka Loyalty and General Happiness
Okay, now you know a little bit of what's expected out of you and some of the things you might expect out of your clannies. The subject of loyalty is one that plagues all clanleaders, new and old. How you keep your clannies happy and your clan healthy will depend on your own personal style of clanleading. If you're a good clanleader it will be reflected in your clan's log - many people look to a clan's log as a measure of its well-being. Pockets of removals look, and are, unhealthy.
Here again is where having a common theme or style to your clan can come at an advantage. Your clannies will have a much greater sense of loyalty to one another and to the clan if they have something in common in terms of beliefs or regular activities.
You will find that your clan will develop certain cliques, or groups of friends that do most everything together. This is normal and can be a good thing for your clan so long as the clique is fluid and not rigid about its membership or activities. As a clanleader you want to be darn sure you are a part of, or at least on good terms with each clique in your clan. Cliques can form the core of your clan - look to them for advice and even as a measure of how your clan is doing. One huge, obvious, disadvantage to cliques is that if one member leaves, the rest might too, so be careful and really try to be careful who you tick off. ;)
I am going to make a few people mad here with what Im about to say, but bear with me. Heroes, in general, and those above level 25 make chancy enrolls. Generally over level 25, a player has had experiences with clans already and if theyre out looking for a new one, chances are they will have been burnt at least once and very wary that whatever might have happened in their last clan, might also happen with their new clan.
Heroes in general tend to be flighty (sorry guys, but you know this is the truth). Heroes have special needs, mainly keeping up with other heroes. The immortal channel (shortened to imm and also sometimes known as the immature channel :P) is a channel that all heroes have the er... privilege? of listening to. It is common on this channel to be harassed for ones lack of eq, skills and even their clan choice. True enough that this is a 13-year-old mentality, but no matter what a hero might say it bothers them all to some degree and it may affect their clan decisions. Moreover, heroes tend to be more comfortable just being around other heroes. Newbies are high-maintanance and it is very rare to find a hero who is patient and willing to answer questions, put up with being begged for xp or eq all the time. Even Avatars get tired of it. Another huge problem with the hero enroll is the ego factor - I know heroes who won't even talk to anyone below a quad. Some heroes feel it beneath them to stay in a clan below a certain ranking, or even to be in a non-celebrity clan at all... Anyway, my point isnt to complain incessantly about heroes and become a pk target. It's to warn you that heroes are very risky business. Enrolling them is great... if they'll stay. Enrolling a hero who is just going to leave is bad for your clan, so do be careful.
One great way to encourage clan cohesion is to make clan forms whenever possible. This allows clannies a chance to be together and to get to know one another. Communication such as an email list, or general clantalk spamminess is also considered to be very desireable. Your clannies want to logon to a place where they know they are wanted, needed, and appreciated. In other words a place they have friends and stuff to actually do.
Giving clannies clan-duties is a great way to make them involved and keep their loyalty. If your clannies are a part of the clan process they will, of course, have a greater loyalty to it. A clannie who is needed and shown that they are needed is going to stay longer than one who is not. Rank duties such as form leading or putting certain dukes in charge of certain rankings will also help ease your duties as clanleading. Delegating other tasks such as webpage building and mapping zones will also help you as well as the clan as a whole by building loyalty and getting stuff done.
The bottom line is that clan cohesion is going to depend mostly on your leadership. Your ability to solve problems like in-fighting and inter-clan competition is going to have a profound effect on how well your clan does.
Part XI: Dissidents, Hoppers, and Other Undesirables
You may want to be sitting for this. No, seriously. Sit down. You need to hear this... No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try you cannot please everyone. No matter how perfect your clan is, someone is going to hate it. Sorry! It's the truth. Sometimes it's for no particular reason. There are people out there who just like to muck things up for the sheer fun of it. Theres no way of avoiding it or getting around it, every clan leader is going to experience people in their clan for however long a time who will do their best consciously or not, to make life miserable.
Dissidents seem like normal people when you enroll them. They may seem like model clannies for a while, then gradually start to whine and complain about every little thing. These are the people who are impossible to please, so dont kill yourself trying. I have a rule I use for myself. Critique is fine so long as the person is willing to come up with a solution. If a person complains just to complain then they aren't worth my (or the clan's) time and energy. Dissidents, if they are allowed to, will spread their unease. One person who is unhappy in a clan will make everyone else unhappy, either by getting them to agree, or getting them upset at all the complaining. I dont care if its a valuable hero (recent experience I'm still bitter over :P) if you have a dissident in the clan you'll do far better to lose them than to lose 10 of your other, hardworking and contributing clannies.
Troublemakers are another breed entirely. These are the people who are inordinantly immature, like to test the limits. You will usually find them recently thawed. High level or no, even if this is your best RL friend from kindergarten, stay away from them. They will only make problems for you and your clan. If you enroll a lot of them, particularly, or allow a troublemaker to remain in the clan for too long, your clan will take on that sort of reputation. A clan, after all, is defined and made by its members.
A cross-breed of Dissidents and Troublemakers are the Eternal Newbie Whiners. These are the people who, no matter what level or conditions persist, MUST be led by the hand every waking moment and refuse to even try to solo Medievia graveyard. These are the same frustrating players who never take forms when offered but complain that they never get to form. (uh? :P) They generally whine that no-one ever helps them, no matter how much babysitting you do. These are usually people who will never be happy. Do the best you can as long as you can, when and if all fails, refer them to the newbie training clans and cut them loose. Your clannies will get as sick of them as you and may run for the hills over it.
Hoppers, or clanhoppers, are people that jump from clan to clan to clan. These are the players who dont know what it is they really want. They will find any excuse to leave a clan and move onto something different. It would be interesting to find out what causes such a fear of commitment to even a family in a game, but well leave that be for now. ;) For some, its simply the fact that they will never be happy in any clan unless they are leading and in complete control of it.
There are also those people who will come into your clan with the idea of taking it over, whether you want them to or not. These players can be at least entertaining in their efforts. :) They may start by trying to turn your clannies against you, winning their affections, convincing others of your lack of leadership. If it's true you should admit it and step down, of course... but if and when its not true you can have a real situation on your hands. This is the sort of thing you have to nip in the bud quickly or you could have disastrous results.
Martyrs are those who constantly seek to prove how wonderful they are to everyone else, yet how unappreciated. These are especially annoying, particularly in a clan where so many are active and contributing. The martyr thinks himself the only one actually doing anything and is constantly whining about how unappreciated they are. I've been fortunate not to have much firsthand experience with this type. Usually if the person is just unlucky enough to play when most of the rest of the clan doesn't, you can help alleviate the symptoms by announcing others contributions and accomplishments. Include the martyr of course, and do make an effort to publicly appreciate them or they will have justification for feeling this way.
Fair-weather clannies are clannies who will stay with you and be loyal, active clan members... so long as everything is going well. The moment things seem to slide even a bit these people will bail, then expect to be let back in when things are going better. Very frustrating, these types. These are also the players who are always looking for the bigger, better, deal, then come crawling back when they find they've been schnookered and they had it good in your clan. Well, crawling back until it happens again anyway. ;)
Probably the only solution to this problem is to make it known to your entire clan that the offending character is no longer welcome...banning him or her completely. There is no utterly foolproof way to ensure that this person will never return under another character name, however, so as a clanleader you must always be wary.
Basically you cannot and will not please everyone. Sometimes you won't even be able to please yourself! There's always going to be someone who is going to disagree and cause problems for the simple sake of disagreeing and causing problems, just as there will always be times when things don't exactly go as perfectly as planned. These are just things you have to deal with as a clanleader - use your tremendous skills of politics and your knowledge of Med and things will work out for the best.
Part XII: Removal Aftermath
If a person decides they need to leave your clan and they at least have the decency and guts to talk to you about it first, treat them with respect and let them go. Be dignified, if it's a problem you can solve, ask them to give you a chance to do so before they leave.
I completely understand how someone leaving your clan may seem like a personal rejection. And, to be fair, sometimes it is. Let it slide off your back and try to stay on good terms with past clannies - you as a person, a player need friends of your own outside of the clan. Past clannies that just need to go for whatever reason can actually still stay a help to the clan. They can help you if you should ever need a friend in a particular clan to save you from a pk or banking situation, for example. Plus, even though fair-weather clannies are bad (as previously discussed), a clannie that just needs to stretch his legs then come back after a designated time can be a great benefit, bringing back whatever they can from the clan they just visited.
Its important to remember that all clans, the entire mud even, have periods of waxing and waning. The summer, for example, is a period of great growth and prosperity for all clans because school is out. Clans can experience times of almost phenomenal growth and then suddenly falter a bit. This is perfectly normal and should be expected. When it does happen, learn to recognize it so that you don't panic, and can prevent future panic removals.
Panic removals are those which occur when people think their clan is going down the tubes. After all, why stay in a dying clan? Most people don't think about normal cycles in clans, some panic at ANY removal. The trick here is to make an effort to enroll for each removal as soon as possible and to keep the clan's spirit up. Some clans go so far as to hide any removals from their clanlog by spamming it with minimal deposits. This, of course, is obvious and looks pathetically desperate - hehe.
Part XIII: Stepping Down
The last and saddest part of clanleading that I am inclined to share with you is stepping down. I can't say I have much firsthand experience in stepping down, I've never done it aside from leaving 17 to help create and lead 42. I have, however, watched and even helped friends to step down and let their clan into others hands.
When its time to step down and let your clan to someone else, you know. You may not admit it at first, but inside you know that you've gone as far as you can, or that you're burnt out of leading or even burnt out of playing totally. There are clans out there who are faltering because their leaders don't know enough to admit their time has come. I fear greatly that these clans are soon to collapse, but it's really the clannies that I feel bad for. The loyal clannies who will go down with the ship, so-to-speak, are suffering because their clanleader isn't doing what's best for their clan.
As a clanleader, you need to be constantly evaluating your leadership, and hopefully taking the suggestion that you step down if it comes. However, you still have to decide on some matters. Do you promote some lucky, loyal clannie to budding clanleader? Or do you automatically transfer leadership to your current coleader? It's going to cost 75 million for a leadership changeover and the incoming clanleader needs to have been in the clan for at least 3 months prior to the leadership changeover. You need to consider where the cash for transfer comes from (incoming leader or current clan funds - you may need to organise a whip-round) as well as keeping an eye on your clanlog for the time served by your new leader.
At any rate, a leadership changeover needs to be planned carefully and executed as smoothly as possible. (see the above section on acquiring a clan for potential problems) If you care about your clan, see this part through - don't just ditch them during such a huge change. Your clannies, past and present, are always going to see you as their leader for better or for worse and they will remember it if you abandon them.
I remember my second clanleader gave the clan to two enterprising outsiders (well before the 3 month rule came into force). None of us clannies had any idea what to expect... if they were going to clean out the roster and start anew, if they would be good to us. Frankly we were all a bit disappointed that the coleader at the time wasn't promoted. He was ousted from clan leadership altogether, in fact. Needless to say the transition did not go over smoothly and the two new clanleaders failed before they even got their collective foot in the door. Sad really, but it serves as an example of what can and used to go wrong before the three month rules incumbancy came about.
Hopefully what I've written will help get you through most of your clanleading experience. I'm sure there are things I've left out or forgotten, or even gotten wrong, but ultimately I hope they will have helped you in some way in leading your clan or even just deciding if this is something you really want to do. Happy Mudding and may all your days be Magic.