Clans have been a part of the Xbox experience ever since Xbox Live was launched November 15, 2002. Many believe that clans were the main contributor in growing the Xbox Live and Halo community.
Many also believe that they helped make the game feel a bit more competitive than it already was with ranks. The fact is that almost all of us who play Halo have had an encounter with a clan at least once in our time of gaming.
Although Xbox Live launched in November 2002, there was no compatibility with Halo: CE since the game released a year before, but there were still large groups of local players having LAN parties. These “local clans” could be found everywhere across the United States at that time, which goes to show how big Halo was. In 2004, when Halo 2 launched, the population of Halo players doubled in size because of XBL. Since there was such a large number of Halo players, clans started to form ridiculously fast. Clan wars were constantly being started in order to prove who was better. Bungie saw all this competitive clan warfare and decided that a great way to maintain this strong clan community would be to make a clan vs clan playlist for Halo 2. The decided to call this playlist Clan Match. It was a 4v4 or 5v5 playlist where you and 3 or 4 other clan members could join a lobby and compete against another clan in matchmaking. This meant that you no longer had to message a clan leader on XBL to request a clan battle, you could just fight a clan in the in-game matchmaking. This playlist exploded with thousands of clans competing daily.
In 2007, during the launch of Halo 3, there was a lot of hype around Halo, MLG, and eSports in general. This meant that more people were interested in competitive Halo than clans. During this time, clan activity was no longer as large, but many thought that with a new great console and the overall Halo population exploding that clans would grow even more. There were still many clan battles and it was very common to see clans team up in BTB but the hype around competitive Halo definitely reigned supreme.
It wasn’t until late 2010, when Halo: Reach was launched, that clans started to make a big comeback. Overall, many competitive Halo fans were disappointed with the new game and you could tell because MLG’s viewership dropping significantly. Although many were disappointed, there were still some that enjoyed it. With an updated forge that included a massive forge world and endless possibilities on what a forger can do, clans started exploding everywhere. YouTube content also started to grow even more as a result. Many clans would now post up CvC matches, forge creations, recruitment challenges, and more on YouTube which also boosted clan activity.
In 2012, when Halo 4 came out, many fans were disappointed with the game once again. Competitive Halo pretty much died when MLG dropped Halo from their pro circuit and many clans started to move to Call of Duty. Of course, you still had massive clans like XGN, KSI and TSB stay relatively active however most of the smaller clans who did YouTube were either too small and inactive or started to develop a bad reputation on YouTube for not being respectful to other clans. It seemed that the good clans that remained active never even moved on to Halo 4 and just kept active in Reach. In fact, during the end of Halo 4, the Halo: Reach population was larger and is still very active till this day.
In 2014, when Halo MCC was released, it didn’t have the greatest launch. With all the bugs and glitches in almost every part of the game, many fans were highly disappointed in it and decided to quit while newer players who were just trying the game to see if it was good quickly switched to another game. This badly hurt community activity, and to this day clans don’t seem that active within the game. It is said that there is a total of only 30,000 people playing the game, which is a far less population during Halo games prior.
In 2015, when Halo 5: Guardians was released, the Halo community was also much, much smaller than ever before. Halo 5 had around half as many buyers as the second smallest Halo game: Halo: Combat Evolved. Not only that, the game is boring and dull, there’s nothing challenging players to keep returning, the Champion ranking is literally pointless as it’s a race to play the most games rather than a contest of skill now. If Halo 6 doesn’t doesn’t re-vitalize the clan scene, will Halo Clans truly become a thing of the past?
Now that Halo Infinite (Halo 6) is right around the corner (12/08/2021), do you think that clans will start to be more active or even make a complete comeback? Let me know in the comments section below. And share with us if you’ve ever been a member of a Halo clan.