This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by Mod Chihiro and is dated 15 April 2011.
An Update on Clans

Well, it’s been an exciting week for those of us involved in the development of clans; we’ve got the system out, and it is working pretty well, but we realise there are still plenty of things we can improve. We’ve been keeping a close eye on feedback, and we thought you would appreciate an update on our current thinking for some of the more major points. This is not an exhaustive list of all things we’re looking at, but it should give you an idea of what we intend to do about them.

Inability to be in more than one clan at a time:

This has been the most difficult request to address, as we have no desire to disrupt the multi-clanning community; however, in order to make any of the new clan features, we’ve needed to enforce a one-clan-per-player limit. There are a number of places where we need to unambiguously identify which clan a player is in.

The Highscores [sic] system is one of them: a player can only be counted for the highscores [sic] of a single clan, otherwise the tables become meaningless. Also, in order to make the whole clan system technically feasible, we needed this restriction. We would not have been able to provide the features we have done without it.

I’m afraid we won’t be changing the system to allow multi-clanning in the foreseeable future, but we’re well aware of this request. If we can find other ways to help these communities, we will do so. But, I’m afraid, for the moment there is going to be a period of adjustment to the new systems.

Inability to leave the clan’s chat channel or appear offline:

This is an interesting issue, as some clan leaders would want this feature to keep track of their clan. However, looking at the strength of feedback and re-examining what was technically feasible, we have decided that a players’ individual privacy should have precedence in this case, so we will be implementing a change that will allow you to ‘opt out’ of the clan channel. Removal of the smiley rank/inability to rank friends who aren’t in your clan: The clan system is a more restrictive system than the old friend chat system. A player has to either be in a clan or not, and rank is a property of the player in a clan. You must be in a clan to have a rank in that clan. The ‘smiley’ in friend chat represents an unranked player in your friend chat channel who is on your friend list. It’s not a rank. A clan cannot have ’friends’, so there did not seem to be a function for it.

If you want to allow a prospective clanmate into your channel as a trial, then they should be added as a guest. If you want that player to get involved in clan activities then add them as a recruit, and remove them if they fail to live up to your expectations. Adding a new ‘smiley’ rank below recruit is rather awkward, as rank is stored internally as a number, and there is currently no rank below recruit, so we’d have to shuffle up all the rank names. This would mean that you’d all have to reassign ranks to everyone if you wanted to retain the current rank name. So, currently, I don’t think it’s worth the trouble it would cause.

Adding Lootshare/coinshare to clans:

Adding LootShare and CoinShare to the clan system was always something we’d planned to do. However, when we looked at doing this, it became clear to us that it was not as simple as we’d assumed. So, the main reason for its absence is time. There are two other reasons we didn’t do this for release. Firstly, we will need to change our combat system to track the damage done by a group of clanmates to an NPC. It can currently deal with players and friend chat groups, but not clans. This will require a deal of engine work.

Friends channel or clan channel? Given that we do not want to remove LootShare and CoinShare from the friend list functionality, we could end up creating a mess if we don’t carefully consider how to handle players who *could* be on both.

The length of the clan chat prefix:

We are looking to lessen the problem that occurs when the clan name takes up too much space in the chat window. A short-term solution would be to replace your clan name with a letter. We aim to get this change released as soon as we can. In the longer term, we will either add an icon to represent the type of channel, or perhaps allow a clan abbreviation to be used instead. These changes will require more work, though, so will not be released in the near future.

The use of ‘/ ‘, ‘//‘ & ‘///’

There has been a lot of feedback on the use of these symbols, and we do want to improve usability of the chat system now that there are two new channels you could be talking in. The ideal situation will be to use a chat channel focus system, e.g. ‘/c ‘ would set you in clan chat mode and you’d remain in that mode until you’ve changed it by typing ‘/f’ to enter friend chat mode, for example. This will involve a rewrite of our chat rendering system, however, which is not a simple task, so don’t expect this change immediately, and this was why we didn’t implement the feature for release.

If we can find a consensus on a set of single letter, non-alpha numeric characters to use when marking a message for a channel, we will introduce this in the short term. Please give us your thoughts! Don’t forget there are three channels to worry about (friends, clan and guest clan channel), but, if we’re happy that we have a set of symbols that you all prefer, then we will implement this pretty quickly.

Update image - Tools

Mod Chihiro discusses some of the more common issues and requests that have been raised on the subject of clans, and what we intend to do about them.

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