Typology of Clash Royale clans

noun: clan; plural noun: clans
a close-knit group of interrelated families, especially in the Scottish Highlands
Image source: http://supercell.com/en/games/clashroyale/

Supercell has done it again: their fourth hit, Clash Royale, was launched globally in March 2016, and currently it is one of the top grossing apps for iPhones and iPads in the US and many other countries. With only 180 employees, Supercell is able to create hits after another, and it seems Clash Royale will also become tremendously successful.

This post, however, is not about profits, but about clans: one of the core elements in Clash Royale (and Clash of Clans, as well). The thing is, it is not mandatory for players to belong in a clan, but the game has been designed so that belonging to a clan makes it easier to level up your troops and towers (and, at least in the previous versions of the game, to cheat by rigging the clan system). Although the basic idea behind any player belonging to a clan is pretty straightforward, are all clans identical? Is the name of a clan the only thing setting them apart?

Seems to be it is more complex than that! I was looking at the top twenty clans plus some of the clans my friends belong to in order to better understand what kind of clans are there.

The matrix below is one attempt at crafting a typology for clans in Clash Royale.



Sizes of the various shapes above should not be taken as representing anything important (although my hunch is that most clans fall under the bottom left category, hence the big circle), but please pay close attention to the axes. This study was by no means academic – yet, mind you! – and it was done really fast, but it nonetheless sheds light on what kind of clans people belong to.

The Looney Tunes – although I didn’t find these in the top twenty, I have seen some of my friends belong to such clans. Witty names, invite only, using the game’s design to create humorous content (my attempt at this failed miserably as my short-lived clan SeniorsOfDoldi attracted only a handful of players), and so forth.

Majority of clans – well, should have created a title for this group as well, but these are basically ‘generic’ clans in the sense that they focus on having casual fun, but without the pressure to fare well in the game. Majority of these players do  not spend any money at all in the game (following the basic logic of F2P games), and for them this is just a way to kill time.

The Andersonians – now this is an interesting bunch of clans! Meet The Andersonians: a clan brought together by a desire to create and / or maintain an identity. Based on nationality, profession, organization, or a social movement, for example. In a way it is pretty fascinating to find clans for, say, Swedes or Chinese only while so many scholars have been advocating the demise of the nation state for a long time now.

Big spenders – competitive, willing to spend, ruthless, aggressive players. Although Clash Royale does not seem to be that suitable for eSports, it has not stopped people from playing around with the possibility. One of the reasons here is that the matches are pretty short (three minutes approximately), but who knows – maybe Supercell will come up with something interesting to make Clash Royale appealing also from the eSports perspective?

Finally, it should be noted that I do not take these categorizations to be fixed. On the contrary, I am expecting clans to move around in this matrix, and why this happens is interesting! Definitely something to think about not only in terms of scholarly interest, but also if you are creating games or writing about games in popular media, for example.

So there you go! My initial take on clans in mobile games. What do you think about the typology? Something missing? Have your say in the comment field below!



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