Interview with a Clan Leader
This interview has been made in december 2003. At that time we used to interview each others so we could know more about ourselves, and who was hidden behing nicknames and forum avatars. Questions where asked on forums, gathered by a member and asked to the person. Really instructive, in any case. Here is mine...
When did you first set up the WPC?
The WPC has been around since the 4th January 2000, on a Sunday morning. I was hosting an AvP2 game, on the Verloc map and was playing/chatting with Slayer and Silent Wolf. Both were used to coming on to my server, and actually, we liked playing together. Suddenly I said: 'Hey, why don't we create our own clan ?' And they said: ‘Why not ?'
Our name comes from Silent Wolf who liked wolves very much. First we called ourselves the Wolf Clan and our very first tag was [WC], which sounded weird for my Belgian ears (It's the acronym of Water Closet, in French). That afternoon, I met Webley, who proposed creating our very first website: www.redgamer.com/wpc/', which was up and running the day after. And it's a little bit later that Webley proposed to add the P, for Pack. And so we started the Wolf Pack Clan. I must say I have been very lucky.
What made you want to start an online community?
Simply because I am curious. You must know that AvP2 is my very first experience with on-line gaming. Besides the game itself, I liked the human dimension, talking with people from everywhere around the world. After a few weeks playing here and there, I wanted to discover more and be a part of a well-known clan. One day, I met one of the HEL recruiters, and succeeded their try-out, but for some reason, mainly due to my ignorance of web usage, it went nowhere. In fact I found it so hard to find a clan that suited my curiosity; I felt that creating mine would be the best solution.
Did you do it alone?
The major success of this clan is probably due to some of those members who joined me in the early days. If I had to put forward names, I would say Slayer and Silent Wolf. Cartman and Webley need thanks for developing our very first website and the basis for the community, and undoubtedly Josh Mac Cabbe who has been literally my right and left arms, and whom knowledge and experience of the on-line gaming world has spared me from many mistakes. Many thanks to them all, a shame they are no longer active amongst us but I would certainly never forget them.
What made you choose AvP2 as your online game?
Circumstances. I had bought AvP and liked the game. I just had bought AvP2 when I got my Adsl connection. As simple as that.
What were your initial goals for the clan' Have these goals changed much over time?
I must say that, if I did start the clan without a very precise goal, after a few days, with the growing amount of members, I suddenly realised the implication of all this, and started to get scared. Lol. Following the starting issues (find a website, gather enough members to make it live, etc.) my goal was to make our community a reference in the AvP world and more generally in the gaming community. I know it's a little ambitious, but I think we are not far away from it, are we?
I agree, but did you ever think the clan would progress as far as it has?
It may appear surprising, or a lack of modesty but: yes. And if you want my real opinion, we are still far away from a satisfying result. I know we have done much so far, but we can still do better. Muhahahah...
There are certain things that appealed to me when I joined the WPC. Why did you decide to set up a clan with ideals so different to the other clans around? (ie equality, no skill basis, no ranks etc.)
That's very simple: because I was absolutely unaware of the way a clan could work. Thus, I built the WPC from scratch without any influence or previous experience. There you can add some sort of idealism and history knowledge, and there you are a brand new clan, original and ready to face it's future.
Any regrets about setting up the clan' Has anything happened during the clan\\'s lifetime that you really regret?
No regrets. About nothing and no-one. Each member at his own level has contributed to the clan and it's history. I don't see why I would regret something that helped us to grow, good or not so good. And as I use to say, we learn more from our defeats than our victories.
Have your dreams for the clan been fulfilled?
As previously said, I would never be satisfied. Thus, building something is a permanent effort and as soon as you consider that you have accomplished your objectives, and decide not to have new ones, thats the beginning of the end.
In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good clan leader?
I don't know the qualities for being a good clan leader, but I know that I try to work on certain principles myself. If I had to set them in a certain order, I would say : respect, solidarity, impartiality, honesty, trust and patience. This may appear old fashioned, but, hey? I'm quite old now.
Any plans for a clan convention?
I have been thinking about that in the past, and more recently. But maybe our community is a little bit too young, and this would represent a lot of work and preparation. And honestly, I don't have enough time at the moment. But why not, maybe, one day?
Approximately how many hours do you think you have given to the WPC site?
If I wanted to be honest with myself, I would say too much! lol. Other than that, as far as I keep learning and that it could help me develop something else, one day, I don't believe it's time lost. All I am learning from this experience may be useful in my professional career. So?
So was website management something you were familiar with before? Or have you taught yourself everything from scratch?
One year ago, my knowledge about the web was absolutely nothing. And yes, I have taught myself everything I know. I must say a big thanks to the Xoops community, I have been helped greatly by their forums and so on' but other than that, you can say I am a self-made man.
Did you expect the members of the WPC to be like they are today?
Well, I suppose so. If our members didn't feel comfortable in the community, they wouldn't be there, or even asked to be in. But generally speaking, I must say everyone has his place in the pack, even those who are not ‘official' members but who keep contributing at their own scale.
If you could go back and stop anyone from joining, would you do so?
No I wouldn't. I am sure you are thinking about people like Desparado. He he he, I know you. This may appear surprising, but still, I would do it again. Members like him have contributed to our community, with their manners, yes, but they have taught us things that no-one else could have. And this is very precious. And honestly, I liked him very much.
Being a webmaster and clan leader must be time consuming - do you regret having less time to play?
The WPC is for me one of my major time consuming hobbies. And from the beginning, my priority is set to the clan management and web mastering. I like both, and would say, I prefer that to on-line gaming. You just have to consider that WPC is an on-line strategy game, as SimCity is.
Huh, never was a fan of Sim City I'm afraid . But do you hope to be present more on gaming servers?
I don't know. As I said previously, gaming is time consuming and I prefer to focus on the community and website devlopement.
Very few clans have older members, why do you think the WPC appeals to the older gamer?
As stated by many of you, being part of a clan or an on-line community is time consuming. Getting older is what you lack the most. Frequently, Clan leaders oblige their members to strict time set up or on-line meeting, which is not our choice. I have founded the WPC on a freedom basis. Be a member if you want, contribute the way you want, but no obligation is required in any domain. This is part, in my opinion, of one of the major aspects I want to defend here: respect.
Has gaming always appealed to you? Or is it something you only got into later in life?
I have always liked games. When I was a teenager, I used to play Role Playing Games. One of my favourites was Star Wars (as stated by my nickname, btw). Later on, with my discovery of PC games, I found a way to continue that. And here I am, playing the role of a mighty Predator, hunting humans and bugs.
Ok, so what does your wife think about you being the founder of an online community?
Erm, arch question. Honestly, she doesn't care that much, and spends her time reminding me of real life concerns. Thank god, she is there! I must say, she has proven to be very patient with me and my on-line affairs.
Has working on this site and the community ever interfered with your personal life then?
These are my hobbies. Even if sometimes I must admit, I should slow down a little bit, but hey, it's hard to resist.
What was the first game you ever played online and really enjoyed?
Besides AvP2, which is the very first one, I have more recently spent (too much?) time on some MOH:AA servers. In the same time, I have spent some evenings (not much) with friends of mine on a Lan with RTCW. I must say I like the Second World War games, and as soon as I get some money for me, I will purchase BF1942. Promise.
Besides gaming and managing this community, what are your hobbies?
I am playing sport (handball) in the Luxemburgish championship, and more generally speaking, I like to work in my home, renevating my old house. A simple man with a simple life.
What have you learnt from your WPC experience?
Lot of things. I have improved my English, and I am surprised when I see that now I can hold a conversation with an English native speaker. And when I think about the WPC affairs, I even think about it in English! Gosh!
Besides this, I learn everyday on the human and management ground. It's not easy to manage people at work IRL, but guess how it could be when it's on-line, using nicknames and with people who work for free! Even if I know, we are all motivated and like this community.
What are you the most proud of?
I was really proud of this community when I read all your comments after my misleading post where I made it sound like I was leaving (hi hi hi). I must say, the way people have reacted has gone directly to my heart. This has given to me the feeling that we were a really tight community, besides the artificial aspect of the internet. When I see comments from members saying that they have had alot of fun together, when they publish ‘family' screenshot at training sessions, all this makes me believe, my time and effort hasn't been spent uselessly.
And finally, being European Champion of the first AvP2 league is something you can't easily forget, can you?