Clans are organized groups of players that band together for various reasons. Some battle other focused clans in an all-out clan war ("clanmatch" in Matchmaking) in team games and for practice. Other clans consist of members who share a common interest, such as machinima production or Forging.
Clans are primarily social structures and as such, they exist in all three of the Halo First-person shooters. They are becoming less prevalent in the older games, particularly Halo: Combat Evolved. In Halo Custom Edition, however, clans are still easy to find; they host multiple dedicated servers in an effort to provide places for people to play—and, of course, to boost their "publicity."
There is no built-in clan ladder on Halo 3. This has led to the development of numerous informal ways to identify with a clan; clan members often share the same Emblem or Service Tag . Clans organize externally, coordinating and recruiting on websites and Bungie.net. The much larger communities of gamers are sometimes devoted to other games in addition to Halo; they also tend to be more competitive. Examples include Major League Gaming and LCU, the two largest Halo 3 gaming communities in the world. To survive, such clans tend to keep a close eye on their members' gaming activities; hold meetings; raise money to fund the community and the websites; and constantly recruit in an effort to maintain the clan's popularity and longevity.
In Halo: Reach, it is easier to identify with a clan thanks to the improved Service Tag system. Some clans use the same digits in their service tags, or they may have a numbered rank (A102, A115, etc.). Some people even change their gamertags to something related to their clan, which is the most obvious way to show support for your group. KSI and DBD are notable for doing this. The ever popular option, of course, is to do the same emblem as everyone else in the clan. Other clans revolve around a central 'theme', such as a color scheme or certain armor that must be worn by its members.
In Halo 2
The Halo 2 clan system had a ranking system that consists of the following:
- Lowest of all the classes. Can only participate in clanmatches. Usually used as a punishment within a clan.
- Average member of the clan. Can recruit others via clan invite and participate in clanmatches.
- Managers of the clan. They have all of the privileges granted to the lower ranks, along with the ability to change lower-ranking members' ranks (to Staff or lower). They can also boot lower-ranking members from the clan.
- Administrators and leaders of the clan. They have all of the privileges of the Staff, but with considerably more power.