I've just had a bit of an eye-openers on how Soul Wars clans work. I'm not sure if it's all of them, but it's definitely Def2Slay.
Just recently, I've been nipping into Soul Wars for the odd game now and again. I usually last for about two games before losing the will to live and coming out again. That's often because of the waiting around time. My rule of thumb is to look for whichever team has an artic bear in the waiting room and join that one. I don't know why Soul Wars has so many artic bears, but they seem to know their stuff and so I follow them. However, that often means that I'm one of the latter people in the waiting room and therefore it takes forever to get a game. My record so far is nearly three quarters of an hour, Runescape Soul Wars waiting room in one window and a job application form in the other. After three-quarters of an hour, I gave up and went woodcutting instead.
It doesn't take long to realise that you're the last one in because most of the high levelled players are in a clan. Their clan leader has called a few minutes earlier, so they leave a game and immediately rush to the prescribed waiting room. Sometimes you're lucky and you were in there already. But in 50/50 chances, it seems that I'm usually wrong. The artic bear has gone to the opposite side of the encampment and I'm left filling in my qualifications and work history.
I've taken now to hanging around and joining the first clan I find with a high-levelled player advertising it. (Artic bear optional.) It heightens my chances of being on the winning side, but it also practically ensures that I'm waiting around in an over-stuffed room, not even getting the loser's one zeal. Nevertheless, at least in a clan, you feel like you know what's going on and so you can choose to switch mid-game, if you're definitely not getting in.
So I thought. This morning, I was in Def2Slay's clan, when a bit of an argument broke out. The usual 'advertise for a rank' policy, endemic to all such clans, had been going on, and one player had been practically auto-advertising. I was in there because I heard him. I did notice that the calls for team colour were a little later than I'd been used to in another clan the day before, but I just figured that I'd missed something in the mass of messages. I clicked to 'clan chat only' and suddenly saw the argument in all its glory. We were on the blue team and the players' problem was that he wasn't ranked. It wasn't an argument that I was particularly interested in, so I got on with my ranging and getting pwned. That's the weird thing too, we were losing, but I reasoned that even big clans have off matches. Then, 30 seconds before the player was suminarily kicked from the chat channel, he said something that made me blink. It was suggested that he'd got the wrong call because he wasn't ranked.
I started to put two and two together. Until now, I'd thought that the point of these clans was to gather as many players as possible for your team. I did know that clan owners and ranked members often then spent their waiting time checking the stats of those joining, then kicking out the lower levels. I've been kicked out before now for being a lowly level 104, when everyone else was over 120 combat. It's not nice, but I tend to not be kicked so much now I'm level 111. I'd also sussed that the point of calling team colours, then switching those colours often, is to leave lower levelled players in the wrong team. After all, you can't have a round of Soul Wars unless there are two teams. What I hadn't worked out until now is precisely how the clans really work.
What they do is tell the ranked members the true team colour, presumably early on. This is why the chat clan owner will never be seen hanging around the waiting room and they always seem to get into the game immediately. The rank and file are told a little later. This means that you get them, but they run the risk of being the ones left behind. They're still important to have in your clan, because if they were freelance, then they might make their own call preceding your own. This is inconvenient for the rank and file, but still doesn't stop them getting their three zeal when they can get in.
The thing that went wrong today was that there weren't a lot of players on. Each team was averaging only 50 odd players, almost all of whom were in the clans. I saw three clans advertised and I visited each to find them packed. I settled on Def2Slay, because I'd been in there before and it seemed friendly then. However, these clan leaders are now in a situation where they're making calls, but if they made the same calls, then there would be no other team. This is where the true scam kicks in.
We were all told red team, so rushed there. It quickly became ridiculously full. With a minute to go, we're told 'Switch! Current team - blue.' Off we all went. We quickly entered the game and started getting slaughtered. After the argument, I'd worked this out but still decided to give Def2Slay the benefit of the doubt. He hadn't actually called, it had been one of the ranks. I figured that he might be off fishing or something and not realising what was happening. I commented, 'Btw, that last call was bad. Reds are slaughtering us.' Def2Slay replied, "LOL! I'm on red." That confirmed it in my eyes, so I countered, "Why are you calling blue, when you're on red?" Def2Slay, "I didn't, u did." Then, "U don't earn a rank." I pointed out that I didn't call. Then challenged him on his policy. He just laughed and called me a nub, then kicked me before I could physically leave.
It just surprised me a bit, because you expect merchanting clans to be a scam, but it just never dawned on me that there was profit in Soul Wars clans also being underhanded. Call me slow, but now I understand why people are so desperate to get ranks in them! At least we know now.
Edit: As of August 13th 2009, Def2Slay doesn't feature in any of the Rs hiscores. Yet he's in Soul Wars every time that I'm there. How do you spend weeks in Soul Wars without ending up in the hiscores in anything?