Party vs Clan vs Team in online games

Hi guys

Will appreciate it if someone can briefly explain what is the difference between these terms (Party/Clan/Team) in online games.

And which term is suitable for the below case:

One of the clients create a game and assign a group of players (friends) to that game, and they are supposed to play the game with each other until they finish the game. The game has a story and consists of multiple levels and has no PvP.

Which of the above terms ( Party/Clan/Team) is suitable for this case?

My understanding is “party” is a loosely coupled term an is more common in PvP games where a player can frequently change his party. Is this right?


The terms can sometimes vary from game to game. For the most part, my understanding of those terms is from my experience playing world of warcraft and runescape - and there’s still some differences between the terminology they use in both of those games.

A Party is a loosely formed group of players that can be created at any time when one player invites at least one other player to the party. Parties can easily be created, joined, and disbanded at any time. Once you are in a party, the party leader can usually start a match or join the queue for matchmaking, as to ensure that you all get into the same match on the same team.

What you are describing here sounds like it would be best described as a party of friends that are playing in a private match:

A Clan is typically a larger, more official organization of players in a multiplayer game, often times with internal ranking systems and leadership hierarchies, and most multiplayer games will allow any player to found their own clan. Sometimes games will use the terms “guild” instead of “clan”. Clan members are also typically put into a chat channel together while they’re logged into the game so that the members can chat and form parties together to achieve other stuff in the game.

And for most games, the Team is which side you are on in a multiplayer match. Most genres of games let you switch teams at the start of every new match, and it is also the job of the matchmaking system to assign balanced teams when the players are joining a match for game modes where its relevant.

But for MMORPG style game, its common to use the term “Faction” instead of “team”, and the player is often forced to choose between 2 or more developer-created factions when they make their character, and then players are often restricted to only joining parties and clans with players of the same faction, and will inevitably end up PvPing with players of the other faction in the open world.

Its also common for PvP server-based games (like Rust or Minecraft Factions Servers) to determine the teams based on your clan or guild, and players can join clans as freely as they can join a party. So in these games, they are kind of blending the clan, party, and team system all into one. Its not uncommon for players to take advantage of these systems to join a clan for the purpose of betrayal or personal gain, and these games usually encourage that as part of the fun.

Hopefully I’ve given a decent, general description of these terms, but let me know if anything I said could be explained better or doesn’t make sense :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thanks so much for the explanation, this made it much clear.

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A party is a temporary short term collective. Short lived.

A clan is a long term collective.

A team is a group with a goal of improving or changing something.

If I wanted to play with a few friends I’d create a party. If that party became more permanent I’d create a clan.

If I had an aim of improving or changing something I’d create a team, and that team would have a goal.

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Clan exists outside the life of the game. You are still a member of the clan even when you aren’t logged in. It is run by people, has an organization, etc… everything folks have already said. There is usually some form of communication outside the game, too.

A “team” is an online thing during a match. You are member to denote who your friends and enemies are. Red team today, blue team tomorrow… just depends. Games with teams usually have a session within which the team lasts and then some team wins.

“Faction” is somewhere between clan and team in that it designates you as ‘friend’ or ‘enemy’ to a whole group of people/NPCs and persists from login to login.

If a bunch of people are playing together co-op, I’d definitely call that a “party”. I think like D&D or old-school CRPG where you have you and a bunch of NPCs… or you and some friends. Like D&D, the folks in the party are the folks who showed up that day.

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what about ‘guild’? Is it equal to ‘clan’?

Depends on the game. A guild in Skyrim is quite a bit different than some guilds in MMORPGs, for example.

Edit: actually, I get the impression that some MMORPGs use ‘guild’ like ‘clan’… but really guild should be a professional membership. “Thieves guild”, “blacksmith guild”, etc… and would be orthogonal to clan.

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Guys thanks so much for your help. :slightly_smiling_face:

So Party would fit the best in my case. That exists for the lifecycle of a game and when the game is finished then the party will be gone as well.

Later in the future, I can add Clan support as well.

Im not sure why wake up very old topic from 3 years ago ;p (sounds ai-botty here)

but since i didnt wrote before:

Party/Team is basically same in most games. Even some games can name it “band” or other names too.
This are temporary player groups to play together something.

Clan/Guild/etc is more pernament - this are groups but pernament and outside of single “match”.
They usually offer related things like Clan base or Clan achievements or Clan battles.

Alliances - Clans but grouped together. (well, there are some games were alliance == clan)

It was a way in to go back and edit a post to add the spam. I predicted it and already had the account open… now banhammer.

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