Clan Lord: A MMORPG for Everybody

For over 10 years I’ve been playing this little massive multiplayer role-playing game called Clan Lord from Delta Tao Software. Clan Lord was the first MMORPG (massive-multiplayer-online-role-playing-game) to come out for the Mac. At the time I didn’t know what I was getting into, and never thought I’d stick around for more than a few weeks, but over 10 years later here I am still playing.

Clan Lord isn’t your typical MMORPG. The game isn’t driven by statistics and items nearly as much as other online role-playing games out there. Instead, role-playing and teamwork is emphasized. There’s still plenty of "leveling", of a sort, but it’s just not as pronounced.

There are seven races, three classes, and currently two subclasses to choose from. Several trainers are available for each class and subclass. This makes for a wide variety of training philosophies.

Clan Lord has a wonderful community. Several players have websites about the game. These websites are great resources for new players as well as veteran players. The most popular of these websites, Thoomcare.com, serves as sort of a central hub to all the other sites. This is a good place to start if your curious about Clan Lord.

The graphics in Clan Lord are 2D, and may seem outdated, but have a charm all their own. Much of the artwork has actually been done by players. In fact, players have made a large contribution to the development of the game. This is one advantage that Clan Lord has over larger online role-playing games; it’s a small community and only one server so GMs have the opportunity to communicate with players quite often and take feedback.

The big question is how accessible is Clan Lord to disabled players out there? For me it’s been a work in progress over the years, but for the most part I’ve managed to play well enough that people didn’t even know I was disabled unless I told them. Clan Lord only plays in windowed mode so that solves a big problem right there. This typically leaves plenty of space on your screen for KeyStrokes, SwitchXS, or whatever software solutions you use to access your Mac. I’ve used some form of on-screen keyboard (KeyStrokes most of the time) throughout my entire tenure with Clan Lord. Clan Lord also supports a pretty sophisticated macro language. This allows you to create shortcuts for just about anything you can do in-game and bind them to function keys or trigger with short phrases or abbreviations. For example, you could make a macro that equips your armor and weapons just by hitting a single function key. A popular macro, that somebody created and made available for everybody to use, allows you to run automatically in any direction by pressing the corresponding key on your numeric pad. This is useful when you have to travel long distances in the same direction yet want to be able to chat at the same time. Just press the direction you want to go, then you’re free to chat with other people while your character is heading towards his or her destination. I’ve built up a pretty large collection of macros for all my characters over the years and they make a big difference.

Moving your character around in Clan Lord is done entirely via the mouse, unless you’re using one of those macros I mentioned above. Some of the most common commands are available in pulldown menus. You can also click or double-click on items and other players to select them and interact with them in various ways in the floating inventory and player windows respectively.

Since I’ve recently been able to acquire LayoutKitchen I’ve done some tinkering around and designed my first Clan Lord panel (pictured below). It’s a work in progress and contains most of the commands I would use when leading a hunt plus a few others. I created a button on my regular keyboard panel that instantaneously opens up this Clan Lord panel. This way I can switch between panels instantly. I normally make my keyboard layouts available for download but in this case my Clan Lord panel was designed specifically for my main character so for the most part, it wouldn’t work well for other characters.

And since I’ve also just gotten MacSpeech Dictate I’m toying around with using that while I play Clan Lord as well. So far it seems to work pretty well although it has some trouble with some of the typical Clan Lord jargon. However, in time I’ll teach it to understand that as well. As a side-note, I highly recommend MacSpeech Dictate to anybody who thinks they might benefit from voice dictation software. MacSpeech Dictate is far superior to MacSpeech’s previous product iListen, and in my eyes finally signifies the arrival of voice dictation on the Macintosh.

So all in all Clan Lord is pretty accessible for gamers with physical limitations such as myself. With macros, assistive devices such as the Headmaster Plus or Headmouse Extreme, assistive software programs such as KeyStrokes or SwitchXS, and MacSpeech Dictate you can play as well as anybody else, disabled or not. Clan Lord may be showing its age to a certain degree but the small, dedicated group of fantastic GMs keep adding new content and keep extending Clan Lord’s life. So if you’re disabled and looking for an MMORPG where you have the potential to be on an even playing field with other players you might want to give Clan Lord a try. The community is friendly and most are more than willing to help new players. Look for a character named "Yor" (that’s me) while in the lands if you want to chat. :-)

System Requirements:

  • PowerPC Mac OS 8.1 or higher or Mac OS X 10 or higher
  • 120 MHz or better PowerPC Macintosh
  • 32 MB of memory
  • A 28.8 kbps Internet connection
  • A sense of adventure!

Paul Natsch

P.S.

*Also available for Windows