It was before GenCon that White Wolf (maker of table-top RPGs and upcoming MMOs, owned by EVE’s CCP) was alleged to have told a friend of a friend that some people would be happy and some people would be upset by a coming announcement. This was refuted by White Wolf, and GenCon passed with very little big news from White Wolf. Later at the Grand Masquerade, which is an officially sanctioned World of Darkness convention, White Wolf released their first teaser bit about the World of Darkness. Our blogger in arms, Ardwulf, posted some pretty breaking news and the video of the teaser over at his site. The news hit the floor, and I realized that the alleged statement rang pretty true for me.
The quick news run down is that it will be launched at the earliest in 2012, and it has been in production for about 3 years so far (with 1.5 years of design/planning prior to that). The game will be called World of Darkness Online (WoDO), and it’s first iteration will be based on Vampire: the Masquerade (Masquerade). Later on, it is hoped that the other splats like werewolves and changelings will become playable characters, but for now it will be vampires and possibly human characters, such as hunters (vampire killers) or ghouls (Blood-addicted humans).
CCP is also making “official” some playstyles, which WoDO will contain in an interconnected manner. They are coffee house (Second-Life chatroom), theme-park (World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online), and sandbox (EVE, A Tale in the Desert). However, the game is going to have a very mature slant with little room for immaturity, some sort of self-policing, and inclusiveness to the LGBT audience. There will be combat, but it won’t be the core of the game. So that’s what we know so far. My thoughts after the break.
My first reaction was extreme dislike at the thought of Masquerade being the vehicle rather than the more elegant successor Vampire: the Requiem (Requiem). Masquerade feels more like Blade, Underworld, or even Twilight in comparison. Yes, Twilight because Masquerade is about the power and beauty of vampires first with some alleged horror second. Mockingly, the theme of Masquerade is “trenchcoats, sunglasses, and katanas.” Requiem is about exploring the personal horror of being a vampire first with the power and beauty second. In my humble opinion, Requiem creates magnificently better tabletop stories than Masquerade (which often devolve to vampire superheroes).
However, I do agree with a few that Masquerade makes for a better video game, especially in lore and popularity. Yet, with White Wolf’s already lessened release schedules for their tabletop RPG books, this makes me more afraid that the end of the “new” World of Darkness is going down with the Mayan Apocalypse (or rise of WoDO, whichever you want). A successful MMO is a magnificent powerful beast that can push forward a whole slew of intellectual property, such as novels, posters, and even tabletop roleplaying games. Is White Wolf really going to be supporting a tabletop RPG that does not reflect its millions-of-dollars MMO? 8-Ball says “unlikely.”
My other disappointment was the fact that my favorite roleplaying “universe,” the anthropomorphic, animistic Werewolf (the Apocalypse or preferably the Forsaken), was not going to be included. It was far easier to recognize the extreme difficulty in presenting an excellent Vampire MMO experience and one for Werewolf when the themes often grate against one another. Vampire is about romance, subtlety, and Machiavellian power. Werewolf is about rage. Perhaps in 2015 we might get a peek at a Werewolf expansion for WoDO.
With all the disappointment, I am still excited. Unlike many of the subscription theme-park MMOs (namely World of Warcraft), WoDO seems like a service I would want to subscribe to. I imagine that with 1.5 years of planning, White Wolf/CCP are doing their absolute best in trying to get as much of the tabletop RPG experience as they can to an MMO. Plus with all the great stories of power and betrayal we see coming out of EVE, I know the MMO version of Masquerade is in the best hands. I doubt we will hear much more until next year, but I will stay tuned if we do.
caine who was cast out