Musings and Speculation on World of Darkness Online

Well, that made for a brisk weekend of hits and pingbacks. Ardwulf’s Lair was the first blog (that I found) to break the news from CCP’s presentation at The Grand Masquerade, and as a result was linked all over the place, from ZAM, Massively and Kill Ten Rats, as well as some sites I’d never seen or heard of, along with a couple of foreign-language sites – German, as well as (I think) Czech and Russian.

So anyway, the title of the CCP project is, as I pointed out in the original post, World of Darkness, although I and, I’m sure, many others, will be calling it World of Darkness Online for the time being, to differentiate it from its tabletop cousin. I think it’ll be a while before we get any more substantive news out of CCP about it, but brace yourself for rampant speculation in the meantime.

In particular, there’s a certain amount of friction in the tabletop and LARP communities between fans of the old World of Darkness (featuring Vampire; The Masquerade, for example) and the new World of Darkness (with Vampire: The Requiem, among others.) The new WoD is essentially a ground-up rebuild of the core concepts, and I (and many others) think it functions better for tabletop play. At the same time, the old Vampire: The Masquerade is the more recognizable property, and the LARP community, to whom the presentation was pitched (The Grand Masquerade is primarily a LARP event, although some tabletop stuff happens there,) pretty much stuck with the old version of the game. The news that the MMO will be V:tM rather than V:tR therefore went over like gangbusters.

Now, that said, I expect that some elements of V:tR (again, nWoD) will make it into the MMO. In particular, Masquerade had a very 90’s tone, and the tone of overall Vampire culture has shifted dramatically with the rise of Twilight and its ill-begotten ilk. I don’t expect it to be geared toward teenagers (in fact, CCP has said they’re aiming for a very mature game,) but I’d expect the overall ‘voice’ of the game to be updated somewhat like V:tR did. I think we can definitely expect that the Camarilla and clans and such will be taken directly from the older version of the game, although it’s anybody’s guess as to whether we’ll see Sabbat clans in the release. I personally always hated the Sabbat, seeing it as an excuse for players to act like antisocial retards… but then, CCP allows that and even embraces it in EVE, so I think it’s likely they’ll be included.

What I don’t expect is a purist’s take on the old Vampire; CCP will definitely make changes, whether those happen to be in line with Requiem or not – I expect a mix.

I expect (or hope, if you’d rather) “the World” of WoDO to be a single huge, contiguous city, much as the universe of EVE is one huge contiguous starcluster, with no instancing or shards. New districts can be added as needed. CCP hasn’t yet said whether other supernatural types like Werewolves and Mages will be added later, but it’s widely hoped that this is the plan. If so, wilderness areas outside the city can be added for the Werewolves, with chantries in isolated-from-the-mortal-world regiones for Mages. Probably there will be some kind of fast-transit system (bullet trains, perhaps,) to get from place to place, but I hope they won’t be instantaneous teleports – the internal integrity of the game environment is one of EVE’s strengths, and it’s one of the reasons I have such high hopes for CCP’s treatment of the WoD.

Some aspects of the tabletop game’s mechanics actually mesh very well with the system used in EVE – the five levels of proficiency in an ability, for example – but I’m not sure I’d want the time-driven advancement mechanic to carry over – or maybe I would, after I think on it a while. Doing so would require a fairly drastic retooling of the Vampire skill list, but that may happen anyway.