Kindred Spirits: World Of Darkness

By Adam Smith on September 19th, 2011 at 12:51 pm.

I went out into the night, I went out to find some light

White Wolf are holding their Grand Masquerade at the moment, which makes me wish I was in New Orleans. That said, just mentioning New Orleans makes me want to be there so we won’t give White Wolf too much credit. If you’re not aware of them, they’re the company behind Vampire: The Masquerade and other related role playing games. Not the computer versions, mind, but the actual pen and paper, sit around and speak words to each other versions. The Grand Masquerade is their fan get-together and details about CCP’s upcoming World of Darkness MMORPG have been dripping out of it. Dripping like blood, you see?

This was revealed ages ago and there was even some scene setting footage at last year’s Grand Masquerade, but it hasn’t been heard of in a good while. It’s also the first time there’s been any real discussion of how it’ll actually play. It’s still in pre-production so everything could change but there will definitely be vampires. I’m willing to place a large bet on that.

Although keen on vampires, the game will allow players to remain mortal. Everyone starts that way and can choose to become one of the undead. Although even the undead can die, of course, and the game will have permadeath for characters. The game is sticking close to its pen and paper roots and will even have LARP crossover events, which doesn’t sound like something I’d particularly want to involve myself in. Unless they took place in a bar in New Orleans.

While vampires scurrying around in the dark might sound like a very different proposition to EVE Online, there will be similarities. The whole game will take place on a single server and Masquerade’s world is full of political manoeuvring and warring factions. That aside, there will also be nudity, gore and insanity. Although presumably not at the LARP events.

Characters have “humanity” points, which they lose if they do too many horrible or, presumably, inhuman things. Presumably, there will be some sort of balancing act to perform, with players trying to retain their humanity while being tempted by nasty plots and quests that promise power. It’s not confirmed but I imagine making a cup of tea and sighing about the terribly dark state of today’s world restores some humanity.

My favourite detail though? Even for mortal characters, the entire game will take place at night. And I bet the coolest vampires will still wear shades.

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88 Comments »

  1. Coins says:

    This sound really interesting. However, if we take lessons from the game, it’ll need a lot of community support to become decent.

  2. Martin says:

    I want more information about this game. Any clue if they showed of some in-game videos? Screenshots? More details? ANYTHING?

    • trigger_rant says:

      There is a little video about cloth and hair simulation tech they will be using in WoD. Thats all I know about this game right now:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr_KVNrxtRI

      Looks really neat tho. As a long time fan and player of all White Wolf stuff im pretty hyped for WoD. I never really got deep into Eve, just wasnt my kind of thing, however im sure CCP can come up with different and interesting game design ideas that will make this game worth it.

    • Martin says:

      That looks awesome! Thanks for the link!

    • slight says:

      Meh, this tech is supposedly in EVE now but all the clothes are very close fitting. Also, lots of overheating graphics cards with one character being displayed in an enclosed room… hurrah!

    • Kdansky says:

      White Wolf’s Storyteller-system isn’t particularly combat-balanced. Or rather, it breaks the moment you start to use it, in all their games.

      Now where is my Exalted game? Surely it cannot be too hard to make an single-player RPG out of that material? And for once, I’d be happy to slice and slaughter my way through many enemies.

      And I will keep an eye on WoD. If they manage to make it more accessible than Eve and put in WW’s great fluff while not going down the WoW-clone route, that could actually be awesome.

    • Òscar says:

      that’s awesome because hair definitely repels skin like that.

  3. Lemming says:

    It sounds good, but I was hoping you’d get to be Werewolfs/Wraiths/Changelings/Mages/Hunters as well. Doesn’t sound like it as all those things (apart from Wraiths) are born that way.

    • Martin says:

      Well, they gotta leave some room for expansions, right?

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      As far as I know, that is only true of mages and werewolwes, and they can be retroactively said to have been born to their particular fate, even though game-wise they started out as vanilla mortals.

      I have been passively looking forward to this for quite some time, and it seems like there will be more waiting to come, so I’ll just sit back and relax. Will be interesting to see if they can make it all work.

    • diamondmx says:

      Werewolves, that is true of – you can’t really be an unaware werewolf.

      Mages can awaken to their powers in adulthood at any time.

      Changelings can awaken at any time in their childhood (given the themes of the game, kids probably not something CCP/WW is going to do, truth be told – so I think Changeling is a no-go)

      Proper hunters are mortals. Those silly Buffy-Hunters are lame. And even they can awaken to their powers at any time during adulthood.

      Anyone can become a wraith upon death – in fact this would be an interesting thing to do with deceased player characters.

    • Icarus says:

      @diamondmx: Only deceased mortal player characters. Supernaturals can’t become Wraiths.

      That said I would love a well-done Orpheus game. It’s the kind of thing that would lend itself well to a Deus Ex style game.

    • Ovno says:

      The comic at the front of Werewolf:The Apocalypse disagrees with you there, many wolves apparently don’t realise there powers until pubity or a traumatic event.

    • Trelow says:

      Yes. I want to be a werewolf so I can easily tear down half a dozen vamps right before licking my own balls.

    • sybrid says:

      Mages would be kind of a broken addition, especially in a game with permadeath. They would have to be pretty heavily limited.

      “Oh, I just used my space magic and put your character in the sun. Good luck with that!”

      Sure, you’d suck some paradox (unless you had no normal mortal witnesses, if memory serves?), but what’s a couple lethal when your enemy has just been thrown into the sun?

      Also, I for one am shocked and amazed that we have an entire page of comments and it has not yet devolved into a mage flame war. This may be a first for mankind.

    • diamondmx says:

      @sybrid You seem to lack knowledge of both the Mage system, and the other WoD systems. WoD by default is a *very* lethal system/setting, and it is not difficult for any of the supernaturals to rend others of lower power level (generation, arete, whatever WW’s power stat is, and XP) into nice bite sized chunks.

      I would love them to include Mage, but I suspect that the fluid nature of the system would not easily be turned into game mechanics.

    • Starky says:

      Actually he’s basically right – paradox isn’t very lethal and in the tabletop a mage can save up as many successes as he likes (well up to a limit of Arete x willpower) – stick that spell on hold (pre-cast) and just whip it out whenever he likes.

      Saving up 20 successes or 3 is the same amount of paradox (level of the highest sphere used +1).

      Which for people who don’t know the system – using forces (the “I make fire”) power – 3 successes is basically 3-5 damage and auto-hit on the target (hitting costs a success).
      20 Successes is 31 damage to 5 targets.

      All characters in (old) WoD games have basically 7 health levels. might have 5-8 dice (if they are lucky) with a 50/50 chance of reducing that damage – so even of they “soaked” 8 damage – that is still instant fatality.

      And both cost the same 4 paradox to the mage.

      I used to have a forum sig about mage when I played online – A unprepared mage is just a dead human, a prepared mage is death incarnate.

      Seriously – I could take any starting character mage using the core rules and easily (with almost any combo of 2-3 spheres at rank 2-3) kill with 100% chance of success the most badass of playable vampires (only massively powerful NPC elders might survive it).

      Hell I could even make it coincidental and thus take 0 paradox.

      You don’t teleport the vampire into the sun, you just twist events so that truck “happens” to hit them, then the gas tank “happens” to explode, chance just has them trapped in a burning pool of petrol.

    • Starky says:

      That said, Sorcerers, Mages poor cousins would work well – their powers basically work the same as vampire magic (thaumaturgy) and could easily be translated into videogame rules.

    • Shockeh says:

      I’d be deeply upset if they included the other supernaturals from WoD, just because that would skirt worryingly close to the prospect of ‘WOW – Emo Edition’ which is what it could potentially end up being.

    • Trelow says:

      @Shockeh
      It’d be fine if they didn’t balance everyone, so us hairy bastards could tear the hell out of all the rest of you.

    • Starky says:

      Bah, furry gits, meet my guided explosive silver flechette launcher!

      Powered by SCIENCE!

    • frenchy2k1 says:

      @Starky:

      it all depends on the version of the rules you use. Each setting has had multiple revisions and the powersets have been revised multiple times. I’m familiar with “Mage: The awakening”, which plays, as the name implies, the awakening of your character to its power. It this one, you are still fairly weak and casting such a spell is usually out of your possibilities.

      From my knowledge of their latest rule set, i’d say they have done a LOT for balancing between all their creatures, with the stated goal of allowing official cross-over of supernals (something which was officially frowned upon before, as no balance had been sought out, but was done quite often by players, as it was just so tempting).
      Typically, each type of supernal is supposed to have its advantages and weaknesses. Mages are now weaker, but very versatile in their powers, while Werewolves used to be tanks, they have been somewhat neutered to avoid that symptom of just ripping everyone else a new one easily.

      We’ll see how the game (or even the pen&paper) WoD world will tunr out..

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      There isn’t really any balance between the game lines, and the fiction makes no sense for there to be crossovers, not that that stops badly dyed goths.

    • malkav11 says:

      I have no familiarity with the New World of Darkness games (although apparently this MMO is not based on them), but all of the old World of Darkness games were explicitly set in the same setting and they routinely talked about how the various supernatural factions interacted, what they thought of each other (by and large, kill on sight), etc. There was even one really twinky NPC that wound up serially adding each supernatural type to his character – I forget exactly how that went. PC groups were definitely not supposed to be mixed-supernatural, though, and it would require some really tortured logic to get a group like that together.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      @Malkav11

      Samuel Haight. He ended up in Stygia, his soul crafted into a fine ashtray.
      http://wiki.white-wolf.com/worldofdarkness/index.php?title=Samuel_Haight

  4. Stevostin says:

    Permadeath in a MMORPG oO ? Ok, I am interested.

    • Jumwa says:

      Permadeath in a MMORPG oO ? Ok, I have lost interest.

      Seriously though, everything except permadeath sounds awesome to me. I have no interest in investing time into a MMO to see it wasted whenever some kid on their parents credit card kills me.

    • PoulWrist says:

      If a kid on the parent CC kills you, you should probably l2p :p

    • Jumwa says:

      Helpful and constructive comment, not to mention insightful.

    • mejoff says:

      Yeah, Permadeath, at long last. I’m always a little iffy on how much I like WW settings, and I normally hate MMOs, but with permadeath, I might give this a go.

    • BathroomCitizen says:

      I first read it as “killed by his parents’ credit card.

      I found it quite amusing.
      Now, can you edit your text to reflect that? Thanks.

  5. Lobotomist says:

    While this ultimately sounds real good.

    One part of information made me real sad. Namely the fact that the game is still in

    Pre-production !!!

    CCP Bought White Wolf in 2006 in order to work on the game. They officially started work on 2009.
    Now is 2011/2012 , and the game is still in pre production. For MMOs this means that the game itself will not see the light of the day in next 4 years at earliest !!! (and i know thing or two about AAA mmo titles)

    So if you will still be playing MMOs on your holographic virtual tablet in 2016 you may be ready to enter closed beta of WOD MMO

    :(((

  6. diamondmx says:

    *Really* interested in this game. But considering I left EVE in disgust of CCP’s attitude to its playerbase, I’m not sure how how clever it would be to reinvest with the same company again.

    Properly run, permadeath could work for some (I guarantee there are some who’d hate it even if it was effectively meaningless) – and I’ve been hoping for an MMO to investigate the ways permadeath could be added whilst not completely unbalancing the fun/frustration scales.
    It’s certainly a sign of the good things CCP is capable of (shaking the status quo)

    It’s worth noting that this game is guaranteed to have heavy microtransactions implemented, as suggested by much of CCP’s dialogue on MT, they are really eager to try out the MT business model, and don’t like being restricted to vanity items – being certain to provide utility/convenience and vanity items, and quite likely to provide power-boost items too. (See the leaked internal newsletter ‘fearless’ as an example)

    PS: You guys using self-referential ‘ironic’ puns is all good and stuff, but do you need to do it quite so often?

  7. Radiant says:

    Fangtastic; sounds good.
    When is it out?

  8. Eclipse says:

    permadeath for characters in an mmo? that’s AWESOME!

  9. Kieron Gillen says:

    ” That aside, there will also be nudity, gore and insanity. Although presumably not at the LARP events”

    You’d be surprised.

    KG

  10. Askeladd says:

    Does making coffee count to my humanity rating too? If not I’m not sure what I am.

    A nice cup of hot blood.

  11. Tei says:

    I know 3 womens that do LARP sessions. And seems very fun for then, and have lot of fun stories. Seems something very involving and fun for the people doing it. Two of then LARP world of darkness, the other I don’t know, probably world of darkness. Maybe theres something special in WoD that make LARPing specially good. It can be that you can use your normal looking stuff, you don’t have to pretend to be a orc.

    • diamondmx says:

      That special thing is a publisher supported fanbase and a ruleset (poor though rock-paper-scissors as a ruleset may be – it exists)

    • Nallen says:

      Lightning bolt!

    • Starky says:

      WoD LARP tends to be a bit (relatively) more mature – and depending on the group can be more like improvised theatre than rolling dice and killing monsters.

      It’s more social interaction, and portraying a character within that framework.

      Which is why it attracts more women than you’d think something so clearly nerdy would (hell in one LARP group I went too the women outnumbered the guys, and a good few of them were really attractive too).

  12. Soulstrider says:

    Is it based on the new World of Darkness or the old?

    I assume it is the new, but I like the old setting so much that I am kind of hopeful they will base it on the old (the same setting of Vampire The Masquerade : Bloodlines)

    • diamondmx says:

      It’s confirmed that it’s old-WoD

    • Starky says:

      Which is great because new-wod (or WoD2.0) is a bit shit compared to old-wod – which might be a bit insane, and all over the place power/rules wise – but the fiction is vastly more interesting.

      And a videogame will fix the rules (by necessity), leaving the must more flavourful setting.

    • thehollowman says:

      They’ve actually wrote a 20th anniversary edition of VTM (which i think they are releasing at this event). They’ve revised a lot of the rules, and it looks pretty interesting. I assume it’s to prepare for this and get people interested in VTM again. If they can capture the same feel that bloodlines had, they’ll be onto a winner. I love that game.

  13. Oozo says:

    In other news, I just started watching “Angel” in all earnestness. No vampires in shades there yet. That is all.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Even though it has nothing to do with WoD, Angel is brilliant. All other awesomeness aside, it has the absolute best ending scene, ever. It’s worth watching full five seasons just to properly enjoy the ending.

      I mean, I’d recommend watching full five seasons because they are awesome, too.

  14. Daemonfae9 says:

    This from the company that brought you 85$ virtual monocles and virtual t-shirts that cost more than actual physical ones.

    This from the company that lets game-breaking bugs languish for YEARS.

    This from the company that promises to “iterate” on their content, but never does.

    This from the company that presents a generic PS3 exclusive shooter and gets no applause for it’s presentation because nobody cares about it.

    This from the company that makes it’s customers so mad they quit by the thousands and protested for a week.

    Yeah.

    I’m /not/ looking forwards to this anymore

    • Dawngreeter says:

      This is from the company that created the only true MMO ever.

    • diamondmx says:

      Only so they could have the pleasure of lighting it afire, and watching it burn.

    • Trelow says:

      Sounds more like a comment on their customers than on the company.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      @diamondmx
      You must be right if it got you so angry that you have to talk about it on the Internet.

    • diamondmx says:

      @dawngreeter

      Yes, my comment was trite, and I clearly am upset about the way the game has gone. This is how people tend to react to a perceived “attack/betrayal” on their game, especially games with such significant time/money/emotional investment as an MMO tends to create.

      However, the OP’s statement is mostly factual and provable – so don’t disregard it as is being done above simply because some of the loudest voices regarding EVE are self-proclaimed bastards. The trolls and griefers are not the only players who are upset.

      I wrote a couple of paragraphs explaining what’s wrong with the way CCP is developing the game, but it’s pretty difficult to make the point and yet not to sound like a rant. Plus it’s virtually impossible to convince someone over the internet. If you’re interested, and can wade through the egotistical crap surrounding it, you will find that there are legitimate and serious complaints from EVE players, and that CCP’s internal attitude towards its players is quite toxic. Go have a read of the leaked internal newsletter, and a look at the leaked internal reaction email to the player’s outrage.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      OP’s statement can be summed up as: I wish the game was better.

      Which I do, too. In a tone notably lacking in OP’s histrionics and entitlement issues. I summarily disregard any notions that such a statement leads to the conclusion that the game in question is bad. It isn’t. Some people have just lost their perspective on account of emotionally investing into it to the point of believing they are owed great many things.

      EDIT:
      Just to note, I play EVE. I am aware of what transpired and why.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      “Only so they could have the pleasure of lighting it afire, and watching it burn.”

      This sounds kind of epic actually.

    • Wulf says:

      “This is from the company that created the only true MMO ever.”

      In your opinion. In mine it’s a conglomeration of screamy people doing a lot of boring things. There are other games that come far, far more close to the ‘true MMO’ standard than EvE. Some Korean, some Western, but all of them superior in just about every conceivable way. At least in my opinion.

      Though playing EvE does give people an excuse to act all superior! Which is probably why I avoid it.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Any forthcoming examples will be appreciated, Wulf.

  15. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. says:

    If there is a single sparkling vampire I will go insane with rage and blood will spill.

    • Jazz42 says:

      blood for the blood go..
      oh wait, wrong fantasy setting. shit.

    • Starky says:

      WoD has sparkling vampires, but not in daylight.

      No a sparkling vampire is likely a Tremere, and the reason he’s sparkling is that he’s summoning arcane energy using the power of his monstrous blood, and probably about to set someone on fire, summon a demon, or otherwise fuck with reality.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      It’s the Sabbat for you, then, I bet.

    • Qazi says:

      I’d create a Toredore or something that deliberately sparkled himself up just to prey about with the idea.

    • Atalanta says:

      heh, a couple of friends and I from our LARP group were coming up with silly bloodlines and merits for fun (and tbh a goodly number of them were less goofy than some of the actual existing bloodlines). My favorite was the merit, “Do I Dazzle You?” — you get Sovereignty, but only while actively taking damage from fire or sunlight.

  16. frenz0rz says:

    Oh my. If this is anything remotely along the lines of V:tM Bloodlines crossed with Eve Online, I’m there.

    I am SO there if I can be a swaggering Toreador with a sawn-off shotgun and perfect dress sense.

    Plus, it might be the only game where those internet crazies who shout “trololololol!” whilst bouncing up and down and running in circles would actually fit that game’s atmosphere and lore. Since they’re clearly all Malkavians!

  17. Shockeh says:

    Query: ‘Kindred Spirits’ in the title. Is someone at RPS a fan of WoD in general, enough to know levels of Dementation, or maybe even the CCG, Vampire: The Eternal Struggle?

  18. TsunamiWombat says:

    Yes but do you get to talk to stop signs?

    In unrelated news: Ponies and Ponies and Ponies and Ponies and Rainbowy ponies and sunshiny ponies AUUGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH IT WON’T STOP

  19. Devenger says:

    Eeeeh, vampires… I’d much rather have an Exalted MMO. Thousands of Dragon-Blooded Dynasts, Lookshy agent and Outcasts, all trying to make an impression on the world with (or despite) their faction allegiances? With elemental combat, wacky martial arts styles, and a complete disregard for physics? Yes please. Add the threat of the almighty Celestial Exalted, and you’ve got something for players to fear (and a remarkably convenient raid-like format, as the dynasty deploys players in Wyld Hunt groups to wipe out Anathema, etc.) And the rules could be NOT horrendously poorly thought out, in contrast to the actual Exalted rulebooks…

    I will ignore the various design impossibilities inherent in this idea, and just continue daydreaming, if that’s okay with all of you.

    • Starky says:

      Could be worse, it could be Aberrant, white-wolfs attempt at an x-men RPG – where it’s really sodding easy to create a starting character that can literally destroy the planet.

    • Hallgrim says:

      Could be even more worser, and be Aeon/Trinity. Interesting sci/fi game… right up until aliens started raping ships full of astronauts (not kidding).

  20. Wulf says:

    I think it’s funny that ‘New Orleans’ caught my attention more than anything else in this article. It truly is a beautiful city.

  21. Hoody says:

    Could have been a good game, no doubt CCP will cock it up though?

    • Wulf says:

      Probably.

      Though it’ll have a niche that will defend it no matter what; Constructed from the remnants of EvE and oWoD fans. So if you think about it it doesn’t necessarily have to be good at all, they just need to crank the nerdiness dial up to 11 and break the accessibility dial, that’ll do it. Just generally give it a horrible learning curve and make it impossible for people with disabilities to play. It’ll key into the elitist part of the psyche that EvE does.

      “It is difficult to play for numerous design reasons, therefore most aren’t up to it, and thus it must be good. I play it and therefore I’m better than everyone else.”

      I just feel for the World of Darkness fans who’ll get caught up in that. Really, there are too many MMO developers whom are far, far too clever at devising digital plagues.

    • Unaco says:

      The game is still in pre-production FFS Wulf! Are you this prejudiced and judgemental about EVERYTHING?

  22. Wulf says:

    And reading all of that just reminds me of how much I want a Gamma World MMO.

  23. Torgen says:

    I find myself incapable of remembering that this game and Secret World are not one and the same.

  24. buzzmong says:

    I was interested in this right until May time, when CCP put the cashshop into EvE-Online along with their other tech they’re testing for WoD (the walking in stations and new avatars).

    As it stands now, I know it’s going to be a MT heavy game and I’m not interested in the slightest. Especially as it’s probably going to be worse on the MT front than they could ever get away with in EVE.

    The sad thing is that the WoD Community and the sort of LARP/Goth focus it has, is obviously a perfect demographic from the beancounters point of view to milk for money via MT.

    • Torgen says:

      Hmmm. How about this:

      Not only sell cosmetic items for your avatar in the in-game shop, but ALSO sell REAL, matching costume pieces for LARPing?

  25. Renfield says:

    Ventrue are actually the ideal audience for those infamous monocles, aren’t they? Either way, looking forward to this – maybe I’ll have more time for it than I did for EVE.

  26. FunkyBadger3 says:

    The game is sticking close to its pen and paper roots and will even have LARP crossover event

    What fresh hell is this?

  27. Iskariot says:

    Oh please, I do not want an MMO. I’m so sick off this never ending MMO shit.
    I want a cool next gen single player Bloodlines 2 in a large open city environment the size of liberty city.
    With a mission editor.
    That would be my dream game as far as vampires go.
    Bloodlines 1 brought me back to the vampire genre (in games, books and movies) and Bloodlines 2 should be able to keep me there.
    The human interaction in MMO’s is cause for too much stress and grief. I don’t want it. When I game I want to escape my fellow humans. Give me a game, keep the humans.
    -
    l’enfer, c’est les autres

  28. Dhatz says:

    he who played dead island now only prounounces it Nawrleans.

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