As sorry as I was to hear this month that CCP has cancelled its World of Darkness MMO, when a developer says that a game just isn't working out, I tend to believe them. Testers have started to leak little bits of World of Darkness, several sets of screenshots and a supposed playtest manual, and, well, it does look ropey.
The playtest manual is from March so, assuming it's real, the decision to cancel really was recent. It was clearly still early days for the game, incomplete and bugged, but many of its ideas seem settled.
The manual explains a fair number of these. It teaches about 'Paths of Enlightenment' which seem to be analogous to traditional MMORPG classes and roles (rather than morality codes, as in the tabletop RPG), and how to gain 'Essences' which boost these by tracking and feeding from certain types of mortal. We learn about turning NPCs into ghouls to have them complete missions, and jockeying for control of the hunting grounds which let players benefit from others' missions. It tells us about how XP gain would've been a bit EVE-y, offering a certain amount per day if players have enough blood to buy them, and saving any missed points from past days in case they have a windfall of vitae.
And skill trees, and guild-like Broods, and so on, and so on. Do give it a good read if you're curious about how it would have been. Ultimately, what's shown and explained doesn't look very World of Darkness-y. An instruction manual and a smattering of screenshots will never paint a full picture, but it doesn't seem especially mysterious or sexy or exciting, just a bit... so-so. A bit too MMORPG-y. A bit too "Press E to Seduce."
"We dreamed of a game that would transport you completely into the sweeping fantasy of World of Darkness, but had to admit that our efforts were falling regretfully short," CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson said in announcing the cancellation. Seems true. A shame.
(In the interest of attribution, some of these screens come via Reddit but I lose the trail to the source once it goes into Russian fan forums.)