For years I’ve pined for a suitable sequel to one of my favorite games ever, Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines. Bloodlines is an epic piece of (admittedly buggy) storytelling. And in addition to that, it’s got the most interesting ‘vampire history/culture’ this side of Dracula. A sequel was unlikely, however, as the studio that made the game was dissolved a few months after release.
The company that created the RPG that the game was based off of, White Wolf, was purchased by an MMO company that had one shining jewel of a game: EVE. EVE is killer. It’s brutal. I’ve played a fair amount of it and it brings out the worst in its players. Which is awesome. Regardless, it wasn’t a surprise that after the acquisition, talks of a Vampire MMO began. And now we have some of our first details.
The full list of details so far is over here on this atrociously ugly World of Darkness News site (WoD being the larger name for the Vampire RPG). But there are a few things I want to call out:
- The producers stated their philosophy in making this MMO was “human interaction”. They feel that is limited in the current crop of MMO’s and their biggest weakness.
- They are trying to emulate the feel of LARPing more then EVE or any other game system with this MMO
- Everyone starts as a mortal, becoming kindred in optional and can not be forced on you. You can play he entire game as a mortal only.
- Humanity is a stat is game and one use is to address griefers.
Let’s start with human interaction. I can’t help but wonder if it’s a good idea to encourage people to stay in the house strapped to their PC for extended periods to experience ‘human interaction’. That is, of course, what will happen anyway, but it’s weird to say the least.
Also LARPing? I know it’s popular for Vampire but if people wanted to properly LARP, they’d get the fuck out and LARP.
Starting as a mortal and becoming kindred (their word for vampire)? That is a brilliant idea and I love it. However, in light of the former two items, I’m wondering if players will be forced to go to other players to be embraced (the game’s term for becoming kindred). Which is going to be pretty gay. I don’t mean gay in the perjorative sense, I mean literally homosexual. The previous stuff has hinted at every opportunity that the embrace is a sexual act, and it has often stated explicitly so. The devs say they don’t want to shy away from the adult themes but that’s gonna get weird for some people lacking social graces, such as not stalking that dude with the girl character who had him embrace her etc.
And Humanity as a way to address griefers. That’s a bad idea. First it’s good to point out that one of the best aspects of EVE was the unchecked griefing. It made it a real, vibrant, and somewhat dangerous place. Making a world of Vampires less dangerous vis a vis strict corraling of assholes is gonna feel very plastic. And second, losing humanity isn’t, in previous game mechanics, a completely bad thing. If nothing else, it’s great for roleplaying: it’s a mechanic that quantifies the descent of a kindred into a beast and away from its human nature. So now you’re almost encouraging that?
Anyway. I am still interested and will keep an eye out. Real details aren’t expected until next year and this is all very preliminary.