Category Archives: World Of Darkness

World Of Darkness: Risen From The Grave

vampire bite vintageOne year ago this month, the World of Darkness MMO project was cancelled by CCP games.

Today, Matt Firor at Zenimax Entertainment announced they’ve purchased the rights to make World of Darkness using their Elder Scrolls Online platform.

“We’ve always loved our vampires,” Matt was quoted as saying. “We’ve decided to devote 100% of our resources towards making a great vampire MMO. All development content from our current Fallout Online project will be converted into just one vampire zone: the sewers of New York.”

This makes total sense, because the sewers of New York are probably radioactive anyway. And who needs another post-apocalyptic survival game, really.

The zombies have eaten up the genre, and it’s time to move on. Modern corporate culture resonates instead with sex, violence, and profiting from sucking every drop of life out of anyone you can oppress for your benefit.

So it’s finally going to happen, and this kitty is quivering in her collar with excitement. Finally an MMO developer with real chops has seen the light in the Darkness, and a seraph will rise from the epitaph.

Where Are The Vampire Video Games?

bela lugosiLast week TAGN reported that CCP revealed financials involving an unspecified loss of 21 million in game code assets last year.

This week CCP is pushing the hype for Eve Valkyrie featuring Sony’s VR (virtual reality) headset. CCP just fired a bunch of World of Darkness staff, but they clearly have money to invest. They are putting it elsewhere.

Blizzard kicked World of Darkness in its pointy whities by grabbing its acronym for Warlords of Draenor. Bullyzzard also announced pre-orders for Draenor several months in advance of its launch, conveniently right before Elder Scrolls takes the stage.

Bullyzzard also threw Hearthstone and their Diablo III expansion onto the short bus of corporate blood and diversionary hurt. Vampires love blood and hurt, just like most Americans. So where are the vampire games?

According to a report I found online, Hollywood earned $7 billion on vampire-related entertainment in just two years between 2008 to 2010. That was mostly Twilight and True Blood.

Meanwhile, the list of vampire video games on Wikipedia is a forlorn tomb of outdated no-names and barely profitable games. Are game developers afraid of this difficult history, even after Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries? Are the fan bases for vampires and video games that divergent?

I don’t get it. This unhappy vampire fan is seeing CCP pouring money into VR shortly after slashing and burning the World of Darkness staff. So to be continued, I suppose, when CCP gets around to giving real news to passionate fans who have been waiting nigh an eternity for this bloody game.

The Challenge 15 Picks Up Steam

In other news, it was so nice to see TAGN pick up the 15 theme from my last post. Some other intrepid bloggers have jumped on the challenge, including Isey at I Has PC today. Thanks again to lvlinglife for getting it the idea going. I’ve really enjoyed reading peoples’ lists.

Blizzard Bully Tactics Whiplash

My Druid has reached L85. She is now grounded in Pandaria.

At first I felt forced to buy the Draenor pre-order for the L90 boost, but then I realized I already paid $42 for three months to level my characters the old-fashioned way. Also, why wouldn’t I spend $50 on ESO or Wildstar instead?

Decision made: no pre-order until after the competition weighs in. ESO supposedly has a vampire skill tree if desperation for blood afflicts me.

Elder Scrolls Online: Launch Looms

ESO head start is coming this Sunday. I was reading the MMORPG forums last night, and someone linked an epic post by a blogger and longtime beta tester who has now bailed on the game.

The cited reasons are the whole shebang of my objections and concerns as well, in well-documented detail–all the reversals/lies, the UI failures, the crushing of the hopes of the modders by gutting the API, etc. It’s all there, and it’s decent reading if you are interested.

The best forums rebuttals to Isarii’s criticism, in my opinion, are the ones accusing burnout after months of beta testing. I can refute that by saying I only played three betas for a handful of hours each, and I agree with most of the points.

Note the mention of bugs as well. ESO announced today that they squashed three progress-blocking bugs at the last minute. Wonderful. Good luck with the launch, which is guaranteed to be polished and lag-free.

All of that said, I hope the launch goes wonderfully for them, and I hope ESO is a success. I will certainly be joining sooner or later at the right time and price point.

Ok, time to play Hearthstone dailes. If you made it this far, happy gaming.

Pay Not To Fail (Or How I Ragequit DDO At Level 1/1)

Ok, I didn’t really “ragequit” DDO. I was pleasantly surprised by my re-visit to Eberron. It’s been a while, maybe since Saint’s Row 2, since a game so charmed me right out of the box (aka cable modem) with no expectations.

I wanted to comment with some feedback for Turbine, but I figured the forums were pointless, and I was told furthermore that any bold comparisons of DDO to WoW in the forums would be met with merciless derision.

I originally played DDO at launch, but there were bugs, texture problems with my hair (bad hair is bad!), and stuttering, and I quit very quickly. I was inspired to look at DDO again because of the Underdark and Forgotten Realms expansion announcement. I really want to go there.

DDO has fun dungeon gameplay and decent voiceovers. It played fairly smoothly except for some minor server issues on Thelanis, and looked great for its age. The quests were totally unlike Wow, which was refreshing. The deep and respectable D&D character system was a daunting plus.

I also liked the cool things like climbing ladders and swimming that didn’t make it into LotRO. Why not? I’d love for LotRO dungeons to be more like DDO. Trap skills for my Burglar? Yes, please.

Did Not Load The interface isn’t terribly attractive, but it’s surprisingly functional once you get used to it, and the store buttons seemed less conspicuous than in LotRO. I appreciated this.

I wanted to play this game and get into it, and probably convert to a subscriber down the line. Yolari was playing with me, and she was more psyched about DDO than I’ve seen her recently.

There was only one problem–they gave us a default 28 points to distribute to our stats to start the game, unless we paid $20 for the 1500 TP needed to unlock the superior 32 point builds.

After I learned this, I simply couldn’t bring myself to start a default character missing 4 points. I also couldn’t make myself, on principle, pay $20 cash to Turbine just to make my first L1 character not a failure right out of the gate. I didn’t want to oblige Yolari to pay either, if I did.

I doubt if I’m coining a new MMO term here–I’m not that brilliant, but pay not to fail is the best description for how I felt in this specific case. It got me thinking in a different way about F2P in LotRO and other games.

I mean, are we really paying to win sometimes, or are we really, deep down, paying not to be a failure? It’s something to maybe evaluate and ponder when you’re considering plunking down money for something. Of course, this concept doesn’t apply to vanity items.

I honestly can’t think offhand of how Turbine could have done this thing differently. I don’t blame their design. They had to do their thing. I had to do my thing. It’s just too bad our things couldn’t mesh.

I also felt like things were maybe too expensive for F2P. I figured $60 just to unlock all of the classes and races in the character selection and $10 for an extra character slot based on the current prices in the store for TP. This didn’t make F2P seem like a viable way to play given the apparent difficulty of earning TP in this game.

Between the store issues and no dual-boxing in DDO (no follow command), this game is scratched off of my list of candidates for what to play. I’ll be paying the $20 to buy Dragon Age 2 next, which promises passion and romance in addition to the graphic bloodbath.

I also have an interested eye on the new LotRO expansion zone on the Anduin, which may offer a fresh and different way to reach the Isengard level cap. I really enjoyed Lothlorien, which is situated in a similar position to Moria as the Great River might be to Dunland, in terms of leveling.

Further Reading:

Some good news stories turned up today, including:

A clear description of how good and creative the Kingdoms of Amalur character advancement system is with destinies.

A reassurance from CCP that World of Darkness is well on track
, and that we might actually hear a release date this year (that’s how I interpreted it.) I assume they don’t mean the MMO could release this year.

World Of Darkness: Grand Masquerade Info And Commentary

CCP Games released more information about the WoD MMO this last weekend at White Wolf’s Grand Masquerade in Louisiana. The reports are sparse, and the best summary I’ve come up with is one at WoD News (the go-to website for WoD news at this time.) Here is the bullet list of points with comments.

  • 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.
  • There are reasons why the current crop of MMO’s are the way they are (solo-friendly)–the devs have responded to player demand for that content. The other players in the game are both the biggest asset and PITA in an MMO. One can hope that WoD releases with truly brilliant tools to hook players into this web of social focus, or they might as well open their office windows right now and toss out millions of troglodyte dollars.

    I don’t mean to insult the troglodyte society–I’m a member, or more accurately an RP’er and an immersion player. I don’t enjoy Ventrilo or Teamspeak. An overwhelming and unprecedented social focus in an MMO could be at the same time heaven or hell, at many levels.

  • They are trying to emulate the feel of LARPing more then EVE or any other game system with this MMO
  • There will be a general CCP run metaplot that develops over time but the main metaplots will be left for the players to drive forward.
  • Next year (2012) is when more specific info and details will come out
  • Incarna is actually considered a prototype, the rendering engine that will ship with the MMO will be much more advanced.
  • This is an interesting topic. Last year we saw a beautiful video of CCP using NVidia APEX PhysX to render clothes and hair. We then saw the same stuff in action in Mafia 2 (great game).

    Look at the notes on that page: Well, this game was clearly made in cooperation (read: money) with NVidia, so AMD cards won’t perform very well. If you’re looking into a new video card, based on this info you might want to consider NVidia even more than you would normally. This is a big topic that I could spend hours looking at, but my time is limited, so that’s it.

  • Everyone starts as a mortal, becoming kindred in optional and can not be forced on you. You can play the entire game as a mortal only.
  • This could be amazing. Here is hoping that vampire hunters can be just as bad-ass as vampires with their stake guns, holy water, and sunlight cartridges.

  • There will be final death for both mortals and kindred.
  • We clearly need more clarification on how this will play out.

  • PvP will be more limited in some ways, yet more open in others then any other current MMO.
  • There will be cities (plural) and communication between them (the various kindred and clans) will be encouraged/possible.
  • Caitiff will NOT be in on release. They discussed it internally and couldn’t find a way to make them work in a way they liked.
  • Casual players will find the game accessible but hard core players will have a much deeper experience and more rewards/benefits.
  • Considering some kind of web site access interface for the MMO
  • NO day/night cycle, only night.
  • Humanity is a stat is game and one use is to address griefers. The more you cause issues for other players, break the masq, etc the more you can loose humanity and once it gets too low other players (and NPCs?) can attack you (implied even if you flag yourself non-pvp).
  • Griefers will suffer both in game and if serious enough out of game penalties (ie account banning)
  • Helps to make friends and not enemies in game as you can not get to the top of the food chain without networking and having friends to assist you.
  • Image failed to load.

  • Players will have havens.
  • I am trying to contrast this imaginary “haven” with having your own starship in SWTOR. This is a bit of a struggle. A coffin. Awesome atmospheric background music. A fridge and some posters. A couple nude-to-the-waist ghouls draped over your red velvet sofas, maybe? Ok, now we’re getting closer to something I can sink my teeth into, moreso than the droid at the console. Surely outfits in WoD will beat SWTOR with a stick, unless you’re into jetpacks. The only question is how much CCP will gouge players for the burgundy corset with matching stilettos (see the great Eve monocle debacle).

  • Players can climb the ladder and get to Prince levels of power and run a city
  • Can get to Prince level power without killing a single thing, all done via networking, politics and friendships
  • ONLY kindred on release of game, no were’s, mages, etc. However those other supernaturals may be used in a NPC fashion or/and their lore appear in game.
  • MMO character sheet very similar to the V:tM PnP character sheet.
  • Character names over the avatars head by default turned off, but can turn them on.
  • Game world/environment will change over time; real in game consequences for player actions.
  • Diablerie and related game mechanics from the PnP game is “under heavy discussion” no decision as of now.
  • Diablerie is very interesting. I guess if they’re going to feature final death in the game, why not let players steal other players’ souls? This is a taste of the viscerality that this game might offer, something that Age of Conan approached but didn’t quite nail in terms of darkness, noire, and shock value.

  • Dynamic NPC missions/World events
  • One world server, no shards/instancing.
  • This is a little concerning in terms of immersion. Vampires are special creatures. There shouldn’t be more than a few dozen in an entire city, much less a few hundred thousand. CCP’s additional plans for a cash shop concern my sense of immersion still more. And what about RP, which is going to be huge in WoD? Most serious RP’ers don’t want to be lumped in with the rest.

    Imagine trying to RP in the setting and the elected vampire sheriff and second in command (or whatever) of your local city end up being Sir Ashtonkoochie and Captainfangs. Maybe CCP will sensibly have RP cities, but the tone seems to be to get everyone together, not separated. I’m sure there will be epic threads on this in the official forums at some point.

  • Torpor in game but not used as in PnP game, used as a mechanic to explain why a kindred did not die/final death
  • They are aware the WoD is is a adult setting and the devs are going to not shy away from gore, blood and nudity. However such will have a reason and not adult content for the sake of adult content.
  • Are we talking vampire reason or human reason, here? Because vampire reasoning is in a whole other category! That’s all we’ve got for now, although Justin at Massively has promised a fully-fledged report later in the week with possibly more information. (edit-as of Thursday, the link to the just-posted article.

The World Of Darkness Is Coming

Today I started re-writing my first and only vampire novel. Okay, we’ll call it a “paranormal romance” because that’s what sells all over the shelves of your local bookstore. Thinking about publishing led me to the White Wolf website, and on to the World Of Darkness MMO thread in their forums. (No work, distracted again by playing–hey it’s what we gamers do!)

I admit to being a little dismayed that it’s supposedly vamps only. But…I do understand that in order to do the IP properly, we’re talking a bunch of different clans just among the vampires, and that’s a big deal to do properly. The idea of having werewolves and fay to chose from at the outset is probably over-the-rainbow wishful thinking.

Still. Everyone in the game is a vampire? I don’t know how to feel about this. I just know that it’s going to be epic super interesting. This MMO could just come up and surprise stomp everyone. Move over Sith and Defiants. We have serious ass-kicking vampires. I haven’t played Eve, which of course is the former major MMO created by CCP, the maker of the WoD MMO. Could wolves and other races be added later at all and reasonably fit into the world PvP and economy as dire enemies? I just don’t know.

After the break, I look at some highlights from the WW forum thread and add some quotes for posterity. Continue reading