World of Darkness, the MMORPG
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the news last November about the merger between White Wolf and CCP (Eve Online). Handled well, this could be an awesome multiplayer game.
Although I do like fantasy, overall I’m not a huge fan of high fantasy. I tend to prefer magical realism, gothic punk, or steampunk rather than the traditional elf/dwarf/human/hairy little comedy sidekick fantasy quest. The White Wolf games would be a perfect setting for MMO players who wanted something different. The system of clans, and classes within clans would work very well, especially if you amalgamated all the series: Vampire, Werewolf and Changeling. Possibly also Mage, although I have a vague feeling that that wouldn’t coexist as well (it’s been many years since I’ve played).
Wikipedia has a good description of the feel and background of the games:
The World of Darkness resembles the contemporary world, but darker, more devious, more conspiratorial. Humanity is losing hope as it is preyed upon by supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves and wraiths. One facet that sets the World of Darkness apart from most other horror fiction is that these creatures are not solitary predators to be hunted down and destroyed, but they are numerous and intelligent; enough so to form societies, develop various factions and allegiances, and use humans as pawns in their power struggles and murderous games. However, the rising tide of human civilization is too much for many of them to bear, and an atmosphere of hopelessness presides over many of the games as once-mighty supernatural beings, the dark Princes and Lords of a previous era, now face the bleak and unbearable prospect of a future spent straining and shrinking under the ever-and-ever more meticulous systemization and control of a power-obsessed mankind, while at the same time humanity flounders under this hidden oppression, prey and pawns to enemies they cannot fight or are even aware of.
Interlocking conspiracies, some mirroring those said to exist in our own world, some unique, can be found throughout the setting. Cabals of powerful mages, coteries of cunning vampires, and other, stranger powers vie within their own cultures and with each other for control of the world. The dichotomy between rich and poor, influential and weak, powerful and powerless, is larger than in our world. Decadence is common and corruption is everywhere. This dark reflection is seen everywhere: gargoyles and gothic construction influence architecture, while the leather look and punk atmosphere crowd the streets.
See here for a good description of the clans.
I’d love to try it. The gaming world doesn’t need another Warcraft clone, and I don’t think any new fantasy MMORPGs would ever be able to compete with WoW in any real sense, aside from siphoning off burnouts. But this…as an old goth, I would welcome it. No cute gnomes, no bright landscapes, just treachery, betrayal and darkness. Yessssssss…..