World of Darkness Senior Producer Chris McDonough is a pretty interesting fella. He’s been with White Wolf for quite a long time and has worked on many of their products. He even helped put together the original Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop game. Now he and his gothic world are making the transition to the digital environment of MMO’s. We got a moment to sit down with Chris and a handful of journalists for a roundtable discussion about the future of his franchise. And while it was still too early to give specific details on almost anything in game, we were able to briefly snag a glimpse at how he’s hoping players will interact with the world he’s creating.
The Masquerade has a huge fan base and a lot of its appeal is playing the various factions and roles within the clans. Will you have anything in game to keep people playing along clan lines?
It’s definitely a sandbox game, so we’re inclined to let people behave how they want to behave. We’re not looking to put arbitrary restrictions in the there. Clans will certainly have differences that will affect how people behave, but not necessarily because we’re telling them “If you act this way you’ll get in trouble.” or there’ll be some repercussions in the system.
Given the mature and sometimes sexual nature of the current Masquerade game do you have any concerns that World of Darkness will have similar issues games like Second Life have had in the past with vulgarity?
I don’t think that’s a worry for us. The behavior and people interacting with each other, if they’d like to have that kind of exchange with each other, that’s perfectly acceptable and there’s not even a way to stop it and I don’t think we’d want to. That’s something we embrace as a part of the whole sensual, vampire nature. We hope that it will happen in a way that players are just respectful of the other players in the game -and I think that’ll happen- and if it doesn’t then we’ll talk about the ways we deal with it.
What happens if you get invaded by a bunch of Twihards and everything gets overly romantic and sparkly?
Well, we’ve banned the names “Edward” and “Bella” and you can’t make your character sparkle. (Laughs) We’re making a mature game and I expect that we’ll have a mature audience. One of the things I think you find because of the type of game and repercussions of the social network within EVE is you get less griefing. You get griefing, but you don’t get the same kind of griefing. You don’t get the mindless “you can’t do anything to me. I’m gonna sit here and spew stuff at you all day long” type of stuff that you get in a lot of games. And similarly here I just think that you’re going to be looking at an audience who is more engaged in it than to let that happen.People will probably enforce and police it themselves if they find problem players.
So, there’s a tone you want the game to be and if it starts straying from it you’re willing to police it to bring it back in line?
Yeah. It’s a hard feat policing that kind of behavior, so it’s not like we’re trying to say “We’re going to be crazy extreme!” Some of it’ll be policed through systems. Like you won’t be able to steal someone’s clothes until they’re naked. Vampires don’t go around stealing each other's clothes. So that’s okay, let’s put that restriction in place. It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to take things from them, it just means you won’t be able to take their basic clothes items.
Someone asked about nudity in the game during the World of Darkness keynote. Well, in a mature way, we’d like to have it. It’s not something that we’re sure we’ll be able to do, but it’s certainly something where we’d put rules in place as to where that’s appropriate and what could happen.
So this will be governed more than EVE Online then?
(Laughs) Now I’m just setting myself up for fail. So the answer is “No.” Really, I can’t tell you. We’re so far away from the customer service aspects of this right now that anything I say is complete speculation.
World of Darkness is still in production with no current release date.