Speculating on World of Darkness
So CCP, the company behind EVE Online has finally publicly announced their World of Darkness MMO. You know, that game that we all knew they were making ever since the MMO developer merged with White Wolf, the folks behind the WoD IP?
While in all that time, CCP has only peripherally acknowledged that such a project might exist, we knew they were making it, they knew they were making it and they knew we knew they were making it resulting in possibly the worst kept “secret” in the MMO universe since Bioware refused to confirm the IP behind their MMO.
In any case, The Grand Masquerade, a fan event for players of the popular pen and paper franchise, was the location of the reveal, which asked players for feedback on what they would like to see from the game.
In the days following the Masquerade, it seems like everyone has something to say about the announcement, and the main source for information seems to be coming out of the squarespace journal of CCP’s Justin Achilli.
The entry, which seems to be being interpreted by some to be some kind of official design document, is actually just notes taken in a panel during which players were able to voice their opinions on what they would like to see in the game. So, while it might be exciting to point to this document evidence that CCP is considering permadeath for the game, or that they are considering opening up all of the World of Darkness creatures, the truth is that the only thing that can be taken away from this list is that these player suggestions were made and made note of. Reading anything more into it at this point is, to say the least, foolhardy.
I say this because, first of all, I know that down the line somewhere, someone is going to scream bloody murder and broken promises if permadeath doesn’t make it into the final scheme of things. Second of all because, according to Achilli’s journal, some interesting points were brought up that I think it might be fun to discuss:
Yes, somebody suggested that permadeath perhaps be some kind of alternate server type. This brings back the age old argument as to whether or not permadeath is something that really belongs in an MMO.
Personally, I don’t think it’s something that’s going to be viable. Within the structure of a game, where there are any number of things that can go wrong even just from the technical side of things. Can you imagine the customer service nightmare if people died, permanently, after a glitch or hiccup within the system?
CCP is well recognized as one of the most hardcore development studios out there, and I personally don’t think that even they would stray too far into this territory.
Not a WoW clone.
This is a perfectly reasonable request, and one that pretty much every developer hears in the early stages of their development process. The developers always take it to heart, but history has shown us that often new MMOs end up closer to the king of MMOs than some might like.
With that said, I’d be very surprised if WoD ended up looking like WoW. I say this mostly because that’s not the strength of this particular company. CCP created EVE Online, the closest thing that there is in the current landscape to an “anti-WoW” in terms of design and structure. if anything, I expect WoD to be a hybrid of design concepts from the original IP from White Wolf and the philosophies that have made EVE so appealing to its audience.
Factional Control of Regions or Assets
Again, this suggestion seems to come directly out of CCP’s playbook. I’m not entirely familiar with the World of Darkness setting, but so long as it makes sense for groups or alliances to battle for control of particular places or things within the world, I’d be willing to bet that that’s what we’re going to see.
Assuming that CCP doesn’t take a radical departure from EVE Online, and I think they’d be crazy to do so, they seem to have a philosophy that says that players should make their own goals and thus their own entertainment. In this setting, territory control could play a huge part.
There were a lot of other suggestions made, and you can check them out for yourself, here, but those are the ones that really stood out for me in terms of ideas that I could meaningfully comment upon.
I want to stress this again, before I close this article: The referenced journal entry was not a promise made by CCP, and shouldn’t be taken as such. That being said, it’s easy to see that the company is at least paying attention to what their audience wants to see in the upcoming game.
Have any thoughts on what World of Darkness should be about, or on any of the topics that I’ve brought up here? Feel free to leave your thoughts or comments in our forums, I have it on good authority that, while they may not post, the developers are often reading...