Good to be Bad, Again

Good to be Bad, Again
World of New Darkness

Allen Varney | 28 Aug 2007 11:45
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"The new World of Darkness antagonists [are] more representative of the games' conflicts, rather than the objects of the conflicts themselves. It's not about a factory full of a hundred slavering nuclear mutants, it's about, 'Who's killing the single women in this city, and how can I keep him from getting to me?'"

Does White Wolf's approach to antagonists reveal anything about the World of Darkness MMOG? Staffers are forbidden to talk. Achilli does tell The Escapist the reboot wasn't specifically to prepare for computer versions: "When you look at the types of stories being told in the world, they're far more personal and internalized than most videogame fare. On the other hand, we all love videogames, and hoped one day to move into that medium. Things like Belial's Brood in Vampire, spirits in Werewolf and Mage, and Pandorans in Promethean can make the transition easily."

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It's perhaps too obvious to draw parallels between the new maturity of the World of Darkness and the aging White Wolf line developers. Yet what has been lost? After two decades, everyone's vigor fades. Some players find the new World of Darkness less exciting, less copiously imaginative. The new games still provoke argument; in particular, Mage flamewars burn eternally. An RPG.net forum user called Bailywolf posted a comparison: "The new Mage is so polished, so well crafted, balanced, designed ... a real dance of the celestial spheres, rather than the mystical gang war of old Mage. New Mage is like Applebee's: You get variety, decent service, many locations and a decent selection of pretty well cooked food that all tastes suspiciously similar. Old Mage was a bowl of gumbo from Mother's in lost New Orleans: Everything went into it, and the restaurant is filthy, the service lousy (unless you're a regular) and the company dubious. But goddamn, is it the best bowl of gumbo you've ever had."

"Here's what I think of the new Mage," went Ian Noble's cutting comment in the same thread. "I think I already own Unknown Armies and WitchCraft."

Nonetheless, the new World of Darkness has earned wide respect. Many players prefer the new versions for their polish, consistency, tight focus and effective horror. The comprehensive RPG.net Gaming Index lists a respectable user ranking for Vampire and laudable highs for Werewolf and Promethean. The ultimate sign of acceptance came in 2006 with Wiley Publications' Vampire: The Requiem for Dummies. It seems the audience, like the setting - for better or worse - has grown up.

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