CCP has dropped a few details about its plans for the upcoming Vampire: The Masquerade MMO.
Don't feel too bad if you didn't know that CCP, the folks who brought the world EVE Online, is working on a new MMO based on White Wolf's Vampire: The Masquerade setting. The project has been kicking around for years but very little has been said about it aside from a teaser that was unveiled at the Grand Masquerade convention in September 2010. But at this year's event, the designers revealed a little more about what they have in mind for the game.
There are a lot of interesting ideas being kicked around but very near the top of the list is that every player will begin as a mortal and becoming kindred - that is, a vampire - is entirely optional; the game will be playable from start to finish as a mortal. CCP is "trying to emulate the feel of LARPing" with a focus on human interaction, and while it will feature a "general, CCP-run metaplot," the main plot action will be driven by players. Diablerie and other mechanics are currently "under heavy discussion," but Caitiff will not be included in the initial release as CCP hasn't found a way to incorporate them into the game the way it liked.
A few other points:
- There will be no day/night cycle - it's always night in the World of Darkness
- Players will be able to climb the political ladder right to the top, becoming Princes of cities
- It will actually be possible to reach the top of the food chain without killing a single thing, entirely through networking, friendships and politics
- Other supernatural beings, like Garou and Mages, will appear in lore and as NPCs
- Single-world server with multiple cities but no shards or instancing
Also noteworthy, in light of its notoriously hands-off approach to EVE, are plans to actively discourage griefing in the game and punish those who indulge in it. Players who cause trouble, routinely break the Masquerade and generally act like a dick will find their humanity stat gets very low, leaving them open to attack by other players and NPCs, possibly even if they're flagged as non-PvP. CCP says serious troublemakers will face out-of-game penalties as well, including outright account bans if things really get out of hand.
Bear in mind that the game is still in pre-production, so any or all of these features could be changed or cut entirely. But the World of Darkness has been begging for the MMO treatment for years and it sounds at this point like CCP is on track to create something genuinely different and interesting. It may not be a WoW-killer, but given the success of EVE Online, I don't think that really matters. The full breakdown of the current state of the Vampire: The Masquerade MMO can be found at World of Darkness News.