For those of you not “up” on White Wolf, news is bad for the company that brought a lot of vampiness to the RP scene – some love it, some hate it, but none can deny it changed the RPG landscape profoundly.
They made a pretty big step – and many would say mis-step – in recently rebooting all their monster lines, forming the “new” World of Darkness. Then they got bought a while back by CCP, a computer game company. How does this bode for their RPG lines? Well, in a Gamasutra interview, none other than Ryan Dancey, former Great White Hope of D&D/OGL and now CCP Chief Marketing Officer, disses them pretty hard:
“Q: Can you fill me in on the status of White Wolf, the physical game company CCP acquired in Atlanta?
A: It’s just an imprint… White Wolf used to have a fairly large staff. It doesn’t anymore. It’s focusing primarily on the World of Darkness RPG products. It’s not doing some of the things it used to do; board games and other card games and things. The focus of the company [CCP] is on making MMOs and our legacy table top business is a legacy business.”
Legacy business, ow. That’s business speak for “we’re not killing them, but those bitches are going on an iron lung and there will be no reinvestment in them.”
Meanwhile, White Wolf is making some announcements of their own. They seem to be twisting in the wind a little and stepping back from their RPG business too. They want you to “explore the deepest shadows of the World of Darkness,” but specifically cite “our board games and card games and the Machiavellian surprise behind the latest Mind’s Eye power struggle.” RPGs notably absent. Which is funny because Dancey says they’re cutting the board and card games.
They’re also planning to lighten up their terrifically restrictive fan site policy, which is welcome news. And go for a digitial initiative-esque thing for you to “manage your Chronicles online,” which sounds as thrilling as everyone else’s digital initiative (which is to say, it gives me diarrhea). And a new “content management system” for their Web site, which hopefully will address how bad it is. And I don’t understand all their Camarilla stuff (it’s their fan club, like the RPGS but you have to pay) but it is clear they’re saying “OK, OK, you can play the old World of Darkness again, we get that many of you hate the new one.”
My translation: “Screw it, we’re getting old and have cashed in with this CCP deal, just leave us alone to LARP. You can’t see me! <crosses arms>”
Ah well. At least you can get most of the core books used fairly cheaply. I picked up V:tM for a song the other day, and W:tA almost as cheap. Both were second editions, which I think was actually a good thing, and both were very good condition books – the Vampire book literally looked like it had sat on a shelf unused for 14 years. The W:tA book did look like it got some good gaming use (yay) but was well cared for.
If you handle them right, the WoD line is still a really good bunch of games. I’d still be interested in running a W:tA game or playing in one even today.
I never got into the new stuff, the GF was a Storyteller in the Cam, and had bought me a membership to try and get me to try the LARP of the new world. while the settings commingle better they feel stale to me, and I never could get into them
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I actually liked the new rules they had for nWoD for vamp. It fixed alot of basic rules issues with oWoD – though I felt in someways the oWoD was better for setting. Still, it’s REALLY hard to get old to new players to transition over.
On an on-going basis, as an online retailer, we don’t carry many of their games because they won’t let us. And their board games generally haven’t been that great.
The reviews I’ve seen of the new WoD books has gotten me interested in WW products. I hated the old WoD books. I just can’t afford full price gaming books at the moment. I’m hoping that the new WoD books hit the used secondary market at some point.