After the Grand Masquerade

by jachilli

So, with the Grand Masquerade at its conclusion and the debut of some news and an art-driven animatic, word is now out that the WoD MMO is going to be based on the Masquerade, built on three spheres of playstyle (cofeeshop, sandbox, and themepark), and highlight the ideals of Danger, Power, Romance, and Mystery. One of the panels at the Grand Masquerade offered players a chance to tell the devs what they wanted to see. I took notes like a diligent designer should, and here’s the summary:

 

  • Not a lot of quests. Org versus org. Player-driven faction content and conflict.
  • Not a WOW clone. Repetitive quests are boring and unfulfilling.
  • Concerns over how mental or social influence powers are handled. How to do this well and meaningfully? Players uncomfortable with a loss of control over avatar.
  • Players want to control other characters, however.
  • Territory control. An adult-only play space. Roleplayers want a space where the integrity of the setting colors the conversation. Don’t want to suffer through Chuck Norris jokes and other immersion-breaking chatter.
  • Content that reinforces themes that are the cornerstones of the WoD. “Shivers up the spine.”
  • An exploration of who a new character is, so that he’s not just dropped tabula rasa into the world. Random backgrounds, connections to the world, hooks into world participation.
  • Powers that cleave closely to the powers that exist in the game, but also expand into new directions for appropriate Disciplines. Making them work in tandem with the system, so that they make sense in the world.
  • Finite numbers of the supernatural critter types.
  • Permadeath. Server type preference?
  • Allow social powers to be socially versatile. A character can be successful socially; not all advancement is tied to combat or traditional “leveling.”
  • Factional control of regions or assets. Benefits to controlling key areas or establishments.
  • Live team events built upon a foundation of existing world lore. Real-time events, historical Masquerade characters, GM NPCs who can be interacted with or pull players into stories.
  • Influences, boons,  hallmarks of the social origins of vampires.
  • Accessible to casual players. Low-intensity tasks to just pick up and do so players don’t have to sit there idly.
  • Playable Sabbat.
  • Creation, building visible things that can be added to game. Ex. Toreador art, Nosferatu caverns. Some kind of crafting system.
  • One big world with a dynamic power system that allows different factions to thrive.
  • Stay true to the adult content. Blood, gore, darkness, tits.
  • Present the themes of the World of Darkness as playable elements. Let the players participate in the things that make Vampire what it is.
  • Allow players to participate meaningfully as casual and part-time players.
  • Image and customization consultation — players helping other players create their looks.
  • Playable neonate-ancilla-elder model with meaningful play, all with impact on the in-world vitae economy.
  • Status system — how to represent and elder concept. Players that can participate as setting, a piece of the environment.
  • Unique and empowering via rarity.
  • Rarity of combat unless it’s a character’s focus.
  • Severity and fearsomeness of combat.
  • World that responds to the actions of the characters. Dynamic, changing, adapting to how players use the world.
  • A system to allow players to form groups of their own design as opposed to just sharing commonalities like clan and Disciplines.
  • GLBT friendly content.
  • Rewards for advancement tied to tiered mastery of ability or chance rolls.
  • Final Death.
  • Bloodline characters. Seeing the effects of actions the players have taken in character selection.
  • Use relationships with fan organizations to allow players to play their LARP characters and vice versa.
  • Crafting +1 but not materials farming.
  • Immersion as a priority. Reward the long-time player who’s been into Vampire as opposed to the sillier players who are aggravating elements in other MMOs. Jumping goofball players break the mood.
  • Non-unique names as a matter of character identity.
  • Other WoD critters. The whole panoply of supernatural creature types.
  • Cherry pick the strong parts of Requiem.
  • Mortals, participate in the Embrace, etc. X2 X3
  • Embrace. X2
  • Diablerie.
  • Ability to flag self for PvP allowability.
  • Communication needs. Make communication happen in a way that’s not as as intrusive as “global chat UI”.
  • Politics outside clan and sect. City politics, for example. Domains and territories?
  • A sense of history imparted to elder characters. Flashback sequences, historical instances, etc.
  • Narrative that’s not wholly reliant on players to facilitate the content.
  • Control the rate of character progression and provide content so that casual and time-constrained players can still participate meaningfully.
  • Personal spaces like havens. Ability to damage or conspire against havens. Or help cultivate them.
  • Torpor as a clone-type mechanic as a backup.
  • Casual player rewards and impetus. 

 

It was a pretty exciting panel to be on, especially given that the goals of the players represented here are very much in accordance with the things we’ve been designing and iterating. But what about you? What do you think?

http://www.facebook.com/widgets/like.php?href=http://jachilli.squarespace.com/journal/2010/9/27/after-the-grand-masquerade.html

About these ads