World of Darkness permadeath and politics: "Hanging out in bars could be a powerful play"

Owen Hill

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World of Darkness is an upcoming MMO RPG set in Mark Rein Hagen's vampire-centric universe. He later went on to create White Wolf, the studio responsible for 1991's critically acclaimed Vampire: The Masquerade.

The truly exciting thing? CCP, creators of revolutionary sci-fi sandbox EVE Online, are in charge.

World of Darkness is taking tired MMO convention and slicing its throat. Then it's smearing the result all over a single server universe where the fight for political influence is just as important as the literal battle for blood. Get enough power and you can kill off someone's character, permanently.

I got a chance to speak to creative director Reynir Hardarson about the revolutionary mechanics. His words had us both shaking with excitement. Oh, and forget any notion of teenage fantasy. As Reynir pointed out to a relieved crowd at last week's fanfest: CCP are "not making Twilight."

PC Gamer: The permadeath you mentioned. Could I really cause someone to lose all their progression?

Reynir Hardarson: Yes. You have to be a total... it's really hard to... you'd have to work really hard at it.

PC Gamer: So I'd have to become, say, the equivalent of an EVE Online head of corp to do that kind of thing?

Reynir Hardarson: To do that action you'd have to be prince of a city. And you'd need political support to do it.

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Click up there to see the first glimpse of World of Darkness' engine.

In World of Darkness lore, Princes are vampires who have claimed leadership over cities. To gain that kind of power you'll need to get voted in by other players, who'll have their own hidden agendas. World of Darkness will take the unforgiving permanence of EVE Online, and place it in a more accessible, faux-real world setting.

Reynir Hardarson: Politics are taken to a new level in this game, especially as we have positions with actual powers. This is the way the old Vampire the Masquerade game has been run - we have princes and you have harpies and you have positions in the evil hierarchy. In this game we give power to the players. There's no NPC who is the artificial prince of the city - players set the rules and they have the positions and that's really - that's where the politics come in.

It also means that if your playstyle doesn't have to be PvP or PvE... maybe your playstyle is just social. There's a lot of power in that, because social power has actual power in this game. Hanging out at bars could be a very powerful play.

PC Gamer: What could I gain from hanging out in bars?

Reynir Hardarson: It's part of the prestige among vampires. Taking in political power. People will know who is very important - it literally translates into power in the game.

World of Darkness has potential to break the most hardy of MMO/vampire sceptics; CCP are not an ordinary company, and World of Darkness won't be your standard MMO. We'll have more tantalising info soon.

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