Why CCP wears a heavy burden

April 25th-27th, 2013. The annual EVE fanfest is coming closer.

Last year CCP reveled new information about their upcoming mmo “World of darkness”. An intro trailer about the game. There were also talks with developers.
Not much, but small talk about great things will easily travel fast through the grapevine. Many remember the various mmo forums when CCP a couple of years earlier announced their merger with White-wolf, the publishing company originally responsible for this cult-like pen-and-paper roleplaying game hit.
The two companies had agreed to work together, creating a mmo worthy of being second in line to the huge and massive EVE.

Mmo gamers all over the western world rejoiced as many only would dare to dream about projects like this. The harsh memory still burned the mmo fans through out the scene, from recent disappointments such as Age of Conan and SWTOR. This was encouraging.

Old(and new)school pen-and-paper roleplaying fans were rendered breathless.
Long had they known and worried about the finances and momentum of White-wolf. The old and beloved publishing company, responsible for countless of roleplaying and lore books, was not the same as before.

By the way, this was the real deal, the true shit if you will.
We live in an age with vampires influenced by boy bands and countless teenage vampire movies and books. This contemporary vampire culture is made with one single purpose; to make money. The fans of The World of Darkness had long seen this.
And their hate for it was marrow deep.
They knew real vampire lore when they saw it; The horrible power and malice from the antediluvians, the manipulative ventrue princes, a world of real torture and sorrow, a world of hate, blood and darkness. A world so horrible and dark it actually made the roleplayer reflect upon the simultaneous curse and blessing of the vampires, the eternal life.
Without going too much of trail I will simply say this; the roleplaying community joined in with the mmo gaiming scene and rejoiced these news. White-wolf was saved. New WoD material would be released, this time in the form of a mmo.
Praise be to whatever deity relevant .

Two communities came together, we wanted more. More information about the game. How will the game mechanics work? What vampire clans will you be able to play? What will be the basic concept of the game? How will the game treat casual players vs the hardcore base? How will the graphics look? And most importantly of all;
When will World of darkness the mmo be released?

CCP has since been very quiet about any information regarding the game. Small hints and some urban pictures of an ingame city has been released, but nothing more. The fan site wodnews.net is constantly grasping after straws to discuss and report, but so far it doesn’t seem to be going too good for them.

Here a great responsibility for CCP starts to manifest. The Icelandic company has two communities with expectations to meet and cater to. At the same time CCP needs to cultivate those communities and nurture them to keep their goodwill. It actually hurts their brand not to release any information what so ever regarding World of darkness and the work in progress.

Some companies are truly brilliant in this regard and of course Blizzard, the main competitor of CCP, comes to mind here. It’s true that Blizzard also takes on the “It’s done when it’s done” mentality, but the Blizzard marketing team always makes a huge number of releasing new and hard material on the company events. Blizzard understands that not doing so could actually hurt them. Keeping expectations up is an important part of marketing.

At the same time CCP has been dealt the hand of actually having to release a product of great quality, in order to be accepted. The expectations of two metamorphed communities must be met when WoD is released. In this balance, CCP should not make the cardinal mistake Bioware made, developing SWTOR. Namely relying too much on the already existing brand and fan base of the game, failing to meet the requirements of making an exciting, iconoclastic and fun game to play.

No one said the balance between these two realities will be easy for CCP to deal with, but the company has handled complex games and situations before, mainly when it comes to EVE.

CCP will need to focus on seeing this new project through with great quality and at the same time give the fans their carrots now and then.

They should not miss the chance to do so at this years EVE Fanfest.






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8 Responses to “Why CCP wears a heavy burden”

  • Harlequin says:

    We at wodnews.net do not have it going ‘good for us’ news, info wise? Really? Care to explain our exclusive reporting of: The leaked screenshots (twice now), new info from The Grand Masquerade, and developer interviews? Plus if you look at our Wiki/FAQ you will see all the info of the game complied in one place which in total is a fair amount. While yes MORE data would be much appreciated, however, implying since 2008 when the site went live we have come up with mostly nothing is far from the truth. Like all pre-release news, community sites info ebbs and flows with periods of news and periods of drought. But it certainly has not been all drought as you elude too. Aside from that reading the rest of this screed here is a classic example of pot meet kettle…

  • gReep says:

    Dear Harlequin
    This is an opinion column and not news about the upcoming WoD mmo. Mmoopinion.com, like wodnews.com (by the way a great source for news on WoD), is in my opinion starved for news updates. You might disagree and that’s ok, the article isn’t aimed at discussing wodnews reporting, but rather reasoning and weighing the challenges that faces CCP at this moment.
    Thank you for your post.

    Some questions though: Do you think CCP should release more information, and if so why? otherwise, why not?

  • captrench says:

    Much as I am often scouring the internet for news on the WoD game, I am also in a way glad for the silence. WoD does not need hype, and the less hype the less I worry about a re-enactment of SW:TOR and some other games released in the last year.

    The brand is safe in my opinion, so long as they deliver. Much as I want news, I really don’t want hype. Some of us gamers are grownups who don’t want saccharine promises. We want news, and a good game. If the game is not here yet, i’ll take news, but please, lets keep the hype out of it. Or at least keep it to a minimum.

    • gReep says:

      Thanks for your comment Captrench.
      Hype is a problem, I agree. It can really hurt a game or brand. News however is more important to keep the flame in the community. Just has to be something little but of some gravitas between the months.

      No one wants the swtor debacle with this game, hopefully it won’t be that way.

      In what regard do you think CCP should “deliver”? what would make a good mmo in the case of WoD?

      • captrench says:

        On the hype versus news thing, I actually don’t think, in this instance, that they need to worry about keeping the flame alive within the community, because I believe its the community already doing that for themselves, wodnews.net is a fine example, but there are many others also i’m sure. I think this IP (WoD, not vampires specifically) is so well loved by so many, the main responsibility is delivering a product that matches expectation, rather than hype.

        Hype is often required for “new” products in a market. When that product is well loved already, as WoD is, hype is generated and sustained by the consumers themselves. We don’t need it “fanning” in my opinion. We WANT a WoD mmo world, we WANT to be able to engage with WoD via our computers in a way that wasn’t possible 20 years ago. We don’t need someone telling us we want it. To me, that would be redundant. WoD has already completed 20 years of loyalty generation and selling its brand. The flame within the community is fine (in my opinion obviously!).

        With regard to what I think CCP should deliver, its easy to say, but harder to objectively qualify, a bit like falling in love. Rather, I can describe what sort of feelings I want the game to give me, and that will be a sign they have delivered. Heres my list;

        Do…
        1. Sandbox elements. Isn’t pnp gaming inherently sandbox? The biggest disappointment to the fans of the game I think would be if the mmo did not provide a similar feeling of freedom.
        2. A feeling of immersion within the world that is described by WoD. Not a feeling of immersion in another world. WoD is the IP we are looking for, don’t give us something else.
        3. As they have already described, “visceral combat”. Let combat be impactful, swift and bloody. Not a ballet of repetitive animations with over the top light shows and fx. Combat should feel like the proverbial lower range of interaction, where claws and blood do the talking. It should be a completely contrasting experience to word play and politics, not a variation of it. Politics and word play are supported and enhanced when combat is a genuinely contrasting experience, qualitatively. Combat is the sauce for all other non-violent interaction. Make it visceral, make it harsh. Politics and other non-combat interactions will be richer for it.

        I have some Donts also, maybe more personal to me, but which i think dilute and undermine any games immersion if ignored. And I really think that most existing WoD fans want that immersion.

        1. In pen and paper, there are consequences, not hard stops. If a player ignores a Storyteller prohibition, there are consequences, not “you just cant”. Don’t pepper the game with “You cannot use this skill at this time”. Make it hurt to use a skill at this time if it breaks Elysium, or provide a rationale (eventually) as to why it was really physically impossible to do so. Don’t bludgeon me with lazy mechanics no storyteller worth the title would ever use. Consequences, not hard stops.
        2. Don’t have abstract functionality, like crafting, with no in game lore supported existence or rationale. Example, crafting in The Secret World. No in game translation of the crafting interface. The dialogue box used to craft (combine materials into objects) has no actual translation in the game. the dialogue box is just “the dialogue box”. Don’t fill the game with “tokens” that have no lore or in game relevance, except what you can buy with them (and only them). Keep things consistent with the world you are building, don’t dilute it with petty and lazy content.

        Apologies for wall of text :)

        • gReep says:

          “With regard to what I think CCP should deliver, its easy to say, but harder to objectively qualify, a bit like falling in love. Rather, I can describe what sort of feelings I want the game to give me, and that will be a sign they have delivered.”

          Yes I can really understand this feeling. In some way I think this is how we all feel. We know about a great fantasy world and we hope it will be built to its fullest extent in every aspect.

          A very good sign, in my opinion, is that White-wolf and CCP merged. That might keep them on track in at least some aspects.

          Perhaps and hopefully, the contrast between politics and combat, as you mentioned, will be built in an interesting and meaningful way with the two companies helping eachother out. But who knows.. :)

  • I honestly think that if this IP had been sold to someone else, I would be playing this game already. Sure, I already hear the responses to the effect of “I would rather wait and get a good game, than get a crap game sooner”. Nothing has convinced me in the last few years that CCP is really up to the task of releasing a good WoD mmo (if one at all). I predict that the IP will eventually be sold off, the questions are whether it will it be before or after CCP launch something, and how long it will take.

    I am also of the opinion that when there is no news reported, then it usually means there is no news to report. CCP have put this game on the backburner much to the frustration and anoyance of fans of the IP (and the genre) like myself.

  • SaLo says:

    I know some people is restless about WoD and some will easily turn in haters, I still remember all comments made when we got this news about their laying-off, rumours exploded and some people said “the project has been cancelled!!!”, then, they blamed Dust 514 saying it’s an awful game, it’s going to fail, they should work in WoD only, etc. Dust 514 looks great and based on comments made by those who’s participating in Beta Test, CCP is improving things, the only bad thing I read is: They think the game is a little slow. Well, when CCP will fully integrate Dust 514 with EVE, that game will finally have complete sense and it won’t be another FPS, players will have a real purpose to play the game and kill each other unlike similar games.

    Now, I agree with captrench, WoD doesn’t need hype and just learning about its lore and knowing X part of it will be added to the MMO, it’s enough to get excited. I can understand why they don’t want to show every thing they did then announce it, if they will show small things, the criticism probably would change to “it doesn’t look great, hate you CCP”. Even they didn’t want to announce they started the MMO from scratch in 2011, they just commented that, because one of their former developers published images from the previous project. If there is a fan of PnP games, White Wolf is releasing new WoD books from time to time.

    It’s quite ironic, but I just read on Youtube someone, who already wants to play the game, saying Bioware should make WoD and it would be a good game, then he got a reply which said in short: “Bioware didn’t make SWTOR?”

    “Perhaps and hopefully, the contrast between politics and combat, as you mentioned, will be built in an interesting and meaningful way with the two companies helping eachother out.”

    Hmm, not sure what you meant, but, CCP makes MMOs and WW makes RPG books and they’re working together to develop it, because WW created WoD and CCP creates MMOs.



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