Saturday, September 11, 2010

Final Death or just Torpor?

Picture by Beauteous BabeI am still bit under shock of the announcement of end of Vampire: the Eternal Struggle being produced White Wolf. Shock, anger, sadness and bit of frustration hit me when I read the news in the VtES Usenet Newsgroup yesterday evening.

There was the brutal shock that this wonderful game is no longer in production. I was about to write it was a sudden demise, but in fact it wasn't. There were a lot of signs for this on the road ..

The first nail in the coffin was the aquisition of White Wolf by CCP on November 11th, 2006. I am now convinced more than ever that CCP bought White Wolf in 2006 mainly (solely?) with the intent of getting a strong trademark for their next MMORPG with little to no interest of maintaining any of the current pen-and-paper games (including VtES). The most apparent indication was the outright statement by Ryan Dancey in 2009 that CCPs/White Wolf's "legacy table top business is a legacy business".

The lack of support for VtES in many places by White Wolf was appalling in the past few years. The best example for is the VEKN rating system. The whole piece of software was flawed from the start and the efforts to fix it were superficial at best. For example, instead of fixing the "Ranking by City/Country", these features just got turned off. Another example was the lack of updates on the White Wolf website. Often the announcement for new expansions were very late, there were very few news posts each month, and the card list is still not updated with the promotional cards from 2010.

The final nail in that coffin then was the expiration of the license for VtES that White Wolf had acquired some ten years ago. Allegedly, Wizard of the Coast wanted significantly more money that White Wolf had paid before, making it less profitable for White Wolf to produce the game. I don't know how earnestly and thorough the efforts by White Wolf were, but I am willing to say, it was also a quite convenient excuse to shut down this game for good.

A big of my feelings is frustration right now, mostly because for the foreseeable future there seems to be no hope for new official product or even reprints. And with no new expansions and no reprints it will be even harder to attract new players. Hard to convince the new guy with a statement like ".. but I have to admit you're investing your money in dead game"!

Hopefully the abandonment of the game by a game company is only a temporary state, but I have my doubts that history repeats itself as with the sudden resurrection of the game in 2000.

On the other hand, I must thank White Wolf for actually producing the game in all these years, although it was and it is a niche product. And some of their extra efforts like the VtES Players Kit or the Tenth Anniversary Edition were very laudable.

But even more thanks than I am giving to White Wolf, I have give to those individuals supporting this game (almost all of them without being paid for it).
  • LSJ for his design of the game, answering rules questions for 16 years straight, etc., etc.,
  • Oscar Garza for supporting the game, and being the link between company and player community,
  • Robyn Tatu for maintaining the VEKN ranking system,
  • The Lasombra for hosting and maintaining the largest VtES information pool for a long, long time,
  • Ben Swainbank (and his team) for making the Storyline events happen,
  • Balász Kunó Kiss for programming the FELDB,
  • Graham Smith (and his team) for programming the ARDB,
  • all the national coordinators, princes and tournament organizers for countless hours of supporting the game
and of course
  • all the VtES players for playing and enjoying this great game ..
And because of all this non-company, VtES player support I am hopeful that this game will last for at least some time longer ..


extrala said...

As you can see, I am not going to stop blogging, just because WW stops producing VtES .. at least not for some time!

And I am sure I did forget someone to thank, so my apologies in advance.

Mephistopheles said...

I can assure you that my blog will continue, too. I will keep playing and organizing tournaments!

mattgreen said...

I hope you never stop blogging about V:tES. This site is fantastic and I hope I'll be reading for a long while yet.