Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Grand Masquerade is a Grand Disappointment

Another appropriate title for this post would be "Grand Announcement Masquerading as Grand News." If you haven't heard, White Wolf is throwing a bit of shindig this weekend down in New Orleans. The Grand Masquerade (GM) is a convention focusing on LARP World of Darkness action. There's some tabletop role-playing, but the focus is definitely on LARP'ing and a previously-announced Big Announcement. If you recall before Gencon I was a little upset that White Wolf was holding off what seemed to be news of the future of the World of Darkness line for this smaller White Wolf-only event. Last night was supposed to be the big night with all the big news coming through.

Ignoring the fact that, even well after the announcement happened their own website couldn't be bothered to explain the actual news, the word that's coming out of The GM is hardly news at all. I speculated before Gencon that we'd be getting something that was actually a new piece of information that would give us some indication of where the World of Darkness tabletop line was going. Whether it was a New New World of Darkness or something else, I had hoped to see some kind of new approach or even just a broad strategy that the line would be taken to stay alive.

What we got was two announcements we have known about for ages, one since 2007. Essentially the center piece of The GM is a video of the first cinematic of the MMO "World of Darkness" CCP, the owner of White Wolf and producer of Eve Online, has been working on since they bought White Wolf. That's it. The other news is a confirmed Print-on-Demand structure in which the entire World of Darkness lines - Old and New - will be available in print and that it's confirmed they are still working on the character builder and online tools we heard about, what, a year ago? Essentially what could have been two minor press releases and a video at is the big news.

Remember the frustratingly vague teaser we got at the back of Geist: The Sin-Eaters and all the speculation it ignited over a year ago? They really should have saved themselves the ink because this is an incredible let-down. I firmly believe that they had no idea what they were going to announce as an answer to this teaser when they made it. They just needed something to fill the page, and they unfortunately chose something that made it sound like they were revising the New World of Darkness for a new edition and rules update. Who knows - maybe they are. The problem is that White Wolf has always been just terrible with keeping their fans informed about their games.

This is ultimately what the title of this post is about. I'm not at The GM. I had to follow along like everyone else with baited breath to wait for the exciting announcement we were denied at Gencon and finally was to be revealed. I understand now White Wolf's terrible performance at Gencon. From their odd choice of not having actual items on sale or really be welcoming to anyone under 21 to their blaring "hot beats" and pretentiously dressed vampires, they really didn't have much to do at Gencon in the first place. I try to keep a civil and respectful atmosphere here with an emphasis on being generally positive, but sometimes the game companies we love make it so hard to be supportive. At this point we have just as good - or as bad - an idea of what's coming down the line, and there aren't anymore conventions to keep stalling for a later date to announce something for quite some time.


  1. I used to be a huge White-wolf fan. I have two book cases devoted to the World of darkness (one Original World and one New World,) but for the last three years I've had a hard time getting behind them. Books being pushed back for a year or longer, shoddy editing, and Giest(Did anyone actually bother to read the book before sending it to the press?) all with out any real feed back from the company White-Wolf. There still a lot of love for White Wolf in my house, but I wish they'd get their act together.

  2. Sounds like this was more of a play event for fans. They should have just made the announcements at Gen Con.

  3. If you liked White Wolf's games, you really should check out the Dresden Files RPG.

  4. This article is beyond lame. You review a convention you didnt even attend. Thats like reviewing a movie you havnt seen. They had 1300 people at this event, 5 of their fan clubs, three of which were LARP focused. The Wrecking Crew guys ran almost as many TT games as they do at Gen Con and the VTES room was full. At least 10 full tables. Gen Con is a dinosaur filled with grognards and neckbeards. If it gets much worse it will turn into Origins and that show is just a dump. Kudos to White Wolf and CCP for not just being one more flea market hawking their shit this last year. Me and my friends had a blast at their booth. It was a great community hangout not a force feed down our throat desperate attempt to make a few bucks. But Grand Masquerade was fucking awesome! I'd even say BlizzCon could learn a thing or two from an event like this. But seriously, next time your going to review a con try actually going to it first!

  5. @Jinxy did you even read my post? Thanks for giving the specifics, but you're kind of just proving the point I was making - there were only 1,300 people at the event? Even if they had a big announcement (which they didn't - which is what I was commenting on), you really believe a convention with less than 2,000 people (are you sure of this number? It seems awfully low.) is a better place to make it than at Gencon Indy?

    "Gen Con is a dinosaur filled with grognards and neckbeards. If it gets much worse it will turn into Origins and that show is just a dump."

    No offense, but when you resort to name-calling and grand generalizations like this, it kind of invalidates a lot of what you say. I believe Gencon has only been growing. You basically threw out the two biggest game conventions in one sentence. Just because you don't like them doesn't make them something a game company can ignore.

    The concept that all the other exhibitor's are desperate to sell their stuff seems off to me as well. If they have something worthwhile selling - which I believe White Wolf does in general - a game company's booth can be busy all weekend. Ever see the line that forms immediately at Privateer Press' booth every year? There's no reason White Wolf can't be that successful given their long-standing position in the industy.

    Instead we got a booth with annoying music and no signage. I'm sorry, but almost every other booth at Gencon provided some information and maybe a demo or two. I go to Gencon to learn about new games and get updates on the stuff I already play. Dream Pod 9, the producers of Heavy Gear and a still-developing company, had a much smaller booth but a much more welcoming and informative experience. If I wanted to attend a party with loud music and drinks I would have attended AEG's Legends of the 5 Rings party Saturday night (which we did, and it was awesome).

    Alright, that's enough ranting for a Saturday morning, but I'd love to see your response Jinxy.

  6. As an attendee of TGM 2010, I really, really, really enjoyed it. I am a long time fan of WW and it fulfilled my needs for an event.

    The big announcement was less that there would be an MMO, and more that the MMO would be Masquerade and not Requiem. The energy and excitement in the room was palpable, everyone on their feet and screaming. It was awesome to be a participant in that moment.

    1300 is a bit conservative, I think...however, for a first year event, and with travel costs high the turn out did not disappoint.

    I am a LARPER, who occasionally table tops. For me this was the perfect event. I get lost in the hustle and bustle at big Cons, where I pay too much for content that is not what I am interested in. This hit the mark, dead on.

    It was great, and I really look forward to TGM 2011

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