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Why World of Darkness Went Dark

There's an article on theguardian.com with a postmortem on World of Darkness, casting some light on why CCP recently cancelled development of the MMORPG based on the tabletop RPG of the same name (thanks VG247). They talked to some insiders in drawing the conclusion that "bad management hubris wasted nearly a decade of work." They outline how this began with CCP's generous approach to their merger with tabletop developer White Wolf that was unfortunately complicated by CCP's disorganized management structure, explaining: "Very shortly after initial development began, the company started blurring the lines between the World of Darkness and Eve projects." The article goes on to describe a start-and-stop development that left CCP with a game that had very little game to it after nine years of work. Here's some of that:

This constant yo-yo effect contributed to a development cycle in which planned features were partially completed and then dumped numerous times over. There seemed to be no clear vision on how the various parts would create a cohesive end product.

Sources report that, over the nine-year period, the game effectively reached alpha – the stage at which all the major features have been implemented - three times, only for each version to be scrapped.

“I tested it myself, on two different occasions out of those three,” says Blood. “With the first playtest, I was amazed at how little of the core game was there – at this point the game had been in development for over half a decade. I mean, there was just nothing, literally nothing, for someone like me, a complete outsider to the WoD IP, to appreciate.

"Other testers who were familiar with it thought it was great that they could finally see their avatars ‘diablerise’ – or consume – other player’s corpses, for health, or something. I just kind of shook my head and wondered how this would ever draw in anything other than die-hard fans.

“On the second play test, quite some time later, I was struck by how much had changed – and yet remained unfinished. The flagship achievement was a new movement system, made after scrapping the old one, which was similar to the Assassin’s Creed gameplay – with mantling walls, etc. But it was very basic in comparison. CCP was quite self-congratulatory on achieving this much, and the internal propaganda was that this kind of movement system would revolutionise MMO gaming.”

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