Forum > The RPGPundit's Own Forum

The Problem with White Wolf

(1/4) > >>

RPGPundit:
From my blog:

Its amazing how many of the Swine still vehemently try to pretend that WW didn't shoot itself in the foot and forever kill any chance of plausible deniability on the issue of pretentiousness and general ass-hattery when they released the New World of Darkness core book with the long since infamous and longer since lame "role-playing not roll-playing" invective.
The defenders of that particular spin try to claim that the section was actually put there to tell WW fans NOT to look upon us mere mortal gamers with contempt.  This apparently presumes that the typical WW fan is enough of a self-absorbed twit that he WILL look down on other gamers and needs to be lectured on the matter; I don't see anyone debating that, which amuses me to no end.
But the actual "advice" in the nWoD corebook stop at saying that the WW fanboys shouldn't look down on other gamers; it goes on to say, basically, that WW fanboys should pity regular gamers, and try to convert them to their superior form of "storytelling".
 
Speaking of which, that's we get to the crux of the matter.  All the claims of superiority could just be arrogance without pretense if the WW storytelling line really WAS superior. You see, if something really is superior, its ok for it to be arrogant. I'm arrogant all the time, for ex.
 
The problem is when you have absolutely nothing to be arrogant about. And that's where WW is at. Just about the only thing they're "superior" at is looking down on the rest of the hobby.  Their concepts and philosophies of gaming are what nearly brought the industry to ruin, things like "metaplot" and "splatbooks" and the entire "story-based" concept of gaming were responsible for adding a few goths to the gaming fold (most of whom were only really interested in WW games, often even there only in Vampire), and causing a mass exodus of far more generalized gamers in the nineties; without even getting into the possible millions who could have become gamers, but never did because the entire industry in that decade was too busy licking White Wolf's phoney-absinthe-slathered story-based ass to bother drawing in the more stable kind of young gamers who didn't enjoy wearing black 24/7.
 
Their settings are nothing more than adolescent angst-sessions with all the intellectual sophistication of a 15 year old artsy-kid's second-rate poetry about why cheerleaders don't like him and how much he hates his dad. WW knows how to use a lot of latin words (well, actually they don't, witness the unbelievably blunderous translation of "lancea sanctum" as "sacred lance"), but the settings lack any real profundity. They have all the gravitas of an Avril Levigne song: good at making self-marginalized people feel better about how "misunderstood" they are (while allowing them to ignore the fact that nothing has marginalized them other than their own social retardation) and a nice fantasy of being a "superpowered reject" who could have the power to do what they want and get revenge on the "normal" world, but rarely touching on any truly sophisticated human issues.  Now, there are relatively few other RPGs that do, either, but see, the other RPGs don't usually claim they do (not even the ones that might have a better claim at it).
 
Even in the rare cases where WW games touch on human issues deeper than "people gave me a wedgie in high school so now i feel like a vampire", it's in the most sophomoric and infantile ways possible. The assertions made at several points throughout the WW line, for example, that western civilization or science are Just Plain Evil, that primitivism is a nobler and less corrupt state, or the implied assertion that a certain elite have the right to govern not by the merit of their works but by an inherent merit of superiority (Exaltedness as a kind of metaphor for art-nerds thinking they should be respected just because they know how to dress like bad imitations of "The Crow" and listen to obscure german bands, rather than for any actual accomplishments or contributions to society).   I mean, really: even Blue Rose, for all I've ragged on it, at least presents a setting ideology  that's got a little more sophistication than the typical WW "I think I'm a genius but the jocks beat me up and I work at a Dairy Queen where they make me take my piercings off" school of setting design.
 
And, finally, we get to the system. This is where it all comes down to the brass balls: everything else would be forgiveable, all of WW's claims to grandeur would be more than just delusions, if the system was designed in such a way that it was actually more suitable to "storytelling" than D&D or GURPS. Sadly, its not. In fact, by being a poorly designed system done half-assedly by people who clearly cared more about getting their goth-card punched than actually designing something workeable, it does a poorer job of being able to smoothly role-play without the rolls getting in the way.
 
That was the golden egg the great white wolf never quite managed to lay. There are certainly situations with systems like D&D, D20, GURPS, et al. where the rolls can get in the way of what would make for a cooler story; and it wouldn't be particularly hard to design a system where this is less likely to happen (Amber does it, so does Over the Edge), but White Wolf didn't do that. If they had put one-tenth of the energy they put into looking dark and angsty into actually having a system that didn't suck ass, they would be unimpeachable on the charge of pretentiousness. The most fundamental basis for the charge, more than just taking a quick glance at the fandom in almost any context, more than their interminable statements of superiority, more than the badly-written latin, more than the face-rippingly childish emotionality of the settings, is in the fact that their system is just another rpg system, with nothing special about it to warrant any claim of being able to do the job of roleplaying better than any other system, and often doing it worse.

RPGPundit, back in June 8th 2005

Hastur T. Fannon:
I enjoyed playing Vampire when I was much younger, but I wouldn't play it again.  Same with Mage, but I occasionally pull the books out and think about another campaign.  Maybe with the new system.  I've always loved the way the possibilities of the game were so endless

As for the system, it's one our group keeps coming back to.  I really like the new version - there's still buckets of dice, but at least you only roll them once now

GRIM:
I have a massive amount of pent up bile about White Wolf which I shall spew forth here when I have more time.  I've had to directly deal with the asshats more often than I would have wished and their contempt for their fanbase if pretty strong.

Not being even allowed to discuss White Wolf (positively or negatively) on RPGnet really grips my shit.

cnath.rm:

--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---WW knows how to use a lot of latin words (well, actually they don't, witness the unbelievably blunderous translation of "lancea sanctum" as "sacred lance")
--- End quote ---
What would be the correct translation offhand?  and is an online bablefish style translater of latin even possible offhand?


--- Quote from: GRIM ---I have a massive amount of pent up bile about White Wolf which I shall spew forth here when I have more time.  I've had to directly deal with the asshats more often than I would have wished and their contempt for their fanbase if pretty strong.

Not being even allowed to discuss White Wolf (positively or negatively) on RPGnet really grips my shit.
--- End quote ---
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts/experiences if you ever write them up. About the only stuff they put out that I deal with at this point is the Necromancer Games stuff that they do the publishing/distro for.

Why can't you talk about WW on rpg.net? Topic ban or somesuch?

arminius:
An online babelfish translator for Latin should be about as easy any other language, possibly easier because latin syntax is very logical, but babelfish is generally pretty bad.

Anyway, correct rendering of "sacred lance" would "lancea sancta". Arguably "lancea sanctum" is grammatical since the -um ending is an acceptible alternative to the standard -orum, but it would then have to be translated as "lance of the holy (ones)" or "lance of the saints".

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version