Thursday, 13 March 2008

White Wolf, what the hell?

As a lover of both World of Darkness and Exalted, you would think that I would love the publishing company, White Wolf. In truth my relationship with them is very hit and miss. I love their games, don't get me wrong. Some of the Old WoD stuff wa sub-par, and I think nWoD has a much better feel to it. Also, Storyteller 2 is a much better system than Storyteller. On the whole though, I love all the games of their that I've played. So why do I not like them so much?

Mostly, it's their arrogance. White Wolf can be incredibly pretentious at times. Just read the storytelling chapter of Changeling: the Lost and you'll see that in a hearbeat. Look at this section of it:

Imagine an artist's palette, first of all, a color-box from which you, as Storyteller, will "paint" your chronicle: the locales, the characters, the weird quests and dream-remembered promises. Don't consider the actual colors yet, though. Instead, think about the properties of those colors. Imagine the bleak, painterly neutrals of the Hedge and the sharp, dry-brush edges of the thorns. Imagine the oversaturated, high-contrast variety of colors present at an august Court function. Imagine the textured patinas of a lost artifact unearthed, an untarnished metallic luster yielding into verdigis, or perhaps the luminous nacre of a pearl plucked from between a dead man's chalky fingers.

What the hell does that even mean? Seriously, it's pretentious wank that tells you nothing in practice about how to GM a game of Changeling. (Incidentally, I wouldn't mind so much if Changeling wasn't in all other respects a fantastic game, probably my favourite of the nWoD line). So yeah, White Wolf can be arrogant as hell at times, but this takes the gold in stupid things that they've done.

The basic idea is that you send in your copy of the DnD Players Guide, and they send you a copy of Exalted in return. In itself, it's not a bad idea, especially seeing as 4th Edition is coming out soon. If they can drum up a big of interest in Exalted on the side, more power to them. It's the way that it's phrased that really annoys me. You're supposed to graduate to a better level of roleplaying.

Now you won't find me arguing that DnD is better than Exalted. I prefer Exalted, to be honest, but they're different beasts entirely. DnD is high mortal fantasy, with mortal characters in a fairly generic fantasy world. It is by no means a bad game, indeed I love it. Exalted is Epic level immortal fantasy. Your characters are, for want of a better word, gods. They are gifted with the power of deities, and capable of truly earth-shattering feats. It's at a much higher power level than DnD, and comparing the two in this fashion is simply not something that you can really do.

People who like DnD aren't necessarily going to like Exalted, and White Wolf have basically shot themselves in the foot by saying 'come and play a better game, leave those plebs who play DnD behind, what do they know?' The sort of person who would think like that is not the sort of person I want to play tabletop roleplaying games with.

That's not to blast those people who would make the swap because they are moving up to 4th edition anyway, I have nothing against them, and that's a good way to get yourself a little extra out of the bargain. But people who would make the swap solely in order to feel superior to DnD players, which seems to be what this deal is implying, you aren't welcome in my games, ever.

Now I'm sure that this has been in the works for a while, but they have done it at a truely, spectularly disrespectful time, considering that Gary Gygax only passed away last tuesday.

Shame on you White Wolf. Your games are great, we know, but stop being so arrogant about it.

EDIT: People of various forums are now suggesting that this move was done with their tongue firmly within their cheek. If that's the case, then I apologize profusely to White Wolf. Either way, I think it's pretty tasteless, but not so malicious as I thought it was.

But you're still pretentious!

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