B.W. Holland is a Melbourne-based writer and narrative designer, with two decades of gaming under his belt – including a stint with Vampire: the Eternal Struggle. Holland is the former host and producer of ‘The Winning Agenda’ – one of the most recognised podcasts covering the award-winning Android: Netrunner living card game. Holland is currently developing Beyond the Veil, a narrative horror game due to launch on iOS and Steam this year and co-funded by FilmVictoria, and works for White Wolf as a Community Manager. The opinions in his interview are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of White Wolf Entertainment.
“I grew up in a small country town, and I had to go to a nearby, larger, town to find a game shop. Like almost everyone, my entrance into collectable card games was with Magic: the Gathering, and I just dove off from there. My first exposure to the World of Darkness came at a similar time; I remember I was about 15 years old, and I wanted to find a copy of the Star Wars D20 game for my friends and I to try as our first roleplaying game. Instead, I saw the green marble cover of Vampire: the Masquerade and picked that up instead. I’ve been playing in the World of Darkness ever since then.
There was a time when I played every World of Darkness game that came out – I have books from all the roleplaying lines, and played the Bloodlines PC game just like everyone else did. I recall having a copy of the Hunter: the Reckoning game for PS2, but don’t have as many fond memories of that. I was super-excited for the Vampire MMO when that was first announced. I am just really looking forward to the future now, to see what else may come.
When I think back to Vampire: the Eternal Struggle, the most evocative thing for me was the art and graphic design. For me, it tonally captured exactly what Vampire: the Masquerade was back in the 1990s. VtES has become its own beast now, and the rest of the World of Darkness and Vampire: the Masquerade itself has shifted, changed and evolved too.
One of the big differences between VtES and Vampire: the Masquerade is that the card game has an obvious focus on the inescapable Jyhad. I love the concept of being trapped in a web of machinations that you cannot escape, cannot understand – that’s a great theme for Vampire. The roleplaying game branches out in different directions because it asks other questions that pertain to the themes and mood of the same world. It’s got a focus on waning Humanity, the rise of the Second Inquisition, and a strong emphasis emotion. Vampire: the Masquerade has always been a game about emotion, and the current edition (‘V5’) does an excellent job of emphasising that through the resonance and hunger systems. Finding a way to hammer that in VtES, mechanically, would really go a long way toward making it closer to the roleplaying game in terms of themes. But, the omission isn’t something that holds VtES back from being great. The card game is about the Jyhad, not about the emotional aspects. The world of Vampire is too complex for one game to encompass all the things there are to experience.”