Having read two of the old reviews of this game and seeing how salty players use this forum to gripe. I felt an up to date look at the game was deserved. If you are considering playing at City of Hope, the chances are you are actively seeking an oWoD game. This /is/ the game you were looking for. I'll do the general pro and con so I can assist in your decision on if this game is for you.
PROS: - Nearly every playable character concept from the oWoD setting is available and there are no restrictions on what you have access to play. - Staff does not control the story, the players create the plots and the conflict. - The risk system is in place so you aren't getting randomly pk'd for stepping outside. This doesn't mean there are no consequences for your actions. A lot of people think this is an impenetrable shield that protects players from being responsible for their own actions. But having been on both sides of it, I can easily attest that isn't true. - Great player base. Easily 70+ players and most are decent, intelligent people with interesting contributions to the game. - Attentive staff. First time players are given as much help as possible by staff and veteran players as well. Applications do not sit for long and if you have game questions, someone is always available to point you to which book, which help files or online resources out there that can point you in the right direction. - Vibrant game history and ongoing plots. - A focus on story. The White Wolf Storytelling System was designed to focus on the story and not bog you down with intricate rules. Rules are guidelines and are there to enhance the experience. - There are few places to play oWoD and you are nearly guaranteed to have others to play with at nearly any time of day or night.
CONS: - It is the nature of the beast that some players are salty no matter what you place before them. Those who have a hard time taking responsibility for their own story or bothering to look up information they feel is detrimental to their play aren't going to fare as well as players who aren't that lazy. - Disgruntled and paranoid ex players who felt intimidated by staff. Staff does play too, and this rankles some players but in a game that is run by player plots, the arguments they have are generally moot because staff is subject to the same rules everyone else is. They do not get any special treatment. This will be argued, but the fact is that in The Storytelling System, story conflict is resolved by the parties involved and how they mutually agree on how the scene is resolved. If they simply cannot come to any resolution, staff will come in (upon request) and become the final arbiter of said situation. No one has any extra toys that aren't available to anyone else. There are no heights that you cannot rise to, within reason. The story you want to tell, is available to you if you put the work in. - Veteran players with godlike powers. I won't argue that this isn't an issue when a player has been steadily aquiring experience for years and has a character sheet that spans pages. However what limits these players are the game rules themselves, and the fact they have competition among other veteran players with equally impressive stats. If you're a new player who runs afoul of a long lived player, the chances are good that you will suffer if you attempt to thoughtlessly attack a veteran. But that is the key to the real issue, the thoughtless player. There are always going to be rumors of white hats that will vaporize you if you do something remotely malevolent. Or Black hats that will massacre you for looking at them funny. This gets addressed with the risk system, and knowing most of the veteran players I have only witnessed players getting what they deserve to get. There are consequences for actions and if you do something morally questionable, someone might notice and decide they do not like it. That, my friends, is life.
This is not an exhaustive pro and con list but it does give a general idea of what might be expected. If you want to play a vampire, there is a strong Camarilla presence, and the Sabbat do have their work cut out for them but playing in either sect can be equally rewarding. There are very strong Changeling and Shifter spheres that you can join in on. The mages and Technocracy are out there battling over reality. Why should you play at City of Hope? It's a hell of a lot of fun and you can make some great friends while doing so. If you are prone to a lot of complaining, crying and whining because you can't manage sandbox play? Then this might not be your game. City of Hope is filled with storytellers, telling stories. If that captures your interest, drop on by.
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