This guide is about Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt, from the perspective of a fan of the World of Darkness universe and the TTRPGs that spawned and expanded it.
I will do my best to give you an idea of how well the game fits with the source material, taking you through the world building and lore, hopefully without getting too overwhelmingly in-depth, as well as the overall atmosphere and aesthetic, and of course, the gameplay and mechanics.
At present, this guide is a work in progress.
Disclaimer and Notes
Now that V:tM – Bloodhunt finally seems to be heading in the right direction – as Sharkmob have at long last listened to us players telling them that we don’t really need a Fortnite clone with a Vampire: The Masquerade skin – with the Battle Royale modes getting de-emphasized in favor of a new 8v8 Team Deathmatch mode, and with longstanding bugs finally getting fixed, it felt like a good time to re-write my original guide to Bloodhunt, from the perspective of someone familiar with the TTRPG source material and lore of Vampire: The Masquerade, and the World of Darkness in general, taking the new additions into account.
With the TDM mode, as it currently exists, Sharkmob have not created a real, proper distinction between the Camarilla and the Anarch Movement as described in the existing in-game lore, which is disappointing, but still, I will encourage them to keep working towards that distinction, because that is – in my admittedly less than humble opinion – the way the game should’ve been from the start.
I’ve been a fairly harsh critic of the game in its previous states, though I will do my best to keep the criticism constructive, since I do not like to see World of Darkness games fail when they have undeniable potential, as I felt is and was the case with Bloodhunt, even with how it was previously.
I will not shy away from pointing out things that do not jibe with the way things work in the TTRPG, though I will also acknowledge when such a difference is necessary, as adapting the TTRPG to another medium, such as a videogame or a LARP, does necessitate some changes to better fit the medium in question, such as Discipline powers that are tricky to implement in a fun and meaningful way, or that do not fit with the gameplay.
And as Bloodhunt is not an RPG, but a shooter, RPG elements are perhaps less important, but as that is the game’s roots, and indeed in its very DNA, it would be worse for not including any that make sense for the gameplay.
And with that, I will start to describe what Bloodhunt is like…
What has changed since last update
The following list is not comprehensive, noting only what is readily apparent:
- 8 versus 8 team death match mode has been added.
First to 50 kills wins, infinite respawns.
- BR modes now have more variety in Entity soldier drops, and Camarilla crates now require players to find keys to open them.
- Two new melee weapons have been added, the crowbar and the knife.
- The challenge, quest and battle pass screens have been altered to be more consistent with each other; the pass screen now showing cosmetic unlocks on characters if applicable, and the quest screen is much easier to navigate. The challenge screen now shows percentage completed of daily and weekly challenges, and when either category’s percentage gauge is picked, there is a list of the active challenges.
- Collectibles now give cosmetic rewards (icons and banners) for finding all in a category.
The World and its Lore
The World of Darkness is, as its name implies, full of darkness.
In short, it is intended to be a dark, twisted reflection of our real world, where everything is worse* than in our reality; more corruption, greed, evil… and then, of course, there’s the supernaturals.
Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, fae folk, and mages are all real, though obviously they keep themselves hidden from the humans.
Vampire: The Masquerade – [fandom.com] , though, focuses on the vampires, or Kindred, as they call themselves.
And Bloodhunt specifically focuses on the Kindred in the domain of Prague.
In Prague, the Kindred running the city belong to the sect known among their kind as the Camarilla – [fandom.com] , as old as it is conservative and secretive, upholding their vaunted six traditions – [fandom.com] , chiefest among them the eponymous Masquerade, which dictates that no Kindred shall reveal their true nature to mortals, lest they be bloodhunted until Final Death for their transgression.
There are also Kindred belonging to a younger, more progressive sect known as the Anarch Movement – [fandom.com] , who value the Masquerade, as they recognize that it is vital to the survival of all Kindred, but view the other five traditions as little more than suggestions.
The two tend to be at odds in any domain where both can be found, and though they may agree to a truce, it is usually marked by tensions.
In Prague, however, there is an all-out war between the Camarilla and the Anarch Movement, as the former blame the latter for attracting the attention of mortals during the Second Conclave of Prague, and causing them to call in organized hunters from the Vatican, a group known only as the Entity, who have besieged the city, tracked down and killed the local Camarilla leader, Prince Marcus, and sent all other Kindred into hiding.
And that is where the game begins, first putting you through a tutorial, and following that, placing you in the vague role of a very capable member of the Camarilla, and letting you choose between four of the Kindred clans – [fandom.com] ; the Brujah, the Nosferatu, the Toreador, and the Ventrue.
*(Frankly, these days, I’m of the opinion that the lines have not only blurred, but it actually feels like the real world is now worse than WoD was intended to be, because, as humanity has collectively proven, we have the capacity to be the worst of monsters. Still, that is just my opinion.)
The Atmosphere and Aesthetics
As mentioned in the previous section, the World of Darkness is supposed to be a dark, twisted reflection of our reality, and especially where Vampire: The Masquerade is concerned, you will usually see major cities at nighttime, with rainy or stormy weather, and an overall contemporary post-punk gothic aesthetic, as has been the case with the TTRPG since its inception (though there are also editions of the game set during the Classical Era, the Dark Ages, the Victorian Era, or that take place in the time of the Wild West).
This does hold true for Bloodhunt, and you can tell that the people who worked on the game’s recreation of Prague not only understood their assignment, but respected the source material to the best of their ability, and I do not doubt that they are fans as well.
The city of Prague as presented in Bloodhunt is a large and impressive recreation, in line with what you might expect of a video game adaptation of VtM, as someone who has played the TTRPG, and also the most detailed recreation of the city of Prague in a WoD video game yet, the previous best recreation being from the first VtM video game, and likewise the first to have online multiplayer, VtM – Redemption.
The Gameplay and Mechanics [WIP]
Making a comparison between the original TTRPG source material, and Bloodhunt, a shooter video game, it could be said that they are kind of like apples and oranges.
VtM the TTRPG is a game of personal and political horror, drama and intrigue, and usually not a lot of full-on combat, most often being limited to three turns, then out, though larger-scale conflicts are described in the lore.
VtM – Bloodhunt, by contrast, is about an all-out sectarian war, Kindred killing Kindred, with guns, melee weapons, discipline powers, claws, and fangs, in the Battle Royale modes Solo, Trios and Duos, as well as the newly added Team Death Match.
There are several mechanics for things that exist in the TTRPG that are represented in Bloodhunt, but they either work differently, or have been granted to players in a manner not common for new players; there are also things which are present in the TTRPG, but not in Bloodhunt, apparently due to there being no current reason for their implementation.
There are also things which may very rarely happen in a TTRPG, if the Storyteller deems it necessary and dramatically appropriate, such as a Kindred who has met final death coming back to unlife; in Bloodhunt, this takes the form of the respawn mechanics, either through extra lives from particularly potent mortal blood in Solo, the respawn rifts when playing Trios or Duos, and the immediate respawn of Team Death Match.
- Heightened Senses is not an ability common to all Kindred, but it is also not impossible for all Kindred to acquire this Auspex discipline power, and some clans allow a player to start out having it in the TTRPG. Its function is also altered for the sake of gameplay, though, given how powerful player characters are, not out of line with what would be possible.
- Blood resonances in VtM originated in the 5th Edition, and they are fairly accurately represented, but they do work very differently in Bloodhunt, by necessity. Getting the full effect of a resonance dyscrasia in the TTRPG requires tapping it three times over as many nights, or draining the mortal who contains it completely.
- Diablerie, or the act of draining another Kindred of their very essence, is very accurately represented in terms of visuals, and fairly so in terms of what might be gained from performing the act on a Kindred of the same Generation, but there is an aspect of its mechanics in the TTRPG that is not represented in Bloodhunt, namely the loss of humanity with each diablerie.
A Kindred could reasonably diablerize at most seven other Kindred before succumbing to the wassail, losing the last of their humanity, and entirely becoming the Beast, which would render them unplayable in the TTRPG.
In Bloodhunt, however, Kindred can perform the diablerie up to nine times, to gain a total of 12 slots for resonance dots, though they can also gain empty slots by draining Entity soldiers, being the only totally drainable mortals; this is also entirely different from the TTRPG, as draining mortals would only gain the benefit of totally sating a Kindred’s hunger, and potentially gaining a resonant dyscrasia.
- Perks very roughly work like the Merits available in the TTRPG, in that they give benefits to some aspects of the game.
A Brief History of Bloodhunt’s MMORPG DNA [WIP]
Given the basic mechanics and the overall aesthetics of Bloodhunt, I feel it necessary to mention that Bloodhunt is descended from a previously abandoned MMORPG project from back when Icelandic studio Crowd Control Productions, better known as CCP Games, held control of the World of Darkness IP, after their acquisition of/merger with White Wolf Publishing in 2006.
World of Darkness: Online was announced November 11th, 2006, as an MMORPG set in the World of Darkness, its initial focus meant to be Vampire: The Masquerade.
Following controversy over micro-transactions in EVE: Online, the MMO which kept the lights on at CCP, and other issues with the game, there was a restructuring, resulting in 20% of CCP’s worldwide staff being laid off, many from the WoD: Online team, and focus was shifted from WoD: Online over to EVE: Online.
In December of 2013, more people on the team were laid off, and the release was thusly delayed indefinitely.
On April 14th, 2014, it was announced that World of Darkness: Online had been cancelled.
October 29th, 2015, White Wolf Publishing was acquired by Paradox Interactive AB, along with the IP and rights to the World of Darkness universe, and with them, to World of Darkness: Online.
Art assets for WoD: Online were used in the core books for Vampire: The Masquerade’s 5th Edition, V5, and comparing the showcases of World of Darkness: Online from back when it was still in development to what is possible in Bloodhunt now, there is undeniable similarity, and the idea to have fashion designers create the in-game character outfits definitely carried over as well.
I’ve been working on this rewrite on and off, and in parts, it is a bit rambly, but it is the best I can do at the moment, and will continue working on it to the best of my ability.
If you’re interested in the original version, for comparison, it resides here – [steamcommunity.com] .
I appreciate any constructive comments and suggestions, additional info, and corrections you might be able to offer.
And, last but not least, thank you for reading!
Here we come to an end for Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt Gameplay and Mechanics hope you enjoy it. If you think we forget something to include or we should make an update to the post let us know via comment, and we will fix it asap! Thanks and have a great day!
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