I was always a mark for TSR stuff; dance with the horse that brung ya was my o.p., and the fact that I never role-played very much, especially given that I was always more into the story, character and concept than the boring nuts and bolts of rules, mitigated the fact that I couldn't be bothered to find any better games. But one thing that always confused me was the runaway success of White Wolf.
Sure, they had neat ideas and all, and their books were absolutely crammed with dense mythology for the sci-fi/fantasy nerds who liked that sort of thing. And who doesn't like to see their RPG sourcebooks hipped up with Southern Death Cult lyrics? But aside from the overall way-too-self-impressed goth feel of the books, I could never penetrate the dense layers of neologism that made the rules impossible to figure out.
Anyway, the other day, I was at a big chain bookstore and one of their new-edition books happened to catch my eye, so I took a look. Now, my big question is this: is their fanbase so devoted -- I mean, way more marked out than the TSR/WotC zombies are supposed to be -- that they'll just buy anything with the WW imprint on it? Or am I missing something? Because I don't see how they could ever get any new customers, since, looking at the front and back covers and first, oh, ten or twelve pages, there is absolutely no way to tell what any of their books are actually about.
Come on, man. There's artsy, attractive design, and that's great, but utility and user-friendliness has to enter the picture at some stage. I must have flipped through half a dozen of these books and I didn't have the slightest clue what the subject of any of them was meant to be.