So, in between working on a Mage character (got an idea and I've been running with it) and looking up info on the White Wolf website for ordering purposes, I have spent a lot of time lately looking through WW products.
I feel like I should say, first and foremost, that I want to hug whoever they hired to do graphic design for the new World of Darkness line. RPG books really only need to be readable and relatively easy to find necessary info in - most present a certain aesthetic appropriate to the game, but in most cases it's pretty basic - Earthdawn has some great art, and a nice header font, but that's about it. White Wolf went all-out with the new series, though - they are absolutely gorgeous, and I love how they styled each of the lines within nWoD to match the feel of that particular setting - the Mage books, for instance, have a faux ribbon-binding printed on the spine side of pages, lovely gold script headers, and little gold flecks on the pages, which really conveys to me the sense of elegant, ancient power that Mage is supposed to be about.
And all of these has led me to discover that there is a White Wolf development LJ, which is very cool - I've been getting a bit of an insight into the background work of game development via Dumpshock, as most of the main SR team are members (or in some cases, admins), but this has a lot more detail, and some really interesting discussions. Chief among this is the handling of metaplot in nWoD, compared to oWoD (for non-WoD players - a few years back, they basically totally rebooted the entire World of Darkness setting, giving the old one - oWoD - and new - nWoD). I didn't have much experience with oWoD - Vampire, pretty much exclusively, and I never got around to actually playing it, but the general sense I get is that oWoD had a massive, looming metaplot that people either loved, because they thought it was really cool, or hated, because they didn't want to have to buy tons of books to use on aspect of the metaplot. nWoD, on the other hand, seems to largely have no metplot, just history. As much as I do like metaplot (I love the Shadowrun metaplot, for instance), I realized, thinking about it, that I don't mind the nWoD lack of metaplot - it's got serious atmosphere, irrelavent of any metaplot.
...And I just got seriously derailed by the internet there, so I don't know where I was going with that. Possibly into a deep examination of WoD versus DnD, or why I don't like d20, but that'll have to wait for another day, I think.