Vampire The Masquerade - Bloodlines: Building a Better Vampire
This article continues the examination of the game Vampire The Masquerade - Bloodlines, discussing the various ways in which you customize and improve your character as you journey through the game.
What to Choose
In part one and two, we discussed the storyline of the game slightly as well as the intricacies of vampire society. Now we'll take a look at how you become a better vampire, through the placement of experience points you get for things you do in the game. Despite the fact that the game is dark and brutal in nature, you are awarded experience points based on succeeding with the mission - not for how many enemies you kill. In fact, there are many areas where not killing at all is rewarded more points (or you may even fail the task if you kill). So the question is, what do you do with all these points?
When you first created your character, you may have ventured into the Attributes screen (by pressing C within the game). Once you go there, you'll notice how many different ways there are to customize what your vampire can do. Without using cheat codes, you'll never have enough points to max out all of your abilities, so it behooves you to choose wisely.
Each Attribute, Ability or Discipline can be upgraded from one to five levels. Each level costs more experience points to obtain as well, so sometimes you have to save up your points. You can also improve these levels through books and items you find within the game as well, so keep your eyes peeled. To make things even more convoluted, the Attributes, Abilities, and Disciplines work together to provide your vampire with Feats. Thankfully you can hover your mouse over Feats to see which Attributes and Abilities feed into that Feat. You can also hover an Attribute or Ability to see what it directly affects.
So what are Attributes? Attributes are broken down into three large areas - Physical, Social, and Mental. These are further broken down as follows:
Without going into great detail, you can see that there are important decisions you have to make. The Physical attributes help you with combat, stealth, your health, and more. The Social attributes help with seduction (useful sometimes in conversation), intimidation, and how others react to you. The Mental attributes help with certain skills, such as noticing hidden items or learning new things. This also adds to the replay value of the game, since you can build a vampire a different way and see new conversation options that were not there before.
You've charted a course by putting a few points into Attributes. Now lets take a look at Abilities. There are three areas consisting of four Attributes that you can improve, so I won't go through each one. But here is the list of what they are:
Just like Attributes, the points spent here help to improve your Feats. Some of these work independently of Attributes and some work in conjunction with them. As with Attributes, raising these up a level costs more the higher you go so choose carefully. Feats (touched on earlier) are the "skills" you need to perform certain actions, such as hacking a computer or seducing an unwilling "victim". There is a long list of these available, so you want to choose your spending wisely.
In the final part of this series, we'll delve into Disciplines. These are the powers available to you as a vampire, and this is where the game really gets interesting.