FOr some ungodly reason Gog seems to have bundled the unofficial patch into the game, which is a mistake that even Steam doesn't do.
If I'm going to use any patch, I should be able to choose one like the True Patch which I highly prefer.
It seems foolish to release a game prepacked like this and removing any choice in the matter. I would have bough this game if it wasn't for that.
Gog doesn't do it, either. You are given shortcuts to the game executables for the patched version and for the unpatched "vanilla" version--the patch is structured in its own directory to allow for this approach, so the choice is yours. Your not knowing that, however, is no reason not to have bought the GOG version, since there are several ways to skin your particular cat--and you'd have found out after you bought it. True patch and so on are simply going to patch over the "vanilla" version files (unlike the WESP patches) so you might want to copy your game root directory so that if you bungle things up by patching the vanilla version and have to reinstall--you don't have to actually do that--just delete the original game directory and rename "bloodlines_copy_of" to "Bloodlines" and you are all set and ready to go again. No need to do that because of the way the WESP mods are structured.
"Vanilla" does not mean "original and unsullied," in this case. In this case it means "wildly bugged and unfinished"--is what "vanilla" means...;) I bought these games when Troika was a company and solvent, and while it had excellent ideas and vision, it also had some distinct lack of judgment to go along with the good--like for instance the idea that lengthy, quality RPGs could be produced like an assembly line--one every 12-18 months like clockwork. Didn't work, and the result was the Bloodlines games that were horrifically truncated and populated with bugs and problems when released. Troika didn't stay in business long enough to fix the games they way they should have been fixed, unsurprisingly. Had great ideas and execution, though, other than that.
Redemption was particularly disappointing to me. I had just gotten into the game--really into it and was thoroughly enjoying it and wanted to play it through--it really mattered to me--when suddenly, like a bolt out of the blue--the main character gets staked though the heart and wakes up in late 20th-century USA--for the ending sequences of the game that had 0 in common with the preceding 3/4 of the game--which was distinctly gothic/medieval classical European Vampire! It killed the game for me--dead. And I have no doubt that the original game had no unseemly, anti-thematic time-travel in it at all, but that the gimmick was used to end the game very rudely and quickly in a sort of faux-twist, faux-surprise--to very prematurely end development. Ugh.
Anyway, with Bloodlines if you think "vanilla" is some kind jewel, I'd say think again...;) I had the Steam version before I had the GOG version, and unless my memory is playing tricks again (which happens more and more often since my 200th birthday a couple of years back), the Steam version I had initially (I owned the CD versions of the games before either) refused to run on my Win7 box at the time--without a patch--I think it was a NO-CD patch at the time, believe it or not. Just like the CD versions I already owned, IIRC. Yep, I had to kludge-patch the original Steam version I had of Bloodlines just to get it to run on my box...! And run well--it did *not*.
GOG's done it right, of course. The WESP patches adhere only with the strictest themes of the original game--and I believe the Wesp patches are much, much closer to what the original developers wanted to do and had envisioned for Bloodlines than the so-called "vanilla" version that was released by Troika. I'll conclude by reiterating that in the case of Bloodlines "vanilla" doesn't mean "pure and original", unless, that is, in your mind, "pure and original" = "very buggy and unfinished."
Lots of times--more times than I can count, actually--mods are developed to not only improve games but to also *bug-fix* games that were released buggy and unfinished by the original publishers, for one reason or another. What is generally *not true* about the great majority of game mods is the idea that mods take near-perfect original games and add all kinds of crazy, mediocre content to released games that often messes them up. Many n00bs seem to think that way, for some reason--maybe they are scared that installing the mod is beyond their technical acumen (which is also an old wives' tale about most mods) and would rather throw off on them instead of try and install them. I couldn't say. But I do know this--install WESP's patches with extreme confidence and buy the GOG version so that you can run both the modded and the un-modded version if you wish and compare them yourself. IMO, however, the *only* way to play this game on modern hardware and OSes is with the WESP mods.
While I agree with your assessment about what "original and unsullied" means in regards to this game, I disagree with your presumption that wesp's patch is somehow the "go to" fix for whatever ails this game. Granted, wesp5 has been the most dedicated and prolific contributer to the game we know and love and for that he should be revered. However, in my experience his "patch" sometimes breaks as much as it fixes. Not to mention the fact that it adds things to the game that weren't a part of the released product. Whether you believe those things to be rightly included or not, they weren't part of the final release and one could argue, "justifiably so".
The bottom line is that Vampire - Bloodlines was released in an unfinished state. My hope is that Paradox Interactive (if they're able) finds the impetus to work on a remaster/remake. With all due respect to wesp, I think this will ultimately be the path that gives the game all the love and care it deserves and as a result we'll all benefit.