I noticed this after listening to the other RPG episodes. I've never played any of the White Wolf games, though my brother was huge into Vampire and Werewolf (including participating in a long-term LARP), so I had some exposure and read Vampire: the Masquerade (probably first edition, since this would have been about 93-ish) because he had it.
I also felt very called out when Brett mentioned making characters. I probably had 30 Champions superhero characters that I'd made in a notebook, even though I only played a couple of them. Champions was a point-based system. You got 100 or 200 or whatever points the GM decided on to make your character and 10 points increased your strength or gave you 2d6 energy blast damage, etc. So character creation was essentially a giant math problem to figure out how to fit your idea into the available points. Super nerdy, and perfect for an engineering/math student at college.
I had terrible flashbacks to creating Traveller characters as well. I definitely had more than one character die at the academy or merchant marine school or whatever, half an hour into the process. I don't remember if we ever played more than a couple of Traveller sessions, because the character creation was so daunting.
I think I've had only good experiences making characters for superhero games and, unfortunately, only mediocre experiences playing/running them (usually running, so the fault was more on me)......unless we count the old Palladium TMNT and Other Strangeness game as a superhero game, in which case I've had fantastic times playing in addition to creating characters.
I've been a player in some good Traveller games, but character creation is something very special in that game. I really liked the Life Path events you rolled for in Cyberpunk 2020--and it is great--but looking back at it recently, I really wish it had the depth that the life events in Traveller character creation had.
Thanks for the recommendation of Night Watch. I watched the film adaptations and the books keep propping up on my "maybe I should get this as an audible" list (for when I paint minis), but they haven't made it off the bubble yet.
Also, the discussion of the White Wolf games reminded me of a terrific series of books by Sergei Lukyanenko that begins with Night Watch. It's sort of a spy/police story set in Moscow, but with vampires and other supernatural beings. They have a lot of the same feel like your description of the World of Darkness, with different groups of supernatural beings working against each other.