I already told you this. Honest to God, I’m sick of repeating myself. Some days I wake up and think: “I hope I don’t have to tell the readers of popular website Rock Paper Shotgun that Wild West Online, a videogame which is definitely not Red Dead Redemption 2, is out on early access for anyone who wants to spend money and be a cowboy in what seems like an otherwise quite standard MMO.” I honestly look in the mirror some mornings and think that. But life never works out the way you want it. Yee-haw.
“The Western game features world exploration, resource gathering, PvP combat, PvE missions and NPC quests,” say the developers at 612 Games. You’ll be able to upgrade your character, guns and horse, and there are currently two public events: an “Artifact Hunt” and something called the “Golden Road”. They’ve also been teasing that there are weirder elements to this west. Hopefully, that isn’t just a pre-emptive excuse for bugs. Imagine if all the cows started standing on their hind legs because of an animation cock-up, and the devs just said: “Oooo, soo straaange!”
You can buy the early access from the official site but judging by some of the YouTube videos I’ve peeped at (of an alpha from September) it still looks a little rough. Future plans include letting players buy plots of land to start a home, a train that passes through the map and can be robbed by everyone, and a new biome set in Mexico, which they say will increase the map size by 50%.
It’s hard to get excited when the developers don’t seem to be deviating from MMO norms very much. Even so, Western multiplayer sounds fine. I enjoyed wandering around Red Dead Redemption’s online mode back in my PlayStation-ing days. It had the same kind of approach to player conflict as GTA Online. You can kill anyone you see, but you don’t need to. A western theme worked better for this than the cities of San Andreas, I feel. “Is that stranger coming down the road on horseback going to kill me,” I would think, “or will they pass by without harm?” They were much tenser moments than those on the city streets, where I’d often be thinking: “That man in a sports car is driving toward me very fast. Let me get out my assault rifle.”