Red Dead Online roleplayers wrangle a tricky cattle drive and one hallucinating heifer
Sassy Cow Winkle's last ride
Online game roleplay is a wonderful and curious exercise in creativity and adaptability, especially as the number of participants in an attempted scenario grows. Such was the case when the Wild West RP server for Red Dead Redemption 2 got together a group of players to act out the sale and transfer of cattle between two ranches. Herding cattle can't be so hard, can it? Unless people are playing the unruly cattle, that is.
Wild West RP is a private, modded server for Red Dead Online where players get together to act out their roles as cattle ranchers or bank robbers or any number of other characters in the 1899 North American frontier. When it came to roleplaying the server's first official cattle drive, that meant several players ended up taking on the role of the cows.
In order to make the sale of four cows and a bull from Emerald to McFarlane ranch feel more legitimate and special, members of the server roleplayed driving them from the sellers to the buyers. According to the participants, mods on the server allow for players to own cattle, but if they'd simply been spawned in as NPCs, the bovines' AI wouldn't have let players give them commands or herd them properly. So the role of cattle fell to other players in the group, who didn't always take orders either.
"[The cow volunteers] did an incredible job regardless and didn’t make it easy on us," livestreamer "LtVictory" told Polygon after broadcasting the proceedings. "When they saw gaps in the horses, they attempted to escape many times." It sounds silly—and maybe it is—but gosh it sounds like these roleplayers really put their hearts into being proper cows.
It's not just the cattle that got rowdy either. At one point, a player decided to feed one of the cows peyote. Taking the job quite to heart, the player in the hooves of Sassy Cow decided to roll with the role of hallucinating heifer. Tragically, Sassy Cow hurled herself off a nearby cliff not just once, but twice, leading to her death. This may have been a roleplayed event, not a scripted one, but that sure does sound like the success rate of any given escort quest, doesn't it?
Somehow, that was barely the half of the hassle these ranchers faced. Their efforts were thrown offline thanks to a DDoS attack on the server. A thunderstorm spooked the bull. They even had to repair a fence upon arrival at their destination. You can watch the full event in LtVictory's livestream up above.
One roleplayer has catalogued the day's events in the Wild West RP's newspaper The Foster Papers, which includes a beautiful eulogy for Sassy Cow. She was only 22 in cow years, survived by her partner Bull Winkle and two sisters, Daisy and Ugly Winkle. May she moo in peace.