Wild West Online
Once upon a time in the west - but bad!
DEVELOPER DJ2 ENTERTAINMENT • P UBLISHER WWO PARTNERS • P RICE $ US29.99 • A VAILABLE AT STEAM www.playwwo.com
There’s just no easy way to say this, so I’m going to be blunt – VERY blunt.
Wild West Online – a game that I have really been looking forward to for some time – is just not very good.
Actually, wait, that’s not blunt enough. It is bad, and while I am sure that many people have put in a lot of work, the fact remains that this is a game that has no right being in full release at this point in time, with a price tag of $US29.99 on Steam.
They say “show, don’t tell” is the best way to tell a story, and while that’s a little hard to do in type, let me at least describe my first ten minutes in the game in brief: I could not find a quest giver, or literally anything to do. There was a faction reward waiting over a hill and some walk away, but here I was, in a dusty frontier town. I talked to the sheriff – surely he has work for me! No, just a badge. Okay, I’ll go fight crime, but given I cannot find or even see another living soul, I wonder if this game is some kind of strange purgatory – like, an unofficial sequel to some other Western, where if you die this is the semi-hell you end up in. I walk into the saloon, and the general store, and while there is stuff to buy – for instance, I start the game with a pistol, but no ammunition, which seems an oversight – something starts to become apparent.
These guys really, REALLY want my money. Not the in-game currency, which soon starts to disappear, but real dosh, and right now. Want a better gun? You better level, and you can level faster if you… SPEND MONEY. Want better clothes? You can SPEND MONEY for that.
Hell, character creation is so dreadfully locked down and I can’t even play as a woman. It’s locked… no doubt unless I SPEND SOME FUCKING MONEY.
But hey, some of my favourite games are built around this model, and I’ve certainly dropped enough dosh in World of Tanks or even in PUBG (look, I REALLY wanted those particular pants, okay), that I figured the game may still be playable on the cheap.
So I keep exploring the starting town, hoping for… a quest? Someone to talk to that isn’t trying to make me spend my next month’s rent money? A random animal to shoot for fun? I check out the map, and there’s a farm nearby, so I head to that.
HOLY SHIT, GUYS, A QUEST! Of course, it’s just one – in World of Warcraft I’d be on my fifth batch of dead things and fetch quests by now – and yes, it’s a quest to kill some beavers (really, beavers?!), and bring this dude back the pelts. He even gives you a trap to catch them. But there is also a catch to the catching of these elusive and apparently offensive beavers.
The traps also catch other random things, based on a timer. Now, I should point out that I couldn’t even work out how to deploy the damn thing, but someone could, as there were others around, and you could wait for them to tick over and provide you with your loot. So I opened one up and… squirrel meat? A prairie-lion skin? Beaver meat? The fuck meat?
Because yes, of course the traps produce random loot. This is what passes for ‘content’ in this damned game, waiting for invisible animals to
So I opened one up and… squirrel meat? A prairie-lion skin? Beaver meat?
walk into your alarm-clock trap, and neatly expire.
I guess that explains why the entire farm was littered with squirrel meat.
At this point, I realise that my earlier thoughts about the game being one big cash grab are confirmed. A level 25 player rides over the hill, and kills me with a single shot. The game can’t tell me where to find stuff to do, but it can proudly tell me that some guy with ‘penis’ in his name has shot me from 17 meters away. Good to know.
It’s at this point, going over the game’s Steam page to make sure it is in fact in full, retail release – and it is – that I noticed the game’s pivot. A few weeks before release it was still touting itself as a more rounded MMO, with PvE content, but now Wild West Online is purely open PvP multiplayer, built around timed events that players can fight over for one of two factions. So, essentially, if you don’t want to be one-shotted by ForeSkinGuy69 over and over again, you not only need to buy the game, but you need to buy into the monetisation to get yourself onto something close to an even playing field.
I don’t know how the game has gotten to this point, but essentially it really feels like someone’s pushed the game, turned it into a pay-to-win grief-fest, and hoped to recoup some of the losses from the game’s production. The sad thing is, I’m sure there are good people who really do need to make money back.
But I’m also sure you should stay away from this game with extreme prejudice. Frankly, I’ll be surprised if it lasts out the year, if that; which is a mighty big shame for a game that seemed like it had so much promise.