Wild West On­line

Once upon a time in the west - but bad!

PCPOWERPLAY - - Contents - DAVID HOLLING­WORTH

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.

“Hank?” “Yeah?” “This game re­ally sucks.”

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