Wild West Online is a unique game, in that it is the only MMO I have done everything in. It’s also unique in that it only has about three hours of content, and one hour of that is waiting. The game has more issues than just a lack of content, but that is such a significant problem for a new MMO that I wanted to lead with it.
Amongst the features missing from Wild West Online are: Female Player character (the option is there but locked), in-game friend and clan options, quests worth doing, a tutorial, items that the game asks you for (the option is there but locked), item descriptions (many items have placeholder descriptions), wildlife, melee weapons, punishment for death, and a player-to-player trading system (the option is there but locked). To say that this game wasn’t ready to launch is an understatement, because that’s just a list of things that are missing.
In Wild West Online, you get to make a character - as long as you want to make one of four presets. Then, you have to choose from one of two factions, and my time with the game indicates you want to pick Steele since easily 80% of the population of the server seems to have picked that faction. From there, you’re dropped into a safe town somewhere in the very small map and told nothing. The game loads you in and has no tutorial, no quest markers, nothing that even tells you what to do.
I experienced a great bug when I first loaded in, where the camera wasn’t controlling the character’s rotation. This meant I couldn’t change the direction I was facing, so I dove into the key bindings to see if there was anything I could do to fix this. From here I discovered that there was a first person mode, and I was able to move around normally - switching in and out of first person mode also fixed the third person control. The key binding menu is a mess though, as it won’t let you rebind to something that’s already got a binding but it also doesn’t tell you what it’s already bound to. There’s also a whole set of keys bound to UI functions that literally don’t exist.
Getting around in Wild West Online is maybe the only enjoyable part of the game. The wilderness is almost beautiful, and from afar even the towns and farms are hauntingly stunning. The game misses a trick, since its day/night cycle switches so quickly it doesn’t have a sunset/sunrise. The biggest downside to getting around? If you stop and get off your horse to have a walk around, it will just cease to exist. If you press the call horse button, it will reappear - a minute away from you. The horse does just appear and disappear too, it doesn’t move at all if you aren’t riding it and it has no care for if anyone is looking at it when it does its magic trick.
So, what is there to do in Wild West Online? Well, the game is almost entirely PvP battles over the towns. Each team must accrue 250 points to win control of the town, and do this by killing enemy players or stealing the town’s riches. These battles are exceptionally one sided due to the aforementioned unbalanced team size and the fact that the game advertises across the whole server that these fights are taking place and gives quick travel to anyone not nearby. It kind of has to, because otherwise nobody would show up, and when nobody from the enemy team shows up it is ridiculously dull.
The other PvP scenarios involve randomly spawning crashed stage coaches, or air balloons coming to the ground or a bank heist. These are random areas somewhere out in the wilderness that are entirely about killing other people. I think there’s an objective but the scenarios have ended before I’ve actually seen what that is supposed to be. You can teleport to the crashed stage coaches, but not to the crashed air balloons and bank heist. I’ve been close enough to see a few air balloons go down, but that seems to be first-come-first-served. I’ve never gotten close to a bank heist before it despawns.
The PvP combat is generally rather disappointing since it takes two or three shots to outright kill someone, headshots don’t seem to do any additional damage and you only get a reward if you land the killing blow. The reward is anything up to five experience points per kill, depending on your target’s fame, so it is effectively worth nothing - it takes thousands to level up. The worst thing about the combat is the bleeding damage. Getting shot naturally makes you begin to bleed, but you lose a significant amount of health while you are bleeding and you’ll more often than not just bleed out. This doesn’t give anyone a kill, and on several occasions I’ve bled out and been told that I had died by suicide.
To counteract the bleeding, you have to go into your inventory and switch to the health items tab, right click bandages and wait for a couple seconds. This takes about ten seconds, in which you can’t move, look around or defend yourself in any way. Therefore, you have to either die from blood loss or give someone else a chance to finish you off. This is generally a problem with the inventory system, especially since there are two of them. The main inventory is the only way to access health items and you can equip weapons and tools, but not deployables. The way you access these is through the second inventory menu, which takes the shape of a weapon wheel with multiple layers. You also can’t move while using this weapon wheel, but it is a little easier than opening the inventory.
The deployables - or should I say deployable since there is only one in the game as of writing - are very annoying. The one in the game so far is an animal trap, which is probably confusing since before I told you that there was no wildlife in the game. That is still true, as all the animal trap does is wait for around a minute and then randomly spawn one item. The traps only last for ten minutes before they despawn, and that timer isn’t related to the progress of the item spawning. I lost three items ready to be collected as the traps despawned during the collection animation.
In the launch post, it was claimed that Wild West Online would have more PvE missions, but these consist of fetch quests for NPCs at the farm houses, and the reward for them is almost not worth it. This is a consistent theme that runs through Wild West Online, since everything mechanical is locked behind high level caps that would require days worth of play to get and everything cosmetic is locked behind microtransactions. There’s nothing that makes you want to level up because leveling up is such a chore.
There’s a crafting system, but it’s also arbitrarily locked behind levels and you can’t craft anything useful until you’ve reached at least level 20. The recipes I was able to craft didn’t give me any experience and the items I was able to craft were for stamina refills, which are useless because the bar refills as fast as it takes to open the inventory and eat any food. The only thing that really uses the stamina bar is mining, an action that isn’t economically viable and mostly useless until the later levels. Gold chunks sold for less than animal skins, and the animal skins were easier to get so I don’t see a reason to mine at all. I’d recommend against picking up any crafting items before you can use them too as they take up an inventory slot and you only have about five of those spare once you have all the things you have to carry around.
None of this even begins to talk about the game’s performance. Generally, it runs pretty smoothly even when there are a lot of players in one area, but I’ve seen a lot of bugs. I’ve seen dead players fly away with their model glitching and distorting erratically. I’ve been in a town fight where nobody was there yet both sides were earning points. On a half dozen occasions, my connection to the server has become unstable leading to a total disconnect on two instances.
Wild West Online is a framework for a potentially interesting PvP MMO, and nothing more. It needs so much more work and that they are selling this for £30 is outrageous. From performance to content, and from the leveling scale to the reliance on microtransactions someone in developers WWO Partners should have realised that this wasn’t ready to go. Hold off on buying this game to see if they add in more things to do, because right now this is a raw egg being sold as an omlette.
Wild West Online (Reviewed on Windows)
The game is unenjoyable, but it works.
The contentless husk of an MMO with uninteresting mechanics and a progression system with no rewards.