3 Thoughts From Wild West Online Early Access Alpha
Wild West Online turned on its 24/7 early access alpha earlier this month for founders. Any player that have bought a founders back is able to jump in and check out the new additions and improvements. Among the things added for the November alpha update were hundreds of new quests, public events and more guns. With that in mind, I jumped in to check these out and see if the state of the game is way better than it was in the technical alpha. Here’s what I’ve found.
#1 New ‘quests’ are terrible
Not wanting to just be a PvP game, WWO has taken feedback from players looking for PvE experiences. There was already activities in-game that caters to that play style. If you don’t want to get shot or be shot at, you can mine for gold and resources to make money or trade. Of course, that’s no guarantee that an Outlaw player will shoot you regardless. Therefore, to add more PvE content to the game, hundreds of quests are now available in-game. These can be found in major towns, and you’ll be able to pick em up from NPCs who have blue exclamation marks over their heads. They also offer quests and missions that scales with your level, to balance out the rewards which comes in the form of XP and cash.
The problem lies with the execution and quality of these quests. They’re incredibly dull, and can be anything from pick up 10x Sage Plants to fetching something halfway across the map, and then returning to the quest giver for paltry rewards. This isn’t fun, and quantity does not hide the game’s lack of quality in Wild West Online’s case.
#2 The best fun is still its sandbox good vs evil PvP
While quests and the PvE may be a disappointment right now in the alpha, the core game is definitely not. What is the core game? Wild West Online encourages sandbox PvP – players can take sides. Be a deputy sheriff and uphold the law or be a bandit and run riot. That’s still the most fun thing do to right now. It offers a lot of that familiarity that I’ve come to expect, and reminds of my time in Day Z.
One moment I could be stalking a known bandit on the map as a sheriff, and a gun fight ensues. Bandits or you could lose your stuff when you die, but that’s the risk you take. Admittedly, the core gameplay needs a lot of work. The kinks of the outlaw system isn’t really rewarding right now, because the developers are thinking of increasing the punishments for killing civilians. Whatever the outcome, this area of the game is what WWO needs to get absolutely right. In addition to that, animations for guns and shooting needs some major love right now.
#3 Environments look great, but towns are lifeless
Another key thing about the game – it’s presentation. The environments are crisp and clear this time around, and performance didn’t suffer unlike the last alpha. When you ride past canyons, hillsides and towns you definitely know you’re in the Wild West. But sadly, it doesn’t feel like the Wild West. In towns devoid of players, the feeling of being in a ghost town is hard to overcome. There’s just no life in areas where you expect things to be bustling. NPCs don’t move, there’s no wildlife in the game to make it feel alive, and saloons are so quiet, it’s jarring. Where’s the music, and dancing? Where’s the drunken slur of NPCs who’ve had too much to drink?
The current state of the world is so bland that it’s hard to spend any time in-game if your friends aren’t on. There’s just no attraction factor. With that said, remember the game is still in alpha, and all of these could be improved in time.