The developers of the upcoming MMO Wild West Online have revealed more details regarding how the game’s PvP will work, with the game set to introduce a Wanted system similar to the Grand Theft Auto series, along with offering unrestricted but punishable player killing.
Developers 612 Games noted that they wanted the game’s PvP to “remove the griefing atmosphere that plagues a lot of open world games,” but still ensure that it would not be restricted to designated areas, as is typically the case with MMOs. They will attempt to do so by introduction both a Fame System and a Reputation Score, which they hope will keep players in check while also affording them the opportunity to kill other players anywhere within the game world.
The Reputation Score runs from negative 1000 to positive 1000, with all players starting at a score of 0, or neutral. “Any player can choose to go down a dark criminal path, or work towards becoming a saint that represents peace, law and order,” 612 Games stated.
The Fame System will then reflect your status in Wild West Online and how other players perceive you, with each action you take in-game potentially increasing your Fame, garnering you a positive or negative reputation. You can earn Fame by performing good deeds or by way of criminal actions — for instance, if you rob a bank then your Fame will increase, though you’ll also bag yourself a negative Reputation on the way.
The developer added that the most noticeable affect of players’ Reputation and Fame will be how NPCs will react to them: “If you have a positive reputation and you’re famous, you may get a discount in stores in lawful towns, yet if you’re a famous bandit, you will not get a discount in lawful areas and will have to seek discounts in bandit controlled settlements.” The Reputation Score also determines the titles players will receive next to their handle, so if you play the game like a bad guy you’ll be given the moniker of Outlaw or Scoundrel, while good guys will be branded a Lawman or Sheriff.
Players will also be given the opportunity to become a Sheriff’s Deputy, which will allow them to uphold the law within the game’s world. “You’ll get a badge and a license to kill the ‘bandits’ that might be harassing the town,” 612 Games explained. “Beware, as a deputy you need to uphold the law and because of this attacking innocent civilians is HEAVILY penalized. Attempting to steal anything or shooting innocent civilians will result in not only your deputy status being revoked, but severe penalties to your reputation. Infractions that are bad enough will leave you marked as a most wanted player for others to hunt you down and claim your head.”
Sheriff’s Deputies will also be granted the ability to see each players’ Reputation Score by way of an icon that displays above their heads. If a player has a negative Reputation Score, then the Deputy can kill them without being penalized. Players can become a deputy either by way of completing a number of quests, or by buying their way into the role; this ensures that bandits can becomes deputies, too, though they’ll have to pay a hefty fee in order to do so.
If a player performs a criminal action, their Wanted status will also start to climb. “This status works similar to the games and others in that genre where doing bad things gets you an increasing immediate status effect that represent how “rogue” you are in the world,” the developer explained.
“Technically the most wanted status is not directly tied to your reputation, but if you have a large enough negative reputation, you’ll always have at least 1 star – i.e. permanent wanted status.”
A Wanted status can most easily be obtained by attacking another player before they’ve attacked you, though Bandits and Deputies can attack one other without incurring the status effect. It can also be obtained by way of performing “major illegal activities” such as robbing a bank or cracking a safe.
“Your most wanted status will fade over time, but it’s up to you to make sure you survive and other players don’t hunt you down in the meantime,” 612 Games added.
“When you have most wanted status, Deputies and Sheriffs will see you as a marked player and your name and location will go into the most wanted list. When this happens, eve regular players will be able to claim a bounty on your head. If you enter a lawful town you’ll have an icon over the top of your head and other players can and will kill you.”
The developer also revealed that there will be safe zones in which players can attack lawmen and neutrals without it affecting their Wanted status, similar to how PvP zones operate in standard MMO games. Though dying as a Most Wanted player will cause you to lose all of the items you’re carrying, it can also be a lucrative endeavor, provided that the player is cautious.
The Wanted status can also be reduced by praying in a church, though players with a high Wanted rating will need to visit multiple churches.
612 Games’ ultimate goal is to create a balance between risk and reward in Wild West Online that will allow players to “grief” one another, but also put systems in place that will punish them heavily for doing so. It certainly sounds like a reasonable compromise, though it remains to be seen how it will work in practice. The game is set to launch in December 2017, with a closed alpha scheduled to take place at some point this summer.