The Wild West RP server for Red Dead Online is a personal neighborhood with one rule: You have to keep in character. So it was very unusual for a lot of of these gamers when, on Tuesday, they’d to take an uncommon position — a swarm of cows. Much like the duvet of an Animorphs e book, a bunch of 5 cowboys reworked into bovines so they may participate in a grander story.

This is the story of the primary cattle switch on the Wild West RP server. The switch was a large effort to depict an precise bartering, begin to end, between two player-run companies. No cash modified fingers, however the gamers exchanged the cows for 30 burlap luggage of espresso beans and 4 musical devices.

Normally, locales in Red Dead Online are owned by NPCs who hand out a bunch of Rockstar-written and -programmed quests. On this personal server, player-owned and -operated firms declare landmarks across the map. Acting out their roles, these gamers set up buying and selling routes, make offers, and use customized instruments like shovels, axes, and loadable wagons to absolutely embody working a ranch within the Wild West. And ranchers all the time have cows, proper?

Red Dead Online - one player, as a cowboy, hands the cow an apple with the caption “gives apple.” Another player, in the role of a cow, eats the treat with the caption “Eats it.”

Image: Rockstar Games by way of LtVic

Under regular circumstances, Red Dead Online doesn’t permit you to personal or handle cattle, however mods make it doable on this server. When gamers determined to commerce their cows, they wanted to escort the animals from one ranch to one other in an attempt to make the transaction really feel genuine and everlasting. You may assume enjoying a cow in a online game is a humble activity, but it surely ended up taking these gamers hours to arrange and full.

Fans had to get wagons, weapons, and server workers to handle technical points, however extra curiously, they wanted volunteers to reject humanity and turn out to be cows. While mods make cow possession doable, gamers solely have a lot control. LtVictory, who performs Varun Torino on Wild West RP, instructed Polygon over Twitter, “The staff could not just spawn in cows as the cows would not follow or obey commands.”

Cowboys scouted forward to clear the commerce route of enemies for the player-controlled cows. The human gamers, with their two legs, opposable thumbs, and artifical instruments, have been tasked with ensuring the cow gamers made it safely from level A to level B, despite the fact that the cows … weren’t within the journey in any respect. “[The cow volunteers] did an incredible job regardless and didn’t make it easy on us,” mentioned LtVictory. “When they saw gaps in the horses, they attempted to escape many times.”

There are additionally in-game threats to fear about, like wild animals or hostile criminals. But the gamers on the server proved to be the most important risk. A participant who was feeling a bit rowdy gave one bovine named Sassy Cow some peyote. Sassy Cow’s participant determined to lean into the position of being a particularly excessive, confused cow, and ran off a cliff — twice. The second time proved deadly, and Sassy Cow had to be euthanized.

Other malicious events tried to sabotage your entire effort, too. While server administration had ready with DDoS safety, the saboteurs nonetheless managed to knock the server down with a disconnect. The group, cows and all, had to huddle round camp and wait for everybody to return. The journey dragged on lengthy sufficient {that a} storm descended on the gamers, and one participant who had taken the position of a bull began charging cowboys in a panic from lightning strikes and gunshots.

But regardless of this, LtVic thinks that the expertise was price all the effort. “It turned out into an even better RP scenario, so we had the unexpected camp interactions and had more time to interact with the cows and each other instead of just herding,” mentioned LtVic. “So thanks, DDOSers.”

This first cattle run is simply the beginning. Now that it’s been confirmed doable, the gamers will revisit the idea to attempt to refine and enhance the method. Not each downside was a DDoS or force-fed medicine. The journey ended unceremoniously. “When we got to the ranch, we had to finalize corralling them and locking up the gate,” mentioned LtVic. However, in doing so, they broke the fence — and the cows took their likelihood to flee. The hourslong journey ended with herding the cows once more, loading up a wagon with lumber, and rebuilding the fence.

Every participant logged off, relinquishing their cow vessels again to the usual AI. The wrestle alongside the way in which, from the tragic dying of Sassy Cow to the downtime spent huddled by a campfire, made the expertise all of the sweeter.