Red Dead Online has received countless updates in the last several years as its player base has grown, seeing numerous positive changes take place.
By Kayleena Pierce-Bohen
Published 1 hour ago
Fans of the massively popular?Red Dead Redemption?got to take the wild frontier of cattle rustling, train robbing and gunslinging to the digital frontier when Red Dead Online (RDO) was unveiled for console and PC in 2019. Originally an online component of?Red Dead Redemption 2,?it’s since blossomed into something far more expansive with each new change from Rockstar Games.
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The multiplayer action-adventure game has received countless updates in the last several years as its player base has grown, and fans have demanded more accessible, functional, intuitive gameplay. Some of the updates haven’t been received well, with some of the best changes to RDO having happened early on in the game’s development,?but it remains an evolving immersive experience that?fans can only hope will?get better over time.
In the beta version of the game, a player was liable to?be minding their own business in town and be shot in the head before?getting to do anything interesting, either by another lone player or a trigger happy posse that decided to roll through and gun everyone down. It made the gaming experience frustrating and messy, until Rockstar started offering? “playstyles”.
By allowing players to toggle between Defensive or Offensive styles of gameplay from the player menu,?they could decide the type of game environment they wanted.?In Offensive style,?other offensive players were shown as increasingly hostile, as they racked up bounties and got into shoot-outs. A Defensive approach allowed for a more peaceful, laconic frontier experience where a player could explore their natural environment with far less trouble-making.
One of the biggest complaints fans have had about Red Dead Online is the fact that it’s a grindfest; it forces players to put in a lot of extra time on side quests for NPCs and?going after banal opportunities to unlock certain content, which after a time got incredibly discouraging and/or repetitive.?All that changed when Rockstar implemented weekly bonuses and rewards.
RDO wisely introduced weekly opportunities for fans to earn more loot, money, more weapons, and rank with things like double bounty rewards, triple XP, and fast travel, which not only helped make the game more interesting, but also ensured players would keep coming back for more.
One of the most well-received changes to RDO came in the form of Frontier Pursuits, featured in a prominent update that occurred within its first year. It added an entirely unique element to the online gaming experience, giving players the opportunity to choose a role that permitted them to engage in themed activities.
As a Bounty Hunter, a Collector, a Trader, a Naturalist, or a Moonshiner, players could follow different narrative paths, earn special rewards unique to each role, and unlock more abilities as they made their way through the game. For instance as a Moonshiner, a player could make money on the black market, build their own distillery, or open a saloon (which could even include a customized dance floor).
Like with many games promoting the high level of realism RDO aspires to, characters?could only carry so much on their horse, forcing players to cycle through their weapon wheel every time they wanted to use a specific killing device. For those who amassed a large amount of firepower in the game but came to rely on a few favorite guns in freeroam, they needed a way to preserve an arsenal without discarding anything.
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Rockstar then introduced the gun locker, which players could purchase to hold their weaponry and place in their camps. Some?specialists found it was necessary to hold rare items they didn’t want on their person, or anything they didn’t want to clutter up their wheel.
While it might have seemed like a small thing at first, when RDO debuted the ability to change a character’s appearance without a player having to reset their progress, it opened up a whole new level of customization to the game that helped players feel even more immersed in the world-building. Significantly altering a character’s appearance didn’t mean a point of no return.
Not only could players alter their appearance with limited and rare items, but they could maintain custom slots for each outfit, and the option of naming them based on fun or functionality.
The introduction of daily challenges and rewards was one of the many ways RDO did?a good job of rewarding its players for their longterm commitment, which might seem pandering to some, but not when the rewards changed based on whether or not the players were Traders, Collectors, Bounty Hunters, or a variety of other specialists.
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These little perks added up over time, and were sometimes linked to multiple reward offers in a single week, including double and triple RDO$, or certain discounts on purchasing items and abilities. It?added spontaneity and excitement to a player’s daily RDO routine.
The introduction of Legendary Bounties offered a compelling dynamic to the platform with a different unique bounty provided for bounty hunters, each with their own intricate backstory and mission that?resulted in special rewards. From characters like Barbarella Alcazar, to The Wolf Man, every bounty was different (and had different modes of difficulty).
Special rewards for Legendary Bounties changed based on whether or not the mark was brought in dead or alive, and at the same time bounty hunters sought them out, players?could also hunt and kill Legendary Animals.
RDO introduced battle-royale style events into its format to high praise, beginning with Gun Rush which, while a little flat, added an element of tension especially when players?had to their way out of?danger. the showdown mode Last Stand improved upon the formula, adding closer quarters and tighter spaces to build urgency.
Showdown modes could also be imaginative, like?Fear of the Dark which involved players taking on Night Stalkers with supernatural abilities. Players had to weaken Night Stalkers by destroying their skull masks and then killing any remaining animals.
Originally free aim was a function only available for PC players, but by popular demand it go introduced to console players as well. By turning off aim assist in their settings, veteran players that wanted the authentic Wild West experience could be free from the ability to auto-lock onto opponents and targets.
By not relying on the auto-aim feature, these players weren’t surprised when some ability cards prevented them from locking onto anything they were shooting at.?Though some players would argue the?biggest reason of all was the significant XP boost they received for turning auto-aim off, thereby making clearing ranks faster, they couldn’t argue with the fun of being matched with other players in free aim lobbies.
Initially, Outlaw Passes were something to be embraced by players. Once active, these frontier battle passes tracked players’ XP as they went about activities and missions, and?while free, a premium option available offered other special rewards. With each Outlaw Pass, new layers were added to specialist roles, adding to the complexity of bounty hunting or trading wares.
Often, items unlocked during a particular run would become permanently unlocked for players, and they had the opportunity to shoot up the ranks with more gold, accessories, clothing, XP, and much more. Unfortunately, the latest Outlaw Pass has left fans underwhelmed with no role expansions and gimmicky items, limiting something that made RDO feel boundless.
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About The Author
(1154 Articles Published)
Kayleena has been raised on Star Wars and Indiana Jones from the crib. A film buff, she has a Western collection of 250+ titles and counting that she’s particularly proud of. When she isn’t writing for ScreenRant, CBR, or The Gamer, she’s working on her fiction novel, lifting weights, going to synthwave concerts, or cosplaying. With degrees in anthropology and archaeology, she plans to continue pretending to be Lara Croft as long as she can.
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