Since launching in 2018 alongside Red Dead Redemption 2, Red Dead Online has felt like the outcast in Rockstar’s family. It doesn’t get nearly as much attention as GTA Online, nor does it receive the same type of content drops, and its player base certainly isn’t as large. But with a new update coming for the game that will add more content for every player, it’s worth wondering if now is a good time to finally get into Red Dead Online.
If you’re an old returning player (like I often am), Red Dead Online has pretty much never been better. The game has received updates that, although sparse, have added more content. Beyond simple story missions, you can pick up various roles that add more depth to Red Dead Online‘s five states. Three other Telegram Missions have also been added, with the promise that more are on the way. Red Dead Online has even gotten more matchmaking content, although it’s still nowhere near as thrilling as GTA Online‘s stunt races.
For new players, the story’s a bit different. Red Dead Online‘s early game isn’t nearly as exciting as GTA Online‘s. In GTA Online, you can still steal a plane, drive a fast car, or participate in small-scale robberies. Red Dead Online‘s early game is tethered to its story missions, which are pretty lackluster and bare-bones. Worst of all, they don’t get you much money.
Making money in Red Dead Online‘s current state requires two things: Time and gold bars. The latter is the game’s premium currency, which players can slowly build up by completing challenges every day or finding treasure marked on treasure maps. You don’t earn full gold bars at a time, though, with gold nuggets, or 0.1 gold bars, being paid out. That makes the process of earning enough to buy your way into Red Dead Online‘s interesting and moneymaking content a bit of a slog.
Most of Red Dead Online‘s content is found in its roles, which have players take on various professions around the West. However, even these jobs are a mixed bag, with some receiving updates from Rockstar and others remaining unchanged from their release. The most interesting role by far is the bounty hunter, which lets players tackle some of the game’s more interesting PvE missions. The bounty hunter role is so popular that Rockstar added an extra 10 ranks to the role, along with some extra legendary bounties.
Outside of bounty hunting, players can be a trader, which revolves around hunting, a naturalist or nature watcher, a collector who scans the West with a metal detector, or a moonshiner, which is one of the slowest roles in the game to make money with. It may seem like I’m saying these roles are all pretty boring, but they’re not. They all have their upsides and their downsides, but each makes the game more interesting than it would be without them.
Now, a ton of new content is heading to Red Dead Online with its upcoming Blood Money update. On July 13, players will be able to start working in organized crime, just with an Old West twist. It’s not clear what players can expect in terms of a payout from this role yet, but if Blood Money is full of free, PvE content, it’s sure to be a great addition to the game.
Red Dead Online hasn’t really gained any footing since its release, but with Blood Money arriving soon, it feels like 2021 might be the year that all changes. The game still needs a lot more content to be a competent live-service game, but at this point, things are looking up for Rockstar’s black sheep.