Date Posted: 2/02/20
Rockstar’s massive success with GTA Online led to the release of not only a sequel to Red Dead Redemption, namely...Red Redemption 2 but also a new open world sandbox for players to explore. However, unlike GTA Online which is set in the present day(ish) if you excuse the existence of flying cars and bikes, Red Dead Online is set in 1898, approximately one year before the events seen in the game.
I started adding additional updates to this page on 1/03/20 with the following:
Red Dead Online...Roles...
Red Dead Online...Connection Issues...
Red Dead Online...Naturalist Role and Outslaw Pass No. 3
Now truth be told GTA Online has become my unwindy game, changing the MTU settings means I can play in public lobbies almost always solo, and don’t have to worry about my grinding, or business sales being interrupted by online dickheads. I have bought every property, have dozens of cars of all varieties, and have amassed over $50,000,000 in game dollars without paying a penny for Shark Cards. But, I am also getting to point where I play for the sake of playing, it is a time killer more than anything else. Having purchased Red Dead Redemption 2 before Christmas I decided to work my way through the story and also try my hand at Red Dead Online.
I have barely scratched the surface of the main game and RD Online so this first article is more of a first impressions than anything else.
So, as Abbie hates the appearance of my GTA Online protagonist I allowed her to design my RD Online protagonist, who I have just decided I am going to call Doug. Like the GTA Online counterpart he is also a silent protagonist which possibly explains why he was unable to object when he is arrested for murder then sent to Sasika Penitentiary. Six months into the sentence, whilst awaiting execution and assigned to a work detail, the prison transport is intercepted by a group of well-armed men who free the prisoners. Doug is introduced to Horley, the man in charge of those who liberated the prisoners, and is escorted to Horley’s employer Jessica LeClerk.
It turns out that Doug was a fall guy and Jessica LeClerk’s husband was murdered by his former business associates. LeClerk knows that Doug is innocent and wants his help in gaining revenge over her husband’s killers.
At this point you are free to begin wandering the wilderness and are guided to a mission in which you must steal horses. This mission is the first I have encountered which is a compulsory coop so I had to reset my MTU settings so three others could join me. My group and I hightailed it over to the stables to steal a horse each before getting the hell out of dodge. As usual there was pretty much no cooperation between us, we ran into the ranch, shot a few NPCs then jumped onto a horse. I did not choose a particular horse, I just jumped onto the nearest one and raced off to finish the mission leaving the other three guys in my dust. Once Doug arrived at the stable he was inexplicably given the horse by the stable’s owner, after which I was able to rename him, give him a saddle, and other customisations. It is also possible to insure your horse, which works only slightly differently to GTA, if a vehicle is blown up you get a replacement. If your horse is injured then it doesn’t die, it is returned to a stable to recover from its injuries so you can use it once it is better.
I also acquired a camp at some point, which allows Doug to rest, tie up his horse and cannot be attacked by other players if it is flying a white flag which is nice. It can be upgraded which allows Doug to recover more stamina as Online has the same survival elements that the main game has. You need to eat and drink, plus have energy that wanes over time, so you need to keep an eye on your stats. How important they are I don’t yet know because I haven’t got to the point where they have run out yet.
Since then I have basically been wandering around trying to determine exactly what it is I am supposed to be doing. I imagine that trying to start GTA Online now would be a total mindfuck of different business, missions, heists and dickhead players attacking you at every step. RD Online seems to be trying to keep the focus a bit tighter, and whilst Doug can level up it seems that the level is capped at 100. So unlike GTA which allows players to presumably level up indefinitely, despite the fact that a player’s level doesn’t seem to matter for crap once you get past a certain point, everything in RD Online is building to that 100 level mark.
However, it seems that there are different levels with different professions and there is also almost a moral choice mechanic. Apparently your choices will reflect how you are seen by the authorities and others...but at this point that is as far as I have got. Similarly the four different professions: Bounty Hunter, Moonshiner, Collector and Trader all have levels and missions associated with them. The higher you are in that profession the more stuff you can unlock, and presumably the more money that you can make. I wondered if like GTA Online you buy a business then can pop back and forth between that and any others you own, but RD Online seems to want you to focus on one of the professions. Switching between them will slow down how fast you progress.
I think this could work as different players will be different which may encourage cooperation. Perhaps Collectors trade with Bounty Hunters. But as of writing I have barely started to get a grip with the game, and have heard that next week Bounty Hunter licences are going to be free so I’ll begin with that profession. The same Twitch Prime benefits that grant weekly bonuses in GTA also allow bonuses for RD Online so I will keep an eye on them as well.
Oh yes, I should probably mention that there is naturally currency in RD Online with both dollars and gold bars enabling you to buy stuff. Not sure how many dollars gets you a gold bar just yet, and I am not sure how long it takes to grind through different tasks to earn enough gold bars to buy licences, vehicles or buildings necessary to be one of the professions mentioned above.
If you are going to jump into the world of RD Online my starting advice would be twofold: one: tapping L1 draws and holsters your weapon because if your gun is out there seem to be about nine ways to fire it without wanting to, and two: remember that you are no longer playing GTA Online and your horse is not going to function in the same way as a car. That might sound obvious but in Los Santos if there is a mountain between you and where you need to be then you can happily race up one side and leap off the other not caring if your car ends up on its roof at the bottom because you can simply flip it back the right way up. The world of Red Dead Redemption and therefore Online is like Arizona and various other locations, therefore there are dozens of cliffs, hills, and uneven terrain that your horse will flatly refuse to ramp over no matter how fast you are tapping the X button to make it run at full speed towards it.
The game world also has animals in it that I’m sure serve a purpose that I will undoubtably learn more about as I get to grips with the game. Thus far I went on a mission to kill a wolf, I tracked it down, got mauled to death twice after my horse bucked me off, but I managed to kill it and returned its body for my reward.
Rockstar also seem to be trying to prevent the same level of griefing that plagues GTA Online as hostile players show up on your map in Red making it easier to avoid them. Personally the MTU settings seem to work just as well putting me in solo public lobbies so unless I have to interact with other players as I did in the tutorial then I will play alone for now.
So there you go, my initial impression of RD Online, undoubtedly this will be the first of many articles about the game so I will hold off on giving a Thumb and an out of 10 rating.
If you have Red Redemption 2 then you might as well give RD Online a go because it comes free with the main game. I am going to work through the main game as well, so at some point I will do a review of that too, just as I did for GTA 5.
Date Posted: 1/03/20
Unlike my updates and rants regarding GTA Online which were a bit of a mish-mash of different experiences between sometimes lengthy gaps logging on and new updates coming out. I am going to try and do something a little more structured with my Red Dead Online articles and try to make sure that each one is focussed on a particular feature or update that has been added.
So as of 02/02/20 I have been playing Red Dead Online with increasing frequency, and I did get the Bounty Hunter License for free thanks to my Twitch Prime link to my Rockstar Social account. In addition, as I had also collected all of the playing cards in GTA Online when the Casino DLC dropped I was also able to claim the Collector’s Bag for free. Both of these Roles would have set me back 15 Gold Bars a piece. There were two remaining Roles, Moonshiner and Trader. Moonshiner was the one I had my eye on because I figured it would be like a lot of the businesses in GTA Online either retrieving supplies like the Biker or Bunker Business, or collecting smaller value products and selling them when you have collected enough like the CEO Crates.
As I have been playing the game I have more of an understanding about what I am supposed to be doing so I am going to break down each of the roles to give my opinions on them all, beginning with the Bounty Hunter.
However, before I do that let me just explain that each of the roles has 20 levels, 1-5 Novice, 6-10 Promising, 11-15 Established and 16-20 Distinguished. Each level will unlock something, generally tokens which allow you to unlock saddles or items specific to that role, whilst upgrading from one category to the next unlocks a range of items that you can buy at any level in that Category. For example, once you have become a Promising Collector you will be able to unlock a lamp that attaches to your horse’s breast plate or a new theme for your camp, but you can only unlock a specific duel handed pistol twirl trick when you reach Bounty Hunter level 20.
Right, hopefully now that is a smidge clearer, lets crack on...
To be honest I figured that this would be the direction that I would want to take regardless of the fact it happened to be free a week after me starting the game. Hunting down NPC targets and delivering them to various jails or prison wagons around the map is just the kind of solo-friendly activity that I like. Initially the missions involve going to a hide-out or ambushing a caravan generally killing all of the guarding NPCs, hogtieing your target, putting them on your horse and returning to the nearest sheriff’s office. If the target is alive you get more money than if they are dead. I have read that like GTA Online if you complete these missions too fast then you don’t get a much of a reward as you would if they had taken you longer. I have hung around outside the jail once or twice allowing the timer to tick down but I cannot say I really noticed any difference between handing in a target with 10 seconds to spare and one with 10 minutes to spare.
Sometimes your target would run and you’d need to chase them down or risk them escaping and the mission failing. If you get killed more often than not that it an instant failure as your target gets away. However as you progress through the Categories and ranks the missions do become harder and more varied. Sometimes you might have to go to a specific area and track clues to hunt down your target, at other times your target might reach a hideout before you catch up to them and dig in rather than flee. In those instances you can die and they will not run so it gives you a chance to catch them but naturally it means taking on a dozen or more armed men who will happily die for the degenerate criminal you are hunting.
As you gain higher levels you gain the ability to see your targets glowing red when in Eagle Eye and later still track them. It really makes you feel like you are honing your skills and are not the same as you were when you decided to begin you bounty hunting lifestyle
My two top tips for Bounty Hunting would be these:
One: buy yourself the prison wagon because whilst it is expensive it will enable you to undertake bounties that have two, four or possibly even six targets (although as of yet I haven’t attempted a six person Bounty solo) and once each target is stowed in the back of the wagon they cannot escape. Once they are delivered you get a pretty hefty reward especially if all of them are captured alive. The wagon can be summoned when you want it and dismissed when you are done. You cannot have an active horse and the bounty wagon active at the same time.
Two: Get the reinforced lasso. After you have hogtied a target and likely slaughtered all of the people guarding them, like me you might go around and loot their corpses for anything that might be useful. Unfortunately whilst you are doing this it is possible for your target to wriggle free of their bonds and flee. This can also happen if they are on the back of your horse, the game prompts you to hit them as you are riding along but if you don’t, they can jump off and you must go after them again. Sometimes you will be fleeing pursuers and it is rather galling to have your target jump off your horse and you having to turn around to catch them again whilst fighting off anyone chasing you. Admittedly I did get a little complacent when I purchased the reinforced lasso and assumed that once a target was tied up with it then they could not escape. This proved not to be the case and because at the time I was gunning down legions of men who kept spawning so didn’t notice my target escaping. If targets scatter it is unlikely that you’ll be able to capture them all, so you might be better off killing them than trying to round them up like cattle.
If you put your target in the prison wagon though, you can piss about in the world as much as you want and they will never break out. Just remember that the wagon is slower than a horse and can get caught up on terrain which is very frustrating (and happened to me the first time I tried to use it) if you take it off road. Plus be warned when you buy anything in Red Dead Online you need to spend an additional $125 on insurance, this counts for both wagons and horses, it basically means if something happens you get the vehicle back or the horse doesn’t die. So always factor in an additional amount as you will definitely want to buy the insurance to protect your investment from disappearing into the ether if something unexpected happens.
One thing that you need to be aware of is the time limit that each mission has. Typically with missions like this there is a timer and generally you travel to the general vicinity of your target/s and the timer will begin. What I don’t really understand though is why the timer remains after you have captured or killed the target. More often than not you deliver bounties to a jail or prison wagon, so I don’t really understand why you fail if the timer runs out. Does the jail refuse to take the target if it is out of office hours?? Doubtful as the offices are never closed. Do the prison wagon drivers get scared being out in the wilderness and head for home when they lose their nerve?? Possibly. I get that the timer is for gaming reasons but like deliveries in GTA Online there is no context for why the mission can fail after you have captured or killed the bounty target.
I quickly decided that my first horse Wood-Chuck would not be suitable for my life as a bounty hunter so I purchased a Breton breed and named him Hercules. The game informed me that this breed was favoured by Bounty Hunters, although, I later discovered that as you progress through the ranks you get access to higher level horses with better speed, acceleration and stamina. If I’d known that I would have probably waited and gotten the best bounty hunting horse in the game. Still, that being said, Hercules seems to do the job just fine and together we have tracked down many a bounty so I don’t really see the point of buying another of the same breed just because they might be a little faster or have a bit more endurance.
Admittedly Hercules is a horse and will flee if he is getting shot at, or buck me off if he is startled by a dangerous animal like an alligator, mountain lion or rattlesnake. Whilst this is probably what a real horse would do, it is pretty irritating to be racing back towards him with my captured target over my shoulder, bullets fizzing all around me, only for my noble steed to get scared and run off. Or for him to buck me off and hightail it for the horizon leaving me to tackle an angry cougar that has decided it fancies me for dinner.
Being a Bounty Hunter can be frustrating as I discovered when trying to do some of the Legendary Bounties but it is easily more fun than annoying. There is only a cool down timer between the Legendary Bounties which are separate missions but not on the random ones you can pick up from the dozen bounty boards littered around the map. Most can be completed in less than ten minutes so they are a decent way of making Gold relatively quickly. You get Gold Nuggets for each Bounty which are only small potatoes but those potatoes quickly get bigger if you're doing one Bounty after another in rapid succession.
So we go from a fast way and a fairly chaotic profession to the other end of the scale. In order to become a collector you must track down Madam Nazar, who travels around the map being in a different location every day. There are websites which show where she is if you don’t come across her on your own. If you find her and purchase (or claim it free like I did) the Collector’s bag you can begin the life of the Collector.
Essentially you must travel around the map finding different objects which range from Tarot cards, to items of jewellery, rare bottles as well as flowers and plants. Naturally you can buy maps from Madam Nazar to help you in your quest. These maps will generally just involve a large yellow splodge in an area of the map that you must go to and search. When you get your bag she gives you a couple of these maps for free but the rest you must purchase, the splodge disappears once you have collected everything in that area. You can only have one map open at once so if you have a treasure map then it will be disregarded if you open another one, and you can’t get the first back, as a result you need to be careful about just disregarding maps. It makes me wonder why there was not a mechanic to just switch between maps.
I must admit that after I had used the first maps I got for free I have found a lot of the items I have needed just being out in the world and keeping my eyes open. Similarly to the Bounty Hunter targets which glow red when I’m in Eagle Eye, Collectables glow yellow with a Christmas tree-like aura above them which makes tracking them down from a distance rather easy. Once you get close enough though that aura vanishes but the controller very helpfully vibrates like a pulse becoming more violent the closer to get to the Collectable. As a result I will quite often be riding around going to or from a Bounty or just travelling around the map, keep my Eagle Eye on and spot a collectable or feel my controller begin to vibrate which allows me to hone in on the object Madam Nazar wants.
I haven’t fully completed a collection yet but you get more money for sending her complete collections rather than bits of them, and as I am in no hurry I am just gathering them where I find them.
However that being said I did decide to just sell what I had and easily made over $1,500 selling what I had accumulated. I did not have any complete collections but as I had collected loads of rare bottles and Tarot Cards of the same type I was able to sell them for decent monies, however as far as I am aware you only get money.
Gold is still an important part of the game so whilst you can buy a lot of items for good old fashioned money there are things that you can only buy with Gold Bars. Still as the majority of items can be purchased with dollars the Collector Role will easily give you a means of buying all the expensive camp upgrades as you level up through the game's Ranks.
Plus similarly to finding Madam Nazar herself, there are websites which show where objects are around the map. My advice is though, at least approach every building that is off the beaten track because they quite often have something of value there. If they do the controller will vibrate, if not, it won’t so keep on going. Plus having the Eagle Eye on allows you to spot the majority of these items from a mile off so it doesn’t hurt to ride around flicking that on and off whilst taking a look at your surroundings.
As I continue to play the game and start having money that I can spend on general items rather than saving for specific things as I am doing now. I have invested in a metal detector and a shovel (when they were on sale) which will enable me to track down more valuable Collectables that are buried.
I did also buy a couple of maps, sadly whilst they will take you to different locations they don’t necessary take you to the specific item you want. I have 7/9 rare bottles so figured if I buy a map I could finish the collection and get the money for them. Sadly the map led me to bottles I already had so in the end the maps proved to be pretty useless and a waste of money. I might just stick with wandering in the map keeping my eyes open and feeling for the controller vibrate, or just look up where the collectables are on the internet.
So as of last week the Moonshiner shacks were all on sale. It seems that new content drops on a Thursday in GTA but on a Tuesday in Red Dead Online. I decided that the Moonshiner shack might be the thing that I am missing most from playing GTA to playing Red Dead, specifically a stable location in the world.
Okay, now I get that Red Dead Online is all about being in the wilderness and travelling around, pitching your camp wherever you want, or at least in the pre-existing locations Rockstar created but in GTA you can chose where you want to spawn when you begin a session. That could be in an apartment, your casino penthouse, your office, your bunker and so on which meant that you knew where you were in relation to everything else when you begin. In Red Dead if you chose to spawn in Freeroam you end up somewhere around the area you were in when you quit previously, and if you chose to spawn at your camp, then that will be in the general area your camp was but might be somewhere different. As a result the first thing I do after loading up the game is open the map to see where the cocking hell I am in relation to everything else.
Owning a business that stayed in one place appealed because I thought it would give me the option of beginning in the same place every time if I wanted to.
Now unlike the Bounty Hunter or Collector Roles which could be unlocked as soon as you saw the Bounty Hunter cut-scene or found Madam Nazar, the Moonshiner could only be unlocked when you reached rank 5 of the Trader role or helped a Trader with a sale mission. I had done neither of those things so the Moonshiner mission was locked off. Initially I was quite irritated as I did not want to do the Trader Role and did not want to waste gold buying the Butcher table for my camp if I had no intention of ever doing it. Anyway, long story, shorter, I discovered that you could unlock the Moonshiner option with Gold which bypassed the need for the Trader but still meant that the shack had to be purchased. The shacks were on sale and as I had the gold I did just that, bypassing the Trader Role. I chose my shack, picking one out in the mountains away from the main cities in the hopes that I would not encounter problems from other players. I headed to my newly purchased property and did some set up missions much like the business set-ups in GTA and started producing Moonshine.
Half an hour later I had a batch to sell which went reasonably well and I was awarded $37.5 for my sale. Not bad going I thought. Then as I looked into things more deeply I realised that if I flavoured the moonshine then its value would increase. Sadly I lacked the ingredients necessary for the flavouring so just made another batch of the regular weak kind. Again thirty minutes later it was ready but this time I attempted to circle around some customs NPCs and ended up crashing my wagon down a hill where all of my moonshine was lost. I set the brewing process off once again...later my wagon got stuck between two trees when trying to turn around. I couldn’t un-jam it so that mission failed and I lost the Moonshine. If your wagon touches anything on its route to the buyer then a bottle will break and as my shack is out in the mountains where the tracks are windy and rocky, I have yet to make a complete delivery to a buyer.
Now whilst the Bounty Hunter featured the Legendary Bounties, the Moonshiner has a series of story missions with them. I figured that they might be good to help me rank up so I have begun working through them, unfortunately they have basically just descended into one gun fight after another. Perhaps they are designed to be played with friends but I play solo and putting me up against an army of NPCs armed with rifles, shotguns that never miss (naturally) and machine guns is just unfair. Also one of the missions I did today involved me sneaking into a rival operation and poisoning their moonshine. Poisoning grog in Shadow of Mordor or Shadow of War could be tricky but as the game has actual stealth mechanics it was possible.
As far as I can tell Red Dead Online has NO stealth mechanics whatsoever. On your in game radar enemies show up as red dots, and they have a tiny visibility cone which presumably indicates which direction they are looking. Unfortunately they all have binocular vision and can pick Doug out crouch-walking from a hundred yards away. Perhaps they are all Bounty Hunters and also have the Eagle Eye which makes their targets (me) glow red because it is the only reason I can think of why one spots you and instantly every enemy knows where you are seconds before opening fire.
I didn’t get anywhere near poisoning any of the moonshine because I was instantly spotted, Rockstar games have never had good stealth mechanics but tell me game how am I supposed to be stealthy when I get spotted the second I get within a mile of the camp?? As a result the moment I was spotted a message flashed up telling me that I wouldn’t be getting the full reward because I couldn’t even sneak my way into a heavily guarded camp and poison barrels without an army of men and their guard dogs spotting me so as a result the game was keeping some of my experience points and money for itself.
I was hoping that the Moonshiner business would be a good way to make money but so far it appears to be a bit of a waste of time. I wanted to get the bar upgrade but according to posts on the internet the bar doesn’t actually give you money, it isn’t a passive income, it is there just for the sake of it. Likewise there are two still upgrades which give you medium and then strong moonshine, but the strong doesn’t supersede the medium, which means you need to spend $850 on the medium still and another $850 on the next one.
Bounty Hunting has given me decent levels of Gold, the Collector has given me good money despite the fact I haven’t sold a complete collection yet, only bits and pieces of complete sets. But the Moonshiner is proving to be something of a disappointment and to make things worse you don’t have the option of spawning at your shack.
Ironically, it was only when I was messing around in the wilderness that I realised my mistake in choosing to skip the final Role, the Trader.
Doug and Hercules both have cores that keep them healthy. If their health core is low then they don’t heal from injuries very quickly, and if their stamina cores are low then they will get tired faster. These cores are managed by resting at camp, and eating different foods. I have been tending to favour lassoing deer or elk from horseback and going over to kill them with a knife to the throat. Skinning them gives you a pelt that can be sold for cash at the Butchers plus meat that can been cooked plain or seasoned with different wild herbs to help boost cores.
Moments after I had killed a ram I wondered what would happen if I took the entire carcass to a butcher rather than just the skin. I loaded my prize onto Hercules and headed into town where I was given $4.50 for my kill which was pretty good considering the ease with which I had been able to kill the animal.
My Gold level was high enough so I decided to set up my camp and buy the butcher’s table. I attempted to set up my camp, which I wasn’t able to do for some reason, honestly I have had real problems trying to deploy my camp in a new location recently. So after opening a new session choosing to spawn at camp I marched over to Cripps and purchased the Butcher Table...
Similarly to the Moonshiner Role, I was given the task of retrieving some essential supplies and then Cripps told me that I need to go hunting to bring him the supplies he needs...
As of 22/02/20 that was as far as I had gotten.
The date is now 29/02/20 – Happy leap year by the way – and I have been trying my hand at the Trader option. Cripps turns raw materials into goods that can then be sold. The bench comes with a small delivery wagon that can carry 25 items to be sold, medium can carry 50, and the large 100. The Butcher can have a maximum amount of supplies of 100. I have done a handful of delivery missions and on my first two ran into issues.
Unlike GTA Online Rockstar seems to be trying to limit the level of griefing in Red Dead Online and hostile players show up red on your radar from a long distance away so you can avoid them. However, on my first delivery I was attacked by another player, my wagon is not exactly speedy and he killed me. I respawned on Hercules a fucking mile away from where I had been killed and raced to recover my cargo. I caught up and emptied a half dozen shotgun shells into the hijacker’s face, but nothing happened, he did not die and instead managed to kill me again. I tried to catch him but every time he shrugged off my shots but was able to kill me with a single bullet. I didn’t catch up and he presumably managed to sell my cargo, but bizarrely when I went back to camp, I had lost virtually no supplies.
I tried again and this time when I arrived at my destination there was another player there attacking the NPCs that had spawned to ambush me. He blew up my wagon but yet again when I returned to camp, my stock didn’t seem to have taken a hit on stuff to be sold.
Subsequent sales have been successful and I have made a bit of money which is good, but nothing like the amounts I would make if I just spent my time roaming the map finding collactables and selling them to Madam Nazar.
Honestly though I am struggling to keep Cripps supplied with donations. There are missions to recover supplies but they generally seem to be black out so I am unable to start them. I have done some reading up on the internet and you need to hunt Perfect carcasses and pelts to keep him supplied. But at the moment my attempts to hunt down animals have resulted in failure because I can’t get close enough to any animals to see if they are in Prime condition or not. Running them down, lassoing them and then knifing them to death doesn’t reap the best rewards because the Hunting mini-game also means killing animals using a particular method so as not to damage the carcass. It seems I need a pair of binoculars but I currently haven’t got any. I am saving up to get the Collector binoculars which are also on sale this week as I figured I could probably kill two birds with one stone and buy those so I can spot Collectable but also use them when hunting.
1/3/20 – I have bought the Collector’s binoculars which have enabled me to get better at hunting different animals. Basically you use them to spot different animals and they will give you information regarding the quality of the hide and the best method to kill them without damaging them. It seems that a lot of them need to be shot with a rifle, and as I am not level 50 yet, I cannot buy the best rifle the game has to offer. I will keep levelling up though, and once I reach 50 I will buy the rifle then my hunting should become more profitable. I will also get the Hunting wagon at some point because you can put several carcasses and pelts in the back which should keep Cripps supplied. It also saves any animals you put into it, so if the game crashes, you don’t lose your kills as you do if they are only stored on your horse.
I haven't tried trying to put carcasses in my Bounty Wagon yet because I seriously doubt that it would be multi-purpose. After all why would a wagon capable of securely holding up to six hardened criminals possibly be able to fill the duel role of somewhere to sling dead animal pelts or carcasses then delivering them to my camp??
Can you feel the sarcasm oozing from my words...???
Leveling up is harder with the Trader and Moonshiner so unlike the Bounty Hunter and Collector (both of which I reached Level 20 very quickly) I am struggling to unlock the higher tier items. Still, as I have pretty much decided that Moonshiner is a waste of time I am using the Trader role as a way of breaking up the endless hunt for the respawning Collectables or Bounties. Apparently though, you get the same amount of XP for a Trader delivery regardless of how much you actually deliver, so bizarrely you get the same amount for selling a single item as you would for a wagon full. If that is true then I'll start selling items one at a time just to help me max out the role as fast as possible in order to unlock the best stuff it has to offer.
So those are the four roles and how far I have gotten with each of them. If I’d have started the game now and not been sure what to spend my gold on, it would be the Bounty Hunter license because that has been the main method that has secured me enough Gold to buy the Moonshiner shack, and Butcher’s bench. If you like solo-friendly activities then my advice would be to begin with that Role first. Collectors earn a lot of dollars but crucially not Gold which is why I recommend Bounty Hunting as a means of earning Gold and Dollars before getting the Collector next.
Okay, now whilst I have you here there are a couple of other things that I would like to talk about was well.
By the way, Red Dead has a series of Ranks and you Rank up in Level seperately to levelling up in Role Ranks. I am currently a Level 20 Rank in Collector and Bounty Hunter but have only hit a player Rank Level of 42. Like GTA your Rank only matters up to a certain point and once you hit 100, higher ranks mean nothing because by then you will have unlocked everything you can possibly buy in the game including guns, horses and clothing.
Red Dead Online doesn’t seem to work if you try to change the MTU settings, and I am not really sure why. I have read on the internet that apparently Rockstar know that players use the MTU work around to avoid griefers in GTA Online and unofficially allow them to do so. However, in Red Dead because there are attempts to reduce griefing it seems that you can only load into full player lobbies. I have to say though, with the acceptation of a handful of instances, players here tend to leave one another alone. If a player attacks you and you press charges they can the authorities chasing after them. This has happened to me a couple of times when I have shot first as a red dotted player has approached. Generally though it is nice to be in a lobby without dickheads attacking me constantly and destroying my stuff when I’m just trying to play the game in peace.
I have taken to reading up on Doug’s progress through the use of the Red Dead Online section of the Rockstar Social Club and unlike my protagonist from GTA Online let’s call him Charlie, Doug’s stats are not so much of a cluster fuck. As I said Red Dead Online seems to be a more streamlined experience and having different horses for different roles serve an actual purpose instead of having a million supercars that are .3 of a second quicker than each other or whatever in GTA. However, each role has at least one unlock able that I want and can only get by pursuing the career path up to a minimum certain point. From the Collector Role I wanted the lantern that can be attached to your horses breast plate which was only available once you got above Rank 10 and became Established. From the Moonshiner I wanted to be able to upgrade my Shack to include a bar, then be able to make medium then strong moonshine. These were unlocked at Novice, Promising and Established (although admittedly I might not bother with them now at all). Finally I wanted the Hunting wagon from the Trader which again only becomes unlocked once you are Established because as I said I doubt I'll be able to use my Bounty Hunting wagon for hunting too. I’ll remind you that had I not gotten the Bounty Hunter and Collector’s Bag for free and purchased the Moonshiner shack when it was discounted then bought the Butcher’s bench just because I had the gold to spare, all of this would have cost me over a hundred gold bars. Plus each one of these items must be unlocked with tokens which you only get for ranking up in these Roles and then purchasing them with money.
I have had some issues with other players but by far the biggest problem that I have come across are the connection issues. In GTA Online I was able to play for hours without having any server or connection problems. In Red Dead Online I am lucky if I get a couple of hours without the connection dropping. I have had problems with connection reaching my ship before, however, now I have a phone which can be tethered to other devices. Sadly even using that my connection drops out. I have been about to finish missions, bounties, or even have decent carcasses on my horse and suddenly the connection drops out and I lose my progress. The bug that is causing this has apparently been in the game since the beta so it is a bit shit that I am unable to play a game because Rockstar’s servers are dodgy. I have been forced to restart the game numerous times when the Bounty boards won’t load up, or the game kicks me out without warning, and it is incredibly frustrating trying to accomplish objectives when the game abruptly crashes.
My final point is a suggestion for a possible update: Give players the ability to purchase properties around the map.
I would like to see this being added because it would be cool to own a ranch or a colonial mansion. The Red Dead Online map is huge and as the only means to get across it is literal horse power it takes a hell of a long time to travel across states unless you pay to Fast Travel. If there were ranches or other properties that players could own then it could be possible to fast travel between them. As I said above I do miss the stable spawn locations that players had in GTA Online, but this may have also been to do with the fact that I am having so much trouble deploying my camp.
Okay so we’re playing a Wild West adventure and part of that is travelling around and pitching your camp. I initially thought you’d be able to set up your camp anywhere you want, but you cannot. It will be placed in a set location within the state. Unfortunately, if other players have already pitched their camps in the location that you want to deploy yours then you cannot do it. Thing is that the game doesn’t tell you that you cannot pitch in the location you want, the camp simply doesn’t deploy. My question is this: if the game is designed to have 20-30 odd players in the same map then why hasn’t it been taken into account that players might want to pitch their camps in similar areas and either allow them to do it, or show the locations a camp can be deployed instead of simply not deploying??
The game needs some more work and I am currently playing it to level up to 100 in order to unlock the best weapons, horse and camp options in the game. At the moment, that is what is keeping me playing but once I have completed all the Roles, bought all the weapons, and fully upgraded my camp, is there anything else to keep me playing??
Watch this space and we’ll find out...
Date Posted: 22/03/20
So from talking with excitement about something that I am looking forward to, namely Resident Evil 3 Remake having played the teaser in the form of the Demo, I now have to turn my smile into a weary sigh and a skyward look as I talk about Rockstar’s buggy Wild West open world...Red Dead Online
The broken wagon in the picture is a metaphor for the broken game...did that come across or was it too subtle?? I wouldn’t ask but I know that you humans are not exactly the brightest stars in the cosmos, no offence intended; I’m just stating a fact.
In the recent weeks I have been playing Red Dead Online because unlike my usual comfort game GTA Online there are still goals to achieve. In GTA I own everything worth owning and a few things that aren’t (like the yachts). I literally have garages full of supercars, sports cars, off-roaders, military vehicles, and a hanger loaded with planes and helicopters. None of which really serve any purpose as I change the MTU settings whenever I want to play it so I can avoid the dickheads that are a dime a dozen on public servers. That and I use the Oppressor Mark II for grinding so at Level 450odd, with over $50,000,000 in my bank there is not much more to do than play the game for the sake of getting more money or XP neither of which I need as my level is just a number these days that doesn’t really mean anything.
The world of Red Dead Online appealed because there I still had stuff to unlock which included new weapons, horses, vehicles and upgrades for my camp. In addition at the moment when you buy something in Red Dead it is basically a one off payment and you will never need to pay out for it again. You only have a single camp which is pitched in different locations around the map, but once you have bought the stew pot which enables you to cook meals which fill all your cores that last for an in-game day you don’t need to spend that money again. Ditto with the deluxe campfire or a new tent. Personally whilst I am currently Level 57 I do not see the point of upgrading my tent until I have reached Level 64 at which time I will unlock the best one and job done, my Camp is fully upgraded.
If this was GTA Online you need to keep grinding for money because properties are expensive costing a couple of million with the upgrades costing around the same amount again. $50,000,000 might seem like a lot but with things like the Lazer jet costing $6,500,000, yachts costing $10,000,000 and the dozens of businesses, plus vehicles retailing at a few million a piece that $50,000,000 could disappear very quickly. In Red Dead though, I have paid maybe a couple of thousand dollars which was as much as I am going to need to spend in order to get my camp up to scratch (with the exception of the tent as I mentioned before).
The Roles that I like, Bounty Hunter, Collector and Trader don’t cost you anything to do and you can loot any fallen enemies so you generally are not hurting for supplies, ammunition or collectables. Apparently if you upgrade the Sill in the Moonshiner Shack you make better money whilst the resupply costs the same but selling stuff for the Collector gets me all the money I need, with Bounty Hunting needing me small but frequent Gold nuggets that rapidly become Gold Bars.
The community is also generally live-and-let-live so whilst I occasionally get attacked I have reached a stage where my weapons are pretty powerful so generally I can take on and kill anyone trying to grief me. This isn’t someone firing a rocket from their Mark II Oppressor and making a break for the horizon before you have time to even think about fighting back.
Sadly though my efforts to progress through the game earning XP, money and Gold has been hitting the same wall.
When everything works well the game is fun and I am enjoying playing it. I am doing what I did in GTA Online and buying things when they are on offer, so am not wasting money. I am also using the weekly bonuses to my advantage. This week for example Traders were getting an additional 50% XP from sales, and resupplies. Since that dropped on Tuesday I have basically gone from a Rank 1 Trader to a Level 17, simply by doing sale and resupply missions back to back. A sale is worth the same XP regardless of the amount of goods being sold so I have just been selling, resupplying, selling and so on. This is also helping me to Level up through the game’s Ranks as there are items that I have my eye on, recently that was a sniper rifle so I am not at a disadvantage in long range combat and also it can be used for hunting.
Unfortunately the game is a buggy mess that is preventing me from playing it. Sometimes the above error screen will appear out of nowhere kicking me out, other times I will be unable to deploy my camp anywhere on the map, and I have had instances when my Camp appears on my map but when I head over to it I am confronted by a patch of empty space. I have had my camp de-spawn during resupply missions for the camp so Cripps sends me on a mission then a message pops up telling me he has packed up the camp so it needs to be redeployed...it is pretty aggravating when you are trying to get things done and this happens. I have also selected a resupply mission only to have Cripps stare blankly at me, and I have to shut the game down because nothing else happens. Or worse, I select a mission which doesn’t activate but I get Cripps standing in front of me telling me to hurry up, that he’s busy, or that I am wasting his time. I am trying to select a mission I don’t need an NPC moaning at me because the pissing servers won’t load up the activity I am trying to do.
This problem isn’t only affecting me either, if my internet connection was iffy then I would be annoyed but it isn’t Rockstar’s fault. Yet today when I was trying to play the game I passed another player’s camp and saw that player’s Cripps standing in the middle of an empty field. A few minutes later I passed another and again this one was just a space with sweet bugger-all in it. As a result players cannot visit their own camps, do Trader missions, or even rest to replenish their cores...all of which are fairly big parts of the game in its current form.
If I’d only had issues with the Camp spawns then that would be irritating but not really a deal breaker, prior to the Trader bonus week I hadn’t been bothering with the role at all, as just owning the Butcher’s table unlocked the Stew Pot (which I wanted) and a few other items. I have been trying to blitz it this week because come Tuesday the XP rewards will return to normal.
Sadly the connection issues have been preventing me from launching Bounty Hunter missions as the icon to activate a mission hasn’t become available when approaching a Board, and sometimes it will activate, all other icons disappear from the map, then you are left standing there with nothing to do because the mission then doesn’t trigger.
The game straight up doesn’t load into Online more often than not. The error message above drops and you have the choice of either playing story (which I have started working through) or closing the application down and starting again. I generally will have to restart the game at least twice a day minimum to correct the bugs and issues that happen when I’m trying to play which is ludicrous and unacceptable for a triple-A game released by a company that is worth billions of pounds.
What is more annoying than anything else though is that fact that Rockstar is worth billions with GTA5 still breaking records and GTA Online also raking them in a fortune with Shark Card sales. So why the pissing hell are the servers for Red Dead so bad?? Why am I lucky if I can get a few hours playing the game without the damn thing crashing, freezing or straight up booting me out?? When it first launched GTA’s servers were also very bad as they were getting hammered by the amount of people trying to play but why hasn’t Rockstar learned and made some improvements to Red Dead’s servers??
I have seen various videos on YouTube about Red Dead Online dying or about to die, and that work is needed to save it. Whilst some people say the same of GTA if you want to play that game you can, just change your MTU settings and enjoy the world of San Andreas. Yet in the case of Red Dead Online I think that they may have a point.
At time of writing the game is damn near to being unplayable and I have said before that once I have reached the maximum level of 100 and purchased everything I want is there going to be anything to keep me coming back?? Realistically no, because this cannot become another relax-y game for me if I am having to fight the servers to get the thing to work properly. I pay very little attention to most people on YouTube, however, in this case they might be right. If the game doesn’t receive some serious attention and stable servers then I doubt that it’ll still be around this time next year.
Date Posted: 02/08/20
Since my last article about Red Dead Online I had pretty much abandoned the game due to the numerous game breaking bugs, glitches and other issues which were starting to make playing the game almost impossible. I maintained my daily streak for long enough to have 200 Gold Bars and kept playing through the Collectables until I had a little over $13,000 both of which I figured would give me a good basis for any future updates.
Red Dead Online strikes me as the neglected child that Rockstar don't really have the time nor the inclination to really nurture. GTA Online is the 1st born, the all-star athlete that continuously breaks new records, shines like a beacon to other games who can only bask in its glory and brings home billions of pounds of revenue. Whereas Red Dead Online is the neglected second child who has already got the odds stacked against it and is desperately trying to carve out an identity for itself in the wake of its more successful older brother. Whilst GTA Online was regularly receiving massive Updates, and excellent weekly discounts or bonuses that kept interest going, Red Dead Online had to make do with clothing items or Role XP increases which was beyond useless if you had already maxed out the Role anyway. Discounts on certain items drew me in from time to time but my interest was waning because once you have the best horse in the game there is no need to buy others. Gold bars can be easily earned if you keep a streak going and money was plentiful by using the online-map to find the collectables. Plus the biggest problem with the sandbox world was there was basically nothing to do in it. Hunting would pass the time but it was playing for the sake of playing as once you maxed out all the roles and hit Level 100 there was bugger-all the game could reward you with apart from money. Money that was useless because you had nothing to spend it on. Once you have the best horse, the best guns, best camp upgrades and have outfitted your character with your favourite outfits money becomes largely pointless.
The Red Dead Online faithful have remained with the game whilst players like myself grew weary of fighting with the game itself when trying to play. Your Camp despawning during resupply missions or failing to spawn at all was a common problem that affected many players including me. I often got kicked out of sessions due to disconnection issues with the Rockstar servers, with the straw that broke the camel's back coming when I spent twenty odd minutes working through the Owlhoot Family bounty capturing each member only for the game to crash moments before I was due to complete the mission. I despise my time being wasted so I decided that I'd had enough of the buggy glitch fest and moved on to pastures new with games like Doom, Two Point Hospital and returned to the familiar GTA Online where there was always plenty to do to pass the time and the MTU settings still worked to put me into Solo Public lobbies.
Still it seems that Rockstar may have finally decided to finally throw out a bone to the runt of their small litter and released both a new Outlaw Pass and a new Role, the naturalist, into the game. Similarly to the Moonshiner shack before it which was an update on the Trader Role, the Naturalist is an Update to the Collector Role.
To start the Naturalist Role you need to head to Strawberry and enter the welcome centre where a cut scene plays between Gus Macmillan and Harriet Davenport, the former is a hunter and the latter is committed to living in peace and harmony with nature. For the price of 25 Gold Bars she will sell you her Animal Field Guide so you can help her catalogue the animals of the world. You do this by tracking animals, sedating them with special bullets that she will sell to you (obvs) and taking pictures. The pictures need to be of the animals before you have sedated them so don't try to take a picture when they are sedated because it doesn't work (I've tried). Once sedated you need to take a sample from them which, like the Collectables which are sold to Madam Nazar, are sold to Harriet for money. You also need to study the animals which you can do through a pair of binoculars. They will also need to be killed and skinned, but don't try to take a sample then kill and skin them because the game won't let you do that either. Once you have done this the animal is a 100% discovered and you get...well, nothing although your field guide has been updated.
This may not sound like riveting stuff but chasing down animals trying to snap a picture or sedating grizzly bears so you can take a sample of them is surprisingly fun. Personally I never really had a problem with animal spawns, or so I thought, until I travelled through the bayou which was teeming with alligators all of whom will quite happily snack on you if you get too close. The sheer variety of the animals, as well as the amount of them in the game now is also quite staggering and finding them all will present quite a challenge. Plus I am wondering how you can possibly photograph a wild wolf or bear without getting your hat chewed off.
There is a more advanced camera which may be useful for this endeavour which I currently don't have. However, once it gets discounted down I will probably pick it up.
As you progress through the Role and hit Rank 5 Harriet will also tell you about Legendary Animals which you seek out in sub-missions. These animals again need to be studied, photographed, sedated (or killed) and samples or their skins harvested. Unique outfits will be made by Gus if you take him perfect skins so you can craft some weird and wonderful clothing items if you so desire.
Harriet can also give you poaching missions in which you must seek out poachers, kill them and release any animal they have captured. The animals can be hostile so just remember you may need to get yourself somewhere safe before firing off the lock and letting them go.
One of the things to bear in mind about this new role is that Harriet will get a nark on if you kill too many animals. Now that there are animals a plenty you'd think that resupplying Cripps for the Trader Role would be easy, but if you go around killing animals for him, then go to Harriet, she will scream in your face and spray you with some pheromone or something which knocks you out. A brief cool down is then needed before you can return to her to take any more poaching missions or go for more Legendary animals. By the way the poaching missions seem to reset every 20 minutes so if you want to do them regularly you'll need to amuse yourself during those times.
The more astute of you out there probably noticed that in the last paragraph I said "you'd think that resupplying Cripps for the Trader Role would be easy"...[so just let me add a bit more to that sentence]...now that there are loads of animals spawning including Bison and Grizzly bears with 3-Star perfect pelts. However in the last couple of days I have been presented with a bug in which I am unable to call out either my Hunting Wagon or my Bounty Hunting wagon. When I select either of them I get a message saying that they are being summoned, but neither of them ever appear. As a result I am being forced to take back to Cripps only what I can carry on my horse. I have never had this problem prior to the Update so hopefully that will be fixed promptly so I can get my Trader business up and running again.
On the subject of bugs and glitches apparently 250 issues have been fixed with this update. The first day I played the game it was very stable with not a single crash, the second day I did have a few crashes. I did change my internet connection and had no further problems so it may have been my internet rather than the game itself. I have been able to do Trader resupply missions without my camp despawning, and thus far every time I pitch it somewhere, it is actually there when I head over. The Update was 5GB and has fixed issues which is all good. There is probably a list of patch notes somewhere but I cannot be asked to seek it out and read through it.
Before I move on there is one more thing I wish to say about the Naturalist role which is this: one of the items you can unlock is the Wilderness Camp that seems to be a mini-camp which I assumed would function like the temporary camps in the main game that Arthur can deploy wherever he likes. I have set them up on the sides of roads or out in the wilderness. It consists of just a tent and a fire but it means he can craft stuff on the fly or rest up before continuing his journey. I hit Level 5 yesterday and got the Wilderness Camp but I was not able to deploy it, with the game instead telling me that there were no empty camp locations in my vicinity. I don't know yet what I am missing because isn't the whole point of this camp a place you can deploy almost where you stand so you can craft without having to seek out a random campfire or redeploy you Main Camp?? Thinking about it maybe you can't set up a temporary camp whilst you main one is active which might make sense but if you are going to deploy a camp why would you not pitch the main one?? I'll look into it to determine what I am doing wrong.
Right, so now we come to the Outlaw Pass or technically Outlaw Pass No. 3...
When I began playing the game I had no idea what the Outlaw Pass actually was and so pretty much ignored it as I levelled up, only noticing too late that it had a time stamp meaning that if it wasn't purchased by a certain time then it couldn't be bought later on. I actually considered using real money to buy the gold needed to purchase it and calculated how much time would be needed to earn enough gold in game. I realised that if I committed to at least four to five hours a day I would be able to grind up the gold I needed to buy it. However, such a time commitment would have meant basically ignoring everything else to get it done, something I ultimately decided was not worth it. Now there is a new one out.
If you don't know the premise of the pass is that you unlock it with 40 Gold Bars and you have a set amount of time (in this case until October 2020) to work your way up to its maximum level of 80. If you haven't bought the pass then you still rank up through it and unlock the odd bonus here and there. If you have purchased it then you gain a reward of some sort for each level you reach. One of those items being Gold Bars, a total of 40 can be unlocked if you max out the level. If you are clever you will have probably worked out that is the same amount of Gold needed to purchase it in the first place so why would you not buy it? You also get XP bonuses, free clothing unlocks, refills for your moonshiner business and so on which is all very useful to your in game progression
Personally I was planning on getting to Level 80 then buying it to get the rewards in one massive lump sum. But Abbie pointed out that if
I purchase it now then I will slowly be awarded the rewards which will keep me motivated to play. As a result this is what I have chosen to do, and after a couple of days of playing I am almost at
Level 10 which means I should easily hit Level 80 by October. One of the things I wish to unlock is a specific breed of Camp dog, the Husky was in the Outlaw Pass No. 2 with an Austrian German
Shepherd this time around. I don't know if I complete the pass I will have access to both Husky and German Shepherd or the Husky has been lost to me forever. If so it seems a tad shit as I hate it
when games lock stuff away behind pay walls which prevent you from ever accessing them again.
I have seen people asking if the Outlaw Pass is worth it and personally I think if you have the Gold and play the game enough why wouldn't you because you will get back all the Gold you invested in it in the first place. That is based on having sufficient time to finish it. I would say that a casual player could probably max it out in a month if they are unlocking 5 Levels a day as I have been doing. So if you read this in the next few months then get it, but if you are only reading this in September, then you may not have the time to reap the benefits before it is locked away again
All in all some new life has been breathed back into Red Dead Online, hopefully this will be the first of many breaths which will give the game the boost it needs and give players a reason to be logging in day after day