The Alien Critic Reviews...
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TAC Reviews...Are Rockstar Trying to KILL Red Dead Online?

Date Posted: 06/12/20


As you are undoubtedly the most loyal of my readers, you are aware that I had been enjoying playing Red Dead Online. It had become my unwindy game, yes I was starting to get a little tired of logging in each and every day in order to keep my streak going, but I started to log in do a single objective then log off again. I liked the Halloween Pass for what it was, and worked my way through getting all the Legendary animals. However, I hit a snag when my PS4 console corrupted and in order to get it working again I have to wipe the hard drive and reinstall my games. My internet connection was weak at the time and it took over 24 hours to re-download the 100Gb of Red Dead Redemption 2. As a result I was not able to play and so lost my streak. It was irritating to be sure but as I have grown a little tired of the game anyway, I took a break for a few weeks, then resumed playing. I decided not to waste my time so initially did a single objective, or a couple if I felt like it, a day to get my streak started again, worked up to the 2.5x multiplier and then resumed doing more of the daily challenges to earn gold bars. Then my PS4 corrupted again, once again, it took so long to download the game that my streak slipped away yet again. After this I decided that my PS4 was probably nearing the end of its life (conveniently just as the PS5 has been launched which has not escaped my notice) so I decided not to bother with trying to get another streak going until I have a new console and can trust it is not going to keep corrupting just as I get the 2.5x multiplier.

I have updated my Intro page to explain what has been happening in my life recently so if you'd like to know why I have been using a human console, and why I have been posting usually every 2 weeks rather than every 1, see that update.

Getting back on topic, today the question I am asking is: Are Rockstar TRYING to kill off Red Dead Online??

In my previous posts I talked about the Halloween Pass and the drip feed for the Naturalist Update, with my daily streak keeping Gold coming in. However, in the last week Rockstar have Nerfed the Daily Challenges.

Now in case you don't know, what this means is that they are changing the way the Challenges work so whilst you can get a streak, that streak is reset after 28 days. So unlike previously where you got your streak up, playing every day and could earn decent Gold Bar returns (as a reward for playing every day), now you get 0.2 Gold Nuggets, then.0.3 Nuggets, then 0.4, then 0.5 so that by the time you'd got the 2.5 multiplier every two daily challenges was awarding you a Gold bar. Now, you will enjoy that streak for 7 days and which time you will go back to getting 0.2, then 0.3 and so on.

Now this has caused a massive uproar in the community because Rockstar have effectively removed the one good method in the game for getting Gold Bars. Gold Bars, I'll remind you are what is needed to buy properties or Roles. They are not easy to come by with the majority of activities or Roles rewarding you with dollars. I have seen players on YouTube videos still defending Rockstar saying that players can still earn descent Gold, but bear with me as I do some math here...

Lets say an average player (like me) will do 10 daily challenges a day, so in the first week, they will make 2 Gold Bars a day, then it'll be 3 Bars a day, then 4 and finally 5. so 2x7+3x7+4x7+5x7 = 98 Gold Bars. Okay, so in a month if a player is just doing 10 Daily Objectives a day, they could Earn a total of 98 Gold Bars. If that player had a streak then next month they would have done 5x30 made 150 Gold bars which basically a third more than the month before. Now 52 Gold bars may not sound like a lot but when it is the only decent method to make Gold in the game then it becomes a big problem

Red Dead Online has already had a stake driven through the heart of the Collector role when Rockstar randomised the highest value collectables which prevented players from earning decent money. I have no idea why they did this considering that if players were going round to collect everything it would still take several hours to find them all, and as I mentioned in a previous update, dollars become largely pointless when you have purchased the weapons, camp upgrades and pamphlets you want. So effectively killing the Collector role didn't irk me too much, but the Daily Objectives are a different matter.

If we take a look at the powerhouse that is GTA Online and compare everything that game has now, it makes you wonder what the hell Rockstar are playing at with Red Dead Online.

Okay, now if we use the Super Yachts as an example as they are the most expensive thing in GTA Online with the yacht itself costing $10,000,000 and the accessories maybe adding a couple of million to that price. If you are a relatively new player, and had access to the Import/Export garage, a terrorbyte and a MK II Oppressor then you could sell a car, do three sets of client jobs, and three CEO Missions, sell another car, do three more client and CEO mission, sell another car and in the space of an hour or so you'd have netted yourself $80,000 + $150,000 + $80,000 + 150,000 + $80,000 giving you $540,000. So if you played the game for a couple of hours a day, blitzing client jobs, CEO work and Import/Export you'd be able to get to a $1,000,000 relatively easily. Therefore in 10 days you'd be able to buy that shiny new yacht. Now bear in mind that you could play GTA for a couple of hours every day if you wanted so in 10 days you could replace the money you'd spent on that yacht and can buy supercars or whatever with it. So in the space of a month, if you are only playing the game for a couple of hours you could probably have grinded enough to buy the most expensive thing in the game at least three times over.

If you are a money grinder, and took advantage of double money sales, restocked your passive businesses whilst working on active businesses you could easily cut that time in half. Hell, there are those who can grind $10 million in a day...yes a DAY

Imagine if Rockstar released an update into GTA Online then told all players that their businesses were going to have their profits reduced by a third so a bunker sale of $240,000 would only net you $160,000, or a full crate warehouse which can be worth a couple of million dollars for a successful sale instead nets 1.6 million losing the player over $600,000. But Rockstar didn’t reduce the cost of buying any of the businesses or the costs of upgrades, the backlash would be immense, but because Red Dead Online is less important the outcry from its community barely registers as a whimper.

Continuing my example, in Red Dead the most expensive thing you can buy (if memory serves is the Arabian Horse which) costs 42 Gold Bars. If you were using the Daily challenges method and started from scratch, in a month you could have made enough Gold to buy the horse twice. The thing is though it doesn't matter if you are a new player or an established one because there is no infrastructure in the game which allows you to earn Gold bars. The Bounty target missions will get you a few Gold nuggets, but don't forget there are only 3 posters per bounty board, and the amount of nuggets you are given is not fixed. You get more if you wait till literally the last minute to turn the bounty over, alternatively, you can turn them in quickly take a hit on the gold nuggets but can do another quicker so make a bit more that way. But it takes 10 nuggets to make a single gold bar so you would have to do hundreds of Bounty targets inn order to grind up a decent amount of Gold Bars. Even then once you run out of bounty boards you cannot do more until the following day when the boards reset, yes there are the legendary Bounties, but the time and effort it takes to do them nullifies any gold you'd earn.

At this point I have purchased everything worth purchasing including, weapons, camp upgrades, pamphlets, wagons, and a camp dog so the money I am rewarded with for doing the Trader role or Moonshiner business could be used as kindling for my campfire for all the use it is.

We need GOLD and now Rockstar have taken the best method for making gold away which brings me back to the question...Are Rockstar Trying to Kill Red Dead Online?

Now have a think about Red Dead Online in 2020. It has been subjected to numerous bugs and glitches from your horse not spawning to you camp disappearing during resupply missions for the Trader role to you being locked out of your Moonshiner shack, to animals not spawning properly, the list just goes on and on, and on. There have been game breaking bugs which prevented players from logging in for days at a time, or kicking them out moments after finding a session. Rockstar have promised massive updates, yet delivered roles that do little more than pass the time like the Naturalist. Pointless pamphlets which cost a fortune in Gold Bars that allow you to run around as an animal but do piss all as that animal have been brought in.

Now recently both GTA Online and Red Dead Online were promised "[their] biggest updates ever" which for GTA is a new heist location that apparently players can do completely solo. The teaser trailer suggests we might have submarines, and a whole new island to explore. In Red Dead we got an extension of the Bounty Hunter role, which consisted of 10 more levels, and the ability to paint your wagon a few different colours (for Gold of course not dollars). No new properties, no new roles, no new weapons, no new ways of making Gold, no nothing. It is yet another damp squib that promised a lot and delivered nothing. These new levels aren’t given for free either, it costs you 20 additional Gold bars to do these extra levels. I have seen that within these levels you can now convert 10,000 Role XP into 0.5 gold nuggets, so Rockstar have snatched the sumptuous buffet of a daily challenge streak from our table, only to throw a few chewed bones our way, and expect us to be grateful.

The only reason I can think of for the problems the game has is because Rockstar do not give a shit about it.

Think about it people, Rockstar want this game to DIE

GTA is their cash cow and because Red Dead will never earn the kind of fortune that GTA does, Rockstar are trying to kill it. They can't add flying bikes or orbital canons, so their hands are tied creatively, and no one is interested in making it the cool Wild West Adventure players crave because they want it to just go away. Thus far they have tried to kill it with massive bugs and glitches, lacklustre updates, huge pay walls, and by driving a stake through the heart of the Collector role. Perhaps now that they have castrated the Daily Objectives players will finally give up on it. If the player base drops off Rockstar can say that no one was really interested in it anymore, which is a shame because Rockstar tried to make it a good game blah, blah, blah, and it justifies shutting down the servers. But as long as people play it and there is a community Rockstar have to keep supporting it.

Honestly Rockstar if you want this thing to end then have the balls to come out and say it, don't hide behind poor DLC and glitches.

I remember saying something similar about GTA Online a few years back and that managed to worm its way back into my attention. The difference is that grinding money in GTA to get what you want is a good way to give the Shark Card mircrotransactions a massive middle finger. Sadly in Red Dead, it is Rockstar that are giving its players the middle finger. Maybe it will come back from the brink, maybe it won't, which is a shame because it did have potential to be something really cool.


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© Chris Sharman