Rockstar Games originally brought three Specialist Roles to Red Dead Online in a bid to deepen the roleplaying element of the multiplayer game. However, since Frontier Pursuits was released, the selection of Roles has been further expanded, and the plans of RDO's future include even more to come.
The first additional Role and subject of this guide is the Moonshiner.
Becoming A Moonshiner
Rockstar never intended players to stick to just one Role, unless you are a very dedicated roleplayer with a very specific character concept in mind. As such, the Moonshiner is the first Role which requires some progress to have been made in another Role - the Trader, in this case. To become a Moonshiner, you'll need to have reached Rank 5 as a Trader and completed at least one sell mission.
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After this, you'll have the opportunity to meet Maggie Fike, a notorious bootlegger. After Cripps introduces you, you can purchase a Moonshining Shack for 25 gold bars. Before kicking the business into gear, you'll also need a Cook, whom you will acquire via your first Rescue Mission.
When selecting the location of the Moonshiner Shack, it is easy to make a misstep since players aren't familiar with the mechanics yet. There are a total of five locations, which are static and instanced. This means that all players have access to the same 5 locations, meaning you'll be "sharing" the shack with other players in a geographical sense, but obviously progress itself is tracked on a player-by-player basis.
Factoring in player density and proximity to post offices, fast travel hotspots and delivery locations, the Tall Trees Shack is the best. Incidentally, it isn't the most popular one - that title goes to the Heartlands location - which we consider a bonus. Keep in mind that location popularity might change (based on how many players read guides, for example).
Once you have rescued Marcel, the booze cook, all Moonshining activities will become unlocked, including the remainder of the Story Missions, the Moonshiner store accessible via Maggie and Bootlegger Missions. It is strongly recommended to complete all of the Story Missions right off the bat, as they unlock content, are relatively quick, and best to get out of the way as soon as possible.
A good way to save money early on is to make use of the Mash discounts earned through completing Story and Bootlegging missions. Depending on the mission, you'll get either an RDO$ 10 or RDO$20 discount on Mash refills allowing you to increase your profits.
In spite of its high price, it's advisable to buy the Bar as quickly as possible - provided you want it at all. Costing RDO$ 950 and a Rank Token makes it one of the most expensive things in the game, but until you have it, you can't access most of the potential rewards to spend your money on as a Moonshiner.
Keep in mind before buying the bar that it does not earn you money or XP.
The Bar expansion is cosmetic, designed with roleplayers in mind. If you want to own your own speakeasy and watch as more and more patrons fill up the hall to indicate your business flourishing, this is for you. If you want to invite friends and hang out in your own secret bar, this is for you. If you want to maximise RDO$ earning, this is not for you.
The first Story mission is mandatory and very simple, wherein you rescue the cook, Marcel, from a group of bandits. The location is close by and marked on your map, so you just need to hop over, kill some enemies and watch a cutscene after you rescued the cook.
Blood Is Thicker Than 'Shine
The second story mission Blood Is Thicker Than 'Shine has you rescue Maggie's nephew Lem from the prison transport. The first task involves stealing the transport documents indicating where Lem's transport is going and its route. The camp is marked on your map. There are soldiers guarding the location, and if you eavesdrop you'll hear where the chest containing the papers is exactly. We suggest using stealth in this leg of the mission, since you need to conserve lives for later phases.
Once you have the papers, you need to go to the next location where you'll do the actual rescuing. The convoy is well protected by heavily armed guards. Their weapons are high quality and have long range making this a tough fight. Arm yourself with long-range guns and stick to cover - it's better to be slow and cautious, picking off enemies instead of rushing in guns blazing. Once you complete the mission, you'll learn some backstory about Maggie's past.
Where There’s Smoke There’s Firewater
The third story mission, Where There's Smoke There's Firewater, involves retrieving some explosives that Maggie has stashed in the bayou and destroy a rival moonshining operation. First, you need to find the dynamite hidden in Scarlet Meadows. The explosives are hidden in one of three locations in a chest, guarded by a few weak enemies.
Once you've looted the explosives, it's time to hit the camp. The bootlegging operation is run by the Lemoyne Raiders. These bandits are relatively weak sporting sawed-off shotguns, so tailor your arsenal for medium to long range combat allowing you to take out the enemies before they get close enough to harm you.
Near the camp you'll find a wagon that lets you infiltrate it without drawing attention to yourself, but combat is inevitable. Set the dynamite on all of the stills, and either light their fuses or shoot them from afar to detonate them.
Come Hell, Come High Water
In Come Hell, Come High Water you need to escort Lem on a boat, fighting off opponents on other boats and on a train running near the coast. This is one of the simplest missions, though not the easiest. You need to take out enemies with dynamite first, and make sure that your loadout includes long range weaponry for the train. Keep in mind that the boat is stocked with ammo for various weapon types.
A Bitter Means To A Bitter End
The penultimate mission, A Bitter Means To A Bitter End, tasks you with either ruining a rival's batch of moonshine, or destroying the vats outright. Keep in mind that tainting the batches will earn you a higher reward due to the damage it causes to the rival's reputation. You need to gather Creeping Thyme and Oleander Sage from two protected areas. We suggest using stealth in this section of the mission.
Once you have the ingredients, you need to craft the taint mixture from the rest menu, beginning the second phase of the mission. Visit the operation run by the rival moonshiner and stealthily add the mixture to the vats without being detected by the guards. There are many guards as well as hostile dogs, so we suggest trying to stay undetected instead of going guns blazing.
The Certainty Of Death And Taxes
The last story mission for Moonshiners is The Certainty Of Death And Taxes which once again involved escorting Lem, and culminates in a showdown with your rivals. The first portion of the mission is simple, just pour alcohol in the areas where you need to in preparation for the ambush. After the cutscene, pick up a weapon and follow your target. Don't bother with the generic enemies, just push them into the fire around you or dodge by them.
After you get out of the flaming area, stick to the sides of the road using the trees for cover. The crates scattered on the road may seem inviting, but the heavy Maxim gun at the end of the road makes it advisable to stick to the treeline. Here you'll have to take out the enemies that stand between you and your objective.
At the end of the road, you'll be able to kill your first target, Hixon. You need to capture your second target, Danny-Lee, alive. If you circle around through the swamp, you can reach him without encountering other enemies until you're very close to him. Quickly hogtie him so he doesn't escape and then deal with the few enemies attacking you. Then, you can load him onto a horse and complete your objective.
Tips And Tricks
When out for delivery, moonshine bottles are very fragile. Ideally, you would stick to roads to prevent breakage. Here, however, the Revenue Agent barricades will be your biggest problem. Bullets cause significantly less damage to moonshine than rough terrain does, and even then if you plan ahead you can minimize the crossfire affecting your carriage. When you see a roadblock coming up, leave your wagon a bit behind and clear out the agents in advance.
Bootlegging missions come in three varieties. One is similar to the A Bitter Means To A Bitter End story mission, tasking you with either tainting or destroying a rival's batches of moonshine, but without the ingredient gathering bit at the beginning. The same tips apply to that variant as well.
Another form involves clearing out some Revenue Agent roadblocks. This mission is timed, but the timer only begins when you hit the first barricade. Stealth is not recommended due to the amount of time it takes to quietly take out several agents. You can deprive them of cover provided by crates if you shoot out the oil lamps.
The third variant is pretty straight forward, having you protect a drunk patron on their way home who is beset by thugs. You need to engage in fistfights here, you can't just pop their caps. Check out our hand-to-hand combat guide for tips on dealing with these enemies.
Completing story and bootlegging missions on higher difficulty settings won't increase the discount on mash prices, so sticking to the lowest difficulty is best for efficiency. These discounts expire after approximately an hour if you don't use them up.
Profiting As A Moonshiner (Payouts)
The payouts you earn as a Moonshiner aren't quite as clear cut as the other roles' profits, partially due to what players have discovered to be underlying bugs in the system. It is unclear if these will ever be fixed, since their impact on profits isn't significant, it's just tougher to nail down exact amounts.
Your payouts are determined by the flavor and strength of your moonshine, as well as how many bottles successfully make it to the destination. There are two upgrades available for your equipment that actually increases income.
- Basic: RDO$ 70 - 80
- Condenser upgrade: RDO$ 140 - 150
- Polished Copper Still upgrade: RDO$ 220 - 250
These numbers assume that you managed to deliver all of your bottles unharmed. You can always end up earning significantly less if the bottles are trashed en-route. Production times also differ based on quality and your rank. The higher quality a batch, the longer the cooking time, however ultimately it only makes sense producing and delivering moonshine of the highest quality.
Production times initially are 30, 45, and 60 minutes. Upon reaching Rank 15, you can unlock a boost that decreases cooking time to 24, 36, and 48 minutes.
Moonshiner Role Unlocks
|Ingredients Satchel Upgrade||The capacity of your Ingredients Satchel is increased|
|Bar Expansion||Add a bar to your shack - Costs $950 and a Rank Token|
|Band Expansion||Add a band to your bar - Costs $850 and a Rank Token|
|Bold Dance||Perform a fancy dance move|
|Cheerful Dance||Perform a merry dance move|
|Rowdy Dance||Perform a disorganised dance move|
|Protection||Decreased rate of raids|
|Hangover||Show the signs of a heavy night of drinking|
|Materials Satchel Upgrade||The capacity of your Materials Satchel is increased|
|Toxic Moonshine Pamphlet||Lets you craft mixture with which you can poison rival moonshine batches|
|Flammable Moonshine||Precursor to the molotov cocktail|
|New Buyer Order||Adds another buyer - unlocked at Rank 9|
|Master Distiller||Reduce cook time - unocked at Rank 15|
|Condenser Upgrade||Increase moonshine potency|
|Polished Copper Still||Further increase moonshine potency|