Red Dead Online features a number of competitive multiplayer modes ranging from a Battle Royale mode called Make it Count to a deathmatch mode called Shootout, where the only thing players have to worry about is shooting down opponents to rack up kills.
If you're looking for something a little different, the Race Series is definitely a play mode you want to check out. Don't expect these races to be relaxing though, as you have the option of playing dirty, and you will most likely have to if you want to win. The world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is merciless, and the world of Red Dead Online even more so, so always have your weapons at the ready.
Race Series Overview
The Race Series can be accessed in several different ways. The most straightforward is to open the Online menu and select Race Series from the Series Playlist. If you're checking the map, you can also hover over one of the flag icons in Blackwater, Tumbleweed, Valentine, and near Van Horn Trading Post and go into Matchmaking. If you don't want to break immersion by going through a menu, however, you have the chance of going physically to the location of these flags and select the Enter Race Series Matchmaking when prompted.
No matter your preferred method, you will likely have to wait a bit before getting into a race. Most of the times you will be asked to spectate a currently ongoing race, so sight tight and get ready, as opting out of spectating will bring you back to Free Roam mode. Once the race you are spectating is over, it will be your turn to take part in the next. If you don't wait to wait for too long for a race to end, you can also try restarting Matchmaking.
Currently there are only two types of races in Red Dead Online, Standard Race and Open Race. There's currently no way to choose in which one to participate in, so you need to become good at both of them if you're looking to score the rewards.
Standard Races are, as the name suggests, simple races where you will have to complete one or more laps. The player completing the last lap ahead of their opponents wins.
Currently, there are five different Standard Races available in the Race Series. They are set in Bard's Crossing, Fort Wallace, Pike's Basin, Saint Denis Plantation, and Saint Denis Streets.
While these races are pretty straightforward on paper, things are a bit more complicated in reality, as players have the ability to use weapons, and most actually do. There are ways, however, to avoid getting overpowered by opponents.
For starters, keep your distance from the group at the beginning of the race without getting left behind too much. This will allow you to avoid the bloodbath that always ensues when weapons become available. You can the take advantage of the chaos to get far ahead of your opponents.
Once the group has been thinned, your main focus should be on Stamina management. Always ride your horse hard and make sure to hit the barrels, as they will keep your horse Stamina's high. If you somehow deplete your bar, the race is almost surely over for you, unless your opponents make a lot of mistakes.
Even though you may not want to focus on fighting too much with weapons during Standard Races, you will still need one to protect yourself in case you are attacked. If an opponent has set his sights on you, you should let them pass to shoot them from behind, as trying to defend yourself while ahead of your attacker is much difficult and may make you lose precious ground.
A variation of the Standard Races are point-to-point races where players have to go through different checkpoint placed in an almost straight line. The same tips for Standard Races apply: avoid getting into the leading group and take advantage of the chaos to try and get ahead of your opponents. In case you failed to pick any weapons, you can still kick your opponents - you will not damage them greatly - but it will make them lose precious time and ground.
Open Races are a more interesting variation of the Standard Races as you will not have to complete laps, but ride through all checkpoints placed around a town. Thanks to this, Open Races can be much more interesting, as they involving a bit of on-the-fly planning.
Currently, there are five Open Races in Red Dead Online. They are set in Blackwater, Rhodes, Saint Denis, Tumbleweed and Valentine. Currently, there's no way to select which race to take part in, just like for the Standard Races.
Since players can go through checkpoints in any order, combat is even less of a focus than in Standard Races. You may still want to pick a weapon to defend yourself in case you are under attack, but you won't be encountering your opponents too much in Open Races, as combat is a total waste of time in this race type.
Like for Standard Races, however, you will still need to get as many barrels as you possibly can to keep your horse's Stamina high.
As already mentioned, winning Open Races requires a bit of on-the-fly planning, as you need to pick the best possible route that will take you through each checkpoint without having to change direction too much, as this causes you to lose time. This is made easier by using the expanded radar, which is activated by pressing the down button on the directional pad. The color on the radar is also quite helpful, as the more intense it gets, the closer you are to a checkpoint.
Target Races have been added to Red Dead Online with the March 27th update. These races are an interesting variant of regular races, as players need to shoot targets while on horseback to pass checkpoints and be the first to finish the race.
All players begin only with the bow and arrow, but additional weapons like firearms and related ammo can be collected during weapons pickups during the race. Ammo is going to be limited, however, so don't rely on firearms too much.
As Target Races are extremely fast-paced, it's very important to keep the horse's stamina as high as possible throughout the race. This can be done in three different ways: hitting targets, going through the strategic pickup points and riding in your opponent's slipstream, which also gives a speed boost.
Open Target Race
Open Target Races are a variant of regular Target Races. In this type of race, players can choose freely which target to hit and then race to the finish line. In these races, it's possible to keep track of the targets yet to hit on the mini-map.
Best Horses For Racing
While skill makes a difference, there's very little you can do if you enter the Race Series with a mediocre horse, as you will simply not be able to keep up with players who bring the absolute best available.
The best horse to bring to the Race Series is the Missouri Fox Trotter. This horse isn't just the best horse to bring to the Race Series, with its excellent speed, which gets even better with good stirrups, but it's also one of the best horses for Red Dead Online as a whole thanks to its high stats.
The downside is that it costs quite a bit, around $1,000, and that it's only available for purchase after reaching Rank 58.
In case you are looking for a more well-rounded horse, the Arabian will do. This horse, however, is even more expensive than the Missouri Fox Trotter, as they are sold for 42 Gold. Gold is even harder to get by than regular cash, so this will most likely be a massive investment for you. Additionally, Arabians can only be purchased after reaching Rank 66, so you will need to play Red Dead Online for quite some time before even having access to one.
While these two horses are the absolute best for racing, there's a third, much more affordable choice, that may help you win in the Race Series. The Red Chestnut Superior is far from being the best horse available in the game, but it has decent stats and can be acquired for free at any Stable. If you've purchased the game's Ultimate Edition, you can get a free Thoroughbred Horse, which has slightly better stats than the Red Chestnut Superior.
Riding In Circles
During some races, you may see some players running in circles and not taking part in the competition. These players are usually away from the game and are rubber-banding their pads so to avoid the game disqualifying them for being inactive.
This is simply being done so that the players can farm XP, Gold Nuggets and cash, and the longer the race goes on, the higher their rewards will be. We recommend you don't engage in this type of activity, as you will just ruin the experience of those who are looking to race. There are also way better farming methods, so in the end, it is pretty pointless to do so in the Race Series.