Red Dead Online Tips For Beginners


As of today, the Red Dead Online beta is open to all players who own Red Dead Redemption 2 as per the rollout schedule. This no doubt means there will be a sudden population boom, and more players means more questions.

In the early days of the beta, we have bee posting guides that touched upon specific mechanics of the game. However, if you need help in how to get started in the first place, you've come to the right place.

Firstly though, you can find all our other guides concerning Red Dead Online here.

I've Made My Character, What Now?

Red Dead Online is much more free-form than the story mode is, allowing you to access just about all activities right off the bat. In very basic terms, your role in Red Dead Online is to rank up and get rich.

Ranking up allows you to unlock cool new abilities, features and items, while getting rich allows you to purchase those items, as well as various upgrades. Incidentally, both of these goals can be achieved by doing any activity in the game.

Basically, everything you do will grant you XP and money, though woefully small amounts of the latter. Some activities also yield gold nuggets, 100 of which adds up to a Gold Bar. Right now progress in terms of money and item acquisition is slow, however chances are Rockstar will adjust the in-game economy before full release.

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How Do I Set Camp?

If you are playing alone, you will have access to what is called a Player Camp. Functionally, the Player Camp combines the permanent gang camp and the small makeshift camp Arthur can set up anywhere in story mode. If you camp down and fly a white flag, it will become a non-combat zone where you don't need to be afraid of getting jumped by other outlaws.

In your camp, you have access to a number of character management and crafting menus. Your wardrobe will be accessible, you can rest and cook, and you can purchase items from the catalog and have them arrive in your delivery box if you buy the necessary upgrade - otherwise they will arrive at post offices.

If you are part of a posse, you can also access the Posse Camp which has a greater range of functionality, and its decor is determined by the posse's chosen colors and emblem.

How Do I Activate Passive Mode?

You are open to be attacked at all times while playing Red Dead Online, no matter where you are on the map, except for certain instances in your own camp. In order to be safe from attack you need to activate Passive Mode within your camp.

Passive Mode in Red Dead Online is very different from the same mode seen in Grand Theft Auto Online, as it can only be activated while in the camp. Just get close to the flag in the middle of it and raise it to make all camp occupants safe from damage. The moment you leave your camp, however, you will be as vulnerable as before, so be extremely careful of enemies trying to ambush you.

How Do I Join A Posse?

Red Dead Online can be played alone, but is best enjoyed with a posse. It's a multiplayer game for a reason, and your Wild Western antics will be all the more memorable if you have other gunslingers to share the fun with. Posses are Red Dead Online's take on a general clan or guild system used in other games, however it is rather unique and very different from other such mechanics.

First of all, there are two kinds of posses in Red Dead Online. Temporary Posses and Permanent Posses. The former works more akin to a raid group, while the second is more in line with the guild analogy. A Temporary Posse is free to form and is maxed out at 4 players, but disbands when the session is disconnected.

Permanent Posses are better suited to larger groups who play together regularly. Maxed at 7 players, Permanent Posses automatically reform when the posse leader and at least one other member are online at the same time in the same session. These cost some money to form but allow you to access the posse camp and customize your gang colors and emblem.

To join an existing posse, said posse needs to be set to "open". This can be done by pressing left on the d-pad and selecting a desired posse from the menu. To form a posse, you do the same, and then invite players. As a posse leader, you can set the privacy of the posse, and all members will automatically follow you if you switch sessions, begin a mission or join a Showdown Series game mode.

Someone Keeps Killing Me, What Do I Do?

Red Dead Online has an interesting but somewhat flawed system in place to deal with griefers. The Parley and Feud system allows you to deal with being repeatedly killed by the same opponent in two ways. After you got killed by a specific player several times in a short period of time while in free roam, you can choose to Parley which sets off a 10 minute timer during which the two of you can't harm one another.

Feud, on the other hand, requires the agreement of both parties. This triggers a brief 3 minute window where you are put into a fair-fight situation and a score is kept on how many times you kill the other player. Theoretically, whoever wins will have displayed their dominance, putting an end to the griefing. In reality, griefers are unlikely to agree to this, and even if they do, they'd just continue doing the same thing after it ends regardless of who wins.

The problem with Parley, on the other hand, is that if the griefer has mates, they can just as easily keep killing you. An easy fix would be that if the person you Parley with is in a Posse, the other members of the Posse are also part of that Parley. Sure, they could just exit the Posse, but you can't have a completely foolproof system. This could be discouraged by limiting how often you can leave and rejoin the same posse over and over again.

Alternatively, you can just switch sessions. You shouldn't feel like switching sessions is a defeat, as griefers feed off attention and beating them doesn't always dissuade them. The only victory over them is depriving them of their cheap fun.

My Horse Died, What Now?

Horses in Red Dead Online can die, leaving you stranded without a means of transportation. The introductory mission of the game walks you through the process of Horse Insurance, which removes the respawn fee of the mount for a one-time down payment. If your horse is not insured, each time it dies you need to pay to have it revived at a stable. With insurance, this is free. Note that the cost of insurance depends on how high level the horse is, so the best horses will cost fortunes to insure.

I've Running Into Other Players, How Do I Behave With Them?

Red Dead Online is pretty new, so the game's internal etiquette has yet to develop fully, however there are a few things to keep in mind when encountering other players. If you are out hunting and another player is nearby, it is easy to misunderstand situations and think you're acting aggressively. When encountering other players, you can keep your weapon aimed but wait for the moves of the other player.

If it turns out that they're friendly and want to, say, hunt together with you, one way to show your willingness to cooperate is to lay a felled carcass over their horse. Extend the virtual olive branch, if you will. Doing this may help ingrain it in the community's collective behaviour, cultivating a less toxic environment.

If you are a low level player and encounter a high level player, chances are you can tag along with whatever they are doing. Experienced players usually know the ins and outs of how missions work, so paying attention to them and trying to keep up will go a long way to help you master the game as well. Similarly, if you happen upon a lower level player who seems like they're willing to team up with you, show them the ropes and be patient with them.

I Can't Afford New Items Or Horses, Is This A Problem?

No. Red Dead Online has a bit of a problem with its economy, but Rockstar has stated that things will be adjusted and rebalanced. Nonetheless, you don't need the best and most expensive version of everything. Unless you are racing, it doesn't really impact the game what horse you have. You don't need to own all the weapons, just the ones you like to use and not all upgrades are essential. Focus on the necessities and those items that truly contribute to the fun factor, and then you can worry about saving up for the other goods.

If you want to save cash, one great way to do that is hunting and looting instead of buying supplies. Taking out Bandit Camps will usually give you plenty of loot, for example.

How Do I Rank Up?

Ranking up is key to Red Dead Online progression. As you rank up, new passive ability slots are unlocked, and you gain access to new items and upgrades. Just about anything you do will grant you XP, but there are ways to optimize the process. For a full rundown of how to level up quickest, take a look at our Ranking Up Guide, however we have two quick tips for you here.

Firstly, when you spot enemies then try to go for stealth kills with your melee weapon. The various factors stack up, with melee being 10 XP, execution being 10 XP and the kill being 5 XP resulting in a total of 25 XP. Compared to the 5 XP you get for regular kills, this is much higher and adds up over time.

Additionally, missions pay out more both in XP and money the longer you spend doing them. This means that rushing through missions gives you a smaller reward than taking your time. Patience truly is a virtue in Red Dead Online.

I've Encountered A Bug Or Have A Suggestion, Where Do I Report It?

Rockstar is actively looking for player feedback during the beta phase. If you have any to give, you can submit it here.

Parts of this guide were based on a post by Reddit user Seaseal1.


Logan Smith

Logan is probably the most knowledgable Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online writer we have onboard, having authored the vast majority of all the guides you'll find here at RDR2.org. Having written those hundreds of thousands of words Logan still drops in and makes the odd tweak or update, but is otherwise eagerly awaiting the next massive gameplay updates from Rockstar. Connect with Logan on Twitter.