An interesting fact about animal spawns in Red Dead Online was recently noted by users on the RDR2.org forums. If you are a hunter or a Trader, you might have thought that luck is all that matters when it comes to animal spawns, but as it turns out there's more to this system than meets the eye.
It all started with the observations of a user who goes by the screen name lumper. In the thread, they note that animal spawns have become scarce with their high-rank character. When playing with their level 230+ Red Dead Online character, most typical areas where animals spawn are empty and there are barely any opportunities for hunting.
To test a theory, lumper started playing with a lower level character - we assume they bought Red Dead Redemption 2 on multiple platforms, as currently every account only has one character slot for RDO. When playing with the low level character, suddenly huge throngs of animals populated the game world, with large herds present in every spawn location.
This seemingly showed a correlation between animal spawn rates and player rank - but how would that work in an online game with several players of varied rank? Everyone within the same instance gets the same animal spawns. Would the presence of a high level player mean even low level players in the same instance would get poor spawns? Or does the instance calculate an average?
As it turns out, neither of these applies, since the original hypothesis is incorrect. Several players have pointed out in the forums that animal spawn rate is actually tied to the number of players in any given server. The more players are active, the fewer animals will spawn. If you are in a fairly empty server, there is a better chance of herds spawning and getting a healthy crop of animals.
There are a few techniques you can use to get a solo session in case you want to hunt during prime time. The best and quickest way is to accept a bounty mission. Bounty missions take place in their own instance, so only you or your posse will be present in the server while the mission takes place. You can just ignore the actual bounty objective and go off hunting - you're almost guaranteed to have the largest spawns.
The great thing about the bounty mission method is that you still have access to Cripps if you are a Trader, making your job a lot easier. Who would have thought that being a Bounty Hunter is the best way to progress with the Trader path?
If the rest of you have any observations, feel free to add your voice to the conversation in our forums.