With today's major content update, Red Dead Online has come out of beta and is now a fully fledged multiplayer game. The past few weeks didn't yield any new content for the game, and now we know why - Rockstar has been hard at work to bring us the biggest DLC drop RDO has seen to date. There is a lot to unpack here.
Following a recent earnings report from Take-Two Interactive which revealed that Red Dead Redemption 2 has sold over 24 million copies, CEO Strauss Zelnick clarified that Red Dead Online would leave beta before the end of the next (this) quarter, meaning before the end of June. We expected that meant there's still a ways to go, but instead today's release marks the end of the beta.
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Over the course of the months since the Red Dead Online servers opened up, players have been submitting feedback to Rockstar day and night in the hopes that their input will result in a better game for everyone. It may have been a bumpy road, but hopefully with today's numerous changes and additions, Red Dead Online can become the game all the fans want it to be.
This doesn't mean Rockstar will stop taking player feedback or cease working to improve the world of Red Dead Online. Feedback will still be crucial in the shaping of the virtual world and continued updates will help the game grow over the course of the next few months - but for now, let's focus on today's update.
A Land Of Opportunities Storyline Updates
The A Land Of Opportunities storyline continues with a new batch of missions, continuing the thread started by Jessica LeClerk's revenge story. The game offers diverging paths for honorable and dishonorable players, with either path containing different missions and locations.
The Gunslinger alignment will pit you against the bandits of the Del Lobos gang, while the Outlaw alignment will have you help out Samson Finch against lawmen. These two paths converge again at the end of the quest chain, taking place in Blackwater where you'll encounter a new main villain. As before, the A Land Of Opportunities missions are co-op.
New Free Roam Missions
For something a little less bound by narrative, you can take part in new Free Roam Missions. A number of characters who starred in Red Dead Redemption 2 will appear again as quest givers, such as Thomas, the fisherman from the Bayou, as well as the Aberdeen Pig Farmers. The former provides lawful jobs, while the latter need help with less legal matters. Further characters will be added later on.
Posse Versus Challenges
New ways to test your mettle against other players are also on the cards. Posse Versus Challenges allows your group of friends to compete with other posses without any violence. Fishing, hunting and herb gathering challenges fill out the lineup for now with more on the way. Dynamic Events will also give new challenges and ways to interact with the world around you.
One of the most requested gameplay features has finally been added to Red Dead Online - Poker. Players can hit the saloons of the world in Blackwater, Saint Denis, Tumbleweed, Valentine and Flatneck Station. You can deal in a few friends if you want a calm game, or you can go for public games if you are willing to bet higher for the chance to win more.
Overrun Showdown Mode
A new Showdown mode has also been added to the lineup, called Overrun. Two teams strive to capture as many areas within the map while protecting theirs to end up as having the most once the timer runs out. Teamwork, strategy and communication is key in this mode.
New Items - Clothing & Weapons
New clothing items have been added to the game as well, however unlike the small weekly additions, this time the game is expanded with permanent items. The 9 shot LeMat Revolver and a large selection of new clothes like ponchos and bandanas have been added to the game, alongside new emotes - one of which, the Throat Slit, is free for Ultimate Edition owners.
Today's major update also brings with it a number of bonuses for players. Everyone who logs in this week will be awarded with 15 Gold Bars as well as a 25% increase on XP earned from Free Roam Missions, Events, Showdown Modes and Story Missions, and the same percentage boost on RDO$ and Gold earned from chests.
Anti-Griefing / Player Modes
Rockstar has also implemented new anti-griefing measures that were outlined previously, such as the new playing styles feature. Players can choose between Offensive and Defensive mode, similar to the way Passive Mode was implemented in GTA Online, outlined in this post. The Hostility system, also described in that post, has been activated in this update as well.
Tied into the Hostility system is the new Press Charges feature. If you are killed by a player in free roam who has higher hostility than you, the Press Charges feature becomes available during your respawn period. This allows you to increase the killer's bounty and Hostility as a penalty for what is presumably griefing.
A number of balance tweaks have also been implemented to make Red Dead Online a fairer and improved experience as a multiplayer game. Auto-Aim Headshot Tracking on enemy players has been removed and weapon switching has been made quicker. Projectile Lighting has also been tweaked to be instantaneous.
Players can select a new control scheme as well which switches up the crouch and sprint buttons. All PvP Daily Challenges have been removed due to feedback indicating that they promote griefing, and a number of passive challenges were added to replace them. New awards have also been introduced.
Free Roam missions will be easier to get into due to smaller signaling ranges and global timers, allowing a greater measure of planning. The Horse Specialty Selection will let you customize a sort of "loadout" for your horses, allowing you to select which steed will be your default mount in various modes and activities.
In-Game Economy Changes
Rockstar also took complaints about the game's imbalanced economy to heart. Starting today, every gold earning activity gets a permanent doubling of gold payouts, essentially making it half as difficult to earn gold as before, which is a major stride in the right direction. For a limited while, every time you rank up you'll get a gold bar as well.
To celebrate this major content launch, Sony is offering Red Dead Redemption 2 players a chance to try out Red Dead Online even if they don't have a PS Plus subscription. From today through the 27th of May, Red Dead Online won't require any kind of additional subscription to play on PlayStation 4.
Rockstar has also revealed some plans for upcoming content to be released later on. More Free Roam missions, Showdown modes and Challenges will be added, and the weekly addition of limited issue clothing will resume. Bonuses and special earning opportunities will also be scheduled weekly as well.
In a major addition, Red Dead Online will become more accommodating to roleplayers sometime this Summer. Players will be able to assume job-like roles that grant them new bonuses and unlock new kinds of content an activities. The first three Roles that will be available are the Bounty Hunter, Trader and Collector. These Roles will grant exclusive weapons and clothing as you progress along their paths, and you may select several roles simultaneously.
These new changes have transformed, and hopefully improved, Red Dead Online significantly, and we're eager to see how the game will evolve further. Exciting times are ahead of us.