Everything You Need to Know About Red Dead Online

Red Dead Online, the online mode of Red Dead Redemption 2, has gained immense popularity since its exit from beta in 2019. It offers a continuously evolving cooperative and competitive multiplayer experience, similar to Grand Theft Auto Online. While not as massive as GTA Online, Red Dead Online has still managed to attract a large audience. However, navigating the online mode can be quite complex. To help you out, we have compiled a comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know about Red Dead Online.

Free for All Red Dead Redemption 2 Players

First and foremost, it’s important to note that Red Dead Online is available for free to all players who own a copy of Red Dead Redemption 2. However, like most online multiplayer games on consoles, an Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus subscription is required to access Red Dead Online.

How to Access Red Dead Online

To access Red Dead Online, simply install Red Dead Redemption 2 on your PC, PS4, or Xbox One. Once installed, you will be able to select the online option. Please keep in mind that the initial loading screen may take some time, especially if it’s your first time accessing the online mode. Additionally, you will need to create your own character before diving into the multiplayer experience.

Create Your Own Character

Unlike the main adventure where you play as Arthur Morgan, Red Dead Online allows you to create your own outlaw. Utilizing the robust customization features, you can tailor your character’s abilities to match your playstyle. After creating your character, you will start your journey at the Sisika Penitentiary, an iconic location on the eastern edge of the game map. From there, you can set up your camp, obtain a horse, and embark on a treasure hunt.

What you choose to do in Red Dead Online is entirely up to you. The possibilities are vast. Here’s how Rockstar describes the options available to players:

“Explore the world solo or with friends. Form or join a posse to ride with up to seven players; gather around the fire at your Camp; head out hunting or fishing; visit bustling towns; battle enemy gangs and attack their hideouts; hunt for treasure; take on missions and interact with familiar characters from across the five states; fight against other outlaws in both spontaneous skirmishes and pitched set-piece battles; and compete with other players or whole posses in open-world challenges and much more.”

Currently, Red Dead Online supports up to 32 players per server. You can complete story missions cooperatively, and between each mission, you are free to explore the map on your own and engage in various activities. Signposts scattered across the map allow for fast travel to various towns.

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Competitive Multiplayer Modes

Red Dead Online offers multiple competitive game modes for players to enjoy, with even more planned for the future. You can access these modes through the multiplayer playlists available in the menu. Choose between Showdown Series, accommodating up to 16 players, or Showdown Series Large, which expands the play area and supports up to 32 players. Here are some of the game modes you can participate in:

  • Gun Rush: A 32-player battle royale mode that can be played solo or with a small team. Players compete to find weapons and ammunition as the playable area gradually shrinks.
  • Shootout: A standard deathmatch mode that can be played either free-for-all or with teams.
  • Most Wanted: A deathmatch mode with a unique twist. As you climb the leaderboard, other players earn more points for killing you. It’s not about the number of kills you get but rather who you eliminate.
  • Make it Count: Red Dead Online’s version of a battle royale drops 16 or 32 players into a shrinking playable area. Armed only with a bow or throwing knives, the goal is to be the last outlaw standing. Ammo is limited, so use it wisely.
  • Name Your Weapon: In this competitive mode, the points earned for killing opponents depend on the weapon used. The more challenging the weapon is to secure a kill with, the more points you earn. Name Your Weapon can be played individually or in teams.
  • Hostile Territory: A strategic mode where two teams compete to capture and hold the most territory.
  • Races: If you want a break from shooting other outlaws, you can participate in three different race styles: standard point A to point B races, lap races, and checkpoint races.

Additionally, Free Roam Events randomly occur and offer a variety of game modes, such as “Cold Dead Hands,” “Dispatch Rider,” “King of the Castle,” “Master Archer,” “Fool’s Gold,” “Fishing Challenges (Lake, River, Swamp),” “Wild Animal Kills Challenge,” and “Railroad Baron.” With the introduction of Roles, new modes have also been added, including “Day of Reckoning (Bounty Hunter),” “Manhunt (Bounty Hunter),” “Trade Route (Trader),” “Salvage (Collector),” and “Condor Egg (Collector).”

Cooperative Missions and Honor System

In Red Dead Online, you’ll encounter missions designed for two to four players to tackle cooperatively. These missions are part of overarching storylines known as “A Land of Opportunities” and “A Life of ‘Shine.”

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Some of the missions you can expect are:

  • A Land of Opportunities:

    • Intro Mission: Honor Among Horse Thieves
    • Choice Missions: Love and Honor, The Right Side of the Tracks, If the Hat Fits…
    • Path of the Gunslinger: Where Your Morals Lead You, Highly Illegal and Highly Moral, Bring a Goddamn Posse, The Hanging of Tom Davies
    • Path of the Outlaw: Kerosene, Tar, and Greed, More Than One Way to Earn a Buck, These Bastards Can Fight, Banks Don’t Rob Themselves
    • LeClerk Missions: Kill Them, Each and Every One, Destroyed By Grief
  • A Life of ‘Shine:

    • Intro Missions: Rescue Cook, Get Equipment
    • Story Missions: Blood is Thicker Than ‘Shine, Where There is Smoke, There’s Firewater, Come Hell, Come High Water, A Bitter Means to the Bitter End, The Certainty of Death and Taxes

These quest lines consist of multiple missions, and according to Rockstar, certain aspects of the missions can change based on your Honor rating. Once you enter a mission, you will be queued with one to three other players.

Similar to the single-player campaign, your deeds in Red Dead Online are tracked on a sliding Honor scale, which records both good and bad actions. Alongside the cooperative missions, Free Roam Missions will appear when you encounter Stranger Icons, just like in the main adventure. Your Honor rating can influence how these missions unfold. If you have been a virtuous citizen, you may be asked to assist strangers in need. On the other hand, if you have a more notorious reputation, you might be called upon to aid criminals in their nefarious activities.

Rockstar has hinted at the presence of “familiar faces” in Red Dead Online, and how these characters react to you will depend on your current Honor rating.

Earn Experience Points

Participating in activities within Red Dead Online rewards you with experience points (XP) that contribute to your rank progression. As you level up, you can unlock new items that enhance your skills. There are a total of 425 awards available in 12 different disciplines, including combat, hunting, sharpshooting, and crimes. By finding cards and increasing your rank, you can equip customizable ability loadouts for mechanics like Dead Eye.

Red Dead Online Will Evolve with Player Feedback

Rockstar greatly values player feedback, even after Red Dead Online exited its beta phase. They encourage players to provide feedback on both significant and minor issues, including bugs and suggestions for future content. If you encounter any technical issues, support can be found on the dedicated Rockstar support site. For overall feedback, Rockstar has set up a dedicated page on their website.

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Rockstar has already responded to player complaints regarding the in-game economy, making adjustments to ensure items are not excessively expensive and that activities provide sufficient in-game currency rewards.

In their December 14, 2018, developer update, Rockstar promised additional updates in early 2019, with a focus on implementing “anti-griefing measures.” Griefing refers to when players deliberately disrupt the experience of others, such as randomly killing other players without cause. In a January 9, 2019, developer update, Rockstar revealed plans for a bounty system to combat griefing. After committing crimes, players will be pursued by bounty hunters from different states who aim to collect the bounty. Rockstar is also considering a system that identifies problem players on the map, making it easier for others to avoid them.

Subsequent updates, such as the introduction of Roles, Bounty Hunter, Trader, and Collector, were added in September and December 2019 to expand gameplay options and provide additional content. Rockstar plans to continue releasing new story missions, dynamic events, multiplayer modes, weapons, and outfits regularly. They remain attentive to community feedback and work to include highly requested features in future updates whenever possible. Stay tuned for announcements regarding release dates for upcoming updates and discussions about the new features they will include.


Red Dead Online features an in-game store where players can make purchases using real money through microtransactions. Currently, players on PS4 and Xbox One can buy exclusive in-game gold bars in bundles. The prices for these bundles are as follows:

  • $10 for 25 gold bars
  • $20 for 55 gold bars
  • $50 for 150 gold bars
  • $75 for 245 gold bars
  • $100 for 350 gold bars

Special bundles may occasionally be available, such as the current offer of a 25 gold bar bundle for just $5.

It’s worth noting that Red Dead Online is no longer in beta mode and is now fully playable. As the game continues to evolve, Rockstar will introduce new changes and features through updates. These updates may require players to learn new strategies and mechanics. With this guide, you’ll have a head start in navigating the complexities of Red Dead Online.

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