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Red Dead Online: Rockstar’s Neglected Child


I began playing RDO (Red Dead Online) around 2 years ago. I jumped shortly after the 3 Frontier Passes dropped and was welcomed with a massive amount of interesting and immersive content. The community was given the opportunity to become bounty hunters, traders, and collectors across the vast open world. Shortly after they introduced a moonshiner role which created a buzz in online forums. The role was released with a few bugs but was overall a welcomed addition to the online world. Many of us cowpokes began theorizing as to what would be next. Properties? High-stakes heists like that of GTAO (Grand Theft Auto Online)? No, it was silent for nearly a year.

Over the next few months, GTAO maintained a relatively open line between the community and its developers, while RDO was left in the dark. When we finally received word of a large update it was a role no one wanted. And upon release, it felt like it was stitched together. This update was the addition of the Naturalist Role and honestly, I think we were all just excited Rockstar was giving us the time of day after such a long stint of radio silence. While it was underwhelming, there was some relief that maybe Rockstar would put RDO back on track. Consider me a fool because another year went by with nothing to show but sales on beans and bandoliers. The loyal fanbase that had stuck it out all this time couldn’t find any value in any of these offers. We had amassed such enormous wealth in the game and there was nothing to spend our hard-earned money on. So all our funds just sat in our overstuffed pockets collecting dust. This is something that keeps GTAO alive. It is the thrill of the purchase, something new to achieve. A new business, house, or high-end sports car was right around the corner. There was always something to grind for. Red Dead has been void of that for almost as long as it has been alive.

For years the community has begged for something like properties. Simple additions of gameplay that already exist in the story mode. Letting players own a ranch and do simple chores, herding cattle, or roping horses for some money here and there in order to expand and customize your property. Another idea has been heists, similar to that of GTAO. Heists that require prior planning and collecting certain resources for high risk, high reward payouts. But even if Rockstar would give this to the players I fear it would ultimately be too late. So many players have stored up an insane amount of gold that any attempt to add that element of “grindability” would be unfair to any new players looking to join an amazing and immersive community. Rockstar recently made an attempt to give those heist moments to players but it pales in comparison to GTAO’s heists. It is a shallow attempt that most of the long-time players see right through.

Rockstar is all too aware of the fact that RDO isn’t nearly the gold mine that GTAO is. They know there is far too much supply to create any amount of demand for RDO’s in-game currency. Perhaps the influx of new players to RDO is the only thing that can save this online world. But we need those new players to hold Rockstar accountable. For the newbies, there will be a lot to do, and I am happy for them. But understand that when the well runs dry, and it will, Rockstar will ignore you too. Just like the rest of us… Unless… we don’t settle for these minor updates and continue filling Rockstars feedback interface with demands of a substantial update. I want Red Dead Online to succeed more than anybody and that won't happen if we keep patting Rockstar on the back for doing the bare minimum. Let’s expect from them what we know they are capable of. We see it in GTA Online, now let’s see it in Read Dead.

If you want to put in your feedback to Rockstar regarding RDO go to Requests the wildest update you can think of. Don’t be limited by the standards they have set. We all know they can do better. If you feel differently feel free to comment here. I am sincerely interested to hear how your experience has been different. I am a huge fan of Red Dead Redemption and RDO. I am not trying to cast blind resentment towards Rockstar. I know the developers work hard. I just want to see it reach its fullest potential or at least match GTAO’s.

© 2021 Brett Schofield

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