Red Dead Online is in beta to avoid the calamity of GTA Online. While the matchmaking and technical side of the game functions well the in-game economy can lead to a lot of annoying grinding. And with microtransactions coming at a later date Red Dead Online could lean between predatory microtransactions or heavy grinding.

So Much Grinding

Red Dead Online does attempt to bring you into this world of outlaws and gunslingers with a sense of purpose. As a custom character, you’re charged with hunting down the people who betrayed you and helping a recently widowed woman get her revenge. Rockstar has limited the number of story missions players can take part in but the ones available provided enough excitement and context for the testing period.

Much of the single-player mechanics are reintroduced here. Players will have to take care of themselves along with their horse to maintain both health and fitness. This means purchasing and selling items to keep your supplies in stock but this leads to many issues.

Unlike the single-player earning money and the premium currency, Gold Bars, requires a lot of grinding. Missions grant around $2-$20 per-mission and the items worth remain unchanged from the single-player. Earning enough for the basic supplies such as food and bullets will quickly eat up your funds. Many wondered if this was intentional considering that microtransactions will be implemented at a later date. With 2 types of currency available and some supplies limited to a specific type of money, this could mean trouble for the players seeking to avoid buying premium currency.

Like the single-player, everything has a price. Fast-traveling, obtaining new upgrades for your camp, and storing horses all require an absurd amount of money. Clearly, some balancing needs to be done or players can find themselves playing for days without earning much.

Experience is much easier to understand and earn. It’s a direct system where you earn experience for completing tasks. Players can then invest into cards, each with their own rank, to bolster the power of that card. It’s a simple but effective system.

Surprisingly, It Works

Missions themselves are straightforward and do complement the game’s matchmaking system. You’ll kill and retrieve key targets while also taking part in a morality system. When an honorable or outlaw option appears the posse votes on which to take if its a tie the game chooses one randomly. Whatever is chosen, is the option the entire team has to take part in.

Speaking of matchmaking, the beta runs smoothly. Getting in matches and interacting with other players within the environment is easy. Despite a long load screen to get into a server having the ability to travel from one end of the map to the other without experiencing a break in the action is amazing. Considering that full triple-a releases tend to have issues in joining other players it’s refreshing to see that Rockstar has learned their lesson from GTA Online.

Survival but Freedom

Some may find the survival mechanics here more restricting. Unlike the single-player where earning money is much easier having to earn enough to gain access to the clothes needed to maintain your avatar’s health can becoming frustrating. This coupled with eating and you can find yourself in precarious situations against other players. Fortunately, these ailments don’t carry other in the competitive arena.

Death carries very little consequence. If killed you simply respawn with less health and stamina. Your horse still has a single life and if killed it’s gone. You can purchase horse insurance to keep it alive but unlike the single-player losing a horse in the multiplayer can be devastating. Players should be able to keep the horse, even when killed when playing multiplayer.

Could Be Great

Red Dead Online has the potential to become a great multiplayer experience. The technical side of the online experience runs well and getting into matches is easy enough. The economy needs to be altered to complement the multiplayer experience, especially how money and gold are earned.

About The Author

Adam S
Sr.Staff Writer

Adam is a Senior Staff Writer for GamerAssaultWeekly with over 5 years of experience in writing and is completely obsessed with video games. He holds a BA from Brooklyn College and lives in NY.