Red Dead Online Beta Xbox One X Preview

How Rockstar decides to handle the leveling, grinding, and the premium system will determine whether Red Dead Online excels or becomes a predatory system full of pay-to-live systems

By Grayshadow, Posted 02 Dec 2018

To avoid the calamity of GTA Online Rockstar has decided to test the online features of Red Dead Redemption 2's online mode. Called Red Dead Online the multiplayer has promise but requires a lot of balancing to ensure that the experience is fair, the biggest issues being little rewards and the in-game economy. Red Dead Online is an interesting distraction but if not tuned it can easily become a predatory mode full of microtransactions.

Red Dead Online,NoobFeed,Rockstar Games,

Red Dead Online's story mode follows a mute outlaw of your own creation seeking revenge against towards who sent you to prison and the death of a wealthy widow. The missions follow a series of familiar and unfamiliar characters mixed together with unique stranger missions that encourage teamwork. It's a promising edifice that promotes the freedom to act honorably or as a hardcore outlaw.

Since this is a multiplayer experience you can see other players, join their posse, or kill them. The online features run surprisingly well with the exception of some odd animations. There's also a problem where the quests would suddenly disappear from the map, requiring the player to reload. This does require the player to endure another long loading screen but considering that the player can traverse the entire map without a loading screen between is shocking. This was grand in the main campaign but here where there are other players wandering around is even more impressive. The missions that populate the world do offer quick matchmaking but then the issues begin to show.

At the end of each mission, players are rewarded with experience that can be used to access more options such as weapons and cosmetic items that grant small bonuses. Leveling up also provides new upgrades to skills in the shape of cards that can further be upgraded by simply having them equipped. Further down the player can expand their own personal camp to include many other items such as a fast travel system and more. As you might expect that's a lot to unlock and the money to obtain these items is not easy.

Red Dead Online,NoobFeed,Rockstar Games,

Everything about the main campaign's mechanics is reintroduced here, meaning you'll have to eat, drink, and maintain your horse to survive. If your horse dies, that's it and since this is a multiplayer experience this can be devastating. You can purchase items to stave off these problems but the issue is that the items are remarkably costly and require large amounts of grinding, either through missions or other activities. One can see this as a way to prevent players from hoarding supplies or unlocking everything easily but seeing the same prices here are the same as in single-player shows that the economy from Arthur Morgan's adventure does not work in multiplayer.

Constantly having to hunt and gather resources to maintain hunger and thirst is possible but it adds to the grind. Rockstar has provided a preview of the in-game currency, which is gold. Players can earn gold through playing and are earned in 2 ways; solid bars or in nuggets that become a gold bar after you've collected 10 of them. While Rockstar hasn't provided how much these premium currency packages will cost some items are only obtainable through cash, which can become another premium option for Rockstar and Take-Two Interactive to add. At the moment, completing missions offer about $2-$20 per-mission if you loot every corpse, which considering all the resources you'll need to purchase is very little.

Since the realism of the campaign has been translated here money is extremely important. Everything from fast-traveling to staying alive is needed but Rockstar is lenient with death. Players who died simply respawn with handicaps placed only during missions. Players are given a specific amount of lives but during certain missions losing all your lives, even if your allies are still alive, can mean game over. This could be a glitch but it happened during certain missions during our playthrough.

You can team up with other players, which is surprisingly smooth. Joining up with other players is simple which is shocking for a preview version. During specific missions, players are often given a choice between acting with honor or without and this is determined by majority vote. If the vote ties then the game randomly selects one over the other. These options do yield different results, such as more cash or unique items but considering the small number of items given at the end of each mission most players are choosing the more profitable option; which is usually the outlaw way.

Red Dead Online,NoobFeed,Rockstar Games,

Red Dead Online has potential and can become an outstanding open-world multiplayer experience. However, how Rockstar decides to handle the leveling, grinding, and the premium system will determine whether Red Dead Online excels or becomes a predatory system full of pay-to-live systems. For now, Red Dead Online is playable if you have a lot of time on hand.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Take-Two Interactive
Developer(s): Rockstar Games
Genres: Action-Adventure
Themes: Wild West
Release Date: 2019

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