5 Things to Know When Starting Red Dead Online in 2022

If you’re trying to figure out if you should play Red Dead Online, I can give you 5 tips to get started. If you’ve already decided, then you’re just like me. Like you, I was new to Red Dead Online. So I spent the entirety of my free time last week doing the work to figure out the most important things for a new player to know when they’re starting Red Dead. I created two brand new characters and grinded out the first ten hours while simultaneously asking my brother an incessant amount of questions so I could tell you exactly how to jump into this amazing game. There is a LOT to do in Red Dead, and the first few hours can be really overwhelming; so, make sure to stick to the guide and ease yourself into it.

1. Do missions (with strangers)

This might seem obvious, but believe me it can be VERY tempting to run off and do your own thing (which is what I did with my first character). Don’t. Spend an hour or two doing the opening missions. These missions are really easy, and they will give you a lot of cash and gold that can make getting going easier. Everything in Red Dead costs money – including basics like ammo for your weapons, supplies you need for your horse, and managing your camp. The little icons on your map of a man waving his hand are the missions you want to do. These missions are repeatable, but have a cooldown so you’ll often need to wait thirty minutes or so before you can do them a second time. These missions generally take 10-20 minutes.


2. Hunt for food

If you walk into a store you’ll notice they sell things that restore health and stamina for you and your horse. Don’t waste your money. Every animal you can kill in the game can also be skinned and eaten. Take the meat back to your camp (the blue tent on the map) and cook it at the campfire there. This is way cheaper and also does a better job than the store-bought stuff. If you find wild herbs on your adventures in the wilderness, you can add those to your meat to make the healing effect stronger. While you are at camp, drink a beer. This will refill your Dead Eye Core (more on that later.) The beers are by the wagon.

Also, hunting and foraging is a lot easier when you press the L3 and R3 buttons together. You’ll enter a “focus” mode that will highlight animal trails and collectable herbs, saving you a lot of squinting.


3. Take care of your stuff

Go to the Stable and buy a brush for your horse. Brushing your horse once about every 30 minutes is not required, but will boost your relationship/trust with it and restore its health and stamina. It will also give you positive points on the morality scale, which you’ll need if you’ve been running around town murdering people. The brush will cost you a little over $3. Also, feed your horse the herbs that you find in the field.

Next, go to the gunsmith and buy oil for your guns (2 should be enough to start with). Don’t use the oil right away! The more you use your guns, the weaker and less accurate they will become. Cleaning them with oil restores them to their full power and accuracy. But this is a very gradual process! Realistically, you should be able to play for 5-6 hours before you need to think about cleaning. If you’re curious, open the weapon wheel with R1 and inspect your gun with the R3 button (you can’t do this while you are on a mission). The oil should run about $1.50 each.


4. Travel right

You’re going to be spending a LOT of time on horseback in this game. But there are some cool little tricks that make it a lot less tedious. For starters, use the Options button (the one with the three dots) to go into “Cinematic” mode. If you set a waypoint on your map (using the A button), put your horse on the road that leads to your destination, and get your horse moving, it will automatically follow the road and keep a steady gallop while you put the controller down and grab a cup of coffee. While your horse is doing this, you can also press the start button and explore the menu, like the help section!

Seriously. Read the Help section in the menu while your horse is riding. You’ll hear its hooves galloping in the background as you read so don’t worry about it. There are hundreds of little nuances to this game, so save yourself some confusion and get to know the basics. The tips are split up into very helpful, easy-to-read tidbits.

Keep an eye out for easy kills. While you’re traveling you’ll see a lot of animals along the road. Kill them (don’t worry they aren’t real). Animal carcasses are worth a decent bit of money and they’re easy to collect. Every day that passes in this game will cost you $1.75 for your camp maintenance and stable fees. This seems excessive, I know. But just a single deer carcase can cover that cost. So if you see an easy kill along the road while you’re traveling, take it. It will help keep your bank account in the black.


5. Trust nothing

Everything wants to kill you in this game – including bears, alligators, cougars and online jerks who have nothing better to do. Red Dead Online is actually super cool with online jerks, because you can punish them for attacking you when you’re just trying to mind your own business. Still, getting killed is really inconvenient. So, if you see another player, be extremely cautious and keep your distance. They’re probably suspicious of you too; so, if you don’t want trouble, keep your gun put away.

If they do kill you in cold blood, you can press charges. That will put a bounty on their head that will make other players want to come kill them. If the person repeatedly attacks you, the game will give you an option to Parley. That means that you two won’t be able to attack each other for ten minutes. That gives you a chance to do your business and get out of Dodge.

Listen to your horse. If it starts freaking out for no reason there is very likely a dangerous animal nearby that wants to kill you. Get your gun out and press L3 and R3. If you’re quick, you can spot the threat before it comes for your neck. Or you can just run.

Though the headlines would tell you otherwise, I’ll tell you as a player of the game that starting Red Dead Online even now is rewarding, fun and one of the best ways to spend your time online. Stadia Dosage has plenty more doses of Red Dead content, plus interesting thought pieces on live service games on the platform.


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