Rockstar Games today announced the release of a massive new update for Red Dead Online that includes a flurry of new features and content, including brand new co-op missions, new Free Roam activities, play style support for passive and aggressive play and finally, the ability to play poker online.
Brand New Cooperative Missions
Red Dead Online’s story was brief but exciting, and that saga expands today with the addition of brand new missions in the continued story surrounding Jessica LeClerk. Following the battle of Fort Mercer, players will have the opportunity to saddle up and continue on the trail in a new branching feature that allows for both honorable and dishonorable styles of play.
Those looking to walk the line of the righteous will find the deadly Del Lobos gang standing in their path while players that enjoy the seedier side of cowboy life will find themselves knee deep in a high-stakes robber alongside Samson Finch.
Free Roam Missions
Several of Red Dead Redemption 2’s characters will make an appearance in a selection of new Free Roam missions for Red Dead Online. Head down to the Bayou to work alongside Thomas the Skiff Captain or reminisce of your days on the farm with some work alongside Aberdeen’s finest Pig Farmers.
Playing Styles & Anti-Grief
Arguably one of the key points of today’s massive update is the level of support introduced for players of all play styles. Griefing has been a huge problem in Red Dead Online, one that was all too prevalent in GTA Online as well. Today’s new update hopes to combat much of the negative side of the online nature of the game with two additions.
First, players are now able to choose between Offensive and Defensive playing styles found in the Player Menu. The default setting is Offensive and works much as you assume it would. Players marked Offensive are free to participate in any hostile contact toward other players, much like the average player is now.
The flip side of this feature, Defensive, adds a way for players to explore a far less aggressive and cut-throat online Red Dead Online experience. Marked by a visible shield, defensive players will not be involved in Free Roam PvP missions, take reduced damage from enemy players and are immune to much of the major griefing tools such as the Lasso, execution, and deadly auto-aim.
Furthermore, several changes have been made to the radar to make identifying and avoiding aggressive players a more fluid and intuitive experience. Aggressive players can still participate in the game much in the same way before, but now against other aggressive players and not poor Barry who’s just looking to hunt some rabbits and enjoy a bit of a nature walk. Also, players will no longer receive bounty increases or hostility effects for defending themselves against aggressive players.
Check the Hostility menu in the Player Menu for more details on your hostility towards other players and the effect it has on your adventure.
Poker, Dynamic Events, New Gear & More
Personally, my favorite part of today’s Red Dead Online update is the addition of poker. Until now poker tables scattered throughout the game served as a mere memory of more exciting times but now, players are free to challenge friends to a private game of Hold ‘Em or hit the high stakes tables and play against other player.
For a slightly more relaxing competition, and one less likely to resort to a huge bar brawl, several new Posse Versus Challenge has been introduced that lets Posse’s compete in a timed fishing challenge, bird shooting contest or herb picking event.
New Dynamic Events have been added to further reward and incentivize exploration with many new random events that promise XP, Honor, Cash and Gold Bar rewards.
The Road Ahead
Today’s huge update marks the first step in the road ahead for Red Dead Online and its community of players. In the coming weeks, Rockstar plans to add new free Roam Characters, more Showdown Modes, Freeroam Missions, and plenty of new clothing and accessories, all beginning the week of May 21.
Then, on May 28 and June 4, additional content will be released. This includes Competitive Free Roam Challenges, Showdown Modes, and an exciting Baron Free Roam Event that challenges players to captures cars stowed away on a moving train.
Some content will also be released under Early Access for PlayStation 4 players. For more information, keep your eyes peeled to the official PlayStation blog.
Big Changes To PvP & Balancing
One of today’s more controversial changes is the removal of the auto-aim headshot tracking when fighting enemy players. Previously, in most of Rockstar’s recent games, a headshot was a simple matter of locking onto an enemy, a gentle flick of the right stick, and a headshot was near guaranteed. To reward more skilled players and to improve the general interaction of PvP content, this has now been entirely removed.
Below is the full list of improvements and balance changes.
- Removed Auto-Aim Headshot Tracking (Enemy Players Only)
- Faster Weapon Swaps/Instant Projectile Lighting:
- New Control Scheme – “FPS2”
- Daily Challenge Updates
- New Awards
- Global Signal Timers
- Press Charges
- Horse Specialty Selection
- Increased Gold Payouts
This subtle but important change affects the way players can earn headshots against rival players. While auto-aim still tracks to the center mass of an enemy player, players will no longer be able to simply flick up on the right stick to gain a headshot. This makes earning headshots slightly more challenging, which in turn makes competitive gameplay such as Showdown series more rewarding and balanced.
Rockstar has increased the speed of weapon swaps across the board. This includes instant projectile lighting, which will make throwing both dynamite and fire bottles faster.
In response to community feedback, Rockstar Games has included a new control scheme. “FPS2 (+variants)” follows their ‘FPS’ layout, but instead moves sprint to [R1] and crouch to [X]. Note that this option is available in both Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online.
In response to feedback, Rockstar Games has removed all PvP-related Daily Challenges from Free Roam. However, they have added a number of new Daily Challenges and Rewards, including Challenge Streaks with progressively increasing Gold rewards.
Several new awards in Free Roam have been added, including awards associated with the latest gameplay.
Players tackling Free Roam Missions will have a bit more flexibility to operate with an increased global signal timer and a reduced range at which players are signaled.
When a lower Hostility player is killed without retaliating they will have an option to “Press Charges” during the respawn period, which will enforce an increase on their attacker’s Hostility and Bounty value. Press Charges is not available if you are a high Hostility player or marked as an enemy to the player who killed you.
You can now use the Player Menu to preset which of your owned horses you would like to use in Free Roam, Races, Showdown Modes, and on missions.
Rockstar has adjusted the economy to increase Gold payouts across the board, with most Gold-earning activities now awarding up to double the previous amount. Starting today for a limited time, players will also receive 1 Gold Bar per rank they progress.
Additionally, Rockstar Games is opening up the world of Red Dead Online to all PlayStation 4 players, even without a PlayStation Plus subscription. Running from now until May 27, all PlayStation 4 players can dive into all content of Red Dead Online.
In response to the huge amounts of community feedback and support received in recent months, Rockstar issued the following statement:[testimonials user=’Rockstar Games’ email=” name=” position=” photo=”]A massive thank you to everyone who participated during the beta period. Your feedback has been instrumental in helping us fine tune the game so far with many of your suggestions implemented in today’s update, and we will continue to implement more of your feedback in future updates to come.[/testimonials]
Coming This Summer
Finally, beginning this summer, players can take on the first three of a series of new roles. Whether you want to track down criminals as a bounty hunter, seek out treasure around the world as a collector, or take on the role of a trader and build a business, the choice is yours.
These roles each come with unique gameplay, along with a number of weapons, outfits, and other rewards to earn. One can simultaneously progress across multiple roles as you play. Alternatively, one can also focus on a specific role to quickly advance.