Red Dead Online, it would be fair to say, has had a rocky year since Red Dead Redemption 2's launch. There’s been a dearth of content, ropey control systems, and a sense that Rockstar really hadn’t yet unlocked the full potential of a massive online Western wilderness. That could all be set to change this week with the arrival of Frontier Pursuits, a massive overhaul which revamps the responsiveness of the controls and adds three Specialist Roles, jobs which can be worked through in order to unlock unique gear, camp upgrades, abilities, and activities.
The sluggish nature of the controls and the poor gunplay are easily the weakest aspect of Red Dead Redemption 2’s Red Dead Online mode. This update will provide “dramatic improvements to player control with quicker and more responsive movement across all phases of combat and locomotion.”
Content-wise, you’ll now be able to embark on a career as a Bounty Hunter, Trader, and Collector. Each job has its own XP bar and ranks to work through, unlocking new skills, upgrades, and role-specific Free Roam events.
Bounty Hunters visit bounty boards before heading out to take down Red Dead’s most wanted. It starts with petty thieves before rising to notorious outlaws and, eventually, bringing in actual players either dead or alive.
Unique Bounty Hunter skills and items include:
- Focus: Targets glow red in Eagle Eye
- Reinforced Lasso: A lasso made with reinforced rope to keep bounties secure
- Reverse Spin: Perform a Reverse Spin with a single pistol or revolver
- Tonics Satchel Upgrade: Store more items in your Tonics Pouch
- Eagle Eye+: Track enemies while sprinting or galloping
- Spin Up: Perform a Spin Up with a single pistol or revolver
- Kit Satchel Upgrade: Store more items in your Kit Pouch
- Tracking Arrow Pamphlet: A pamphlet recipe on how to craft Tracking Arrows
- Reverse Spin Up: Perform a Reverse Spin Up with a single pistol or revolver
- Ducking: Duck for protection while on horseback
- Bolas: A thrown weapon, perfect for tangling the legs of bounties
- Bounty Wagon: A wagon for securely retaining bounty targets
- Perception: Receive a notification of bounties from a greater distance
- Alternating Flips: Perform Alternating Flips with a single pistol or revolver
- Dual Gun Spinning: Perform gun spinning tricks with two pistols or revolvers
Traders will have to become experts at both hunting and combat. Animal pelts must be gathered for resources, a Hunting Wagon will allow for large hauls, and eventually you can even get a dog for camp to protect your supplies.
Unique Trader skills and items include:
- Stew Pot: A camp upgrade that unlocks stew recipes to boost cores
- Ingredients Satchel Upgrade: Store more items in your Ingredients Pouch
- Awareness: Identify rival Trader wagons at an increased range
- Canine Warning: Train your dog to warn of thieves raiding your camp
- Medium and Large Delivery Wagons: Upgraded wagons that can hold more goods for transport
- Weapons Locker: Store weapons for later use
- Lance Knife: A bespoke knife style available to Traders only
- Efficiency: Learn to increase the amount of usable materials from perfect carcasses
- Materials Satchel Upgrade: Store more items in your Materials Pouch
- Hunting Wagon: A sturdy wagon fit for carrying multiple carcasses, hides and pelts
- Protection: Reduce the chance of raids at your camp
Lastly there’s the Collector. They’re treasure hunters, basically, combing the world for hidden objects and valuable loot. Treasures can then be sold off to Madam Nazar in order unlock new searching skills, including a metal detector and, best of all, the ability to train your horse to pluck herbs and pass them up to you while mounted.
Unique Collector skills and items include:
- Divination: Sense when near collectibles
- Pennington Field Shovel: An essential tool for uncovering buried collectibles
- Potential: Detect disturbed earth when using Eagle Eye
- Intuition: Narrow your search area
- Horse Saddlebag Upgrade: Carry more in your Horse’s saddlebag
- Refined Binoculars: Specialized binoculars that make dig sites glow from a great distance
- Águila Machete: A classic machete restyled for the use of adventurous and belligerent Collectors
- Metal Detector: An important tool which can identify collectibles buried underground
- Equine Assistance: Collect herbs from horseback
- Horse Lantern: Light the path ahead with a lantern attached to your horse’s breastplate
- Valuables Satchel Upgrade: Store more items in your Valuables Pouch
There’s also the Wheeler, Rawson & Co. Club club, which is a collection of traders. Earning XP will level up your membership and unlock new clothing, accessors, a special gun wrap, bonus cash, tonics, and more.
To top it off, no game these days would be complete without a battle pass. For Red Dead Online it’s called ‘The Outlaw Pass’ and it’s yours for the sum of 35 gold bars. That sure is a lot of gold bars. On PSN, 25 Gold Bars cost £8.99 and 55 Gold Bars are £18.49, so you’re looking at spending at least £18 however you do it.
With your Outlaw Pass you’ll get access to 70 ranks of progression which will include exclusive clothing, styles, campsite cosmetics, cash, vouchers, and gifts amount to 35 Gold Bars. This means if you play enough, you can use your Gold Bar earnings to pay for the next Outlaw Pass for free.
The first Outlaw Pass unlocks on September 10th and runs through until November 18th.
We’ll be sure to head back into Red Dead Online just as soon as this update goes live, ready to find out whether RDR2’s multiplayer component has managed to rise from throwaway fun to something meatier and more substantial.