On Dec. 1, a new update to Red Dead Online arrived, and fans were excited. Players had long-standing complaints about the speed of updates and whether those updates felt impactful, and they hoped that their cowboy experience could be spiced up by introducing a Bounty Hunter class.
But a lot of Red Dead Online fans are mad about the new patch now that they’ve had the opportunity to play it.
There are two major additions: the Bounty Hunter Prestigious License, and the Outlaw Pass.
The license unlocks 10 different class levels and offers access to new cosmetics, such as a new bounty wagon paint coat, and some higher-paying bounties. However, to unlock this material, it also needs 15 gold bars (the real-money currency of the game).
That’s over half the price it takes to unlock the roles of Moonshiner or Naturalist, both of which offer the game considerably more content.
The Moonshiner, for example, came with a short but well-crafted story campaign and a player-owned bar, and two NPCs with distinct cosmetic rewards tracks were provided by the Naturalist.
Red Dead Online’s version of a war pass is the Outlaw Pass. While it’s running, it records XP from missions and activities for players. Everyone has access to a free edition, but a premium version that provides extra incentives can be paid for by players.
Fans have previously found the Outlaw Pass “worth it,” if only because all 40 gold bars, along with their cosmetic rewards, emotes, and quality-of-life rewards, will be won back by players who obtained the required XP.
But now, unless you buy it during the first week which rewards an additional 10 gold bars and an extra 400 in-game dollars, the pass offers only 30 gold bars.
In the group, the sense is that this move is an attempt by Rockstar to cause fear of losing out, especially because many fans seem lackluster with the premium rewards. Players feel like they can automatically pull the trigger if they want some item from the Outlaw Pass and they want their gold bars back, even if the rest of the rewards do not seem worth it.
One fan wrote on the game’s subreddit, “No [outfit unlocked at level 1], hardly any clothing or hats, no weapon skins… just [filler items] all over. “Arthur’s coat is the only thing that I really love. Compared with previous throws, it’s very underwhelming.
Hope you guys like poses, filters, and backdrops for pictures! :)’ wrote another, sarcastically using a smiley emoticon.
The winter coat by Arthur from the prologue of Red Dead Redemption 2 is an enticing addition, but fans needed hats, boots, horses, and other functional, subtly cool things.
The few available hats and belt buckles are criticized for being gaudy and nearer to what a Grand Theft Auto Online player might wear as a joke than actual cowboy attire over the top.
There are also very limited pay-to-win prizes for the Outlaw Pass, such as the chance to carry more ammunition or cook more meat on a grill.
These incentives minimize the time spent getting supplies in the area, or planning for camp, and make life easier. They don’t competitively smash anything but they certainly add to the bad taste in the mouths of fans.
Another problem is that many players struggled with a day-one bug that prevented them from gaining XP and playing rewards, albeit one that Rockstar quickly patched.
Making it worse, less gold is now compensated by regular challenges. In the patch notes, this update is reported, but not in the Rockstar Games Newswire announcement.
This means that playing the game fully for free is much less efficient; purchasing a new weapon version will take over 200 days of grinding out regular challenges.
A long-simmering powder keg of frustration among Red Dead Online players, who have been voicing grievances in the Moonshiner update and in the Naturalist update, has been ignited by this update.
For some players, some of whom have been playing since the game’s earliest days, this recent Bounty Hunter update appears to be the final straw.
The patch renders Red Dead Online stressful for veterans, who are drip-fed at a slow enough rate to store wealth and buy stuff instantly… But it does not seem worth the incentives.
It’s not a good system for new players, either, because, through the $5 stand-alone copy, they enter the game at a fair price, and then instantly face paywalls in every town and every time they search their letters.