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A bit of a rant about online.


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I'm a veteran of Red Dead and GTA Online, and I've got quite a few things to say regarding the state of the beta. 

First off, my main squeeze is hunting/fishing. In the single player, I found it surprisingly in depth and enjoyable, although it felt like a waste of time in between intense story beats. In online I feel more like a survivalist doing what he can to make an honest living. I'm thankful that there is even hunting in the game to begin with, seeing as it was completely absent in GTA online. 

Hunting and fishing aren't really viable as an earning strategy. Not because you don't make money- the contrary, actually, they're surprisingly lucrative at low levels. But you don't start off with a bow like you do in SP. You have to be rank 10 and earn something like 124 dollars for a bow. A BOW. It's a piece of wood with a string. So your only recourse is to shoot the animals, which damages the pelts, or use your lasso and knife which, while fun, is irritatingly glitchy and finicky. The real awful culprit is fishing, though. You need to be level 14 for a fishing rod, and the lures require increasingly ridiculous levels in order to obtain. And even then, the lures are regional, forcing you to continuously spend money on bait until you're something like level 45. 

But those issues aren't what makes hunting and fishing dangerous and potentially worthless. It's the other players. When RDR2 was announced, I knew online was coming. I had two main questions; one (and I'm extremely disappointed that this wasn't an option) what kinds of properties will we be able to purchase, and will there be potential upgrades? And two; how will they handle the endless cycles of RDM when the map's stores and activities are clustered into a few hotspots? The answer to the second question was apparently nothing- possibly even less than GTA Online. If you hunt a few perfect pelts, two perfect rabbits, and one perfect deer, you need to sell them quickly so they don't decompose. If the nearest town has even one player in it, you have two options- either find a town with a butcher's and no players nearby (no easy feat) and risk your carcasses decomposing to 'good' quality, or storm the town like a madman and pray the player isn't hostile, doesn't see you, and didn't preorder the ultimate edition so they can't obliterate you with arguably one of the best guns in the game at level 1. And, even if you do decide to run to a new town, there's no garurentee that there won't be players there, or you won't encounter one on the road. 

Exasperating this issue is the fact that there is no passive mode. For real. The only times you enter anything even similar is when you interact with a shop or quest giver, or at the beginning of a mission. You can't opt out of PVP. There aren't even dedicated PVP/PVE servers. In fact, from what I can see, you can't choose a different server at all. Now, I understand the fact that you can't enter passive mode on those stranger missions that open the posse up for attack halfway through, because that's part of the fun and challenge, but if you're just wanting to grind some hides, there is no way to just pop into town, sell your bounty, then leave again without ensuring a hail of malicious bullets. What's worse, to 'parlay' you have to get killed three times- plenty of time for the assailants to steal your prized alligator gar. 

You would think that passive mode would kind of be a no-brainer, seeing as how much of a disaster downtown LS was in GTA Online. Now, I know what some of you might be thinking; "Moose, could Rockstar have left out passive mode so that lower level players that haven't spent money on gold could get slaughtered every time they try to go to town and buy a new hat, therefore frustrating them and causing them to either quit the game or purchase gold to buy a Cacano Rifle?" Well, the answer is most certainly no. Rockstar would never do something so awful and manipulative, especially during this trying time when game developers are under intense scrutiny for that exact kind of behavior!

This is kind if unrelated, but I am also super disappointed that there are no minigames, like dominoes, poker, or knifey-finger. Those games kind of defined Red Dead Redemption, and personally, some of my favorite parts of the game. GTA online had darts, arm-wrestling, and tennis. I know that this is a beta, and there are most certainly going to be additions to the game later, but these things seem like they would be common sense, especially if you look at GTA Online and see the trends there. Then again, maybe these are the trends they saw. Players spend more money of they're constantly being slaughtered by players who have already spent money, and sitting in minigames prevents then from getting killed as often. 

And, of course, I'm just as upset as everyone else about the broken economy (600 dollars for a jacket in 1890 is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen a video game try to sell me) and the lack of customization. Again, it is a beta, which is partially why I felt compelled to make this post, and I hope that Rockstar does take some of the criticism to heart, as Red Dead Online had such immense potential, under a few glaring flaws.

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