Red Dead Online’s popularity has dwindled in the last couple of years. However, 2021’s summer update promises major changes that are intended to draw disenchanted players back to the game. Rockstar Games had been teasing this update for months but it is finally coming to fruition.
It's something that fans of the franchise had been clamoring for since Red Dead Online went from being a mode in Red Dead Redemption 2 to its own standalone MMO: the unlawful activities of robbing camps and homesteads for cash and loot that were a part of the main game.
Red Dead Online Decline
The intention of the update is to reinvigorate what had become a progressive problem of player population decline since 2019. Part of the reason was, ironically, becoming a standalone MMO in late 2020 for Windows PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One, and more recent consoles through backward compatibility of the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X.
This is because the jump from Red Dead Redemption 2 forced some players who started on Playstation 4 and Xbox One platforms to choose to lose much of what they had already accumulated from hours of playing in order to start fresh on the Windows PC. While many players made the choice due to the more options and flexibility available, it also meant sacrificing a lot of time and content that they had already gotten used to having.
In addition, the existing Red Dead Online player community had been starving for actual new content. Although Rockstar Games had been adding new content sporadically which coincided with updates for Grand Theft Auto Online such as solo missions and new race courses, they have not been enough to keep some players interested.
Aim to Misbehave
One of the activities noticeably absent from Red Dead Online that Red Dead Redemption 2 prominently featured is the ability to do robberies and other forms of mischief as cowboys in the Old West. This was a curious removal, as a big part of the history and appeal of the cowboy and Wild West genre is the conflict between the lawmen and the outlaws in that frontier.
Whether in film, television, or games, the setting of the Old West was rife with such misdemeanors. Although you can still be an outlaw based on immoral decisions made in quests (even the simple act of keeping fish you catch), actual heists were not one of these.
That glaring omission from the Red Dead Online experience is coming to a close, however.
With the early summer update, Rockstar Games is adding the option of being law breaking varmints. In the announcement provided on the official Rockstar Games Twitter account and the Rockstar Newswire, the company has confirmed the players can add robbery of camps and homesteads to the activities available:
As part of the early summer update coming to Red Dead Online, all kinds of new unlawful ventures will emerge for those willing to comport themselves in a certain — morally flexible — manner. These will include the ability to rob homesteads across the five states in Free Roam, as well as open up new avenues for personal enrichment.
In Red Dead Redemption 2, robbery was a prevalent means of getting cash and loot. Even certain side missions required committing robberies, though much of it is entirely optional. With Red Dead Online’s update, players will be able to do the same in Free Roam. Although the announcement only mentions camps and homesteads, there is anticipation that it will also include the option to rob banks and traveling coaches, as in the main game, either as part of the summer update or in a later one.
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) June 8, 2021
One point that has not been addressed or mentioned is how these new activities will influence Red Dead Online’s honor system, if any.
Bonus for Collectors and Featured Series
In the meantime, Red Dead Online is offering 2X RDO$ and XP for Featured Series such as Hostile Territory, Name Your Weapon, Plunder, and Team Shootouts. If you win a mode in one of these Featured Series, you get rewarded with a free Hat up to Rank 15. Also, collectors will receive three Tarot Cards and collectors below Rank 20 will earn a Reward for 1,000 Collector XP. These awards will be delivered by June 16.