Red Dead Online - Hot Air Balloon

I’ve played a lot of Red Dead Redemption 2. Not only have I almost scored the Platinum Trophy, but my playtime in Red Dead Online is getting close to 800 hours. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this friggin’ game. Not entirely.

I recently started a new RDO character in the PC version of the game to keep things fresh, and I’ve been seeing all sorts of weird things all of a sudden that I’ve never seen before. I don’t know if it’s just that the PC version has more stuff, if some of these things were added in a secret patch, or if somehow, in 800 hours of game time, I’ve just never seen these things until now.

For example, I was attacking a group of bandits, and one of them charged me and hogtied me. While I was trying to shake myself loose, another bandit hacked me to death with a machete. I initially thought that another player must have been hanging out in the area, because being hogtied and hacked to death with a machete is totally something that happens when other players enter the fray. Besides, it all happened so fast that I wasn’t even thinking to look at my minimap to see if any player icons had popped up on it. But then I went back to that location after I respawned and it happened again. At least, the bandits attempted it again — this time I was prepared to stop them.

Another time, I was clearing a hideout, and a guy jumped out at me and stabbed me in the chest with a hunting knife. Again, it almost happened a second time but I was ready for it.

Oh, and apparently you can sit down in the back part of the caravan wagons during escort missions. Who knew?

The thing that shocked me the most, though, is that I spotted a hot air balloon outside of Tumbleweed. You can’t actually ride in it, but it’s just sitting there as a neat piece of scenery. Has this always been here? Is it new? Is it like the ghost train in story mode, which only appears at random on super-rare occasions?

The exact location is between the N and the E in the New Austin text on the map.

Red Dead Online - Hot Air Balloon

I’m quite familiar with this part of the game world. There was a time when I set up my camp on those plains and hunted pronghorn for hours in between Tumbleweed bounty hunts. I’ve spent tons and tons of time out here. But I have never seen this hot air balloon before now.

Apparently, I’m not the only one to have seen something like this. There have been a handful of reports of hot air balloon sightings in RDO, and people think those might be spawned in by hackers. In this thread on the Steam forums, one user claims to have seen a 30-foot-tall cowboy, and another claims to have spotted Marko Dragic’s robot from story mode.

But the thing that makes this even weirder is that my game crashed later on, then I reloaded it and the hot air balloon was still there.

Red Dead Online - Hot Air Balloon

I had to get to the bottom of this, of course, so I fired up the PS4 version of the game to check it out. Like any reasonable person might expect, there was no hot air balloon in the PS4 version. So the hacker hypothesis does seem to have some weight to it.

For a while now, I thought it would be cool to fly around Red Dead Online in a hot air balloon. There was a hot air balloon section in story mode, and this is the closest thing RDO would ever have to GTAV‘s helicopters. And apparently, some modders even made it happen:

Then again, can you imagine what RDO griefers would do with something like this? Perhaps it’s best to keep RDO hot-air-balloon-free for now?

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