Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Online has been having a content drought for a while now. Half-Glass Gaming’s owner Josh has covered this extensively already, so I will defer to his coverage and spare the digital ink. Needless to say, things have been all quiet on the western front — so quiet, in fact, that fans of the online cowboy sim have taken to using the hashtag #savereddeadonline on Twitter in hopes of poking the beast and spurring Rockstar Games to take swift and decisive action.

Now, this radio silence could indicate that Rockstar is indeed working on something more worthwhile than simply adding a new role or some new accessories. Perhaps the studio is even gearing up for a current-gen launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 after they finally drag Grand Theft Auto V to the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles. This would be the ideal scenario, although if it were just a new-gen update and with no additional content, Rockstar might have a rude awakening in store — and perhaps even a mutiny on their hands.

But, without speculating too much — or even making lofty demands — I thought I would think smaller and drop a list of more reasonable, simpler changes or additions to Red Dead Online to help keep the bandits at bay, while also giving longtime players some bits to champ at. So saddle up, and let’s kick off my list of six simple additions that could tide Red Dead Online fans over until any possible larger future updates are announced.

New Camp and Moonshine Shack Themes

Red Dead Online - Moonshine Shack Band

While a brand-new role would be championed across the plains, even something as small-yet-immediate as adding new themes for camps and moonshine shacks could stretch the mileage of RDO a bit. Especially if you keep getting the daily challenge to change the theme of one (or both) of these and just end up cycling between the tired old themes again and again. If you’re like me and already only really like a small portion of the few that are available, having access two or three new ones, even if they aren’t necessarily the cat’s meow, would be enough to justify at least trying them out.

More importantly for the suits at Rockstar, this would also give me something to spend my money on, money I otherwise would more than likely just be accruing to put toward nothing else in particular.

Updates to Current Roles

Red Dead Online

And while we’re on the subject of roles in Red Dead Online, why not shake things up across the board? For the Moonshiner role, adding new recipes or buyers would be a nice way to shake off that staid feeling. I’ve done countless deliveries and the boredom has long since set in. Adding new buyers — and the routes one would take to get to them — would be a simple-yet-fresh change of pace.

The same can be said for the Trader role. Even though the routes vary depending on where your camp is located, it isn’t long before you get the feeling of having travelled those lonely roads ad nauseam. Adding a few new destinations — and varying the locales of the accompanying shootouts — could prolong the engagement of weary traders and spice up the action a bit.

This goes double for the Bounty Hunter and Collector roles. Adding new legendary bounties, or mixing up the types of base-level bounty missions, would go a long way toward making this ancient role feel a bit fresher.

And the Collector is easily the most lucrative role and also the dullest. Simply fire up that Jeanropke map and set your brain to autopilot, then let the cash tediously roll in. Adding new items or perhaps even making some of them obtainable after doing a simple, small mission could add hours to one’s play time and, more importantly, one’s enjoyment. Get crazy with it, add in some grave robbing, or tie some collectible items to actual home invasions — something other than Capitale, I mean. I’m pretty dog-tired of simply finding a tarot card on a barrel or digging a few inches into the dirt by a tree for a coin.

Purchasable Wagons Not Tied to Roles

Red Dead Online - Blood Money

A lot of folks, myself included, have been going on and on about how much we’d like to buy property in Red Dead Online. Although I do hope that will someday be an option, the fact that there are no purchasable wagons in the game — aside from the scant few tied to the Bounty Hunter and Trader roles — seems like a pretty shocking and glaring oversight.

We see all sorts of wagons while on the dusty trails, and we’ve all stolen at least a half dozen or so, yet there remains no option to own one of any kind (other than the aforementioned role wagons). I mean, there really isn’t any reason to actually own a wagon per se, other than player choice. But is that not reason enough? The models already exist in the game, as does horse insurance, which can just as easily be applied to a wagon.

And with all of this money burning a hole in my pocket, the option to upgrade or trick out your wagon would add an element of showpersonship.

New Clothing and Weapon Options and Upgrades

Red Dead Online - Quick Draw Club Pass No. 3

While we’re looking for new ways to spend old money, how about some more clothing and weapon options? These simple cosmetic additions could go a long way toward keeping the player base engaged, even if only for a little bit. I mean, for my tastes, most of the clothing options that currently exist in RDO just plain suck — especially if you are playing as a female character. They’re trash. There, I said it. So why not keep adding new ones that are slightly less trashy? Seriously, why not?

Rockstar could go one step further and allow players to collect specific scraps and bits, like in the campaign of the original Red Dead Redemption, which they could then combine into a unique outfit. And not just a hat that is the head of a bear, no, something that might suit a player who wants to be less gaudy and more practical. Again: money, burning hole. C’mon Rockstar.

A More Robust Cooking Mechanic

Red Dead Online

One of the handier features of having a camp is the ability to add some ingredients to a cookpot and get a stew going. Each stew not only provides a hearty meal for your rustling avatar, but also give your cores and meters a nice buff as well. The thing is, this is a pretty limited feature that really only offers you the option to get fancy with one auto-assigned special recipe at a time.

Adding full-fledged recipes that one could acquire from around the game world in order to make various different concoctions could really freshen things up. They could even go the route of games like Breath of the Wild and incentivize the player to try random ingredient compositions to make meals other than the ones they have recipes for. It’s not as if there aren’t a ton of ingredients littered through the world of Red Dead for the player to go nuts with. 

And sure, you can just grill some meat over an open campfire, maybe rub some thyme on it if you feel really fancy. But I would love to get a real meal going, something that would encourage players to take more time to set up a tent out in the wild away from their dedicated camp, maybe invite a cowpoke or two over for some fresh cornbread or a nice quiche to share over tall tales of past glories. This is probably more on the programmer-intensive side, but it could go a long way toward bolstering that community feel to Red Dead Online, something that feels… well, a bit undercooked.

Private Servers

Red Dead Online

For a lot of RDO players, private servers would be the coup de grâce, the crème de la crème. Even if there was a buy-in requirement, I’m sure there are plenty of players who would love to have their own dedicated private server. Being able to better control who you deal with is the most immediate and obvious benefit. But this could also help foster a more robust role-playing community for a game that, in my opinion, seems perfectly suited for that type of playstyle. More so than GTA Online, RDO just seems ripe for roleplaying. 

Private servers would also make it easier to implement the much-requested ability to finally purchase some land in RDO and build one’s dream ranch, or open that long-sought-after saloon or general store. But really, it would be nice to just play in peace sometimes without griefers mucking up the whole thing.

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