Red Dead Online as a mostly single-player game in 2022

I tried this for maybe 2 or 3 hours last night. Tom’s post above made it sound like it might be enjoyable solo. I wasn’t maximizing my time in terms of earning gold, took me a good half hour to kinda find my feet and check out all the different menus and options. The rest of the time I rode around and did some missions.

After spending a few hours doing a bunch of missions and a bit of exploring, I had 0.36 of 1 gold bar. Tried to start the naturalist role that Tom mentioned but I needed 25 gold bars to even get started…

So off to google I go, lets see how much gold I can get per hour. The answer I got was that if you grind pretty hard you can earn around 1 gold bar per hour. So about 25 hours give or take before I can even start the naturalist role…

That is where it ends for me, I ride off into the sunset with my .36 of 1 gold bar and my 47 dollars (one mission gave me $1.18 and 1 gun oil for finding and killing some bad guys. Didn’t cover the cost of the ammo used)

The last few days of messages on this thread made me install 120GB again, and then turn around and uninstall 120GB.

Wow! Thanks for the heads up. For a moment, I was tempted to reinstall it, but if thats the lay of the land, then I’m out.

25 gold bars from Rockstar is $10. You could think of the Naturalist role as DLC, perhaps.

I mean, I won’t, but you could!

Don’t you start with some, too?

I mean if you already spent 'em, then…that doesn’t help much, but I think they start you off with some, so theoretically someone could jump right in.

Hmm, I don’t remember starting with any, although it’s been a while. If you do, it’s a trivial amount and certainly not enough to purchase the Naturalist role.

I think the Ultimate Edition gives you some at the start, at least from what I read when researching gold per hour. But I just have a bog-standard copy so I started out with nothing, and still have most of it left :D

Not only is that a good way to think of it, but that’s pretty much how it happened. If I recall correctly, roles were all added after the initial release. Maybe bounty hunter was in the core game? But I’m 99% sure trader, collector, naturalist, and moonshiner were post-release content.

But it’s important to understand the roles are NOT the game. There’s so much more to Red Dead Online. I can understand being frustrated at how they’re gated, but there’s still plenty to do: storylines, missions, strangers, PvE horde mode, crimes, daily challenges, and multiplayer PvP matches of all sorts. Almost all these activities earn gold, as well as money and xp towards your rank, which in turn unlocks content like better weapons and horses.

This base (non-role) progression is gated by regular ingame dollars instead of gold. Dollars upgrade weapons, horses, abilities, camps, and cosmetics, as well as keeping stocked up on ammo and consumables. That’s the main game economy and you only need the $10 Red Dead Online if you want to participate in that.

But then there are the roles, which you unlock with gold (which can also be used to buy other stuff, so gold is necessarily gated more strictly, because it’s Rockstar’s way of making sure you can give them as much money as you’re willing to give). Perhaps it’s better to think of Red Dead Online as a free-to-play $10-to-play game with five mid- to end-game roles that you can grind towards or outright buy, at your discretion.

Which is easy for me to say, since when I jumped in, I had a fair amount of gold from playing back before any of this was set up. Furthermore, I benefited from someone’s hack to the tune of 20 gold bars day before yesterday. You might say my Naturalism unlock was a dirty cheat. I wouldn’t disagree and I count it a shortcoming on Rockstar’s part.

I guess my point is that if your only goal when you start playing is to unlock a role, you’re probably not seeing everything the online game has to offer. Which is understandable. It’s a laconic and sometimes opaque game. But before anyone gives up in frustration at being unable to start a role, you should at least sample some of what is available! Start up the storyline missions by finding Horley, or try one of the Call to Arms horde missions, or just hunt some animals and sell the meat and skins to the butcher for cash. If the world-building, horseback riding, and gunplay don’t pull you in, so be it. But if they do, they’ll get you to the roles eventually.


I can now see why it’s so important for Rockstar to crack down on that hacker guy who was giving you tons of gold.

Just to be clear, I think he was trying to kill me. The chests only happened after I managed to hide from the avalanche of predators without running away from the area. Otherwise, it seems like I was trapped in an ongoing series of escalating spawns, and I only escaped by not killing a round of spawns.


In the tutorial area ( I think that’s where I am) there is early mission about stealing horses that says 1-4 players, but when I start is always searches for other players. How do I do it solo? And this is PC. This is currently on sale for $10 for xboxX/S. Is it worth it to grab it there for fewer hackers maybe?

I don’t know if you can play that mission solo, @lostcawz. I think it’s supposed to be a tutorial for how the public missions play? Once you get past it, it’s not going to force you into any public groups.


I did that mission last night and after maybe twenty seconds of matchmaking it just sent me in alone. One of the horse thieves even commented on it “Looks like you’re doing this alone” or something like that. I was also trying to find a way to solo it, but had to bite the bullet. It all worked out though, and it’s a really short mission so I’d say don’t let it stop you from moving on to the open world that comes after it.

I haven’t given Rockstar any actual money since I paid 'em $10 for the game. But I have all the roles, all the guns and gear and horses I have any interest in, a fair bit of cash and around 100 gold last I checked.

I don’t remember how much gold you start with, but there are videos online, including some from that PVPCat guy whose video I linked above, about how to get gold fairly quickly without buying it. Of course as mentioned above, the fastest way is to buy it. Lots of other games work on that same principle. Grind or buy, you pays with yer time, or yer wallet.

The biggest thing you can do to earn gold without paying for it is dailies. Do all your available dailies, each one you complete gives you a little bit of gold. And if you do at least one daily every day the amount of gold you get increases each day (week?) until you max out at I think 28 days, at which point it resets to the base amount. Most of the dailies are fun to do, they are stuff you can do while you’re out on a mission etc. The general idea is do at least one or two a day for the first two weeks, and the last two weeks try to complete them all for max gold income. We didn’t find this a big deal, as we were having so much fun playing we were in game every night for the first two months or so. Once we got a role or two it ceased to be an issue.

As far as the roles go, Collector is the quickest way to in game dollars, and Bounty Hunter gives gold IIRC.

You’ll want these two maps:

and this guy has a lot of useful info, though some is dated:

Rockstar occasionally gives away a gold bar or three, but they have deals on the roles all the time. Moonshiner was 5 gold off here a week or three ago and I finally picked it up. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, use the Prime Gaming deal to get freebies as well. Free or good discounts on horses, guns, clothes, stable slots, I can’t remember all I’ve picked up from there.

At any rate, the game to me was never about gold, or needing to buy those roles. The world of RDO is large, and there is a ton of stuff to see and do, and you don’t need any of the roles to experience the vast majority of it.

Heck, I kinda want to log in and go pet my dog and horse.

Cool. I tried that last night too but must not have waited long enough. I’ll give it another shot later.

So I took today off from work and dove into this a bit. I waited long enough on the Horse Thief quest that I got to do it solo (about 1 minute maybe). Got me my sweet sweet grey and went into the game proper.

Things I didn’t expect to do today:
Become a griefer. I’m riding around outside my camp at night and see smoke in the distance. I ride towards it and get off my horse as I can see about 4 riders circling a camp. I get a little notice saying something about rescuing the Stranger at the camp. So sneak up a bit not really too worried since so far the NPCs haven’t been all that deadly (granted my experience was all in the tutorial), and shoot one or two riders off their horse (I think, it was dark). I’m positioned inside a small circle of rocks with decent protection but after brief shootout with a couple more riders I realize I’m shooting PCs, not NPCs and Dogpile16 headshots me. I respawn and try to sneak back in…but my freaking horse keeps following me and I have no idea how to get it to stop this. So my sneaking is for naught with a giant horse hovering over me. I get killed a couple more times and decide to head off after my final respawn. Really need to figure out how to get my horse to not follow.

Decide to head to town to start some missions. As I’m passing some rider on the road I get a prompt to jump over to his horse. Sure, why not. Do so and now I’m a horse thief. But when I get to town I notice I can clear out the saddlebags and get a bunch of stuff and about $2 cash. But I can’t figure out how to sell to the stable guys who said they’d buy horses. So I leave him tied up.

Go grab some missions from the main storyline guy. Have to go see 3 sheriffs. On my way (long way) to the bounty hunter sheriff I jump another dude’s horse again. This time I ride a bit and am about to get off and check for money in the saddle bags. It’s dark and I run into 3 or so riders coming the other way and when I hit one with my horse I ‘crash’ the horse and die. Maybe I got shot for being a horse thief. Not sure, but at least the ram pelts I’d skinned on the way were still on my regular horse when I respawned.

Finally get to BH sheriff and you need like 15 pounds of gold. I have like .2. Oh well.

The world is amazing and feels huge, but not impossibly so.

So far on my aging PC with an old 1060 Ti in it the game runs fine.

There seems to be enough threat of PCs that it keeps things interesting, but not so much it ruins the day. Again, as far as I know I instigated the only fight I got in.

Is there any downside to stealing/killing NPCs? Hunting seems like a reasonable way to get cash early.

Can’t believe I’ve had this thing a few years and never given it the time of day.

When you select your horse to do things like feed and brush him, there’s an option for “Flee”. I think it’s the B key. This is where you smack the horse on the flank and tell him to “git” and stop following you. Alternatively, get in the habit of hitching him and he’ll stay put.

Since horses are a precious commodity – like cars in GTA but moar! – I don’t think you can just rustle 'em up and sell 'em. I believe getting a second horse requires buying a new slot in the stable and then buying a new horse, fair and square.

A bit of a shame, because I like the idea of running down a herd of wild mustangs and picking one out as my secondary mount.

Stop pressing the X button when you’re near other horses and wagons! :)

That’s the second thing you learn after “stop pressing B to get on your horse” because then you punch him, and no one wants that.

Whoa! Glad to hear it. I mean, I guess the engine wizards at Rockstar have only one job, but they dang sure do it well!

There is a law system in place. I think the best way to figure it out is to explore it. :)

Suffice it to say you can generally buy your way out of the predicament if it gets too great.

Yep, those butcher tables you’ll find in towns are a good place to unload hunting spoils. But keep in mind that if you unlock the Naturalist role, it’s disincentivizes animal killing. I’m not sure how strong the disincentive is. You get a message that Harriet, the Naturalist NPC vendor, is unhappy, but not what her unhappiness means. But now I’m wondering how to square Naturalism with Trader, which is all about hunting down animal spoils and donating them to your camp.


Ooooh! Thanks @tomchick. I find the Flee butting you mentioned. Very helpful. As are all those suggestions.

Hunting at night a few min ago and “hey, what’s that little thing wandering towards me?” Hello cougar!!!??? Deaded me but I went back and killed him and got my hat back. Then four red dots charged me and I ran. Thought I got away and even killed a big elk. But after I’d skinned it I took a throwing knife to the noggin. Never saw the perp or any red dots. Oh well.

Is there any sort of Qt3 posse or whatever and any reason to have one?

There just feels like there is so much out there in this game. You can’t really do it ‘wrong’. Just go and see what happens.

Oh ya, I’ve punched my horse a couple of times. Haha

I’m a bit confused about whether there’s any sort of persistent social structure in Red Dead Online beyond your friends list. It seems that posses are just temporary groupings of four players. But then there’s the option to set up a large camp, which supports seven players.

This might be the equivalent of a clan? I won’t be able to check until later tonight, but let me see if that’s something that might be useful to those of us playing regularly.

Also, it didn’t occur to me to wonder this before, but is Red Dead Online cross-platform? Am I only seeing PC players online with me? Or are all those filthy casuals on their console systems mixing it up with me?


Google tells me that the filthy casuals are kept in their own pen to wallow in the mud together. Even on PC though, I’m using a controller. This is one of my couch games.