Rockstar Games has released Red Dead Redemption 2's online component, Red Dead Online, into the hands of the masses, much to the delight of gamers that have wrapped up their time in the title's single-player campaign. Red Dead Online has garnered plenty of attention since launching last week, and after spending hours playing through its many modes, it's clear that Red Dead Online is a little too wild of a take on the Wild West – sometimes to its detriment.
Upon jumping into Red Dead Online and running through the mandatory tutorial, it's inevitable that players will encounter others almost immediately. More often than not, these encounters turn deadly very quickly. Even attempts at trying to make peace with another user often falls on deaf ears. These conflicts only become more frequent as players traverse the world, although having a few members in a posse while travelling can in fact put other players off of trying to cause any harm to an individual within it. Still, it happens so frequently that Rockstar Games has tried to throw a wrench in the plans of any active griefers by implementing a Parley and Feud system in Red Dead Online, but this doesn't help when the vast majority of other players are hostile.
This becomes a point so much so that every player inbound to one's location is a serious threat, and often needs to be dealt with preemptively in order to continue leveling up in Red Dead Online. Perhaps this is perpetuating the same mentality that can be encountered, as maybe those players were being cautious or even friendly as well. But the fact that everyone is attempting to grief other leads to some annoying cycles – especially when others are occupying an area with treasure or quests.
The topic of quests is a relevant talking point as well, especially since Red Dead Online plays into this player versus player mentality through them. Red Dead Online encourages others to interfere with ongoing quests so that they can bask in thieved riches, but this only further ensures that players will continue to attack one another on a near-constant basis. Admittedly, interfering with mission is a sound component in theory, but it also grants more instances where griefing can be followed through on.
One of the big ways that the online experience hopes to deter others is by having a functioning Wanted system in Red Dead Online that will remove currency from a player's pocket as they are killed by NPC policeman and the like for committing crimes. This particular feature can help to ensure that players aren't too badly harassing others, but hostile users can continue getting their jollies for a couple of in-game dollars every death – something that can easily be replaced by looting corpses. It's hardly a dent in the wallets of anyone that has hopped online to hogtie players or derail anyone trying to complete a mission, especially since there are other ways of earning money in Red Dead Online.
With all of that said, that's not to take away from how impressive what's present in Red Dead Online is. The sprawling map that's populated with players makes traversing the landscape with a few friend all the more enjoyable. Furthermore, Red Dead Online is still technically in "beta," which means more changes will be coming through at a constant clip. It's possible that gamers will be occupying a very different online world in a few months as Rockstar Games continues to improve what's already present here. Currently, there needs to be much more done to address PvP issues, but it could be argued that the extreme nature of Rockstar Games' wacky titles is appropriately accentuated by the lack of repercussions for player griefing in the studio's latest cowboy romp. Then again, it's quite easy to argue a lot of things.
In many ways, Red Dead Online is even more wild than the Wild West, but that's not necessarily conducive of a great experience. For now, players should stick with a posse and watch out for hostile players that will be marked on their map. This is the best way to get around without as much hassle.