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Red Dead Online Beginner’s Guide: Top 10 Tips (2024)

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a massive open-world action-adventure game. It features a beautifully designed open world, an amazing story, and satisfying gameplay. It’s easily one of Rockstar’s best games ever! If you were a fan of the base game, then you’ll surely love the online aspect.

If you’re interested in trying out Red Dead Online, you’re going to want to do your homework before stepping into the open world. Luckily for you, we’ve made this Red Dead Online Beginner’s Guide, covering the top ten tips for beginner players!

Get your notebook out — we’ve got a lot of stuff we need to cover.

Red Dead Online Beginner’s Guide: Top 10 Beginner Tips

With that, let’s get right into our Red Dead Online beginner’s guide!

1. Do the Daily Challenges

Do The Daily Challenges
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

The first and most important tip in our Red Dead Online Beginner’s Guide is to do your daily challenges. In addition to the regular US dollars, there is a second type of currency in Red Dead Online known as gold. Gold is a premium currency that can be bought directly for real money or acquired through one of several in-game ways. One of the best (and most importantly, free) ways to make gold in Red Dead Redemption 2 is through the completion of daily challenges.

If you open up the Interaction Menu, you can head to the “Daily Challenges” section to see what you can do. Daily challenges will range from skinning a certain type of animal to cooking meat at a fire, collecting a certain number of herbs, etc.

Once you have some roles unlocked, you’ll be able to do additional challenges involving those roles, allowing you to make even more gold with them!

But even if you’re just starting out, daily challenges are still worth doing. While you may only get a small amount of gold your first time completing a task, if you complete at least one task a day, every day, you can earn a streak.

A streak will gradually increase the amount of gold you earn per challenge. This allows you to quickly make large amounts of gold fast by only doing a few simple tasks!

2. Use the Handheld Catalog to Buy Items

Use The Handheld Catalog to Buy Items
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

One thing that many players love about Red Dead Online is the immersion and realism. And one thing that many players hate about Red Dead Online is the immersion and realism. One example of realism is the need to purchase various items (such as gun oil, ammo, and canned fruits) from stores all throughout the American south. But if you don’t feel like riding all the way into town, you don’t have to.

In the game, there is an item called the catalog. This allows you to order almost any item in the game right from your camp! Simply open up the weapon wheel and go to items.

The catalog should be at the bottom of the wheel. Select it and open it up. Now you can look through a variety of different items, and they can all be easily purchased! Who needs realism when you have convenience, eh?

Once you order your items, they will be delivered to a postal office or to your camp’s lockbox. If you’re at a postal office, simply talk to the man behind the counter to pick up your items. If you’re in your camp, look for the blue box resting on the ground. Walk up to it and interact with it, and all of your ordered items should be safely stored inside the lockbox. Handy, isn’t it?

3. Turn On Defensive Mode (If You Don’t Like PVP)

Turn on Defensive Mode (if You Don't Like PvP)
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

If you don’t like engaging in PVP or are worried about griefers ruining your day, there is an option that can help alleviate the problem.

Go to the Interaction Menu, go to “Online Options,” then scroll down to “Playing Style.” Then you can just select “Defensive” as an option. This is a very easy and simple feature to access. And it can save you a lot of headaches later on in your game.

But what is Defensive mode, you may ask? It’s similar to the passive mode in GTA Online, but not exactly the same. Instead of making you unkillable, it will instead reduce the amount of damage that other players can do to you. It also makes you immune to being shot at with Dead Eye. You also cannot be lassoed while in Defensive mode, among several other defensive benefits.

This is a really great way to reduce the amount of flak you get from unruly players. And, unlike the passive mode in GTA Online, it doesn’t lock you out of playing most aspects of the game.

You can still complete bounty hunter missions (with the exception of Legendary Bounties) while in Defensive mode, for example. Doing a trader delivery mission will revert you back out of Defensive mode, however.

4. Pick as Many Plants & Herbs as You Can

Pick as Many Plants & Herbs as You Can
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

Throughout the American south, you’ll find a wild and untamed land filled with a variety of different plants and herbs. Many of these plants can be harvested by players and used in a variety of different recipes. You can collect mint to season your steak with it, which gives you increased benefits! And you can use yarrows to craft health tonics! Additionally, certain ammo types require plants to be crafted.

In addition to that, some daily challenges (as mentioned earlier) require you to harvest certain plants. This means that foraging can net you some gold! And if all of that wasn’t enough, if you have the Moonshiner role, you’ll need to collect certain plants in order to create batches of flavored moonshine that sell for higher prices. As you can imagine, collecting plants and herbs is crucial to your success.

If you press the dead eye button, you’ll enter into a vision that changes the colors around and highlights plants for you. They will also appear with particle effects marking where they are. Use this mode to find the plants that can be harvested.

Then, just walk up to a plant and press the interaction button to pick it. As long as your inventory isn’t already full of them, you’ll be able to collect a small amount for use.

5. Use Your Treasure Maps

Red Dead Online Beginners Guide: Use Your Treasure Maps
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

In addition to completing daily challenges as a method of obtaining gold, another great method for getting gold early on in your game is by using treasure maps! Treasure maps are an item that you can interact with to reveal a location on the map which contains buried treasure! There are several ways of obtaining them, such as by leveling up or completing levels in premium outlaw passes.

Once you’ve obtained a treasure map, simply interact with it from your inventory and the game will reveal a location on the map.

This location will be marked with a treasure map in the center and a gold aura surrounding it. Then just travel to this location. Once there, you can press the dead eye button to switch to a viewing mode that will cause particles to emanate off of the location of the treasure.

Then just run around the area, making sure to stay within the boundaries on your minimap. Keep looking around long enough, and you’ll eventually find a small wooden box that you can interact with to acquire some money and gold!

This is a really great way to get some income for your character. You’ll naturally be rewarded with treasure maps throughout the course of your playthrough in RDO.

6. Take Part in Free Roam Events as Often as You Can

Red Dead Online Beginners Guide: Take Part in Free Roam Events as Often as You Can
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

The next tip on our Red Dead Online beginner’s guide is to take part in free roam events as often as you can. Every now and then, you’ll receive random invites to Free Roam Events. These events can vary greatly from one another — be it capturing and holding a train or rounding up some bounties — and they are (almost) always a blast to play.

More importantly, completing a free roam event always nets you a decent amount of cash as well as some gold! Because of this, you’re going to want to do as many of these free roam events as you possibly can, especially when you’re just starting out in the game. They allow you to interact with some other players as well, which adds a lot to the social aspect of Red Dead Online.

Additionally, as you purchase more and more roles in Red Dead Online, you’ll unlock more free roam events to play. Some of them are tied to the roles found in the game, such as that bounty collecting event that I mentioned earlier (which requires the Bounty Hunter role). And if you have friends to play with, completing these free roam events becomes an even more enjoyable experience!

7. Complete the Story Missions

Red Dead Online Beginners Guide: Complete The Story Missions
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

When you first create your character and join Red Dead Online, you’ll be busted out of jail by a strange man. He’ll take you to his boss, a woman named Jessica LeClerk. She reveals to you her husband was murdered in the town of Blackwater, and that the killers are still on the loose. She busted you out of your prison wagon for the express purpose of hiring you to help her track down and kill the killers.

It’s a very interesting and enjoyable story. LeClerk is a likable character, and the writing and cutscenes are all very enjoyable to play. If you don’t have any of the roles unlocked, then completing this story is a good way to occupy your time and make some money.

Speaking of money, completing each mission for the first time will reward you with a decent amount of gold for you to spend on whatever you please! Completing every mission for the first time should reward you with around ten gold bars in total. This is probably one of the best ways to work towards purchasing your first role in Red Dead Online.

Once you wrap these missions up, you can use some of the treasure maps you collected and complete some daily challenges. Soon you’ll be on your way to fifteen gold bars and a new role of your choice!

8. Refill Your Cores Often

Refill Your Cores Often
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

While making money is important in Red Dead Online, so is taking good care of yourself. In Red Dead Redemption 2, your character has a system for health, stamina, and dead eye involving the use of cores. These cores need to be filled in order for your health and the like to recharge quickly. As you can imagine, keeping all of your cores full is very important for making sure you can play the game properly.

Cores will naturally go down as time goes on and you do various things in the game, such as using your dead eye. Being in extreme weather conditions while wearing the wrong clothing items will affect this process. Even if you stay out of trouble, your cores will naturally deplete to zero after just ninety minutes of game time! They can be a chore to look after, but it’s not so bad if you know what you’re doing.

There are many different items and methods for you to fill up your cores. You can rest at campfires, make a pot of coffee or stew, or cook a piece of meat to fill them up. Or you can just stop by the store and purchase a few food items to eat. Regardless of how you fill them up, make sure you fill them up!

9. Upgrade Your Ability Cards Often

Red Dead Online Beginners Guide: Upgrade Your Ability Cards Often
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG

One of the many forms of progression in Red Dead Online involves the use of an RPG-like perk system called ability cards. Ability cards are swappable items that you can use to increase your stats and give yourself unique bonuses. One ability card makes you immune to headshots while you’re wearing a hat! If you get shot, your hat will simply fall off your head.

These ability cards are unlocked naturally as you rank up through the game. You can have a maximum of four ability cards up at once after you unlock all four slots. And each and every ability card can be upgraded with the use of cash. They allow you to specialize in one of several roles, such as being more defensive, offensive, or more of a support character. This allows you to tailor things to your play style.

In order to view your ability cards, simply go into the pause menu and select “Abilities.” This will pull up the menu that allows you to view, unlock, swap out, and upgrade all of your abilities. You’ll want to check back with this menu often, as the sooner you can unlock new abilities the better. They become especially useful if you don’t have many good weapons in the game bought yet.

10. Take Advantage of Free Rewards

Take Advantage of Free Rewards
Image: Rockstar Games via HGG / Koby Gibson Ross

The final tip on our Red Dead Online beginner’s guide is to capitalize on freebies. One thing I find very odd about this game is how generous Rockstar is with its free rewards. That’s right — Rockstar, in all of their infinite generosity and kindness, will occasionally bless us lowly players with free stuff. A lot more free stuff than in GTA Online, in fact. In Red Dead Online, you’ll occasionally receive free coupons for discounted or even free items for you to pick up.

These discounted and free items can range from new weapons to roles, to even a free horse of your choice. I was able to get one of the best horses in the game — worth over $1,000 — entirely for free using a coupon given to me by Rockstar! You can acquire these free and discount coupons by just playing the game and ranking up. And they will occasionally be given to players as a part of monthly bonuses.

In order to use these coupons, all you need to do is purchase the item that the coupon is for. It will be consumed automatically upon use.

To view what coupons you’ve unlocked, go to the pause menu. Then select “Benefits,” then “Offers & Rewards.” Viola! Just keep in mind that some of these coupons will expire after a certain date. Be sure to use this menu to check when each of them will expire!

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We hope you found this Red Dead Online beginner’s guide informative! Have any tips of your own for us? Let us know, and be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more content. We offer regular guides and rankings on all of the best open-world action games.

Happy gaming!

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