One of the best parts of Red Dead Online are the specialist roles. Roles are purchasable unlocks that allow you to play DLC content. Each role has its own unique playstyle and cosmetics to acquire, and they offer players new ways to play the game both by themselves and with their friends.
Not all roles are created equal, however. Some offer more enjoyable content to play, while others are better for making money. In this article, we’re ranking the best roles in Red Dead Online, giving our thoughts and opinions on what the best specialist roles are and why you should get them.
Every Role in Red Dead Online, Ranked From Worst to Best
With that introduction out of the way, let’s dive right into this ranking of every Red Dead Online role!
Let’s kick off this list with one that no one should be surprised is in last place, the Naturalist. This is a role that literally no one in the game asked for. To this day, I’m still confused why Rockstar added this to the game before bringing us the purchasable properties and heists that the game desperately needs (the Blood Money “DLC” doesn’t count).
In this DLC, you are tasked by a woman named Harriet to help her collect samples from and study the various animals that are found throughout the American south. You do this by observing them while out in the wild and sedating them with non-lethal rounds. Upon falling ill, you can collect samples from them and sell them to Harriet for money. You really don’t make that much from this role compared to something like the Collector.
Thankfully, in addition to collecting samples, you can also do poacher missions from Harriet. These ones are pretty fun, and they see you attacking a poacher camp to free wild animals so they can be released. You can also hunt legendary animals using this role, which is great if you want to quickly gather animal parts for your Trader role or if you want to unlock some unique cosmetics from the NPC Gus, who has some of the best-looking outfits in the game.
Speaking of unlocks, you can also get some cool rewards from this role, such as a Wilderness Camp that you can set up anywhere in the wild to fast travel around the map.
This DLC as a whole really wasn’t that bad of an idea. It’s essentially a wildlife photographer role, which I like the idea of. It’s just got some problems in its execution. Gathering animal samples is a little boring and the pay isn’t worth it. Also, Harriet is an annoying NPC who will literally drug you for killing too many animals. And the content as a whole really isn’t worth 25 gold bars.
The Naturalist DLC would be better if this role only cost 15 gold bars and was released alongside one or two smaller roles, like the roles released with the Frontier Pursuits DLC. People’s expectations for the Naturalist would have been lower, and we could have gotten some cooler, more outlaw-like content alongside its release. But oh well, at least there are some cooler roles to get in the game.
The Naturalist DLC was released for Red Dead Online in Summer 2020.
Up next at spot number four, we have the Collector! Putting this one so low might generate a little controversy, as I know many people that really like this role. While I completely understand that, I just don’t think that this role is as enjoyable as some of the other roles in the game. That said, I have to admit it’s one of the best money-making roles in the entire game!
This role sees you doing as the title suggests, traveling around the map ad collecting rare goods such as antique alcohol bottles and Native American arrows, all of which can be sold for money. The items are usually hidden in predefined locations on the map, but some can be looted off NPCs or found in chests. You start this DLC by meeting with the NPC Madame Nazaar, who tasks you with collecting a wide variety of antique items and bringing them back to her.
Different items are divided into sets. While you can sell items individually, once you have all the items in a set, you can sell those for big money! Players have created maps that allow you to quickly and easily see where all the Collector items are found on a map. This ease of finding items combined with its great payouts has made the Collector role one of the best ways to get money in Red Dead Online.
And when you’re done selling all the things you’ve collected, you can use that money you’ve made to buy some of the role’s unique cosmetics and upgrades. There are some pretty cool clothing items and a really nice weapon cosmetic for you to unlock. If I enjoyed playing this role more, I would definitely go for all the cosmetic items you can unlock.
Collector is a pretty good role, it’s just that I find the gameplay loop of running around the map and collecting items to be repetitive. Many people enjoy collecting things like this and find it to be very relaxing. This is a completely valid take to have. If you think the Collector is Red Dead Online’s best specialist role, more power to you! But I think most players will agree with me when they say they’d rather play something like the Bounty Hunter instead.
The DLC does only cost 15 gold bars. This makes it a great pick for your first role in the game if you are a new player. You can very easily earn some great money as a Collector, which is incredibly important if you are new to the game.
This role was released alongside the Frontier Pursuits update, which came out in Fall 2019.
Up next at spot number three of this article ranking every role in Red Dead Online, we have the Trader! This role introduced the very first of (hopefully) many in Red Dead Online. It provided players with a new way to make good money in the game by hunting different wildlife throughout the map. It was one of the first roles I ever got, and one of my personal favorites in the whole game.
Upon purchasing this role, you will be able to partner up with your camp buddy, Cripps, to start your own animal goods business. You’ll be tasked with hunting different animals around the map that you will need to kill and deliver to Cripps so that he can get busy turning them into fine animal goods. Once the two of you have created enough product, you can start up a sell mission to deliver them to one of several different locations around the map for a big profit!
This is a pretty fun DLC to play if you love hunting animals in the game. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot to stop players from just doing the most meta methods of gathering animal parts. Most people play this role by setting up their camp in the Great Plains and hunting either the Pronghorn or the Bison there, and not much else. Hopefully, Rockstar will release a Trader expansion update in the future with some incentives for players to hunt different animals, and in other regions.
Speaking more about the delivery missions, while they can be long and tedious, the money that you make from completing them is definitely worth the trouble. With this money, you can unlock some pretty neat stuff from the Trader role. One of my favorites is the Hunting Wagon, which allows you to store multiple different animal carcasses at once. This makes hunting a lot easier and more efficient.
I recommend that all players get the Trader role once they own either the Bounty Hunter role or the Collector role. Even with its problems, it’s still a pretty fun way to make some good cash. I really love the feeling of being an animal trader on the frontier, roughing it out in the wilderness to make money. It’s a very satisfying business once you’ve fully unlocked everything, and it’s a testament to the great progression system these roles offer players.
Becoming a Trader will only cost players a total of 15 gold bars. This makes it a fairly cheap role that is relatively easy to get at the start of the game. It came to Red Dead Online in September 2019 as a part of the Frontier Pursuits DLC.
Taking the silver medal home on our ranking, we have the Bounty Hunter role! This is, in my opinion, the best role in Red Dead Online. Being a Bounty Hunter is action-packed, and full of a variety of different missions for players to take part in, either solo or with friends. It’s a really solid role for beginners because it’s the only one that will pay out gold upon completing a mission. And even if the payouts aren’t the best, it’s still a blast to play!
By purchasing the Bounty Hunter role, you’ll be able to assist the Law in bringing in high-value targets to justice. It works by approaching one of the many bounty boards scattered around the map. You can pick and choose from several different targets to bring in, each with its own difficulty and cash reward. Some missions are pretty straightforward, with simple objectives that see you going to one location, taking out the NPCs there, and escaping alive with the bounty target with you.
Others are more complex, requiring you to investigate areas to track down and capture the bounty. There are also more story-driven ones with multi-part quest lines that will take you across the map. And lastly, there are the Legendary Bounties! These missions are incredibly fun and take a lot of inspiration after the bounties in the single-player. Each one of these missions gives you the unique story and background of one particular character.
Then you’ll do a hand-crafted mission seeing you take them down. Each one of these Legendary Bounties feels unique and interesting. Overall, there is plenty of content to play. While you play through these missions, you’ll rank up your role and find that you can unlock some really great-looking cosmetic items and beneficial upgrades. You can get reinforced lassos, which prevent targets from escaping. There’s even a bounty wagon for capturing multiple criminals at once!
I really like this role, and it’s one of the best ones in the game. The payouts for this role aren’t nearly as good as some of the other roles in the game, which is a shame, given how fun it is to play. Being able to ride around the map as a badass bounty hunter, bringing in targets dead or alive is really great. It really adds to the wild west feel of Red Dead Online, and I recommend getting it if you want something fun you can play with friends.
To purchase this role, you’ll need to pay a sum of only 15 gold bars, which is pretty cheap. But to gain access to the multi-part missions I mentioned, as well as some additional Legendary Bounties, you will have to pay an additional 30 gold bars to get the expansion for this role. That’s 45 gold in total, which isn’t cheap. I recommend only getting the expansion upgrade when it is discounted.
The Bounty Hunter role was released with the Trader and Collector roles during the 2019 update Frontier Pursuits.
And last but most certainly not least on this ranking, we have what I consider to be the best role in Red Dead Online — the Moonshiner! This is an action-packed, content-dense, and very profitable role that provides players with just about everything they’d want out of a wild west MMO like Red Dead Online. It’s without a doubt the most high-quality role in the game.
When you unlock this role, you’ll be able to team up with an old friend of Cripps named Maggie. She becomes your new business partner, and helps you start up your very own moonshine business! You can purchase one of several different locations throughout the map. Once you have a spot, you can do a few brief missions to get it set up. Once everything is ready, you can start producing and selling moonshine! But don’t get too excited — the Revenue Agents are out on the prowl to shut down any moonshine operations in the area.
What I really love about this DLC is the fact that it comes with an overarching story and several campaign missions for you to complete. Not only does it make the role feel more high quality, but it’s really great for those who want more storytelling from the writers of the story mode. If you enjoyed playing the Jessica LeClerk missions, then you’ll really enjoy the ones offered here.
As for the gameplay loop when you’re making moonshine, I find it enjoyable and it has good progression. You can add different flavorings to your moonshine to sell to different customers for more money. You can do special missions to lower the cost to produce moonshine. And when you make enough money, you can buy special upgrades for your shack to increase production. You can even add a bar expansion! Sadly it doesn’t make you money, but it’s still really cool nonetheless.
Overall, I really love the Moonshiner role. It feels incredibly well made, with lots of content for players to enjoy, a new business for players to make money, and lots of cool upgrades and cosmetics for players to unlock. If Rockstar ever decides to return to Red Dead Online with more big DLCs, I hope that they will use the Moonshiner update as a model for all future roles.
The Collector role may make more money and some may find other roles more enjoyable, but the sheer amount of content and the quality of it is enough for me to put this role at spot number one. It costs players a total of 25 gold bars, which makes it more expensive than the previous three roles we’ve discussed. You do need to get the Trader role first before you can unlock this role, so keep that in mind. This DLC content was released to Red Dead Online players back in December 2019.
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We hope that you enjoyed this article covering every role in Red Dead Online, ranked from worst to best! We hope our take on this Red Dead Online role guide has helped you choose a fun new path. What are your favorite role in the game? Be sure to let us know down in the comments, and subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more great content just like this ranking.