The last few updates for Red Dead Redemption 2's Online Beta have been a bit lacklustre, but Rockstar has more than made up for it this week. The developer has brought Red Dead Online out of beta and has launched the mode alongside a host of additions and improvements, including Poker, a Hostility system, more A Land of Opportunities and Free Roam Missions,and restructured Daily Challenges.
One of the most requested features for Red Dead Online was poker, and it has arrived today. Poker tables can be found at towns and outposts in Blackwater, Saint Denis, Tumbleweed, Valentine, and Flatneck Station. All tables can sit up to six players, and players can take part in private Hold 'Em matches amongst their friends, or risk it all in public matches for larger buy-ins and bigger rewards.
The new A Land of Opportunities Missions continue Jessica LeClerk's story of revenge as she investigates her husband's murder. Players who choose to go down the route of the Gunslinger will take on the Del Lobos gang to save Valentine and Marshall Tom Davies. Those who instead go down the route of the Outlaw will help Samson Finch pull off a highway robbery and a dangerous robbery at the Saint Denis Bank. Which ever route you choose, you'll end up in Blackwater where you'll face a challenging enemy.
There are more Free Roam Missions that include new characters from the game's campaign. Amongst the new mission types, which aim to make the missions more diverse, players will face challenges like doing honest work for Thomas the Skiff Captain in Bayou Nwa, or getting your hands dirty at the Aberdeen Pig Farmers. Meanwhile, new dynamic events will let players take on tasks from townsfolk and travellers for rewards like XP, Honor, Cash, and Gold.
In terms of more competitive multiplayer, three new Posse Versus Challenges encourage players to sample the wilder delights of the countryside around them. The Biggest Fish Contest unsurprisingly asks players to catch the biggest fish, while the Bird Shooting Contest encourages players to take down the most flying birds. Those looking for a more sedate challenge can see if they can gather the largest number of plants in the Herb Picking Contest. There is also the new Overrun Showdown Mode where up to 16 players aim to capture territory from their enemies, the winner being the team with the most land.
It wouldn't be a Red Dead Online update without the addition of new clothing and emotes into the Wheeler, Rawson and Co. Catalogue. These items include ponchos and bandanas, as well as a new weapon: the iconic LeMat Revolver from Red Dead Redemption.
The update isn't just about new content — there are plenty of changes too. The first of those are the playing styles that allow players to choose how they interact with others. The more traditional style is the Offensive playing style where players can battle other players if they choose. This is the default option. Alternatively, players can choose a Defensive playing style for those who would rather just explore the world. This will minimise griefing by reducing the amount of damage a player takes, nor can they be lassoed, executed, or attacked by melee and auto-aim. Players in this mode will not be drawn into PvP Free Roam missions, nor will they be targeted in PvP missions like Player Assassination.
Those who defy the Defensive playing style will incur the wrath of the new Hostility System. Heavy penalties will be handed out to players who deliberately target Defensive players, or the Defensive players that try to use the style as a means to ambush another player. All players will be marked with a blip that changes colour according to their hostility, and those with a red blip are considered enemies. The more hostile you are, the more visible you become to other players. Players will not be penalised for defending themselves against enemies or killing high hostility players, nor will the blip change colour in structured events like Free Roam Events, Free Roam Missions, Showdowns and Races.
Amongst the other changes to come in the update was a new control scheme, daily challenge updates, new awards, and increased Gold payouts. You can find a full list of changes included in the update in the full patch notes. Alternatively, you can have a look at the patch highlights in the trailer below.
This update introduced a lot of content, but Rockstar promises there's more to come. Next week will see more Free Roam Missions and Clothing, while the week after will see a new Showdown Mode and a new Free Roam Challenge. In June, there will be more Showdown Modes, a Free Roam Event, and more clothing. Moving further into the summer, there will be new player roles that will introduce new gameplay elements as well as outfits, weapons, and unique rewards. The first three roles will be a bounty hunter tracking down wanted criminals, a collector searching for treasure and exotic items, and a trader setting up a business in camp.
The big Spring Update is available now. Those who choose to check it out and log in to Red Dead Online will get 15 free Gold Bars. There's a 25% XP bonus on A Land of Opportunities, Free Roam Missions, Showdown Modes, Races and Free Roam Events, while chests containing Cash and Gold will give a 25% boost in their values. Finally, those players who own the Ultimate Edition will get the Throat Slit emote and RDO$100.
We've got the full list of Red Dead Redemption 2 achievements - check the list for guides to unlocking them.
Check out our Best Xbox One First-Person Shooters Available in 2019 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.
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