Red Dead Online Beginner Guide [Top 25 Tips for Beginners]

Red Dead Online Beginner Guide
Boom goes the dynamite!

Having trouble getting started in RDO? Our guide will teach how to survive AND thrive!

The world of Red Dead Online is a vast frontier, full of dangers and opportunities. With a multitude of different activities and challenges available, it can be a little daunting for new players. That’s why I’ve put together this list of the Top 25 Tips for Beginners in Red Dead Online. I’ve put countless hours into the game, and I have a lot of solid advice for both beginners and experienced players alike.

Read on to learn how to get the best start in Red Dead Online.

25. Do the Online Story Missions

New players are dumped into the 5 States with little more than a Cattleman Revolver and a Scrawny Nag. Your initial instinct may be to immediately start exploring the open world, but don’t ignore those yellow Story Mission blips on your map. Story Missions are a great way to earn money and Exp, especially in the early game. By the time you’ve completed them all, you’ll have unlocked better gear as well as earned the money to buy it.

24. Out of Missions? Change Your Honor.

If you find you’ve completed all the story missions, change your Honor level from Honorable to Dishonorable (or vice versa) and a new mission path will open up.

23. Save Your Gold for Player Roles

Gold is hard to come by in Red Dead Online, and early on, you’ll want to save up until you can afford at least 2 Player Roles. Choose whatever role suits you best for the first one, and for the second...

22. Buy the Collector Role

The Collector Role is a perfect 2nd choice, because you can always be Collecting in the background while partaking in other activities. Just pay attention for the telltale controller rumble that indicates a nearby Collectible and you’ll be able to earn easy side money.

21. Use Daily Challenges to Earn Gold

Press Left on the D Pad to access the Daily Challenges menu. These challenges will earn you a small amount of Gold. In addition to General Challenges, there are specific challenges for each Player Role. This is why it’s worth it to have more than one Player Role unlocked, because you’ll have more opportunities every day to earn gold.

The most important part of the Daily Challenge system is the Weekly Streaks. Complete at least once challenge every day for a week and you’ll unlock a multiplier for your Challenge rewards, which means more gold earned per challenge. Since there's usually at least one easy challenge per day, it’s worth logging in and playing every day to build and maintain a good streak.

20. Spend Cash Wisely.

It can be very tempting to blow your hard-earned dollars on new outfits and custom engravings for your weapons, but spend your money wisely. Especially in the early game, you’ll want to only spend money on something that will make you money in return.

This means different things for different players. If you find yourself enjoying PVP modes, then spending money on better weapons will lead to better PVP rewards. If you like the Player Roles in free roam, then spend money on upgrades that will increase your Role profits, like a bigger Delivery Wagon for Traders or better mash for Moonshiners.

19. Learn Your Weapon Timings

The gunplay in Red Dead Online is unique among other shooters because of the nature of the weapons used. Most of the weapons in the game are “single action,” meaning that a bullet has to be chambered manually after each shot is fired. In RDO, this means you’ll have to pull the trigger on your controller twice: once to fire, and once again to chamber the next round.

Each weapon has its own fire rate characteristics, so it’s worth it to spend some time with your preferred weapons until you can consistently nail the timings. Once you master this skill, you’ll be much more deadly in PVP and against enemy NPCs.

18. Buy a Rifle and a Varmint Rifle

The first two weapons you buy should be the Bolt Action Rifle and the Varmint Rifle. The Bolt Action Rifle is powerful in combat, but more importantly, you’ll be able to score clean kills on almost any animal you come across. Between the Varmint Rifle and the Bolt Action, you’ll be able to significantly increase your profits from hunting.

17. Use the Lasso and Knife for Guaranteed Clean Kills

Alternatively, you can always lasso an animal, approach it while still holding the rope, and then use your knife to get a perfect kill. This can be a little bit time consuming, but works great if you don’t have a rifle yet.

16. Always Be Using Eagle Vision

Sometimes it can be hard to spot animals and items in the wilderness. Tap both sticks to enable Eagle Vision, which will cause interactive objects, pickable herbs, and animals to glow. Eagle Eye will also cause Collectibles to give off a gold scatter effect, making them easy to find.

15. Gather Herbs

Herbs that glow in Eagle Eye can be picked for a variety of uses. It’s worth it to take the time to gather at least a few of everything that you come across. They can all be sold for cash, and some can be fed to your horse or used as ingredients in tonics or for cooking.

14. Cook With Herbs for Extra Bonuses

Oregano, Wild Mint, and Thyme can be used to season the meats that you cook at your campfire. Seasoned meats provide extra benefits and bonuses, so be sure to snag those cookable herbs whenever you see them.

13. Watch Your Cores

Your Health, Stamina, and Deadeye cores will all degrade over time depending on your actions. Higher cores lead to better recharge rates, so it’s worth it to keep your cores full by eating and drinking. Also, if you go into a snowy area, be sure to wear winter clothing to keep your Health core from draining.

12. Rest At Camp

No items to restore your cores with? No problem! You can rest at any campfire, including another player’s, to restore all your cores for free. Certain camp upgrades will speed up this recharge time.

11. Use Provisions in PVP

Those same consumables and provisions that boost your stats in Free Roam work in PVP modes as well. Minty Game boosts your Health Core and is a great way to start a Shootout match!

10. Check the Post Office Often for Rewards

Sometimes, the game will reward you for levelling up or for logging in and playing on certain days. These rewards will be sent to the Post Office, so it’s worth it to check in every once and a while and see what's waiting.

9. Loot Dead NPCs

Enemy NPCs carry not only small amounts of ammo and cash, but some of them carry Valuables that you can sell at the Fence for a tidy profit. There’s even a rare chance to get a Treasure Map when looting, so it’s worth it to loot enemies whenever you get the chance.

8. Check Your Inventory for Treasure Maps

The game doesn’t really go out of it’s way to announce when you’ve obtained a Treasure Map, but these valuable items will lead to a nice reward of Cash, Gold, and consumable items. Check the Documents section of your inventory to access your collected Treasure Maps.

7. Can’t Afford a Better Horse? Buy a Better Saddle.

Horses in Red Dead Online can be incredibly expensive, but it is possible to upgrade the stats of your current horse. Simply visit a Stable and purchase a better saddle to unlock better stats for your trusty steed.

6. Master the “Headshot Flick”

As with any video game that involves shooting, headshots are king. Red Dead Online’s auto-aim snaps to the torso of the target, but you can give a slight flick up on the aim stick to move your crosshairs up to the head. It takes a bit of practice to learn the timing and distance, but it’s worth the effort. Master this move, and you’ll be unstoppable in PVP.

5. Dive by Hitting X While Aiming

You can dive in any direction by pressing X while aiming a weapon. This will disrupt your opponent’s aim long enough for you to get a shot in. This is especially effective when trying to dodge a thrown tomahawk, which will kill you with a single hit!

4. You Move Faster in 1st Person

The 1st Person view in Red Dead Online not only allows you to get a closer look at the details of the game world, but it also allows for faster default movement. When in 1st person, you always run, so you can use 1st person mode to get a speed advantage while in PVP. That said…

3. Find the Right View for You

The different view options in Red Dead Online offer different advantages and disadvantages. The closer zoomed in you are to your character in 3rd person, the more precisely you’ll be able to aim, because your targets will be bigger on the screen. However, staying zoomed out further allows a bigger overall field of view, which makes it harder for enemies to flank you. Then there’s 1st person, which speed up your movement but greatly restricts your FOV.

Experiment with the different settings and find what works best for you. I use the closest 3rd person mode for free roam, the middle 3rd person mode for PVP, and I like to go 1st person in gunfights with NPCs.

2. Upgrade Your Ability Cards

Red Dead Online will prompt you when you can buy a new Ability Card, but it can be easy to forget that they can be upgraded, too. Open the Weapon Wheel and press Y to get to the Ability Card screen, where you can upgrade your current cards or equip new ones.

1. Play Your Way

At the end of the day, there’s not really a right or wrong way to play Red Dead Online. It’s a huge game world full of potential activities and discoveries, and ultimately, you're there to have fun. Don’t get too lost in the moneymaking grind. I find that when I simply enjoy myself and play the game to have a good time, the rewards naturally follow.

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As a Texas native with a natural resistance to Heat damage, Phillip has made a lifetime of escaping into digital worlds where he can explore new lands and craft epic tales of adventure!
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Surge 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout 4, Grand Theft Auto V, Dying Light

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