Let's be honest, the previous couple of updates to Red Dead Online have presented real slim pickings in terms of content, so we were hoping that this quiet period was building up to something more substantial. With the latest Red Dead Online update Rockstar certainly delivered on this by adding a whole raft of new features, as well as announcing that Red Dead Online finally leaves beta testing. Dropping the beta acknowledges that the game is moving forward, but Rockstar have said they will "continue to implement more of your feedback in future updates to come" so Red Dead Online will continue to evolve.
For now though, there's plenty of new additions from the official update post to cover. If you've been playing through the A Land of Opportunities story then you'll have fresh co-op missions to take on with your posse, and there are now extra Free Roam Mission to discover that feature more characters from the main single player story - it's definitely worth looking for the Aberdeen Pig Farmers at the homestead near the north border of Lemoyne. You can also battle against other posses in new competitive challenges, including fishing, bird shooting, and herb picking. Yes, competitive herb picking is a thing.
A firm fan favourite from the original Red Dead Online, poker makes a return with Hold 'Em tables now appearing in Blackwater, Saint Denis, Tumbleweed, Valentine, and Flatneck Station. You can either join friends for a private invite-only game, or take your seat at one of the public tables to try your hand against up to five strangers for higher stakes. Add to this the Overrun Showdown Mode where teams battle to capture enemy territory, plus the new LeMat Revolver that combines a 9-round bullet chamber with a single buckshot secondary barrel in one versatile weapon, and you've got a lot of fresh content to check out.
Another big change comes with players now being able to select between the default Offensive playing style and the new Defensive playing style. By choosing the Defensive style, players can go out and explore the world without being automatically drawn into PvP missions or combat, and anyone targeting a Defensive player in Free Roam will be heavily penalised through the overhauled Hostility System. This increasingly marks hostile players on the map for all to see and target, and spawns them further and further from their point of death to ensure they can't continue griefing the same area for a long time.
Head in to Red Dead Online this week to check out all these updates and you'll automatically receive a gift of 15 Gold Bars, and if you're an Ultimate Edition owner then you'll also collect RDO$100 and the Throat Slit emote for free. With future updates teasing new character, missions, and Showdown modes, plus the ability to take on character roles including bounty hunter, a treasure collector, or a trader, there's never been a better time to visit the online cowboy frontier.