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Could you reach rank 50 of Red Dead Online in 10 weeks? It sounds easy… but our first week has been a mild disaster

Like a lot of you I’ve been getting stuck into Red Dead Online (opens in new tab). Right now I’m still learning how everything works, what game modes are best, and how to not die. All. The. Time. But I have a plan. I’m going to make it my mission to get to Rank 50 in just 10 weeks and I’m going to document my progress right here. Maybe I’ll even git gud. So here’s what happened as I tried to get to rank 5. 

Red Dead Online starts with you in the Sheriff's office having been captured and it's here you choose your character from a selection of two default skins. It was at this time that I stepped away from my PS4 so my character was chosen and created by someone else. I hate it. (thanks Brandon). So we’re off to a good start. 

We then skip forward a few months to the Penitentiary where I’m loaded into a wagon and taken towards Blackwater, where me and my stupid beard are promptly rescued by a stranger. The stranger is Mr Horley, and after talking to his mistress I learn that the jail was a result of being set up by one or more individuals. Following that I get my first hat! Miss Le Clerk (Horley’s mistress) wants some people dead and after a little chat I’m taken to Mr Crips. He’s going to help me set up a camp at the great plains. And look at that: I’ve reached Rank 1. 

Time to get my first horse

From here I travel to Blackwater where I meet the post clerk and get a tip-off about some stagecoach robbery in Tell Trees. Searching the hideout up there and dealing with outlaws gets me a treasure map, and by following that I nab some some gold and get up to Rank 2. I’ve also got an ability card that seems to give me the option of buying one of three perks for my Dead Eye ability. I’m not sure what which is best so I pick Paint it Black which allows me to paint targets onto enemies. It also reminds me of the Rolling Stones song. So far so good. 

Another story mission (which you have to complete before the open world becomes available)  gives me my first experience of playing with other people. The lobby shows me how much better my character could have looked if I’d got the chance to create it myself and I’m sad again. I find myself hoping that there’s an option to change your appearance later down the line.

We’re off to rob some horses. I didn’t know it at the time, but this mission is important because the horse you steal here will become your default horse for the rest of your time online. Or until you get a new one. I pick a nice brown one, escape, then someone else’s horse dies so we have to start the mission again. The second time around I jump on an ugly gray horse and of course this time we finish the mission. So now I’m stuck with a stupid beard and an ugly grey horse. I buy it a saddle and called it Dominus but mainly because it was free. This guy is getting traded as soon as I can afford it. Sorry, Dominus. I change my horse access to ‘posse only’ and seeing as I’m not in a posse I think that’s the same as not letting anyone have it. 

Back to the camp and it’s here the real journey begins. Everyone who starts Red Dead Online will go through that same opening section and get to this point without too much deviation, so it’s what happens next that’ll be unique. I’m at Rank 4 now so only one more level to go before I’ve reached the goal for this part of the story. 

My first multiplayer map

Wanting to see what multiplayer is really like, I jump into a Showdown Series. This series features smaller teams and maps so I figure it’s the best way to ease me into multiplayer. The first game type is Name Your Weapon (teams) at Fort Mercer where the type of weapon you get a kill with determines the number of points you get for that kill. The more challenging the weapon, the more points you get. The game I drop into already has my team losing by 16 points. But as I said, this is more about learning the ropes than winning. I see my first enemy, miss him 4 times and get killed. I try a mounted cannon worth five points for every kill...and get killed.

 Having learnt my lesson, I take a slower approach and get two quick kills. Enter the fort, fail to kill a guy up on the balcony, but then his friend comes running down and I pick him off. With 30 seconds left in the match I try to shoot a guy from behind a tent but die in the process. We lose. But that’s ok. Four kills, five deaths and rating of ‘Yellow’ YELLOW!? I'm not sure that’s fair. I earn three dollars, two nuggets of gold and 139 XP. 

Next we’re into Bolger Glade, a classic team gunfight. I’ve joined at the start of the match so it’s at least a little fairer this time, but I’m caught looking at a barrel and despite using Dead Eye, get killed. What followed was an, ahem, moderate amount of swearing and more deaths. Five to be precise. We lose. Again. 

Two kills and five deaths later, and we’ve lost. Having had quite enough of being shot in my beardy face I quit the playlist and return to free roam in the hope that I’d get more XP doing missions than being shot in the head. I pick up a stranger mission from Strawberry and I’m explicitly told not to kill the driver of a wagon and just to intercept it. I shoot the people protecting the buggy which apparently I wasn’t supposed to do either. Driving the buggy back gets me 229 XP though, so missions seem like the way forward for now. And look at that! I’m Rank 5.

I’m still finding my feet here and I’m still not totally sure what the best way to earn XP or put a good string of kills together is, but stick with me as we progress through the ranks and hopefully we can look back on this one day and laugh at how stupid I was being. Next Week The Journey from Rank 5 - 10...and hopefully a haircut. 

Time Taken: 2 hours 30 minutes

Number of Ranks gained: 5 

James Jarvis
Executive Producer, GR Video

Hi I'm James or JJ if you like, I'll answer to both. I'm the Executive producer for GR video which means I've had at least a part in all the hot moving pictures you'll find on the site (even if that part was just saying, yes that's a good video). I also produce the Future Games Show and Golden Joystick Awards. Away from the office you'll either find me playing Fortnite, or walking my dog. I'm better at one than the other, I'll let you decide which.