Red Dead Online guide: Everything you need to know to succeed in Rockstar's online Wild West

Red Dead Online guide - Red Dead Online launched in May 2019

Red Dead Online is a challenging experience, and a good guide can do a lot to help you through the world and find your feet, whether you're just starting off, coming back after a long break, or an experienced cowboy gunslinger looking for things they've missed. To ensure that you get the most out of Rockstar's newest odyssey, we've put together a full Red Dead Online guide on how you can master the Wild West and ensure you get the best rewards and gameplay experience possible.

Of course, it's important to remember that Rockstar will update the game from time to time, adding new content, challenges, rewards or just altering what's already there. When that happens, we'll be sure to update this page and all our others accordingly, to make sure you have whatever you need to deal with Red Dead's perils and plunder alike.

Red Dead Online patch notes

Red Dead Online roles - Bounty Hunter

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

The world of Red Dead Online is constantly evolving, with Rockstar keeping things interesting with regular updates. If you want to follow the most recent developments then let us keep you on top of the Red Dead Online patch notes, so you'll always know the latest on what's new.

Red Dead Online Tips

Red Dead Online guide - rookie tips

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

We've now had some time to get to grips with Red Dead Online, but many players will still be finding their feet and getting used to how the game's systems work in the online setting. If you're looking for advice on the best horse to choose, how to avoid enemy fire, and much much more, then take a look at our essential Red Dead Online tips to know before you play.

Red Dead Online Roles

Red Dead Online guide - roles

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Following the Frontier Pursuits update, you have a choice of Red Dead Online roles to follow and develop your character along a unique path. You can become a Bounty Hunter, a Trader, a Collector, or a Moonshiner, and we've got details of all the benefits each career can provide.

Red Dead Online Madam Nazar

Red Dead Online Madam Nazar

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

If you're following the Collector path for your role, you'll be spending a lot of time trying to track down the Red Dead Online Madam Nazar location as she will purchase your found trinkets and sell useful items to aid your searches. She moves to a new area every day, so we have a separate guide for how to find the elusive traveller and her caravan.

Red Dead Online Legendary Bounties

Red Dead Online Legendary Bounties

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

If you've chosen to become a Bounty Hunter for your role, then you'll have the option to bring Red Dead Online Legendary Bounties to justice and collect some sizeable rewards. Initially released as weekly challenges, you can now select any of these outlaws as your target, and we've got information on where to find them and how to take them all down.

Red Dead Online Naturalist

Red Dead Online Naturalist role

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

If you're taking the Red Dead Online Naturalist route for your role then you'll be seeking out the various Red Dead Online legendary animals roaming the plains, after deciding whether to work with Red Dead Online Harriet Davenport or Red Dead Online Gus McMillan. Picking up the Red Dead Online Elephant rifle will help you deal with the toughest prey, and you can also upgrade your steed with the Red Dead Online Gypsy Cob horse.

How to make money fast in Red Dead Online

Red Dead Online making money

They say that money makes the world go round, and that holds true in Red Dead Online. If you want to purchase high-level items, new weapons, and upgrades, then you need to have the cash to back it up, and with the current state of the game's economy it's pretty hard to come by. We've investigated different strategies for earning a crust, to bring you the best methods for how to make money fast in Red Dead Online.

How to earn XP fast in Red Dead Online

Red Dead Online guide - earning XP

Earning XP is super important in Red Dead Online, as your character's level (or rank) determines what items, weapons, and even horses you have access to. As with most online games, there are many ways to grind out XP, but some are more efficient and enjoyable than others - we'll outline all of these as we show you how to earn XP fast in Red Dead Online.

Red Dead Online rank unlocks

Red Dead Online Rank Unlocks

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Of course, if you're going to be spending a lot of time hoovering up XP, you'll want to know what you're getting out of it to make sure it's worth your while. We've got a complete listing of the Red Dead Online rank unlocks, so you can see exactly what weapons, horses, abilities, and more you'll receive as you work through the levels.

Best Red Dead Online weapons

Red Dead Online guide - weapons

If you're going to hold your own in those online gunfights, you need to have the right tools for the job. If you don't know a Bolt-Action Rifle from a Litchfield Repeater, then you should check out our guide to the best Red Dead Online weapons for all the information you need.

Red Dead Online best horses

Red Dead Online guide - best horses

You're going to spend a lot of time riding around in Red Dead Online, and having the best steed can make all the difference if you're trying to chase down a wagon convoy or escape a bloodthirsty posse snapping at your heels. We've picked out the Red Dead Online best horses to suit a number of different situations, so whether you're looking for speed or sturdiness we've got you covered.

Red Dead Online Showdown Series tips

Red Dead Online Showdown Series tips

If you've been taking on the various competitive modes in the Red Dead Online Showdown Series, such as Make It Count, Most Wanted, Name Your Weapon, and Hostile Territory, then you'll probably know how difficult it is to nail down a victory. If you're looking for some help, we've got Red Dead Online Showdown Series tips covering all of those game modes and more.

Red Dead Online gang hideouts

Red Dead Online gang hideouts

If you're looking for another way to grab some fast cash and XP, then clearing out gang hideouts can give you both as well as sometimes rewarding you with a treasure map for your trouble. Our guide will show you 17 possible spots where Red Dead Online gang hideouts can spawn, as well as providing advice for how best to tackle them.

Red Dead Online Posse

Red Dead Online Posse

They say that there's safety in numbers, so if you want to rule the online West then teaming up with other players will definitely help. Check out our Red Dead Online Posse guide to find out how to set up a posse, what the different types of posse mean, and what the benefits are to being in a posse.

Easiest Red Dead Online gold buckles

Red Dead Online gold buckles

The Awards system from the single player game also features in Red Dead Online, containing an impressive 425 awards to unlock, and reaching the gold medal requirement for each will earn you 500 XP and a gold buckle to customise your outfit with. Some of these are much simpler to complete than others, so we've made a guide for the easiest Red Dead Online gold buckles you can get.

Switch your morality in Red Dead Online

Red Dead Online morality

The Honor system plays its part in Red Dead Online, determining what Free Roam and co-operative story missions you receive based on your moral compass at the time. If you've made some mistakes and want to quickly change your ways, then here's how you can switch your morality in Red Dead Online with a simple transaction.

Red Dead Online Gold Bars

Red Dead Online Gold Bars

Unsurprisingly, thanks to the runaway success Rockstar have had with the GTA Online Shark Card, we now have Red Dead Online gold bars available to buy. These real money purchases will allow players to jump ahead with their progression and access the coolest items quicker, without all that grinding for gold nuggets. For now, at least, this appears to be the extent of the Red Dead Online microtransactions, though if the GTA Online model is followed then you can expect bundles containing camp upgrades and more to appear in the future.

Red Dead Online Prime Gaming Benefits

Red Dead Online Prime Gaming Benefits

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

If you're signed up to Amazon Prime, then there are a number of Red Dead Online Prime Gaming benefits you can claim through their rewards program. We've got all the details you need to know about signing up and linking your accounts, so you can receive your in-game loot.

Red Dead Online Cameos

Red Dead Online Cameos

As you travel around meeting strangers and completing story missions, you're likely to run into some familiar faces from the Red Dead Redemption world. We won't go into too much detail here in case you want them to be a surprise, but instead you should check out these Red Dead Online cameos to see who you can meet on your journey.

Red Dead Online Character Creator

The Red Dead Online character creation is incredibly detailed, and you can pretty much customise everything about your cowboy or cowgirl right down to the redness of their eyes and the sound of their horse whistle. When getting yourself set up, remember that you're potentially going to be spending a long time with your Red Dead Online character, so make sure you're happy with their look before committing. There will no doubt be options to change your haircut and trim your beard (as appropriate), but plastic surgery was not very advanced in the early 1900s so don't expect a full facial reconstruction any time soon.

Red Dead Online's First Mission

If you've not had the chance to try out Red Dead Online for yourself yet, we have complete footage of the very first mission above. What starts out as a simple delivery job quickly turns into a gang shootout, a treasure map hunt, and much more - we won't say any more for now, but it's all there if you want to watch. Red Dead Online promises to provide plenty of story-based missions, as well as all the hunting, foraging, and other free-roam activities you've come to expect from the single player experience.

Could you reach rank 50 of Red Dead Online in 10 weeks?

Red Dead Online is now live, and our new video series Red Dead Online The Road to Rank 50 asks the question - can we reach rank 50 in the next ten weeks? It may sound easy, but our first week hasn't exactly been a rousing success. See how we got on in Part 1, then keep checking back each week and follow our progress. Will we make it to our lofty target? Only time will tell.

Part 2: "I'm not sure I’m having fun"
Part 3: "He’s a fine man in a nasty world"

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Iain Wilson
Guides Editor

Iain originally joined Future in 2012 to write guides for CVG, PSM3, and Xbox World, before moving on to join GamesRadar in 2013 as Guides Editor. His words have also appeared in OPM, OXM, PC Gamer, GamesMaster, and SFX. He is better known to many as ‘Mr Trophy’, due to his slightly unhealthy obsession with amassing intangible PlayStation silverware, and he now has over 500 Platinum pots weighing down the shelves of his virtual award cabinet. He does not care for Xbox Achievements.