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Start times finally confirmed for the Red Dead Online Beta and it's coming sooner than you think

If, like me, you've finished Red Dead Redemption 2 and are struggling to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning - good news. The Red Dead Online beta will be here tomorrow for anyone who splashed out on the Red Dead Redemption 2 Ultimate Edition, and by Friday, November 30 for everyone else. Here's the full list of dates:

- Tuesday, November 27: All Red Dead Redemption 2: Ultimate Edition owners.

- Wednesday, November 28: All players who played Red Dead Redemption 2 on October 26 

- Thursday, November 29: All players who played Red Dead Redemption 2 between October 26 to October 29 (according to Rockstar's data)

- Friday, November 30: All players who own Red Dead Redemption 2.

What to expect from the Red Dead Online beta

Rockstar has learned a lot about building an online world after five years of GTA Online, and Red Dead Online is shaping up to be something truly special. The studio promises all the riches and depth of the single player game - the towns, the ecosystem, the cities - but the ability to explore it with up to seven friends as part of a posse too. 

Of course, introverts like me can play it alone, customizing their own outlaw and then heading off into town for a new outfit or into the wilds to get more hunting done. Sure, for some of the activities like attacking gang hideouts or facing big gun battles I'll want backup, but it's mercifully optional. Rockstar also promises treasure hunts, random skirmishes on the plains, and missions starring familiar characters. Here's hoping we form a search party for Gavin. 

With the gameplay of Red Dead Redemption 2 as its foundation, Red Dead Online transforms the vast and deeply detailed landscapes, cities, towns and habitats of Red Dead Redemption 2 into a new, living online world ready to be shared by multiple players. Create and customize your character, tailor your abilities to suit your play style and head out into a new frontier full of things to experience.

It's rare to see an online game launch without some sort of internet-based disaster, so Rockstar's staggered entry to the game makes sense. It's also making clear that this is a beta in the truest sense, it's looking for feedback from the community and watching what happens carefully before the game's full launch. We'll bring the all the news from the beta as soon as it goes live.

Need something to do until the beta is open to you? Here are the most must-see, exciting outlaw sights in the open-world masterpiece.

Rachel Weber

I'm the benevolent Queen of the US, or - as they insist I call it - US Managing Editor. I write news, features and reviews, and look after a crack team of writers who all insist on calling trousers "pants" and don't think the phrase fanny pack is problematic.