Red Dead Redemption 2's online beta officially released on November 27th (with a steady stream of access depending on when you bought the game and which edition you purchased), and after having months of bugs, economic woes, and users abusing the system, the latest update has rolled out, but users say it fails to fix many of the game's issues such as griefing and a broken economy.
The release of the online beta was criticized for some pretty obvious groundwork for monetization in the form of microtransactions with free and "premium" currency in the form of gold bars.
"I played all day and couldn't afford anything decent," Jim Sterling, a known reviewer, said on his YouTube video. "I ended up spending a lot of the money I was earning on a tin of beans." Four months later, new problems have cropped up, despite the game's economy chugging away like an old-timey steam engine. And the newest update has left players frustrated.
These days, even setting foot in the sprawling hellscape of Red Dead Online leaves you open to attack, and with daily challenges rewarding players for their kills, players are more likely to be seen as a threat than an ally to posse up with. While there are measures in place to prevent abuse of the system, they come in the form of NPC bounty hunters that are easily dispatched.
"Griefing," or harassing players by killing them and generally being a criminal (which fits the theme, at least) is another poignant problem. After being killed four times, a "parley" or "feud" option appears, with the intent to either talk out your differences or go at each other, guns blazing. Many players are finding that option inefficient, as if someone wants to troll, they're going to troll. There is no option to abstain from player vs. player combat.
The latest update aims to fix this, allowing players to parley after only one death, among other changes, but killing someone first in self-defense currently marks you as a hostile target, painting your icon red on the map and letting other players know you're not to be trusted. According to a report by Eurogamer, "The cause of this aggression is partly because it's so easy to kill: why take the chance someone else will shoot you when you can shoot them first?"
In addition, the in-game economy is still fractured, and baked beans are still more valuable than gold rings. Players originally resorted to hunting to pick up the slack, but with the new update, the hunting rewards were slashed in half, from $10 to around $5, likely to force players to spend real money in the game's premium market that includes, among other things, emoticons that will set you back hundreds of dollars in the game's regular cash, or a lot of gold bars. And defending yourself against hostile players nets you your own bounty, making you a prime target to lose all your hard-earned money.
The message is clear. Red Dead Online is still in beta, but at this moment it may be a bit too Wild West for its own good.
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