Red Dead Online's beta has been out for only a few days, but players have already started pointing out some flaws on the game's economy.
There is a lot of surviving historical documentation from the period of time in which Red Dead Redemption 2 is set, which could have helped Rockstar define the value of all of the items in the game. We know how much stores and traders were selling items like food and weapons for on average in the late 1800s/early 1900s and Rockstar could have used this information in its game.
It seems that the only thing Rockstar cares about is squeezing the fans for money in Red Dead Online, as the economy in the game is screwed up and skewed towards pulling out your credit card and just buying the virtual currency.
One of the ways in which Red Dead Online's economy is screwed up is in the individual value of items, as the game makes the basic items you need for survival more expensive than jewelry.
The users on the Red Dead Redemption 2 Reddit page have been complaining about how a can of beans costs $1.20 while selling a gold ring only nets you $1.10.
The incredibly expensive beans of the wild west are only a symptom of a much larger problem, as the money you earn from completing tasks in Red Dead Online is only a fraction of what you earned from completing the same tasks in the single-player mode, while the items are all way more expensive, which necessitates a grind in order to be able to buy anything worthwhile.
As of right now, the currency of Red Dead Online is split into two forms – Dollars (which you earn through completing tasks) and Gold (which can be earned through completing tasks at an incredibly slow rate or bought with real money).
The main perk of using Gold is that it can be used to ignore the level restrictions on items, which most players will want to use to unlock Fast Travel points, as you normally need to be level 65 to start using them, offering an incentive to reach for the wallet.
Red Dead Online is still in its beta phase, so the economy may be more balanced by the time that it's available for general release, but it's hard to imagine Rockstar fixing the value of the items too much, as there is cash to be made in testing the patience of gamers to the point where they will pay real money for in-game items.