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A ballad of bustin' scrubs: Our Top 4 Red Dead Online to-dos

Red Dead Online has landed on its spurred feet, despite a rocky start with some vocal communities and is now out of beta. So what's the fun stuff to do? We've got you covered, pardner...
By Adam Mathew
7 min readPublished on
Due to a lengthy extended Beta period, Red Dead Online sure was a slow starter in the content department. For months this online sandbox had more tumbleweeds in it than things to do (literally). To be perfectly honest that problem persists even now that RDO has gone to full release status. Rockstar says it's on the case with a series of updates in the pipeline, but the truth is you're still gonna need to make yer own fun in this wicky wicky wild wild west.
All that being said, we'd like to share some of the DIY shenanigans that have brought us joy in Red Dead Online. A lot of these can be done on your lonesome. Almost all of them will get your head turned into a canoe for bucking the system and trying to cowboy creatively. Just accept that result ahead of time because any fool who climbs into a saddle, best be ready for a ride. Or, alternatively, when you're throwin' your weight around, y'all need to be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else...

1. The Magnificent Colour-Coordinated Seven

we (metaphorically) lassoed in six other mates and asked them to create alt characters who looked, like, exactly alike. And we do mean e-x-a-c-t-l-y...
Now here's a simple mind-screw that held our attention for far too many hours. One evening we (metaphorically) lassoed in six other mates and asked them to create alt characters who looked, like, exactly alike. And we do mean e-x-a-c-t-l-y. We were like mustachioed gunslinging septuplets. Not even mama could tell us apart.
A 'griefer' gang?
A 'griefer' gang?
Next, we all bought the same horses and equipped the same dark clothes. Using three, two, one countdowns we could more or less sync our emotes and our ambling walks down a main street, too. Even to us our performance art looked... eerie.
Hell, we even rode across the plains in a Flying V, like it was the climax of some Mighty Ducks reboot. Many a “quack” was chanted that day, friends.
Why was this done, exactly? Because while being hunted down by seven people is a disturbing experience at the best of times, the human mind has a special, primal fear reserved for being pursued by identical predators. A gaggle (or murder) of individuals can be better understood by the prey – belligerents can be mentally tagged as cogs in the machine. That's how we find weak links in the chain and adjust our fight or flight strategies accordingly. Conversely, a bunch of carbon copied cowboys looks like an insurmountable wall of trouble.
Stay on target
Stay on target
Oh the fun we had being that wall. One of us would plant ourselves in front of a butcher merchant with a juicy bear skin slung over our shoulder; posing as essentially a bit of AFK bait in a fishing expedition for griefers. Once our sacrificial lamb was murdered, his or her angry brothers or sisters would jack-in-the-box and swarm on the villain, like a six pack of T-800 Terminators. Counter-griefing. Fun times, buckaroo.

2. American Proto-Sniper

We'll be the first to admit that this one is a bit dickish. It requires an incredibly unlucky innocent bystander. That said, if you have the requisite lack of morals, do read on.
In what could be seen as a cross between the movies American Sniper and Tombstone, we took it upon ourselves to achieve the longest range kill possible...
You've probably already realised this by now, but gun battles in Red Dead Online are typically whites-of-their-eyes affairs. Most scores are settled at a range where you can spit tabbacy on your target. Scoped weapons are a rarity and herein lies the challenge that drew us to this cold-blooded concept. In what could be seen as a cross between the movies American Sniper and Tombstone, we took it upon ourselves to achieve the longest range kill possible with the Rolling Block sharpshooting rifle.
If you want to beat our world-record setting kill shot, you'll need to do the following. Hike up the mountain that sits to the north east of Valentine. After a bit of rock climbing you'll find a line that lets you sight any poor bastard who's walking down main street a full postcode away. Your window here is roughly from the gun store down to where the T-junction to the butcher is.
Should any player walk farther west than the aforementioned junction – to the stables beyond for instance – they'll wink out of existence. Yep. Your goal is to snuff out somebody before they cross past the engine's draw distance. As if that isn't a hard enough task, you'll be sighting your mark with a scope that looks like somebody traveled back in time with a dirty glass soft drink bottle and strapped it to a rifle.
Be that as it may, we're happy to say that we pulled this off and recorded it. Just be aware that extreme patience is required. Also, winging people will make them open their map, identify you, and pursue you across, oh, across about three counties. Because though this game issues every single person a tent, campers are somehow still reviled. Go figure.

3. Shoot Everybody then Message them About it

First off, that's a misleading subhead up there – we're talking about camera shutters, not six shooters. Secondly, full disclosure: we were inspired to do this by an Internet famous virtual photojournalist called Aaron “ALG_627” Lutz. All credit to him for being the original article, a wonderful mix of artiste and troll.
Why the long face?
Why the long face?
The general idea here is pretty simple. Holster your smoke wagon, grab your camera and locate a lady with an attitude or a fellow who's (probably not) in the mood. With your happy snapper equipped, wordlessly imply to them that they shouldn't just stand there, let's get to it, strike a pose there's nothing to it. Vogue.
Now at this point (and knowing the predisposition of most every RDO player we've ever met) you're gonna get riddled. That's OK. Just accept this as phase one. Phase two is where the magic can and often happens. Using your console's messaging system, hand deliver the happy snap to your muse along with a flattering compliment.
Quick tip 1: we've found that people love to be given positive feedback on their aim or facial hair. Quick tip 2: the term “rideable moustache” can be seen as too forward.
Honestly, you might be surprised by what comes back. The artsier the Kodak moment, the better responses we've gotten. One cowpoke even said he planned to use his portrait as his phone backdrop. Another told us that we genuinely creeped them out and that he was going to report us to the authorities. It's all a mixed bag, really.

4. Start the Mother of all Barfights

Honestly, you wouldn't believe how many people don't think to live out this Western fantasy in RDO. Pick a pub and at a full sprint burst through those swinging doors to indiscriminately tackle the first peckerwood you see. From there, back off a bit and put up your dukes. Admittedly, there's a very good chance you'll get yourself a new blowhole installed courtesy of your victim – and hell, you'll deserve that. But sometimes you'll find a kindred spirit who's been secretly itching to bestow bunches of punches on somebody. Anybody. Your body.
Even online, the game holds a visual sheen unmatched
Even online, the game holds a visual sheen unmatched
That's a good 20+ people beating six shades of shinola out of one another in a very small arena...
We've been in some memorable brouhahas, folks. All sorts, too. Honorable duels where the Marquis of Queensbury rules were observed. (As in nobody swapped lead and everybody had a drink at the bar afterwards.) Often these were followed by the infinitely more amusing pugilistic variant that is drunken barfighting.
We've also had ourselves a good old fashioned entire server all-in. That's a good 20+ people beating six shades of shinola out of one another in a very small arena. It's sheer madness. Some of the most fun we've had online in ages. A rare and treasured memory if you can make it happen.
And really, chances are high that you will be able to. When you're existing in a sandbox filled with bored players who are dying to do something new, the odds are pretty damn good that they can be spurred into a little bit of left-field entertainment. The time has never been more right to go weird in the Wild West. So go on an' git. Go cause you some strange and be sure to screenshot it for our amusement.
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