Rockstar has launched their beta for Red Dead Online and for the most part, it’s a huge success. Some have noted that the mode blends much more narrative than expected, it certainly looks to be more than its counterpart GTA Online.
If Rockstar has indeed cracked the narrative in online multiplayer formula it could add a new dimension to Red Dead Online. Aside from that many of the excellent feature from the campaign have been seamlessly translated.
Some eagle-eyed players have noticed one concern in the beta though, the potential for a sneaky increase of microtransactions. GTA Online offers in-game money for real-world money so the system would be nothing new. Something about the economy seems a little off in Red Dead Online though.
Another Day, Another Dollar
The first thing to notice is the monetary reward on offer for completing tasks in Red Dead Online. The regular robberies are available from the main game but they only pay out a fraction of the price.
This could of course change with the introduction of heists that are expected to come but at current, the numbers don’t match. Players can earn up to $2000 dollars for a large scale robbery in the game, but the highest reward in Red Dead Online comes nowhere close.
This is a system that will encourage grinding for money making it harder for players to advance quickly. Items like treasure and odd jobs that can earn players money in the story also appear harder to come by. All in all, it adds up to one thing, less money per average player.
With an entire catalogue of in-game items to purchase including clothes, gun, horses and presumably property. That’s not taking into account the essentials like food and ammunition required for day to day life in the west. There’s something suspicious about the prices of said items too.
Everything is Expensive
Which brings us to the second point of the unbalanced economy, everything is overpriced. In comparison to the single-player campaign and in comparison to the early days of GTA Online. Prices for even the most basic items are astronomical.
The Mauser pistol is one item that has drawn particular attention in the online forums for its inflated price tag. A Mauser in the single-player mode costs $250 but in Red Dead Online the same gun is available for $1000. That’s four times its advertised in-game value for a fairly standard pistol.
If players want to acquire the more luxurious and useful weapons, they better be prepared to fork out. Coupled with the lack of available currency to earn means acquiring such weaponry will be a long and arduous process.
And that’s not the only potential paywall players could face as traversal again can be an arduous process. Fast travel is an unlockable extra only available to players who are level 65 or over. Any GTA Online veterans will know that will likely point to dozens of hours of gameplay.
Fast travel is of course, available to purchase as well for the princely sum of 100 gold bars. Given the current rate of earnings, players are just as likely to reach the required level before they have 100 gold bars to spend.
Red Dead Online Microtransactions
By paying real-world money players have instant access to the best gear, weapons and instant access to fast travel. It will become a very tempting offer for many players, promoting a pay-to-win system. Which is frankly shocking considering the list price of the AAA title already.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is already the best selling piece of entertainment this year, but Rockstar could be after more. It’s a popular trend in the current game market and if Red Dead Online’s economy remains as unbalanced, Rockstar will be the biggest crooks in the west.
Many features often change from a beta to an actual release though and here’s hoping Rockstar will listen to the comments and adjust the in-game market.