Red Dead Online: New Players Starter Guide – Tips, controls, horses, get cash, posses, hunting, fighting, feuds & more

If you’re new to Red Dead online it can be a scary world – what do you need to know before playing?

Tom Owen by Tom Owen
red dead online players starter guide

Red Dead Redemption 2 has been out for just under 18 months, but with reports of record amounts of people playing the Online game mode towards the end of December 2019, it seems that more people are playing Red Dead Online as time goes by.

Whilst we will have to wait for a new version of the game on the next-gen consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X) if Red Dead Online is like GTA Online we will see it being popular for many years to come.

If you are new to Red Dead Online then check out this guide before starting.

The world of the Wild West can be daunting at first, but with these hints and tips, you will be primed to make the most of it.

Character Build & Horses

Make sure you get it right first time as the initial character build is free, but any subsequent changes are going to cost you money and that’s something that’s not always easy to come by in the Wild West.

Likewise, the horse you pick in the first co-op story mode mission ‘Honor Among Horse Thieves’ will dictate which Horse you start Red Dead Online with.

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The stats are all the same, but people like to look good in this world.

It’s worth noting you will be able to buy horses in the future, that do have different stats and have different benefits, i.e., you’ll need a Racehorse for Horse Races.

red dead online horse
HOME IS WHERE THE HORSE IS – Choosing your horse is an important step

When you do purchase a horse, you should think about Horse Insurance.

If you don’t have any it will cost you money every time it gets injured or hurt in the free roam world.

You get some automatically with the first one, but anything you spend money on is precious so take the insurance on further horses.

READ MORE: Red Dead Online Best Horse Guide

Like most large multiplayer games now you can also customise your walking style and a selected range of emotes.

These can be accessed by holding the left trigger and opening the emote wheel.

If your character ever gets stuck and you want to spawn your way out of somewhere go to the Online Options section of the Multiplayer Menu and select Respawn by holding down X or A on the controller.

The game will automatically kill your character and respawn them somewhere safe.

Honor system

Your actions in-game will dictate what kind of Cowboy you are which will then change what missions you see in the world.

Do good things and you’ll be offered the chance to help escort things and people. Do bad things and you’ll be tasked with robbing people.

Don’t worry if you change your mind, the system is dynamic and can be changed over time.

Fighting

It’s hugely important to remember you are one of the thousands of real players.

It’s, therefore, best to basically assume you can trust no one and that everyone is out to get you.

red dead 2 combat
FIGHT OR FLIGHT – Trust no one in the Red Dead universe

Diving in firefights will become your best friend so get used to pressing Square or X whilst aiming the weapon. It’s a quick and easy way to become elusive.

Tackling is a much-used tactic in Red Dead Online. This is an OP technique for taking someone down at close quarters.

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To tackle someone, tap the sprint button and press Square or X when you get to them, and make your decision on either subduing or dismissing them before they can push you off.

Also, be aware that other players will look to do it to you to gain the upper hand and rob you.

Parley?

If there is a constant period of fighting between you and someone else, you’ll be offered the chance to either Parley or Feud with them.

Parley disables all combat and forces both players to talk out their differences over voice chat, while Feud throws them into a three-minute deathmatch, with the highest kill count deciding the winner.

parlay red dead
UP AGAINST IT – When outnumbered, it may be best to Parley your way out

This is a good way of resolving issues and can get you out of some troublesome situations.

In some of the competitive modes, you will see weapon drops on the mini-map, these are invaluable for getting an edge but be aware that everyone will be heading towards them so stay on guard.

They are often much more powerful than the standard weapons.

Team Up

There are two types of Red Dead Online Posse, which allows you to team up with other players.

Temporary Posse is usually those made up of strangers who’ve met online at that moment.

red dead online posse
POSSE – Getting some mates will make your life a whole lot easier

It’s limited to four players and is disbanded when the leader logs off or leaves. These are effective for missions when you are in the moment.

Persistent Posses are more like clans for friends, with a higher seven-player limit.

READ MORE: Red Dead Redemption 2 coming to Switch?

There’s an in-game fee to set them up but they remain permanent whether you are online or not and allows for long term activity to be planned.

Having these will help to unlock bigger prizes as well as have some players to have your back, which is very much needed in the Wild West.

Camps and White Flags

Red Dead Online is dog-eat-dog. Players will attack each other for cash and items but there is one way you can protect yourself.

Bring up the multiplayer menu, go into the Camp Management section, and raise the white flag to protect your camp from PvP (you can also do it manually at the camp itself).

white flag red dead
TIME OUT – Raising the white flag protects your camp, as long as your posse occupies it

If you or one of your posse members are in the camp, you’re safe whilst you’re in there.

You can have as long as you like in this mode, and its recommended you do this for when you are fishing.

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You can’t sleep to recuperate in Red Dead Online as you do in the main story.

This makes it slightly more challenging, you have to keep buying and eating food as well as resting in your camp.

This is why having cash is vital to a successful time.

Your camp can be moved in the multiplayer menu, but there is a cost. As with everything you can spend money changing the look of your camp.

Earn Cash

Cash is king in Red Dead Online and fundamental to even having a modest existence.

Don’t overspend and think about every purchase. But if you are a shopaholic, you’re going to have to get grinding.

Hunting animals and fishing are the easiest ways to keep money coming in. Butchers will pay you for fish and pelts, but make sure they aren’t too damaged from the killing technique.

red dead fishing
REEL EM IN – Fishing can be an effective way to get cash

Aim for the vital organs, and think about a second horse to escort the pelts back to maximize the efficiency.

You should always loot buildings and anyone that you kill. It can be tedious but every dollar helps in the Wild West, and finding items saves you having to buy them.

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Tom Owen