Red Dead Online hasn’t set the world on fire in the same way that Grand Theft Auto Online has done over the past five years. But Rockstar Games is announcing a major overhaul for Red Dead Online with the addition of various features aimed at enticing people to play.

Take-Two Interactive said yesterday that its Rockstar Games label had sold more than 24 million copies of Red Dead Redemption 2, the single-player Western epic and the foundation for Red Dead Online. But that’s only 1 million more since its last reporting period in February.

Today’s update to Red Dead Online brings a host of new gameplay, such as new cooperative story missions, free roam activities and the addition of poker alongside a range of updates and improvements that strengthen and stabilize the foundation of Red Dead Online, Rockstar said.

This is just the beginning of major updates, Rockstar said.

“The future of Red Dead Online not only includes continued improvements to the core elements of the world to make every aspect of the game fun for all kinds of players, but also brand-new experiences that establish a deeper, more immersive connection to the world and your character,” Rockstar said.

New missions

Jessica LeClerk has hired you to take out some people in Red Dead Online.

Above: “I’m the best selling game of the year, y’know.”

Image Credit: Rockstar Games

The revenge saga of Red Dead Online character Jessica LeClerk expands today with new missions in “A Land of Opportunities” for both “honorable” and “dishonorable” players. (Players are rated based on their behavior toward innocent people in the online game).

After the epic showdown in Fort Mercer that concluded the last series of missions, players will help Mrs. LeClerk get closer to the truth behind the murder of her husband. In the more honorable gunslinger path, you can battle the Del Lobos gang and help Marshall Tom Davies save the town of Valentine – and his own neck.

In the Outlaw strand, you have to outwit lawmen to assist Samson Finch in highway robbery and pull off a daring high-stakes theft at the Saint Denis Bank. Both paths lead to a rendezvous in Blackwater with a dangerous adversary.

Free Roam Missions also expand today with new characters from the story of Red Dead Redemption 2 and a variety of new and diverse mission types. Bring your Posse to meet with Thomas the Skiff Captain down in Bayou Nwa for some honest work or visit the disconcertingly hospitable Aberdeen Pig Farmers to get your hands extremely dirty, and look out for more characters to appear soon.

Competitive fishing and poker

Above: Poker has come to Red Dead Online

Image Credit: Rockstar Games

Competitive fishing is now available in one of three new Posse Versus Challenges. Posse leaders can simply use the Player Menu to trigger intra-Posse competitions to reel in the biggest catch before the timer runs out in the Biggest Fish Contest, down the most flying birds in the Bird Shooting Contest, or gather the most plants in the Herb Picking Contest.

As you make your way across the frontier, you may happen across townsfolk and travelers in need of assistance, or opportunists looking to prey on lone riders. Many of these encounters offer XP, Honor, Cash and even Gold rewards.

You can visit poker tables at towns and outposts across the map to challenge your friends to a private, invite-only game of Hold ’Em. Or, raise the stakes and take a seat at a public table, where the buy-ins and rewards are even higher. All poker tables seat up to 6 players, available in 5 locations: Blackwater, Saint Denis, Tumbleweed, Valentine and Flatneck Station.

And you can mark your territory and lay claim to as much land as you can, working your way behind enemy lines to capture territory from your opponents while defending what’s yours. Whoever holds the most land at the end of this new Showdown Mode wins.

New guns and clothing

Red Dead Online

Above: Red Dead Online

Image Credit: Rockstar Games

Boasting a 9-round revolving chamber and a secondary barrel for a single buckshot round, the LeMat Revolver can switch between rapid-fire bullets and a devastating shotgun shell on the fly. It is now available for purchase inside the game from the Wheeler, Rawson and Co. Catalogue.

More clothing items and emotes are also available, featuring some highly-requested clothing options including Ponchos, patterned Bandanas and more – as well as new emotes such as Throat Slit and Flip Off. New inventory will be coming and going often so check the Catalogue frequently to see what’s in stock week-to-week.

In addition, all players who jump into Red Dead Online this week will get a gift of 15 Gold Bars and see a 25% increase of XP on A Land of Opportunities, Free Roam Missions, Showdown Modes, Races and Free Roam Events. Treasure hunters will also find 25% extra Cash and Gold in chests containing them. All Ultimate Edition owners will also get a gift of RDO$100 and the Throat Slit emote for free.

Offensive or defensive

Above: Red Dead Online is getting an overhaul.

Image Credit: Rockstar Games

As outlined in an earlier post previewing some of today’s additions, this update brings the option to choose how you interact with players inside the world of Red Dead Online, via Offensive and Defensive playing styles in the Player Menu.

The Offensive playing style is set as the default and is how most players traditionally interact in Free Roam — free to engage in hostile contact with other players if you are prepared to accept the potential consequences.

The Defensive play style is for those players who would rather explore the world in Free Roam than engage in conflict with others — and it’s designed to let other players know that you don’t want to tangle with them, as well as minimize opportunities for griefing. At the same time, Defensive players will not be alerted to PvP Free Roam missions and can not be pulled into them while in Defensive mode, allowing them to go about their business as freely as possible.

Players in Defensive mode will be indicated by a shield icon, will take reduced damage from enemy players, cannot be lassoed, melee attacked, executed or targeted with auto-aim. Defensive players will also be excluded from being targeted in PvP-related missions such as Player Assassination. Those who attack Defensive players receive hefty penalties via the Hostility system, while players who initiate conflict while in Defensive mode will be instantly pulled out of Defensive mode and also receive similar Hostility penalties.

Fighting griefing

Gun Rush.

Above: Gun Rush.

Image Credit: Rockstar Games

Today’s updates also build on the player radar and visibility improvements introduced in February to create a smarter and more responsive approach to mitigating griefing behavior. The Hostility System tracks aggressive behavior across both Playing Styles, making hostile players visible to others and helping to balance the needs of players who want to get away from others who habitually attack or kill during unstructured Free Roam gameplay.

As before, player blips change color – beginning dark blue and transitioning to red as their hostile play persists. A bright red blip indicates an enemy. With today’s update, players will never receive Hostility or Bounty increases for defending themselves against a player who is blipped as an enemy, or for killing high Hostility players. If a player attacks another player, they will not be marked as an enemy to everyone – but rather to the attacked player only, who will not receive a penalty for firing back.

You can view your current Hostility level through the Player Menu. As you become more hostile, you become more visible on other player’s radars at longer distances and will respawn further and further away from your point of death – at the highest level of Hostility, you will respawn in a different region.

Hostility increases do not apply within structured events such as Free Roam Events, Free Roam Missions, Showdowns and Races. Engaging in PvP behaviors related to Free Roam missions will not incur Hostility increases while in the Offensive playing style, however attacking other players not engaged in the activity will cause your Hostility level to rise.

To see a comprehensive list of fixes as part of today’s update including a new HDR cinematic mode for both Story Mode and Red Dead Online, visit the dedicated Rockstar Support page.

New roles

With the foundation of Red Dead Online now established, future updates will offer new ways to fully inhabit your character as you progress in multiple roles and carve out your own place on the frontier.

Starting this summer, players will be able to take on the first three of a series of new roles: track down wanted criminals as a bounty hunter; search the world for treasure, and other exotic items to sell as a collector; or build a business at camp as a trader and more.

Each new role will come with a range of unique gameplay along with a host of new outfits, weapons and other rewards to earn. Players will have the option to focus on a specific role to advance quickly and unlock each role’s unique attributes, or simultaneously progress across multiple roles as you play naturally to create your own unique character and path through the frontier.