As of today, Red Dead Redemption 2’s multiplayer component, Red Dead Online, is available to all players, and while the experience has been largely well received, a significant portion of the playerbase has taken to Reddit, Twitter, and the game’s forums to voice their concerns about the state of RDO’s economy.
Much of the costernation comes as a result of the implemenation of gold bars, the game’s premium currency, which can be used to unlock certain items (such as guns) prior to meeting the level requirements to use them as well as to purchase certain cosmetic items like clothing and hairstyles. Reddit user UnavailableIDs did some rough (but apparently more-or-less accurate) math and came to the conclusion that, on average, it will take around eight hours of playtime to earn a single gold bar. For reference, it costs 12 gold bars to change the color of your starting pistol to be all blackened steel.
Although the game’s microtransaction store is currently disabled, players will eventually be able to purchase gold bars for real-world money, leading many players to worry that players who have the cash to shell out for gold bars will end up with an unfair power advantage over those who rely on purely in-game means of earning income.
But it’s not just the premium currency that has players on edge; the standard in-game currency — good old American dollars — is also under fire. In short, the issue is that, although players earn money at a rate largely comparable to that of the single-player game — in which item prices reflect the real-world value of the American dollar during the time period in which the game is set — the prices for items in the multiplayer version have been increased significantly.
As one Reddit user so eloquently put it, “We make money like it’s 1899 and everything is pricsed like it’s 2018.” The issue is compounded by the fact that even playing the game minute-to-minute requires players to constantly shell out for things like ammo, horse feed, and setting up campsites, so many players are finding it difficult to simply break even, much less to be able to afford some of the game’s more expensive items (such as the obscenely priced $1000 Mauser pistol) without having to resign themselves to an eternity of grinding.
To Rockstar’s credit, we suppose, the studio has set up a dedicated site for players to submit feedback on the RDO experience and is encouraging players to share their thoughts. However, given the precedent set by Grand Theft Auto Online, which has earned Rockstar beaucoup bucks through the sales of Shark Card microtransactions, many players are understandbly doubtful that the studio is actually going to listen to players’ concerns. Rockstar recently posted a tweet filled with “a few quick tips to help [players] succeed and thrive,” but there’s been no acknowledgment yet of the community’s displeasure with the game’s economy. Whether anything is going to change during this so-called “beta” of RDO, we’ll just have to wait and see.