Unlike the main Red Dead Redemption 2 campaign, Red Dead Online is pretty stingy when it comes to handing out money. It’s especially frustrating if you’ve played a lot of the story, only to be reverted to using a starting revolver and repeater. Weapons in Red Dead Online can cost several hundred dollars, and many of the activities will grant just a few bucks. Thankfully, we’ve found a way to earn several hundred dollars in your first couple hours, a pretty major head start.
It should be noted: This technique does wreak some havoc with Red Dead Online’s story continuity, so if you’re concerned about playing through the story missions in order, you’ll have to do things the old-fashioned way.
Alright, with that out of the way, first you’ll need to complete the tutorial, at least until you unlock the ability to Free Roam. This shouldn’t take you more than an hour.
Once you’ve done that, hit left on the D-pad to open up the Free Roam menu. Scroll down to Quick Join and select Story Mission On-Call. You are welcome to do this with our without friends in your Posse (aka Fireteam in the parlance of Red Dead). These missions seem to cap out at four, so if you’re under four, the remaining slots will be filled with randoms.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be matched with other players to complete a random Read Dead Online story mission. Some of the missions will be further along than you currently are at the very beginning of the game, but the later the mission, the higher the rewards.
In our case, a mission called “Kill Them, Each and Every One” popped up. It’s a pretty straightforward mission requiring that you and your group clear out a military base and kill its leader. All told, it didn’t take much more than 10 minutes to complete — and for our trouble, we netted over $250!
Not all of the missions will be quite so generous. Many will reward you with just $30 or $50, but even then, it’s still far more profitable than many of the starting activities.
Two things to note, though:
- You can only get the cash reward once per mission. Replaying the same mission will net you a bunch of experience, but no cash.
- The second thing to keep in mind is that you’ll earn fewer rewards if you die and restart from a checkpoint. We’re not 100 percent sure if this is tied to your cash reward or your experience (or both), but just keep that in mind if you’re trying to make the best of the return for missions.
If you’re lucky and don’t get too many repeat missions, you’ll be well over $350 after just a handful of these.
Which brings us to our next question: Where you should you spend that money? We’ll have more on this soon, but my gut tells me the best long-term investment is the bolt-action rifle for $360. With this weapon, you’ll be able to score perfect pelts from larger animals like deer, while also netting more meat from them. But yeah, if you really want a super special hat, I guess you can go that way, too.