Two months ago, Rockstar Games announced there would be no more Red Dead Online updates. Those of you who know me, read this blog or follow me on Twitter (@cindyjacks) understand what a loss this is for me. Red Dead Redemption 2 is my favorite alternate reality. And the chance to create my own character in that simpler, albeit much more violent, time…well, I was hooked at once. And now living in Kansas the wild, wild west feels even more relevant. Seriously, look up Cowtown, the replica of old Wichita. It’s totally Blackwater.
Granted, the online version was never quite fully baked. The beta period only offered four story missions and you had to grind like it was your job to level up. Nary a bird flew past me without meeting its death. Hey, they were 10xp each! But there was something about going on , hunting and fishing and embracing the simulation of living off the land. It is my understanding, however, that skinning a deer or rabbit is much more complicated than depicted in the game. Who knew? 😂
Once the game left beta though, there were moments of brilliance. The addition of the trader, bounty hunter, and collector roles. The evolution of the trader to moonshiner, the collector to naturalist. The addition of the Call to Arms saved us from complete boredom and frustration with the lack of updates. The world evolved and allowed me to sink deeper into the fantasy of living in the Wild West…but, you know, without the actual risk of dysentery or tuberculosis. Or being barred from owning property cuz I’m a girl, lol.
It got to the point that Halloween wasn’t Halloween without the RDO update. Christmas, too. But when the last Christmas “special” coat was nothing more than a black leather coat that looked much like every other black coat in the game, I could see the writing on the wall. The end cometh.
To be honest, I haven’t played the game much since then. I steeled myself for the inevitable demise of RDO. And now that it’s official, I feel as though I’ve lost a group of friends. In a way, I have. Cripps, my beloved Bacchus (he’s my favorite horse), Maggie, the lady with the awesome voice who narrated the cutscenes for the legendary bounties. Even Sean McGuire, who it was lovely to have alive again (oops sorry, mild RDR2 spoiler, my bad).
Granted, Rockstar hasn’t deleted the servers so all those folks are still there for me to visit. I probably will from time to time once the sting of the game’s stagnation wears off. But I’m level 260-something so without new content, there’s not much for me to do other than the same mind-numbing loop of grinding. Perhaps I’ll stalk a 3-star whitetail buck or reel in a massive sturgeon, just for old times sake.
There’s also the Call to Arms to take out the day’s frustration with, but since me and my honeypie have mastered all of them, well, the thrill is gone. RDO has become that lover who doesn’t switch up things in bed. Ya like what they do, but ya wish they’d throw you a curveball every once in a while. Alas, there will be no gimp suits and gagballs lurking in RDO’s closet. Sorry, I took that metaphor too far, lol.
Being the gaming addicts we are, Charles and I have found some substitutes for the gaping hole RDO has left in our co-op playtime. State of Decay 2 has a decent substitute for the Call to Arms. We’ve yet to best Daybreak so that’s on the agenda for this weekend. But having fallen in love with a cowboy and living in a state that is literally part of the Old West mythology, there’s nothing to do but wait for a dev to creat a new Western masterpiece. I suspect it’ll be a very long time before I crush on a game quite so passionately. I suppose time will tell.
My dearest RDO, you will be missed. You filled many a dark day with joy and laughter and headshots. No other game could ever replace you and you’ll be in my heart always. Whenever I sip a little Tennessee whiskey, I’ll pour a some for you in remembrance.
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