Red Dead Online’s latest update is focused on moonshine, illegal booze crafted by folks in hidden stills deep in the woods. In this new update, players make and sell moonshine, take out the competition and even get revenge on the government goons trying to stop them. The slightly high price of entry might make it hard for some players to enter the moonshine industry, however.
The Moonshiner is the latest Frontier Pursuit added to Red Dead Online. Frontier Pursuits are different roles that players can partake in and level up, earning new gear and abilities as they do. Unlike the original three roles – trader, collector, and bounty hunter – moonshiners first level up their Trader role a bit before they can start crafting illegal booze. To unlock access to the moonshining, players need to be level 5 or higher traders or have made at least one successful sale as a trader. Most players will have already met these requirements; if you haven’t, it won’t take too long to unlock access to moonshining.
Before you can actually start making booze or fighting revenue agents, you’ll need a shack, which costs 25 gold bars. This isn’t a giant amount of gold, but if you aren’t playing RDO every week or aren’t willing to spend some cash, this might be a roadblock. It would be nice if Frontier Pursuits were easier to experience for less dedicated or new players, but the content feels worth the price of entry for players looking for new stuff to do.
Once you have a shack (which is really more of a house if you ask me), you can begin doing missions for Maggie, a tough woman who is experienced in making and selling shine. These missions get your moonshine operation up and running, and if you keep helping her you can also get revenge on those who wronged her. These missions unlock bonuses for your operation like cheaper prices and better moonshine recipes. These missions have been a mix of standard stuff, like ride to a camp and kill dudes, as well as less standard stuff. One mission had me sneak into a rival still via canoe and blow them up in the dead of night. Another mission had me explore an area filled with deadly cougars. While not all of these missions are as great as the legendary bounty hunter missions, they are a fun and exciting way to improve your moonshine shack, either alone or with friends.
Actually creating moonshine is similar to creating supplies to sell as a trader. You ask your chef to start cooking up some moonshine, and then you can flavour it using items you can either find in the world, like flowers or spices, or with fruits and other goods you can purchase. Different flavours are worth more or less to various buyers. These buyers change every few hours or so, which means you can’t crank out the same thing over and over. The longer you let your cook work, the stronger the shine can get, making it worth more. Moonshining becomes a balancing act between getting more money for better shine and impatiently wanting to sell sooner to make cash faster.
Once you have finished making some shine, you will need to sell it. These sell missions are similar to the sell missions as a trader. However, you will need to avoid or deal with government checkpoints. Your wagon carrying the booze is not bulletproof and if you take too much damage from crashes, gunshots or trees, you will make less money when you deliver your shipment.
The shack can be upgraded to make better moonshine, but you can also add a whole secret bar to the basement below. This costs $900, not a small sum in RDO, and I’m not sure what the purpose of it is. Maybe with more time, it will become more useful, but right now the bar is just a silent room filled with a few NPCs.
Moonshining is the focus of this new update, but some other important stuff has been added as well. The new Outlaw Pass, Red Dead Online’s version of a battle pass, is now live. Unlike the last Outlaw Pass, which cost 35 gold bars and had 75 ranks, this one costs 40 gold and has 100 ranks. Like before, if you level up your pass to the maximum you will have earned all 40 gold back, plus new clothes, emotes and other rewards. The increase in price is a little annoying, but the extra ranks and rewards helps balance it out. Hopefully, the price stays the same moving forward.
A smaller addition with this update is a new mechanic for swapping weapons. Previously, the only way to select a new gun was to use the weapon wheel. This could feel clunky and wasn’t ideal in intense shootouts. Now players can tap L1/LB to quickly switch back to their previous weapon, and players can change which weapons they switch back to using the weapon wheel. If you want to just holster your gun, you now double-tap LB/L1. This helps make combat more streamlined, but after playing RDO for over a year, it’s hard to teach my brain to double-tap to holster weapons. I do like being able to quickly flip between a shotgun and a revolver during a fight, though. If you don’t like this new change and want to single tap to return your gun to your holster, just mark “unarmed” in the weapon wheel as your quick swap slot to avoid this new change.
This new moonshiner role feels like a big improvement over the old roles. Collector and trader never felt as fun or fleshed out as bounty hunters. Moonshiner has story missions, but it also has the “buy and sell” loop of the trader role, plus a whole bar and shack you can upgrade and customise. Some players might be unable to enjoy the fun right away due to not having enough gold or not being a level 5 trader, but once you unlock moonshining, there’s a lot to do.