The Red Dead Online beta begins today for owners of Red Dead Redemption II Ultimate Edition, with other players allowed to join at predetermined times throughout the week. You probably have several general questions about what activities are going to be available at launch. It’s your lucky day, cowpoke, because we have a breakdown of some of the larger looming questions right here.

When Does Red Dead Online Take Place?

Right before the events of Red Dead Redemption II, which means you have a lot of familiar faces to run into as you explore the frontier, including Van der Linde gang members. For instance, Sadie Adler is still living her idyllic life at Adler Ranch up in the Grizzlies. 

Who Do I Play As?

Just like with Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Online allows you to create your own character. You get to decide how they look and what they wear – we strongly suggest you tour the amazing teeth options. You can also set their base attributes, which will grow as you earn XP and complete various tasks around the world. Ability Cards give you even more ways to tailor your skills. 

When Red Dead Online begins, you are leaving Sisika Penitentiary, and your story crosses paths with many familiar faces from Red Dead Redemption II.

What Features Cross Over From Red Dead Redemption II?

A lot of them. The entire map of Red Dead Redemption II is here for you to explore. You can hunt and fish while out in the wilderness, hunt for treasure, set up a camp, and care for and bond with your horse. Stranger missions will appear around the environment offering free roam missions to tackle. 

The nature of these missions is determined by your standing in the honor system, another feature that carries over from Red Dead Redemption II. If you’re an outlaw, your mission may be about breaking someone out of jail. If you’re an honorable cowboy, maybe it will be about tracking down a bounty instead.  

Can I Form A Posse With Friends?

What kind of western would this be if there weren’t posses? Red Dead Online lets up to seven people join forces to terrorize small towns or keep the peace. You can square off against rival posses or complete cooperative missions. When you start out, you’ll be using temporary posses, because making a persistent one costs $200 in-game dollars.

Is There A Story?

Yes. Red Dead Online comes with A Land of Opportunities, a narrative-driven cooperative experience that Rockstar plans to continually expand upon. You can jump right into the early missions of a quest Rockstar says  “involves chasing truth, revenge, and honor.” The actions you take during these missions and your honor standing will change the trajectory of the story as well.

What About Competitive Play?

The Red Dead Online beta currently features five adversarial modes, which you can access at the Showdown Series signposts. Shootout & Team Shootout are your standard deathmatch variants. Make It Count tasks you with using nothing but throwing knives and your bow to become the last person standing as the map continually shrinks, battle royale-style. Most Wanted is a spin on deathmatch where every kill catapults you up the scoreboard, but rivals earn more points for taking out higher-ranked adversaries.  Hostile Territory is a classic domination mode. The last mode, Name Your Weapon, gives you more points for using weapons that make the kill tougher. 

As with Grand Theft Auto Online, you can likely expect Rockstar to continually rotate new modes in and out in the coming months and years.

Are There Microtransactions?

Not yet, but there will be. Some in-game menus are not available right now, and this includes the in-game store where one day you will be able to buy Gold Bars (the equivalent to GTA Online’s Shark Cards) to buy cosmetics and weapon customization. 

Where Can I Share My Feedback?

This being a beta, Rockstar is enlisting the community to help improve the Red Dead Online experience. Feedback is critical, so if you run into technical hiccups, the Rockstar Support site is online and ready to help in whatever way it can. For those of you with strong opinions about pre-existing content, changes you’d like to see made, or suggestions about new features, head to

Answering Your Big Questions About Red Dead Online