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Rockstar needs to fix the Trader role in Red Dead Online

by: Eric -
More On: Red Dead Online

UPDATE: Some obviously-more-committed than me readers reached out to set me straight on the actual numbers re: how Supply runs work. Cheers to them for doing the calculations. I actually did try to research this online a bit, but couldn't find much info. Now that I know what to look for, I changed my search terms and found it easily. I'll chalk that one up to a Google user error. To be fair, I did not sit there and do the math myself.

Even after the below corrections, I do feel that the thesis of the article stands, regardless of my inaccuracies number-wise. I still want to do multiple supply runs in a row, and stock ol' Cripps up, then leave him alone for the three-whatever hours it takes him to do his work. Dude shouldn't be asking me to check in once an hour to go steal stuff for him.

For the record: 

A supply run gains the player (and that hobo Cripps) 25 goods. It takes Cripps two minutes to process one good, so he runs through one supply run in 50 minutes, not the "about 20 minutes" that I state below. At this rate, Cripps-y can fill the camp in three hours and twenty minutes - provided the player is diligent about going on milk runs for him. Thanks to the several readers that reached out to set me straight on the math.

Original Article:

I know that most people have probably played their share of Red Dead Online and moved on by now, but I’m just settling into a nice long run in what is now my current favorite game. There is a nice new player base just getting started in Red Dead Online since the game went stand-alone (and went on sale uber-cheap). Sure, Red Dead is a couple of years old, but the player base is still healthy – and frankly, I spend most of my time avoiding other players anyhow.

You know how sometimes games (or aspects of games) hook you, and you end up obsessing over them? That’s how I am right now with Red Dead Online. Reading guides. Exploring the world. Grinding out my career as a Trader. And that’s where I’m having a bit of trouble.

For those not in the know, Red Dead Online offers a number of different career paths for players to pursue in order to earn cash (there is a mountain of stuff to buy in RDO, and it’s all obscenely expensive,  so you need a lot of money). More battle-prone players can pursue a career as a bounty hunter – tracking down outlaws and returning them to justice. Collectors can scour the world for difficult-to-find items, building up collections to sell for cash. Though I am a licensed bounty hunter in the game, and have a small side business as a Moonshiner, I am primarily a Trader.

Traders set up a butcher table at their camp, which is manned by Cripps, the old coot that hangs out in your tent and tends to your stuff. You bring dead stuff to Cripps, and he processes it for sale. It’s an insanely addictive loop, especially if you enjoy stalking prey in Red Dead’s awesomely varied ecosystems.

The Trader role consists of three activities, which are tracked by few different meters you can check by talking to Cripps: hunting, supply runs, and deliveries. Hunting is just what it sounds like – skulking around the landscape and carefully killing animals in ways that won’t ruin their precious pelts. There’s a lot of skinning and gross bloody carcasses involved, so it’s pretty awesome. I love setting my own pace to deliver stuff to Cripps, and I usually maintain the “Materials” meter at about 2/3 full just by shooting stuff as I wander about and building up a pile of pelts on my horse.

Deliveries are equally enjoyable. I’ve purchased the most expensive delivery wagon, so my delivery runs usually net me 300 Red Dead bucks a pop – which is huge money in Red Dead Online. You typically drive a short way, get attacked once or twice by easy enemies, and then deliver the goods. Sometimes there is a shootout at the delivery point, which is enjoyable and leaves a lot of corpses laying around for looting (I always loot the corpses – I’m the sort of guy that picks up change found lying in the grocery store parking lot).

My issue with the Trader career is on the Supplies side of thing. “Supplies”, in this case, refers to stuff like tanning fluid, or other chemicals and equipment that Cripps needs to convert dead animals into “goods”. Cripps runs through supplies way too quickly – a full supply meter can only provide enough supplies to process maybe a third of the materials meter. That’s fine, if only the game would allow me to stockpile supplies the way that I can overfill the Materials meter. I can bring Cripps dead animals all day long, and they just pile up for him to use later – the meter allows for an enormous amount of stuff. But supplies run out in maybe 20 minutes, forcing me to stop whatever I’m doing to go on yet another Supply mission.

It’s not the Supply missions I mind, per se. I just hate that I can’t do a bunch of them in a row and get Cripps all stocked up so I can leave him for an hour or two to cut up dead stuff. I would like to be able to go out on a long hunt to other areas with my hunting wagon, expecting that Cripps will be able to run through all the junk I left him by the time I get back. Why the hell do the Materials and Supply meters function in such different ways?

I obviously enjoy the Trader career, but I would also like to be able to pursue it in the cadence that I want. I have other stuff to do in Red Dead Online, and I don’t understand why the game insists that constantly hover close to camp in case Cripps runs through his supplies. I’ve already paid for the career – and if I am still running the same number of supply missions – just in a different pattern – why would Red Dead Online not allow that?

I have been putting in the effort to keep my business running the entire time I am online, but it’s not like being a Trader is the only thing I want to do. I would prefer to just spend and hour or two winding up my Trader business and then letting it run while I’m off Moonshining or Bounty Hunting – only returning when its time to make a delivery. Rinse and repeat. Why is Rockstar insisting that Supplies be such a pain in my ass?

I have a lot of other thoughts about Red Dead Online’s economy and how strictly it is controlled by Rockstar. But in this case, I’m not trying to work outside the system, I just want the system to be altered slightly so I don’t have to babysit it. Throw a Trader a bone here, Rockstar. Cripps can handle it, I promise.