I started writing about "RDO" when I noticed how little info was available online.
No Mining Required
In Red Dead Online there are two currencies; Cash and Gold. Both can be earned by playing the game, but Gold is considered a premium currency since it can be bought with real-world money. Keep your wallets in your pockets though; in this guide I will be exploring ways to earn Gold by just playing the game.
There are several ways to make Gold by just literally "playing the game" however this will only get you nuggets (any amount listed as 0.12, 0.16, etc.) For larger amounts you need to participate in Daily Challenges and Awards.
NOTE: The Table of Contents is currently down for maintenance. To find a specific part of this article please press CTRL+F for PC, COMMAND+F for Mac, and any other text search feature if you are viewing on mobile.
Daily Challenges are the best way to make Gold in Red Dead Online. Unlike the Daily Objectives of GTA Online you only need to complete one task to start a streak, however you will earn a bonus if you complete all seven General Challenges for that day.
Doing all General Daily Challenges for the day, during week one, amounts to 0.1 Gold per Challenge. With the seventh Challenge you get 0.1 but also 0.3 as a bonus for completing all Challenges for the day. That is a total of 1GB per day IF you get all seven General Challenges done.
During week two each Challenge gives out 0.15 plus a 0.45 bonus for Challenge number seven, equaling 1.5GB at the end of the day. Week three amounts to 0.2 per Challenge with a 0.6 bonus after the seventh one, this comes out to 2GB each day (this was also the original Week 1 amount before the change). Week four you will make 0.25GB per Challenge with a 0.75 bonus on Challenge seven. In addition to doing Dailies for 28 days you get a Treasure Map and $100.
After the Bounty Hunter Expansion update you can no longer have a streak past 28 days. Once you get to the end of Week 4 it will reset back to Week 1. I once made it as far as 89 days, and a user on Reddit had 553; so in a way I can see why Rockstar changed it. More on that below.
For the sake of your browsing I'm going to separate these Challenges into several different categories; ranging from ridiculously easy to the nigh impossible Posse Challenges. The ones you're most likely to accomplish versus the ones, in my opinion, are not worth frustrating yourself over.
Note: Not all Challenge titles may be listed accurately or may be changed over time. Numeral values, of the amount of times the Challenge must be done before completion, may vary. Use "CTRL+F" and type in your desired Daily Challenge to help navigate you through the article faster. If you're browsing on mobile please use the "find in page" feature of your chosen browser. Just leave the numeral value out of it . . .
Statistics for New Players
Starting off fresh, trying to earn Gold, in Red Dead Online can feel like an overwhelming task. I’ve been there, and so have a lot of other players, but hopefully a little numbers crunching will help inspire you. As mentioned above each Daily Challenge starts off at 0.1 nuggets, which essentially means performing any 10 equals 1GB. If you’re a new or returning player this can seem depressing (literally) but remember that this is only for the first week.
Hypothetically let’s say you’re a new player who has not begun any of the Specialist Roles yet. Since I highly recommend focusing on one Role at a time this is not a bad thing for you.
The Roles should be purchased in order of release, but I suggest the following:
- Trader – 15 Gold Bars
- Bounty Hunter – 15 Gold Bars, then another 15 for expanded levels
- Collector – 15 Gold Bars
- Moonshiner – 25 Gold Bars (30 if you skip Trader Role)
- Naturalist – 25 Gold Bars
Each Role adds some items that improve the overall gameplay, and variety, and for the sake of “too much too soon” I think that order would work best for you. None of the Roles should really be “grinded” though they will feel like that for the first five Ranks. Statistically, by doing Daily Challenges, you can have enough Gold to unlock the Trader Role within 12 days. It could be more, or less, if you factor in finding/unlocking Treasure Maps and whether you get the bonus for completing ALL challenges within a day. Items can be purchased with Cash, Gold, or a combination of either. This also doesn’t factor in weapons, horses, or outfits that fluctuate based on player preference.
For the Trader Role you will need $2,775/211 Gold Bars to purchase just the important items.
For the Bounty Hunter Role you will need $1,225/49 Gold Bars to unlock the Reinforced Lasso and Bounty Wagon which are vital items for bringing in Bounties. The Bounty Hunter Expansion update has only added cosmetic items (so far as of 12/6/20).
For the Collector Role you will need $1,050/42 Gold Bars to unlock the Pennington Field Shovel and Metal Detector which are both highly useful tools in being able to grab all Collectibles.
For the Moonshiner Role you will need $1,700/68 Gold Bars to unlock the two still upgrades to maximize your Moonshine profits (once you reach the required Ranks to unlock them).
For the Naturalist Role you’re going to mostly need Cash money to unlock everything that comes with this update, except for the Advanced Camera ($540/22GB) and Elephant Rifle ($580/24GB) which can be alternatively purchased with Gold. (Note: As of the Blood Money update the Wilderness Camp ($750/30GB) is worth it too for the Fast Travel ability. However you will need to buy the Pamphlet for $1,280/52GB if you did not unlock it during a previous Outlaw Pass.)
I can almost hear you saying “Eric why the hell are you telling me to get the Trader first!? That seems to cost the most!” And “I thought the Bounty Hunter Role gave out Gold Nuggets for doing Bounty Missions!” You’re right on both accounts, but the Trader Role comes with items that will improve your experience outside of just THAT Role. The Hunting Wagon, Stew Pot, and Weapon Locker add items that in my opinion should be in standard gameplay already. The Collector and Moonshiner Roles will get you a lot of Cash. The Bounty Hunter is good for extra Daily Challenges and the Legendary Bounty Missions provide some extra action and challenge. Naturalist is good if you have the Gold to spend on it and/or like tracking down animal species, but for the most part skip it until you have been playing for a while.
The Mathematics of Rockstar's Gold Restructuring
Rockstar announced that with its Bounty Hunter Expansion update that you will no longer be capable of doing a Daily Challenge streak past 28 days. As you can imagine this is not sitting well with some people in the community. Though in my opinion this is going to help cut down on the obsession of having a streak that goes on for multiple days. This move positively will cut down on the people who feel shackled to NEEDING to have a multi-day streak. I have read several posts that make this need for a constant streak almost sound like addiction, and in some cases the player feels relieved when their streak gets broken (at least I did). Considering the obsessive compulsive disorder of having "perfect streaks" this might not be a bad change.
However I am not happy with the new amounts of Gold for doing Daily Challenges. Don't take my realistic thinking for a positive attitude toward this change. I am simply going to try to make the best of the hand Rockstar is dealing us. You might be concerned that you won’t make a decent amount of Gold, and that you will be forced to purchase it from now on. Daily Challenges are not going away, however Rockstar has changed the amounts of Gold by 50%. I wasn't happy about this myself personally, and we all know why it's like this now, though hopefully after doing some math the follow will maybe put us at ease.
Week 1 (Per Day/Week Total):
- Six General Challenges: 0.6GB/4.2GB (1GB/7GB with seventh Challenge and Bonus)
- Eight Role Challenges: 0.8GB/5.6GB (1.2GB/8.4GB with ninth Challenge and Bonus)
- Total: 1.4GB/9.8GB (2.4GB/15.4GB with Bonuses)
Week 2 (Per Day/Week Total):
- Six General Challenges: 0.9GB/6.3GB (1.5GB/10.5GB with seventh Challenge and Bonus)
- Eight Role Challenges: 1.2GB/8.4GB (1.8GB/12.6GB with ninth Challenge and Bonus)
- Total: 2.1GB/14.7GB (3.3GB/23.1GB with Bonuses)
Week 3 (Per Day/Week Total):
- Six General Challenges: 1.2GB/8.4GB (2GB/14GB with seventh Challenge and Bonus)
- Eight Role Challenges: 1.6GB/11.2GB (2.4GB/16.8GB with ninth Challenge and Bonus)
- Total: 2.8GB/19.6GB (4.4GB/30.8GB with Bonuses)
Week 4 (Per Day/Week Total):
- Six General Challenges: 1.5GB/10.5GB (2.5GB/17.5GB with seventh Challenge and Bonus)
- Eight Role Challenges: 2GB/14GB (3GB/21GB with ninth Challenge and Bonus)
- Total: 3.5GB/24.5GB (5.5GB/38.5GB with Bonuses)
Per Month Totals:
- Six General Challenges: 29.4GB (49GB with seventh Challenge and Bonus)
- Eight Role Challenges: 39.2GB (58.8GB with ninth Challenge and Bonus)
- Total: 68.6GB (107.8GB with Bonuses)
The above does not include Gold earned from Treasure Maps, missions, and game modes, just Gold earned from Daily Challenges. You can still earn a decent amount of Gold if you're patient.
Super Easy Challenges
These Challenges aren't a headache to complete but they may require some leg work and a little money.
- Change Facial Appearance/Hairstyle: Go to any of the Barber Shops on the map and hold Y/Triangle to customize your Appearance. Keep in mind that this will cost money and/or Gold depending on the style chosen.
- Used an Emote on a Local: Go to any town, or settlement, and hold Left Trigger/L2 to lock on to an NPC. Then press Right Bumper/R1 to open your available Emotes. From there just hold any of the face buttons for your chosen Emote.
- Used an Emote on a Player: This one could prove tricky but not impossible. In my experience, other players are always doing this as a way to communicate. When close to a player press Right Bumper/R1, to bring up your Emotes, then hold any of the face buttons for your chosen Emote. Just don’t press Right Trigger/R2 by accident, in which case things could get socially awkward by old west standards . . .
- Items Sold to a Fence: The only hard part about this challenge is finding the items; which just requires a little leg work. Any Pocket Watches, Rings, etc. collected from looting dead enemies can be sold. However, if you can also find Jewelry in specific places you can get guaranteed items to sell.
Where You Can Find Jewelry
- Belt Buckle Updated: To do this you’re going to need at least one other Buckle to switch to. Go to any General Store or Tailor, go to the Wardrobe in the back of the store. Go down to Buckles and select whatever one you’re not already wearing.
- Five Drinks Ordered at a Saloon:Go to any Saloon on the map and order five Beers, five Whiskeys, or be like I am in real-life and do both!
- One Dog Petted: Quite possibly the greatest Daily Challenge. Go to any town or settlement with a dog. Press Left Trigger/L2 to lock onto it, and X/Square to Pat. Also registers for your Camp dog after the Frontier Pursuits update.
- X Distance Driven a Train/Traveled by Train: As you’re exploring you should hear a train whistle. Ride to it and jump on (if you’re not sure where it is check the map, it will be the moving train icon). If you’re looking to spawn a train head to Riggs Station. Keep the camera facing south and wait a couple of minutes. If a train doesn’t spawn switch sessions until it does. Jump on and either stand at one of the cars or throw the Engineer off (by pressing Y/Triangle GTA style) to drive it. Depending on the nature of the Challenge.
- Three Weapons Cleaned With Gun Oil: You pretty much need to do this occasionally anyway. In case you’re new, skipped Single Player (shame on you if you did), and/or you’re wondering why your guns aren’t working as smoothly as usual, chances are you need to clean them. Don’t be worried this isn’t Call of Juarez or Far Cry 2, your weapons won’t explode on you. You should carry at least six Gun Oils on you at all times. To clean a gun hold Left Bumper/L1, select the weapon, then press the Left Stick button/L3 to Maintain. From there hold the X/Square button (or tap depending on your controller layout) to clean the weapon. Now if you already cleaned your weapons recently you can dirty them up again by hip firing a lot, but just use Standard Ammo or it could be pricey.
- Two Player Stats Boosted by Tonics: Bitters (Stamina), Health Tonic (Health), Snake Oil (Dead Eye), and their other versions all count toward this Challenge. Pick two of your three stats and drink one tonic for each. If you don’t have any you can buy some from a General Store.
- Five Canned Food Eaten: ANY canned goods apply here. Hold Left Bumper/L1, go to the Items tab, and eat any of the canned Provisions.
- X Distance Ran: Not everything you do is on horseback. This also obviously counts during Showdowns and Free Roam Events.
- Don’t Reach High Hostility Within One Game Day: Your hostility rises when you attack other players. So don’t be a jerk for 48 minutes. To help you with this open the User Menu (left on D-pad), select Online Options, and switch to Defensive. This, for the most part, will prevent you from getting into trouble.
- Five Herbs Eaten: Walk to almost any pick-able plant and hold Y/Triangle to Eat it.
- One Clothing Style Updated: If you have another outfit stored on your horse switching to that will get you this Challenge. You can just change your hat and it registers!
- Visited [Location]: So this one’s only slightly more complicated that the town ones. If you’re not familiar with the game’s map than some of these may make you shrug your shoulders. However, some of them are pretty obvious.
- Travel X Distance by Boat or Canoe: The only hard part about this one is finding the boat, but don’t fret there are plenty along the shores of Flat Iron Lake. You just need to relieve the owner of it . . . From there row in whatever direction you wish until you complete this Challenge. Just keep in mind that boats run on Stamina. You’ll see what I mean . . .
- Travel X Distance by Coach or Wagon: If it’s got wheels it’s a “wagon.” You can steal these from travelers and from enemies during certain random events. After the Frontier Pursuits update, you can do this Challenge while delivering goods, or while using one of the purchasable vehicles.
- X Distance Swam: As you probably know already the time you can spend swimming is based on how much Stamina you have. Taking Potent or Special Bitters will give you a LITTLE bit of extra time, but not much to float around. After your Stamina Core drains your Health will deplete, leading to you drowning. For this Challenge you just have to swim around near the shore, until you’ve swam the allotted distance.
- Three Complimentary Snacks Eaten at a Saloon: At certain Saloons (like the big ones, not the rinky dinks) there is a bowl of Almonds you can eat from with X/Square. You can only eat from it three times before the bowl is empty. So if you only were able to eat from it once then another player got here first. Either switch sessions or head to another Saloon.
- Five Fresh Produce Eaten: Since not all produce can be eaten from the items tab, of your Inventory, you’ll have to do it from the Satchel. Hold Right on the D-pad to open the Satchel then go to the Provisions tab. Apples, Celery, Pears, and other fruits and veggies count toward this Challenge. See? We can eat horse food too. Just not Hay and Oatcakes . . . Unless you’re one of those extreme vegans . . .
- Five Tobacco Smoked or Chewed: When looting enemies you’ll pick up a lot of Cigarettes and Chewing Tobacco. Use five of any in your Items section of the Inventory.
- X Distance Traveled: Literally move by ANY means; running, swimming, on horseback, etc. It doesn’t matter! Basically just move.
- Five Herbs Sold: Every plant you pick is like picking up a quarter on the sidewalk. Take them to a Doctor (in Valentine and/or Saint Denis) to sell them. Seems insignificant but it’s a great way to make money if you’re just starting out.
- One Claw Sold: Bear and Badger Claws count. You can find Bears in West Elizabeth and Badgers you can find around Bolder Gate Lemoyne (as one example). Eagle Talons also count toward this Challenge. You can find them flying around West Elizabeth in the daytime.
- One Times Became drunk: We’ve all had nights like this. Go into your Inventory and drink as many bottles of whatever until the screen gets blurry. You can also do this at a Saloon.
- X Distance Driven a Coach or Wagon: If it has wheels on it then it counts toward this Challenge. You can find them along most major trails or in cities. Even better if you’re doing a delivery mission, or own one of the other wagons as part of Frontier Pursuits, they count too.
- Followed Dog to Something Interesting: This was a random event added with the Frontier Pursuits update. As you’re riding around the wilderness you’ll hear a dog barking, follow it to find a dead body you can loot. The dog might also lead you into a bushwhack so be wary. The thing that makes this Challenge hard is actually FINDING a dog to spawn. The screenshots below will show you these dog spots but they might not spawn until Rockstar figures out the random event spawn rates.
- Sell Five Animal Meat: The only kind of meat you can sell is the uncooked variety. Any meat will do. Keep in mind that cooking some surplus meat is good for refilling your Cores.
- Camp Theme Updated: At your Camp (if you can get Cripps to pitch it) go to the Wilderness Outfitters shop by the bench of the wagon. Under “Theme” pick one of the alternative sets. Keep in mind this Daily Challenge will cost money initially, but subsequently will be “free” to perform.
- Five Dry Goods Eaten: Crackers, Assorted Biscuits, and Salted Meat (Beef and/or Venison) count toward this Challenge. You can buy these items from General Stores, or found at various locations around the map.
- One Weapon Customized: You know what’s terrible about this Challenge? It could cost you Gold Bars if you pick the wrong kind of weapon customization. I don’t think you’re that stupid, but I’ll let you do you . . . For the rest of you switching to a previously purchased customization will register.
Note: The follow Daily Challenges were added after the Naturalist update. You do not need the Advanced Camera to take part in the photography related Challenges. If at any time you can't take a picture just switch sessions, it is likely a network error in that lobby.
- One Self Portrait Taken: Equip a Camera by holding down the Left Bumper/L1 then press Right Bumper/R1 to open the Items tab. Your Camera will be in the Kit slot in the "three-o-clock" position. Once equipped press in on the Left Stick/L3 to enter Selfie Mode. Then take your picture, but don't be vain about it!
- Photograph your Horse: Dismount your horse and equip a Camera. Get your steed in the shot and take it's picture.
- Cat Photographed: Not sure if Big Cats count toward this Challenge, but let's just stick to the adorable domestic ones that will register just fine. You can find several of them in Saint Denis, Lemoyne. There is also one by the Fence in Thieves Landing.
- One Player Photographed: The best players in Red Dead Online are the ones that stop and wave or tip their hat. Pull out your camera and take their picture to complete this Challenge.
- Visited [Location] and [Location] within an hour/30 minutes: Rockstar means real time. Fast traveling between both locations also counts, but if you have a fast horse you can make it between places in due time. It does not matter which location you visit first as long as you get to the other within the given time limit.
- One Mask Worn: This Daily Challenge is unfortunately not available to everyone for some odd reason. The only masks available were ones sold at Madam Nazar's shop during Halloween 2019. If you do have a mask you can access it from the Wardrobe at either your Camp or the General Store.
- One Dog Photographed: Dogs can be found in several towns and settlements. Emerald Ranch, New Hanover and Strawberry, West Elizabeth are two good places to find some. You can also take a picture of your dog at Camp for this to count.
- Five Items Sold to Gus: Gus is Online's answer to Single Player's Trapper. He also has set up shop in a lot of the Trapper's locations (the paw print black dot on the map). He is similar to the Butcher but also accepts Legendary Animal pelts in addition. Whatever you can sell to the Butcher, you can sell to Gus.
- Treasure Map or treasure found: The game will give you a free Treasure Map every five Ranks after Rank 10. You can also rarely find them by looting dead enemies. Locations for all Random Event Treasure Maps can be found here.
- Five Candies Eaten: Either five bags of Candy, Chocolate Bars, or Peppermints (that you can buy from the Stable) will count toward this challenge.
You will be tasked with collecting five of a particular herb. You should be collecting these anyway since you can craft various Tonics at a campfire and/or sell them for $0.25 apiece at a Doctor. These are quick "Challenges" if you know where to look.
Keep in mind that there is an unfortunate glitch where you may need to collect six or even seven of the listed plant. If you have the "Equine Assistance" Skill this will not register since your horse is doing the collecting.
Please refer to this guide for a location for every plant species in the game.
Not really a "challenge" though it does involve some Hunting to acquire the meats for these. You also need Creeping Thyme, Oregano, and/or Wild Mint for seasoning. Creeping Thyme can be found almost anywhere, but Wild Mint grows around damp areas and the water's edge. Oregano can be found in dry hot climates, but is also common like Creeping Thyme.
If you're having trouble getting Cripps to move your Camp you can also use Campfires around the map to achieve these Challenges. Keep in mind that most Gang Hideouts will have a usable Campfire.
After the Moonshiner update you can now spawn directly into your Camp through the Online screen. After the Naturalist update, once you reach Rank five of that Role, you can purchase the Wilderness Camp. The Wilderness Camp allows you to set up a small campfire anywhere (just like the one in Single Player). However if you have "Outlaw Pass 3" I highly recommend waiting until you unlock the 30% Voucher. I made that mistake, but I think it's still worth it.