While Red Dead Online works more or less like the Red Dead Redemption 2 story mode campaign, with players being able to roam the map completing Story and Stranger missions and taking part in a variety of other activities, there are features that decisively set the two modes apart. Among them are the Showdown Modes.
Showdown Modes, or Series, as the game calls them, are Red Dead Online’s competitive multiplayer modes. There are five different modes, but there’s currently no way to queue for one particular mode, as players can only line up for the Showdown Series playlist or the Showdown Series Large playlist. The only difference between the two is that the large playlist allows more players to take part in it.
Outside of the Showdown series, there is another competitive multiplayer mode in Red Dead Online: Racing series. While, as the name suggests, this mode basically involves racing, there are a few features, such as the fighting phase, that make it more exciting that you might otherwise expect a horse to be.
Starting the Showdown Series Modes
There are two different ways to take part in the Showdown Series Modes. The first one, and the most practical, is to access the Red Dead Online menu (press left on the d-pad) and then choose either the Showdown Series playlist or the Showdown Series Large playlist. If you want to keep « in character », so to speak, you can access both playlists by going to specific locations on the map.
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The regular Showdown Series can be accessed from Rio Bravo, Big Valley, Grizzlies East, and Scarlett Meadows. The Showdown Series Large playlist can be accessed from completely different locations: Gaptooth Ridge, Great Plains, Grizzlies West, Heartland Oil Fields, Bayou Nwa. Having to go from one end of the map to another it’s far from being practical, but it’s the only way to make Red Dead Online feel immersive.
Now that you know how to access the two Showdown Series playlists, it’s time to learn how to succeed in all of them.
Make it Count
The Make It Count mode is Red Dead Online’s take on the Battle Royale genre that’s so popular in gaming right now. In this mode, players are armed only with a Bow and Throwing Knives and have to kill all the other players while the available area progressively shrinks as the match continues.
In this multiplayer mode, it’s extremely important to be always aware of the other players’ positions. These are marked on the map when they stay still for a few seconds (not when they are moving), so always make sure to keep an eye on your map, and even use the expanded version to cover a bigger area. Also, use the zoomed out camera position to be able to keep a better eye on your surroundings.
Since you should always try to stay concealed from other players, you always need to be on the move. Make sure to be crouched while doing so to decrease the chance of any opponents noticing your presence too.
As being hidden from other players is of extreme importance, you also need to pick your kills carefully. If you are not sure to be able to kill an enemy in a single shot, avoid attacking, as revealing your position means likely death in this mode. Stealth is key!
Name Your Weapon
The Name Your Weapon mode is one of the most hectic Red Dead Online competitive multiplayer modes. In this mode, players can use all different weapon types available in the game to kill opponents. The trickier the weapon used, the more points you will score per kill. The player at the top of the leaderboards at the end of the match wins.
The mode has two variations: Free-For-All, which pits players against one another and Teams, which divides players into to two different teams. Rules are the same for the exception of the Explosive Arrows, which can only be found in the Free-For-All variant.
To be successful in the Name Your Weapon mode, you need to be a true Red Dead Online weapon expert. Killing enemies with easy to use weapons like Repeaters and Revolvers nets you very little points, while using Sniper Rifles and Tomahawks nets you the most. Below are all the point multipliers.
- Repeater x1
- Revolver x2
- Shotgun x3
- Maxim Gun x5
- Sniper/Tomahawk x6
- Melee x7
- Free-for-All Only: Explosive Arrow x9
At the beginning of each match, you will be given a basic selection of weapons, which are, honestly, not all that good. As such, you always want to immediately head towards the weapon icons that appear on the map, as they indicate the location of better weapons.
Other than being extremely good with your aim, there aren’t many tips we can give about this mode. The best weapons to use are the Tomahawk, as it nets you 6 points per kill, and Shotguns, as they are powerful enough to take down opponents in 1 or 2 well-aimed shots.
If you are playing the Free-for-All variant, you can also use Explosive Arrows, which are even better than the Tomahawk in terms of ranged kills, giving you the most points. Melee is definitely a no go, as melee kills are extremely difficult to perform due to the fact that players’ positions are always highlighted on the map in this mode.
The Name Your Weapon mode is also the best multiplayer mode for obtaining XP, as the earned amount changes depending on the obtained points, so avoid using Repeaters and Revolvers as much as possible, as they earn you very little points.
The Shootout mode is a classic deathmatch mode where players have to kill one another. The player with the highest kill count wins the match. The Shootout mode comes in two different variants: Free-for-All, which pits players against one another, and Teams, where players are divided into two different teams.
Shootout mode is an incredibly hectic mode, especially in the Free-for-All variant, and it’s easy to die repeatedly. To minimize your death count, you need to always be on the move: staying still for too long means death here. While moving, try to make it unpredictable by avoiding moving in straight lines. Like in the Name Your Weapon mode, try to get better weapons as soon as possible by heading over to the areas marked on the map with the weapon icon.
In the Hostile Territory multiplayer mode, players are divided into two different teams and tasked with capturing different points on the map. Once at least one has been captured, points will start getting racked up. A match is won by either being the team with the most points or by capturing all territories. A captured territory can be recaptured by the other team, so you will need to defend them.
Defense is extremely important in the Hostile Territory, as it takes very little to capture undefended points. To improve your defenses, always make sure to have the best available weapons, which usually spawn near territory points. Shotguns work best in both offense and defense in this mode, as they have high firepower and can take out an opponent in a single shot at close range. Position yourself appropriately and then fire away.
As for how to proceed to capture territories, try to go for the ones on the edges of the map, as they are more difficult to reach for the opposing team and, as a consequence, easier to defend. Once you have the upper hand, you can also decide to forfeit all defense and assault enemies with your entire team. In the Hostile Territory mode, strength in numbers can mean the difference between winning and losing.
The Most Wanted mode is definitely one of the most interesting multiplayer modes in Red Dead Online. In this mode, players will still have to kill one another, but racking up more kills than other players also means that player becomes the one worth more points. As such, in this mode players have to be effective at both killing other players and surviving repeated assaults from them.
Before the beginning of each match, you can purchase items that will help you survive in the Provisions section of the menu. Ammo is obviously important, but also try to get as many Health and Dead Eye items as possible to ensure your prolonged survival.
As the mode is all about killing the player with the highest bounty, you can approach Most Wanted in a few different ways. Most players will always be going after the top player to rack up more points, making their behavior predictable, so you can choose to kill those going after the top bounty to score easier points. Also, always make sure to follow the weapon icons on the map, as they indicate the location of better weapons.
Gun Rush mode is another take on the battle royale genre, but it’s radically different from the Make It Count mode, as it features all of the weapons available in Red Dead Online as well as horses and an exclusive item, armor, that radically change the pace of matches.
This mode is available in two different variants: solo and team, both allowing up to 32 players to participate in a match. No matter the variant, Gun Rush features three different maps set in Tall Trees, Rhodes and Fort Mercer, with a shrinking playable area. The last player standing wins the match.
The three maps feature varied landscapes which will force players to employ radically different strategies to win, but there are some general tips that are always useful, no matter the map you are playing in.
Since all players are spawned at the edges of the map, there are a few things that you can do to get the upper hand shortly after a match begins. As soon as you can move your character, rush to the middle of the map, ignoring all the weapons located close to your starting position, as they are melee weapons that are not particularly useful in Gun Rush mode. The ones found in the middle of the map, however, are much more useful, so getting one before any opponent does will bring a sound advantage.
Once you manage to acquire some decent weapons, look for a high vantage point, as these are not only very easy to defend, since you can get a clear view of your surroundings, but they also let you snipe opponents from afar if you have a scoped rifle or any other weapon with good range.
The armor, which is an exclusive item only available in Gun Rush, is also extremely important to have. Armor can only be obtained from chests scattered all over the map and prevents damage when you are shot by other players, so it can make a huge difference, especially at the end of a match when direct confrontations are unavoidable.
Spoils of War
Spoils of War is a unique take on the capture-style multiplayer mode available in a lot of other games. In this mode, 2-16 players are divided into different teams, and the main goal of the mode is to defend their stockpile while raiding that of the opposing team.
While the mode is pretty straightforward, there are a couple of strategies that teams must employ in order to succeed, regardless of the map. As you must focus on defense, as well as offense, it’s always wise to split the team so that a few players stay behind to defend the stockpile while the others focus on attacking the opponent and raiding them.
Acquiring additional weapons is also extremely important in this mode, as a powerful rifle can make the difference during both the offensive and defensive phases. Weapons are marked on the map, but be careful when approaching the marked location as opponents may try to ambush you.
Winning a match of Spoils of Wars allows the winners to get eight Dynamite Arrows for free.
Up In Smoke
Up In Smoke is one of Red Dead Online’s earlier DLC Showdown modes. Your goal is to deliver explosive packages to the enemy camp.
The best techniques here largely depend on the playstyle of the opposing team, but there are a few universal rules as well. While splitting up may seem like the best choice, it’s a bigger risk that you’ll be individually picked off by the enemy players, however bunching up and going as a single large group might let more of them slip by and makes you a target for explosives.
You should try to approach the enemy base in pairs, taking different routes each time while some of your team mates stay at your base to protect it from enemy players, this way you have a higher chance of delivering your explosive packages while downing the opposing couriers. This way you have a higher chance of getting your packages to the target while letting fewer enemies through your defenses.
Whenever you’re making a run for the enemy base, make sure your cores are all full, you have plenty of ammo and enough consumables to get you through multiple encounters and fights. Like in any other team-based mode, team-benefit Ability Cards are a major boon here as well.
You are tasked with securing the most supplies for your team in Plunder. Four teams have bases scattered around the map, with supply pickups appearing near the center of the map. You can collect these, or steal the ones from enemy camps, but you need to make it back to yours alive to make it count.
Plunder can be a bit chaotic, since the four teams might be a little too much, and the maps are large. You need to pay a great deal of attention to your stamina, since making your way across the map in decent amounts of time will eat up a lot of it. When the match starts most players will instinctively beeline it to the central supply area. This is a good time to hang back a bit, then wreak havoc on them with some well-aimed explosives to maximize your AoE damage.
The game lets you know how many supplies each team has, which is useful later on in the match to plan raids. When an opposing team gets ahead with many supplies, it’s worth attacking their camp and stealing theirs instead of relying on the central supply area.
Stock up with stamina buffing consumables, and make sure someone is always at the camp, protecting your supplies from enemy players planning on stealing it.
Players in Overrun are tasked to capturing various zones on the game map within the timer. When the timer runs out, the team with the most captured areas wins the match (called « bout » here) with a best of 3 structure. Each bout lasts 1 minute and 30 seconds.
Territories are denoted by borders, and whenever a player from a team is inside, they automatically capture it. If there are members of both teams within the border, it is contested until one team is pushed out. If you leave the territory, it remains your team’s until an opponent enters.
As the timer begins to run out, you’ll need to adjust your strategy in order to secure a victory. Overrun provides teams with unlimited respawns, so an aggressive playstyle is recommended from the get-go, but when you reach the final 30 seconds of the bout, your score should determine your strategy.
If you’re winning, then switch to defensive. Have teammates hunker down in all of your territories and make sure you keep that advantage till the very end. If you’re on the losing side, it’s time to dial up the attack and push forward with everything you got.
The Racing Series is among the most fun of the Red Dead Online competitive multiplayer modes. It can be started by accessing the Red Dead Online menu and selecting Racing Series, like for the Showdown Series and Showdown Series Large playlists.
Currently, the mode allows players to participate in races around 5 different locations – Blackwater, Rhodes, Tumbleweed, Valentine, and Saint Denis. To win a race, players have to cross all of the Signal Fires found around the locations in any order they want. The first player to cross all of the Signal Fires wins the race.
What makes the Racing Series so fun is that players are able to attack one another with a variety of weapons. Weapons will become available a short time after the beginning of the race, and things get very chaotic during this fighting phase. Players are able to go after one another viciously.
One strategy that can be employed to win races is to avoid the chaos that ensues when weapons are unlocked. At the beginning of the race, try to stay back from the leading group, without letting them go too far ahead. Once the chaos is unleashed, try to get ahead of the leading racers. You will still have to fight your way through, most likely, but in a much more manageable fashion as they should be focused on everyone else but you at this point.
Also, always make sure to get the Stamina Boosts to be able to stay ahead of your opponents.
While there’s no way to choose which weapon to bring into the Racing Series, players can still make their lives a little easier by choosing which horse they want to use. While the best horses require players to have achieved a high Rank and have a lot of money to purchase them, there are two decent horses for racing that can be obtained for free. The first is a Thoroughbred Horse that can only be obtained for free if you purchase the game’s Ultimate Edition. The horse, which comes with very good stats, 7 in Speed and 5 in Acceleration, can be obtained in any stable.
The second free horse, which is available for free to all, is the Red Chestnut Superior. This horse has lower stats than the Thoroughbred Horse, but they are decent enough to win a few races.