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In context: I have not had as much time as I would like to play Red Dead Online, but from the dozen or so hours that I have put in, I have found it to be a mostly fun experience. However, some have been complaining that Rockstar has made the economy system way to grindy.
While most of my time Red Dead Online has been spent trying to run from or ambush griefers, I can confirm that it is pretty hard to accrue cash and gold. Items that I steal and material I gain from hunting seem to sell for much less than they do in single-player mode. To make matters worse, everything from tonics to food sells for quite a bit more than it does in the campaign.
Gold bars, which serves as the eventually purchasable in-game currency, is also challenging to get. In roughly 12 hours of play, I have only gained one-eighth of a bar and most items that are sold for gold cost multiple bars. Granted I have not been grinding for gold the whole time, but that's the point. I should not feel like I need to grind for gold or even cash for that matter.
This imbalance has raised many eyebrows in the RDO community as well as much resentment. WCCF Tech points out that a pistol in single player costs $250, but in multiplayer it's $1000. Completing missions will only reward you with a few dollars, but supplies are costly compared with what you are earning (a can of beans goes for $1.20-$1.50). The economy is entirely out of whack.
Some fear that Rockstar is setting them up of a microtransactional cash grab. Indeed, it would seem that under the current economy devs have taken the GTA model and turned it up to 10.
Fortunately, we aren't dealing with the final economy. Rockstar has not even implemented microtransactions yet. Technically the game is still in beta and developers are currently assessing all feedback including complaints about the economy.
"Your feedback from these early days will be instrumental in helping formulate updates to every aspect of the experience," Rockstar tweeted on Monday. "Our current areas of focus include the in-game economy, which will require some additional balancing in order to ensure all activities are appropriately rewarding and fun, as well as some persistent bugs that are causing some players to be kicked from sessions."
Rest assured developers are going strive to make the best of multiplayer and find the right balance to keep players wanting to play.