Red Dead Redemption 2

RDO Complete Economy and Gold Bar Breakdown

red dead redemption 6 - RDO Complete Economy and Gold Bar Breakdown

This post is going to go in-depth about the RDO economy. It is going to feature actual statistics and data accumulated through hours of game play and research. A fair warning, It is mostly negative. However this is not to put the game or it's talented developers down at all but rather to supply feedback on how the game can improve in its ongoing Beta. I do not dislike the game at all, I have played through the main story 2 times and in the online portion am level 50. So everything I say comes as an active consumer and passionate fan of the game who only wants it to reach it's maximum potential and be consumer friendly as possible. Let's begin.


I played each of the 3 game modes 5 times to get information on the average duration and payout rewards for each. Our goal is to find the best way to earn gold bars in the this game for a baseline on how long it takes to earn them consistently. I don't want to toot my own horn but I am a fairly decent player, not crazy good by any means but an experienced multiplayer shooter none the less. I mention this because it translates to our datasheets to where the experience and money earned is slightly inflated compared to what an average player may receive. That being said the gold bar payout seems to be consistently 0.08 every full match. You can earn less to even no bars by joining late or completely losing the match with no engagement. That means trying to join session in progress or being AFK is not an effective way to earn gold.


Gamemode Length Pre-Game Lobby length Total Length Win/Loss K/D Gold Earned Cash Earned Experience Earned
Hostile Territory 7:00 1:10 8:10 Won 19/10 0.08 $15.93 303
Name Your Weapon 7:00 2:00 9:00 Won 'MVP' 27/10 0.08 $28.45 495
Make It Count 4:42 2:30 7:12 Lost 0/1 0.04 $5.86 99
Most Wanted 7:00 2:25 9:25 Lost 24/10 0.08 $13.65 296
Hostile Territory 1:30 1:50 3:20 Won 4/1 $3.58 61

Summary of first set of data 'showdown series small'. The average game time is about 9:00 when you ignore the shorter games that payed out less gold. They are quicker yes but since we are going for gold not ideal. Surprisingly even though we won the 5th game I still did not relieve any gold, it seems there is a cap on how short a match is before you earn any gold. Perhaps to prevent exploits/boosting. So it seems like gold is based on game time rather than performance. Judging by this it may be worth while to quit game modes like Make It Count since there is a risk of a lesser payout and wasted time involved.


Gamemode Length Pre-Game Lobby length Total Length Win/Loss K/D Gold Earned Cash Earned Experience Earned
Most Wanted 5:50* 2:15 8:05 Lost 21/7 0.08 $22.99 440
Name Your Weapon 7:00 2:00 9:00 Won 'MVP' 20/14 0.08 $18.01 369
Most Wanted 7:00 2:15 9:15 Won 'MVP' 16/6 0.08 $45.84 660
Name Your Weapon 6:00* 1:25 7:25 Lost 'MVP' 15/6 0.08 $22.45 440
Most Wanted 7:00 2:00 9:00 Lost 20/16 0.08 $16.72 527

= Joined Game Late*

Summary of the second set of data 'showdown series large'. There is not much to cover here different than than the first game mode other than joining a session late can still have a good payout as long as it is not too late and you still perform well. But because in order to join a session in progress you need to get luck and first be out of a current session it is not a good way to get gold. The average time here is also about 9:00.


Gamemode Length Pre-Game Lobby length Total Length Win/Loss Gold Earned Cash Earned Experience Earned
Open Race 3:50 1:45 5:35 2nd 0.04 $4.83 110
Race 4:00 1:50 5:50 6th 0.04 $3.06 53
Race 4:15 2:00 6:15 1st 'MVP 0.04 $8.06 143
Open Race 4:00 1:50 5:50 1st 'MVP' 0.04 $10.00 175
Race 4:20 1:50 6:10 2nd 0.04 $8.23 182

Summary of the 3rd set of data 'race series'. Now we get to the interesting bit. There were rumors early on racing was the best to rank up and get gold. But while the matches are faster, they aren't by enough. And the kicker is you are capped at receiving only 0.04 gold even for a 1st place podium seat. So with an average time of about 6:00 to get 0.08 gold you'd need to play 12:00 vs 9:00. You also get much less XP considering it's much harder to get kills which award bonus XP. Overall it's best to avoid racing entirely unless played for enjoyment.

OVERALL GAME MODE SUMMARY very important to read

You are going to want to play showdown series large. It's best to just stay in a lobby to not lose out on any queue times. When the make it count game mode is up it's best to then find a new session as the game mode is inherently risky with a low payout. So with our data of around 9:00 for a payout of 0.08 golden nuggets we can now get our baseline on how much each gold bar takes to get. Now go easy on me I am not quite so good on math so feel free to check my work:).

1.00 'gold bar' / 0.08 'match payout' = 12.5 games need to be played

12.5 * 9 'minutes per match' = 112.5 minutes

112.5 / 60 = 1.875 which is about 2 hours on the dot give or take the few minutes cleaning guns, taking a break or finding new matches. So now we have our baseline of 1 gold bar per 2 hours. Now keep in mind this is not 2 hours of casually playing the game. This is 2 hours of pure PVP grinding which is not entirely how the game is meant to be played. So as we get into the time costs understand that in order to earn them you need to spend your time in game modes not free roam. Free roam and other activities can pay gold but it takes much longer and is inconsistent.

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1. Horses

Now we get into the nitty gritty, first I'd just like to say yes I understand you cant have 10 horses at once. But because you have 5 stable slots you may get bored of a horse and sell it to get a new one. Also they may add in more stable slots in the future. But most importantly the thing to remember with all this data is to show the scale of the prices in this game. You may be the player who buys one horse or the dedicated player who wants a stable full of the most rare in the game. So I am just providing the ceiling and floor and you situate yourself with in it. I know nobody will ever buy all the horses.

Secondly we have talked about beta a few items here and there. While it's a good thing this game is in beta it also poses an ominous shadow above us. If just the times currently in game which by the way are all assets from the single player put behind gold bars. 3 years from now just how much items will be in the game that cost gold bars? The game is only getting larger from here so if items are already this hard to get the future is looking both bleak and vast. One will only hope they fix the pricing and also add content so players can both feel rewarded and proud of their rare items without too much of a grind.

The worst part about the horse pricing is that the horses locked behind gold bars are all the best horses of their breed. Meaning if you want the Ardennes, Nokota, Tennessee Walker, etc. with the best stats the only way is through gold bars. The Horses that cost money are all worse than their gold bar equivalents in stats the 1 exception being the Turkoman. The best horse in the game 'Black Arabian' isn't different costing a staggering 42 which as we just went over will take about 80 hours to get. The horses locked behind gold are also often the most aesthetically pleasing of their breed. Cosmetics are hard to complain about behind paywalls but some players may find the horses to be pay to win when the store opens. It will feel real lackluster playing 80 hours of non stop death matches to get a horse just for someone else to get the same one by spending $5 of real currency.

Tennessee Walker Flaxen Roan 6
Nokota Reverse Dapple Roan 18
Thoroughbred Brindle 18
American Standardbred Palomino Dapple 6
American Standardbred Silver Tail Buckskin 16
Ardennes Strawberry Roan 18
Hungarian Half Bred Dapple Dark Grey 6
Andalusian Rosegrey 18
Dutch Warmblood Chocolate Roan 18
Appaloosa Leopard 18
Appaloosa Brown Leopard 18
American Paint Splashed White 6
American Paint Grey Overo 17
Mustang Tiger Striped Bay 14
Turkoman Silver 38
Arabian Black 42
Total price in gold bars: 277


Like the horses it's unlikely you will wan't to purchase every single variation of clothes. That being said unlike horses or weapon customization clothing is owned permanently so as you get later into the game you may actually want to start buying different colors of clothes. And unlike horses there actually aren't that many clothes that take gold, but the ones that do take gold are often very desired and unique looking. The problem with that is since there are less one may think that is a good thing, but oddly many carry very high prices such as 4 gold bars or 8 hours of playtime to get.

But not to be too negative I will give it to them that clothes even though still egregious are still much better priced than horses or weapon customization. Thankfully it only takes around 30 bars or 60 hours to make a single outfit from gold bars. Which on its own sounds ridiculous but is better than 80 for a hours or 60 for a revolver skin.

Short Stovepipe Hat 7 8 56
Worn Stovepipe Hat 4 8 32
Plantation Hat 1 8 8
Cutter Hat 4 8 32
Bolero Hat 8 8 64
Total price for only one variant of each: 24 Total price for every color/variation: 192

Duster Coat 1 10 10
Tailcoat 4 10 40
Bison Duster Coat 8 10 80
Hagen Coat 5 10 50
Total price for only one variant of each: 18 Total price for every color/variation: 180

Ritchfield Vest 2 10 20
Sheepskin Vest 7 10 70
Opulent Vest 4 10 40
Total price for only one variant of each: 13 Total price for every color/variation: 130

Workshirt 1 10 10
Frumpy Shirt 1 10 10
Donegal Sweater 2 10 20
Union Suit 3 10 30
Total price for only one variant of each: 7 Total price for every color/variation: 70

Worn Rolled Pants 1 10 10
Leather Pants 2 10 20
Overalls 2 8 16
Patched Overalls 2 8 16
Total price for only one variant of each: 7 Total price for every color/variation: 62

Cobbled Boots 1 10 10
Hightop Moccasins 3 10 30
Tasseled Coupar Boots 5 10 50
Preacher's Boots 6 10 60
Total price for only one variant of each: 15 Total price for every color/variation: 150

Multi-Tone Half Chaps 4 10 40
Batwing Chaps 3 10 30
Rifleman Gloves 2 10 20
Calvary Gloves 5 10 50
Gathered Bandana 2 8 16
Trimmed Bandana 2 8 16
Bow Tie 1 10 10
Neat String Tie 1 10 10
Rope Suspenders 1 10 10
Vaquero Spurs 3 10 30
Stenger Deluxe Spurs 2 10 20
Total price for only one variant of each: 26 Total price for every color/variation: 252

Gunslinger Gun Belt 1 4 4
Embossed Gunslinger Gun Belt 2 4 8
Studded Bandit Gun Belt 3 4 12
Rope Gun Belt 1 4 4
Gunslinger Holster 1 4 4
Embossed Gunslinger Holster 2 4 8
Studded Bandit Holster 3 4 12
Rope Holster 1 4 4
Total price for only one variant of each: 15 Total price for every color/variation: 56
Read:  Please remember to be respectful to each other. A differing opinion on microtransactions is not a valid reason to call someone names or wish death upon someone.



And finally we arrive at possibly the most insane egregious portion of the game. At the gunsmith you can visually customize your weapons with various colors of metals. Some only cost 1 gold or 2, but to make your firearm gold plated is 5 gold bars per section. And since every firearm has 5-6 sections the total is often 30 gold bars. And since you can have 2 of all sidearms it would take 60 to pimp them both out. So that is 120 hours of grinding for 2 golden shotguns… Yes now maybe you see why is said egregious. The thing that makes it worse is that when you change its color the other does not stay unlocked, so if I have a gold gun and want to take it back to a more subtle blued color I would lose all the 30 gold bars spent on it.

Now I see the argument of having a gold gun, it shows that you are dedicated to your weapon and playing the game. The colossal flaw with this is that gold bars will be purchasable soon meaning 99% of the people running around with gold bars will have bought them with real currency. Now your weapons you spent 60 hours on is seemingly meaningless as a status symbol and overall will come off as a kick in the pants.

To solve this is obvious, make visual customization purchases permanent so you can switch from blue to silver without paying money over and over, lower the prices so they cost to around 1 gold bar per section or even 50 nuggets. And make the gold plating colors only available after you get around 1000 kills with that weapon or something. That way people can feel actually rewarded post store opening.

Cattleman Revolver x2 60
Semi Automatic Pistol x2 50
Carbine Repeater 30
Lancaster Repeater 30
Litchfield Repeater 30
Varmint Rifle 30
Bolt Action Rifle 30
Rolling Block Rifle 30
Pump Action Shotgun 30
Double Action Revolver x2 60
Schofield Revolver x2 60
Volcanic Pistol x2 60
Mauser Pistol x2 60
Springfield Rifle 30
Carcano Rifle 25
Sawed-Off Shotgun x2 60
Double Barrel Shotgun 30
Semi-Auto Shotgun 25
Repeating Shotgun 30
Knife 5

Total price to fully customize all weapons: 765 Gold Bars


A gold bar takes 2 hours to get, to purchase everything in the game would take 2134 gold bars. It would take you 4268 hours or 177 days to get ever item in the game. Factoring in sleeping and eating it would take you well over 365 days or a year to get everything in the Red Dead Online beta. Oh yea and you need to quit your job. BETA, yes just the beta which is made up from assets of the single player. There is already extra content in the files such as horses you can't get yet that I have found. Meaning as this game progresses it may be actually physically impossible to play the game without spending real currency and getting all items legitimately. And this is not just casually playing the game, again this is non stop death matches without even returning once to free roam to give your horse a oatcake.

Now I will go over some criticism I may receive.

  1. "nobody even wants all items." True, but as I mention earlier I am just showing you how high the ceiling goes, you place yourself at the height you want to reach and this scale will help you. My recommendation is to go through all my lists and pick the items you want and see how long it will take. For example: Strawberry Roan Ardennes, Black Arabian, Cutter Hat, 2 black Schofields, gold shotgun, and a Hagen coat. Just those 7 items will cost 120 gold bars and take nearly 250 hours of grinding to get.
  2. "The game is in beta calm down" Yes that is the reason for this post, to provide feedback.
  3. "There will be more ways to earn gold later"No doubts this will happen, the problem with that is even if you get 50 gold bars from a heist you still would need to play 100 hours of death matches to get that amount meaning the core economy is broken and needs a buff or else people won't even bother playing anything but heists etc.
  4. "Buying microtransactions supports the game for years" True but it only supports the game with more microtransactions, look at GTA V, 0 story DLC. Instead monthly cars and outfits costing millions. If you wan't meaningful DLC again like Undead Nightmare which added both single player and multiplayer content you need to vote with your wallet. Also I'm not saying microtransactions need to be removed from the game, they need to be balanced that's all.

Any content creators or game journalists feel free to use my data, here's hoping for a bright future in RDO!

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