Despite its early launch struggles, Red Dead Online has continued to grow as Rockstar pours more into its latest online adventure. Players now can take part in free-roam events, competitive series playlists, and the continual expansion of the various roles that allow players to set up fur trading businesses, forage for rare collectibles, and more. Despite all of this, Rockstar has yet to fully address one of Red Dead Online‘s most needed features: houses.
Not including housing in Red Dead Redemption 2 was an integral design decision to immerse players in the game’s life-on-the-run narrative. The lack of such narrative in RDR2‘s online spin-off, though, makes its forced nomadic life seem lacking after a time. With Rockstar not doing single-player expansions for RDR2, there’s certain to be more content for Red Dead Online, and the addition of the Moonshiner role set the stage for RDO to finally introduce purchasable housing and let players create their own frontier homestead.
The Moonshiner role, added in December 2019, is the first piece of content to allow players to purchase physical property in Red Dead Online. Just as in GTA Online, the property is an instanced portion of the game, so multiple players can have the same piece of property with no trouble. While the Moonshine Shack can’t be built absolutely anywhere, there are five different spots players can choose from, and they can move the shack between these locations at any time for a nominal fee. Of course, the Moonshine Shack has a number of upgrades and customization options so players can make it their own. This system has already created a template for a variety of purchasable properties.
The simplest addition Rockstar could implement is making existing properties in Red Dead Online‘s various cities purchasable. Saint Denis has a plethora of buildings to be set up as apartments, but every town from Blackwater to Annesburg could turn one of its currently inaccessible buildings into player housing. As with GTA Online, Rockstar could offer a range of small to lavish apartments, then add various customization options – perhaps only purchasable with gold, if monetization is a concern, as players would no doubt be willing to pay a premium to turn that legendary pelt they have into a fancy rug. Rockstar could also introduce special customization options for players who rank up their Red Dead Online player roles, like the camp themes currently available, for even more variety.
Where Rockstar could easily take it to the next level, though, is in allowing players to purchase land and build their own homes. Few things would be more fitting for an Old West tale than building a homestead, and Red Dead Online could give players that experience while also adding an incredible amount of replay value. There could be an entire storyline for it, similar to the questline for Maggie in the Moonshiner role. Players would have to complete missions, assembling a crew to build their home, and unlock various components. It could easily be expanded over time, as well, letting players take their homestead from humble beginnings to something like Braithwaite Manor. And with the diverse geography of RDR2‘s states, players could choose their own frontier lifestyle, whether it be a snow-covered log cabin, a bayou bungalow, or a desert oasis.
The possibilities of a homesteader expansion border on the endless, as Rockstar could take ideas from Elder Scrolls Online, Final Fantasy 14, or a number of other games and mix it with the GTA and Red Dead styles to create many options for players. Doing so could provide players with more interesting gameplay experiences and Rockstar with a potential boon to microtransaction purchases. Red Dead Online will likely be a high priority for Rockstar for years to come, and player housing could be the extra content it needs to thrive in the long run.