Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Red Dead Online’s season passes should become a live service standard

There’s something to be said about making games shorter overall. The older you get, the less time you have to sink into a 40-hour long game. You have work to do, bills to pay, and generally don’t want to spend all three or four of your free hours over the course of a day in front of a screen.

But a lot of games, especially live-service titles, want you nowhere else. They want you stuck in front of your monitor or TV, playing. More ideally, they want you progressing through a battle or season pass — some massive ladder of rewards, cosmetics, and other nebulous extras with a flashy prize at the end. It’s only natural to want to reach the end. After all, why purchase a game’s battle/season pass and not finish it? We may tell ourselves that we’ll reach the final rank, but that’s a spur-of-the-moment decision every time. Life has a mind of its own and often decides that we can’t dedicate tens of hours to a game to complete a hundred-rank pass.

I don’t think the right solution to this problem is telling people to change their lives so they can start finishing these passes they spend upwards of $5 on. Instead, passes need to adapt and fit our lives. That’s why when Rockstar announced the Blood Money update for Red Dead Online, I was especially excited for the new, compact passes that would come with it.

Red Dead Online: The Quick Draw Club

The game’s standard pass system, the Wheeler, Rawson & Co. Club Pass, is as long as its name. The season passes last around three months total and have upwards of 75 ranks, with the second such pass featuring a whopping 100 to progress through. While a pass that size means players get a ton of rewards, they also have to sink hours upon hours into Red Dead Online to actually finish it. I feel like that’s not something I, along with a ton of other people, have time for.

Red Dead Online's Quick Draw Club season pass.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Instead, players can now buy a Quick Draw Club Pass. It started on July 13 and runs until August 9. The best part? It only consists of 25 ranks. It’s compact and lets players breeze through every rank easily over the course of about 10 hours. For a person that can’t sink tons of hours into a game, this is pretty much the perfect alternative to the gargantuan passes in games like Fortnite.

In fact, it’s not clear why the industry standard for passes doesn’t shift to something much smaller like the Quick Draw Club Pass. For instance, Call of Duty: Warzone‘s latest season pass is a full 100 ranks, which is extremely difficult to progress through if you’re only playing Warzone. A smaller battle pass would leave players with a filled-out pass and all the cosmetics they want, and even give developers the chance to sell more battle passes.

We shouldn’t have to work to fill out passes for games; they should work for us. Logging in to your favorite game to play doesn’t need to feel like a chore, and thanks in part to its new, compact pass, Red Dead Online isn’t one anymore. I’m not concerned with how much XP I’m getting because I know that regardless of what I do, I’ll be able to complete the entire thing. That experience needs to extend out from Red Dead Online into other live service titles.

Otto Kratky
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Otto Kratky is a freelance writer with many homes. You can find his work at Digital Trends, GameSpot, and Gamepur. If he's…
Red Dead Online’s Blood Money DLC is a great first step in the right direction
Three characters in Red Dead Online.

Red Dead Online fills a very specific niche for me. I love cowboys, Westerns, revolvers, and lever-action repeaters. Everything about the Old West's depiction in media is exciting, from its gritty daily life to its even grittier characters. For a while, Red Dead Online failed to reflect any of that latter part, giving players the opportunity to play through Red Dead Redemption 2's five states without any of its charms. You made money by being a good guy, and your biggest crimes were hardly offensive. I mean, what's distilling and delivering moonshine compared to robbing a train? Not much, I'll tell you.

Red Dead Online: Blood Money

Read more
Red Dead Online’s ‘Blood Money’ update introduces first train robbery
red dead online blood money update details

Players can finally start living the life of an outlaw in Red Dead Online's Old West. The game's latest update, Blood Money, is out today, and will offer a suite of new illicit ways to make some cash, including petty crimes and even the game's first train robbery.

Red Dead Online: Blood Money

Read more
Is Red Dead Online worth playing ?
A cowboy riding a horse in Red Dead Redemption 2.

Since launching in 2018 alongside Red Dead Redemption 2, Red Dead Online has felt like the outcast in Rockstar's family. It doesn't get nearly as much attention as GTA Online, nor does it receive the same type of content drops, and its player base certainly isn't as large. But with a new update coming for the game that will add more content for every player, it's worth wondering if now is a good time to finally get into Red Dead Online.

Red Dead Online: Blood Money

Read more