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Red Dead Online's Naturalist update forces you to make an impossible choice

(Image credit: Rockstar)
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Things have been a bit on the quiet side in Red Dead Online's cowboy sandbox lately—so quiet that players started dressing up as clowns (opens in new tab) to spice up their dreary lives and show Rockstar they weren't happy—but today that changes. A new update throws a new Frontier Pursuit, the Red Dead Online Naturalist (opens in new tab), into the mix, along with another Outlaw Pass. 

Embarking on the Naturalist career will set you up with conservationist Harriet Davenport, whose aim is to protect and study various legendary animals. If that sounds like your kind of thing, you'll have to track down these animals and sedate them so you can get samples of their blood. 

Your new conservationist chum isn't the only one after the seven new legendary beasties Rockstar's dropped into the world, however, throwing a spanner into the works. She's joined by big game hunter Gus Macmillan, and he wants you to help him out. 

So you've got an impossible choice: Harriet and the conservation of rare animals on one side, and Gus and his plans for their hides on the other. It should be easy, but isn't one of the main goals of Red Dead Online the accumulation of fancy outfits? And only by teaming up with Gus will you be able to get unique garments made from these legendary animals. What a quandary!

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Naturalists will get a mercy kill ability, an animal field guide that helps with tracking, an advanced camera with a first-person viewfinder and increased mobility, and a new horse and accompanying gear. The legendary animal skins, meanwhile, can be turned into hooded coats when given to Gus. On top of the new coats, there are 800 new clothing items and variants in the update.

To find the rarest legendary animals, you'll need to accept missions from Harriet, but the Frontier Pursuit also introduces three new free roam events, tasking players with protecting and tagging animals while poachers try to kill them.

Until October 19, you'll also be able to get the Outlaw Pass 3 for 40 gold bars. You'll get an XP boost, unique weapon customisation parts, a new dog, camera filters and 40 gold bars back.

Even if you decide not to spend your bars on the Naturalist or the Outlaw Pass, the update comes with some improvements. There's the changes to the threat indicator, which makes the direction indicators brighter and bolder, new daily challenges and rewards, more clothing combinations and asynchronous matchmaking that drops players into free roam while they wait.

The Naturalist update arrives today.

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.