It is without doubt that Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the best games that we have ever seen. Developed by Rockstar Studios and published by Rockstar Games, the game takes us to a fictional setting in the Southern United States during 1899 and follows the story of Arthur Morgan as he and his gang struggles to survive while on the run from the law as well as rival gangs. While the single-player story has it’s own massive narrative and gameplay elements, the game also has an online mode which is officially known as Red Dead Online. Red Dead Online was released as a beta in November 2018, one month after the launch of it’s single player counterpart Red Dead Redemption 2. The beta finally ended in May 2019 and Red Dead Online saw it’s full release. Even though Red Dead Online initially had story missions and stranger missions, the Frontier Pursuits update which was added on September 2019 somewhat put life to it. The Frontier Pursuits update in Red Dead Online let players take on different roles such as Bounty Hunter role, Trader role, and Collector role. A new role, named Moonshiner, was added in December 2019.
Players can choose any and all of the roles to take on new quests and earn new rewards. Each role has it’s own set of missions, requirements, and activities. It may be initially overwhelming for new players when they take on a role. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn everything about the Trader Role, one of the roles added with the Frontier Pursuits update in Red Dead Online.
What exactly is the Trader Role and what is your objective?
As mentioned above, the Trader Role is one of the four current roles that you can accept in Red Dead Online. It was added in September 2019 with a free update named Frontier Pursuits. You can carry out various activities as a Trader, alone or with teammates as part of a Posse.
The Trader role in Red Dead Online allows you to hunt animals, bring in animal carcasses or parts, turn those raw materials into finished products, and finally deliver those finished products for money.
What rewards can you get by completing Trader role activities in Red Dead Online?
Just like any other mission in Red Dead Online, completing activities that are part of the Trader role will earn you experience points(XP), money, and gold nuggets. When it comes to experience points, you’ll receive both RDR Online XP as well as Trader XP. Similar to how you rank up in Red Dead Online by earning XP, you can also rank up your Trader role. The Trader Role, just like any other role in Red Dead Online has a maximum rank of 20. Ranking up the trader role will reward you with role specific equipment and skills which will help you elaborate the trader business, as well as clothes, saddles, horses, and other role specific cosmetic items, in addition to everything mentioned above.
How do you unlock Trader Role in Red Dead Online?
Once you’ve completed the Prologue mission and set up your Camp in Red Dead Online, you need to visit the Post Office or your Camp’s lockbox to receive a letter from Cripps, your camp’s manager. In his letter, Cripps will ask you to visit him at the nearest General Store as he has a business proposition for you. The location of the general store will vary with your camp’s location. Either way, his location will be marked on your map once you read his letter. Visit the location to meet with Cripps. He will tell you that he wants to set up his business, Cripps Trading Company, with you as his business partner.
In order to set up his business, Cripps will need capital investment. You guessed it right! It’s you who needs to pay up the dough. In order to set up the Butcher’s Table at your camp which is a requirement for the business, you will need to pay 15 Gold Bars. This amount may be reduced during certain occasions where Rockstar Games gives us a role discount. Assuming that you paid 15 Gold Bars to Cripps, he will tell you that he’ll also need a small wagon for delivery purposes and that you need to steal it. This will automatically trigger a mission where you need to go to the marked location, steal the wagon, and bring it to your camp while defending yourself and the wagon against NPC enemies.
You will now have successfully set up your business as part of the Trader role in Red Dead Online. You will see that a Butcher’s Table has been added to your camp.
How to run your Trader business?
If you visit your Butcher’s Table at your camp, you’ll see three different tabs – Materials, Production, Goods. The top-right of the screen will also have the icons depicting the status of these three tabs.
These are the raw materials required to run your business. You will need to periodically bring in raw materials to continue your business. As I’ve mentioned before, raw materials require you to hunt animals and birds, and bring their carcasses to the Butcher’s Table. Keep in mind that Cripps will NOT accept skinned animal carcasses. You can donate animal skins, horns, bird feathers, etc but you CANNOT donate skinned carcasses. You need to donate the whole animal carcass. In case of animals like bears, you can donate skins and claws. Each item has it’s own value which is depicted by a number.
Donating raw materials will fill up the Materials bar. Always look for animals like Deers and Pronghorns as they usually have the most value. Value also depends on the condition of the animal so try getting as many Perfect Animals as possible. Use your Bow and Arrow or Varmint Rifle to get headshots on Perfect Animals. Alternatively, you can also chase them, catch them with your Lasso, and then approach them and finish them off with your knife. The game will notify you every time your camp runs out of raw materials. The Materials tab will be “Low” or “Plentiful” depending on the quantity of raw materials your camp has. Keep in mind that these materials will be used up with time and turn into finished products. You will need to bring in a total amount of materials that can fill up the bar twice in order to produce 100 Goods.
The production tab indicates the status of your business. If it says “Operational”, it means that your business is running well. The game will notify you if your production is “Halted” and the same will be indicated in the production tab. This may happen due to two reasons – you ran out of raw materials, or you ran out of tanning supplies.
In case of the former, you’ll need to bring in more animal carcasses. In case of the latter, you can bring in tanning supplies in two ways. You can either order supplies which will require you to pay $20. Alternatively, you can do a supply run mission which requires you to perform some activity to earn or steal the supplies. This may include finding and providing a certain animal carcass to a friendly trader and bringing in a wagon of supplies, or stealing a sack or wagon of supplies from rival traders. Completing supply missions will also earn you XP. You will need to perform 3 to 4 supply runs in order to produce 100 goods.
These are the finished products that Cripps manufactures using the raw materials and tanning supplies that you bring in. This tab indicates how many finished products your camp has in possession. Cripps can produce up to 100 Goods after which your production will be “Halted” unless you deliver those products. Producing Goods will take some time so you might want to perform other activities in the meantime. Keep in mind that production of goods in your own camp will temporarily stop if you join another player’s Posse.
Once the Goods are produced, it’s time to cash in your hard work. Making successful deliveries will earn you Cash as well as XP. The reward earned from successful deliveries depends on the quantity of goods you deliver and their corresponding difficulty. While you take on a delivery mission from the Butcher’s Table, you will see two options – Start Local Delivery, and Start Distant Delivery. Local deliveries are low risk deliveries which you can also perform while in Defensive Mode. The distance of the delivery is short and you have little to no chance of being bothered by other Red Dead Online players who also have the Trader role unlocked. Distant Deliveries on the other hand will put you in Offensive Mode and will notify all players in the nearby vicinity that you’re making a delivery. The distance of the delivery is very long and time consuming and you are very likely to be attacked by rival players who will attempt to steal your wagon full of goods for themselves. However, completing Distant Deliveries will earn you 25% more money than Local Deliveries and a lot more XP. It is highly recommended that you DO NOT do Distant Deliveries unless you have a good amount of members in your Posse who are well equipped and experienced to handle enemy players.
If you do not have your Camp’s white flag raised, your camp will be occasionally attacked by NPC enemies. You can choose to defend your camp or let it be. If you choose to defend your camp, you will be spawned at your camp. You will need to protect a sack of goods from incoming enemies and hold them off for a certain amount of time. Cripps will assist you during the shootout. Successfully defending your camp will earn you Trader XP. Failing to or choosing not to defend your camp will result in a loss of Goods.
How much Goods you can deliver also depends on the size of your wagon. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of wagons, how to unlock them, how much goods they can carry, and what are the rewards for different quantities of goods delivered.
Small Wagon: This is unlocked automatically when you complete your first mission after paying 15 Gold Bars to Cripps to set up your business. It can carry upto 25 Goods at a time, which means you will need to complete 4 deliveries if your camp has 100 Goods. Local deliveries will give you $62.50 whereas Distant deliveries will give $78.12.
Medium Wagon: This can be unlocked after reaching Trader Rank 5 and will require $500. It can carry upto 50 Goods at a time, which means you will need to complete 2 deliveries if your camp has 100 Goods. Local deliveries will give you $150 whereas Distant deliveries will give $187.50.
Large Wagon: This can be unlocked after reaching Trader Rank 10 and will require $750. It can carry upto 100 Goods at a time, which means you can deliver all your Goods at one go. Local deliveries will give you $500 whereas Distant deliveries will give $625.
Hunting Wagon: Unlike the other wagons, the hunting wagon is not used for making deliveries. Rather, it helps you bring in more materials to your camp. Normally, you can carry one Large animal on your horse back and one on your shoulder. You can also ride on horseback and lasso the second carcass all the way back to your camp which will save a little bit of time. However, with the hunting wagon, you can carry up to 5 large animal carcasses or 10 small animal carcasses. For ease of understanding, you can consider that your hunting wagon has a total capacity of 10 units, where each small and large animal contributes towards 1 and 2 units respectively. The Hunting Wagon in Red Dead Online is unlocked once you reach Rank 10 in Trader Role and can be purchased with $875.
In my opinion, the Trader Role is the most rewarding role in Red Dead Online as it can provide you with tons of XP and money. Once you’ve bought the large wagon, you’ll receive atleast $500 for a successful delivery(assuming you are playing alone or is the Posse Leader), an amount that no mission or activity will give you. However, the Trader Role is grindy as it can take a lot of time and effort. But in the end, it rewards a massive payday so I’d say it’s worth a go.
I've been in love with video games ever since I developed consciousness and that love is what drives me. I enjoy playing games that have good narrative and gameplay, and occasionally join in for co-op sessions with friends. My goal is to become a QA Tester for any AAA game development company and I hope to make it there someday.