Gather Samples From Legendary Animals in New 'Red Dead Online' Update

A new Tuesday update to Red Dead Online will let players become naturalists, but will they choose to bag their specimens like big game or pioneer environmentally friendly ways to learn about the natural world?

Thanks to Frontier Pursuits in the online multiplayer version of Red Dead Redemption 2, players are already bounty hunting, trading, collecting and moonshining, but the latest edition to the game's vocation-centered Roles is a little more wild. By becoming a naturalist, players will have new opportunities to track, study and hunt animals across Red Dead Online's five states, including seven Legendary Animals—a staple of the single-player campaign that's appearing in Red Dead Online for the first time.

How to Become a Naturalist in Red Dead Online

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A naturalist wields the new Advanced Camera. Rockstar Games
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Harriet Davenport, conservationist. Rockstar Games

Players of Red Dead Online can follow in the footsteps of famous 19th-century naturalists like Florence Merriam Bailey and John Muir by visiting the Welcome Center in Strawberry. There, they'll want to speak with Harriet Davenport and her nemesis Gus Macmillan, who will each offer very different approaches to studying nature. As they engage with their new Frontier Pursuit, players will eventually have to navigate the conflict between Harriet's conservationist approach and Gus's big-game-hunting extravagance.

But players will begin with a blood Sample Kit, a Legendary Animal Map and an Animal Field Guide, which will help them track down Legendary cougars, foxes, boars, beavers, wolves, bison and elk. Each of the seven new Legendary Animals also has three sub-species.

Obtaining new scientific blood samples will require skilled tracking and sedation, since Harriet's approach to the study of nature is strictly no-kill. Players will pick up new equipment as they progress to help them in their research, including a Naturalist Varmint Rifle with Sedative Cartridges and a Revive Tonic to reawaken creatures after samples have been gathered.

Or, newly fledged naturalists can take a more old-fashioned approach, by blasting the animals and delivering their pelts and hides to Gus (who doubles as a fine tailor). By taking the big-game-hunter approach, players can pick up an Improved Bow and Bow Grips, and even a one-shot Elephant Rifle with Nitro Express Ammo.

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Gus Macmillan, big game hunter. Rockstar Games

Eventually, Harriet and Gus will take more active steps to thwart each other, pinning the Red Dead Online Naturalist in the middle. This will open assignments like Legendary Animal Sighting Missions, where players will track down rare species, or help Ms. Davenport tamp down poaching with raids to free caged animals. Of course, players can always betray Harriet and deliver the creatures' skins to Gus instead.

Red Dead Online Naturalists will also learn abilities like Mercy Kill, access animal-centered Free Roam Events and pick up new equipment, in addition to outfits, new Tonic recipes (including Weight Loss and Weight Gain tonics) and a horse, just for Naturalists. The Advanced Camera—offered in the Wheeler, Rawson and Co. Catalogue—is likely to be of particular interest, since players will be able to move and crouch while framing the perfect shot through the first-person viewfinder.

As nature lovers and outdoors experts, Naturalists will also be able to set up their own Wilderness Camps, where four players can cook and craft around a temporary campfire.

Red Dead Online's Massive Update

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Red Dead Online's Elephant Rifle. Rockstar Games

The latest Red Dead Online update offers more than a new Frontier Pursuit.

The Tuesday update to Red Dead Online will also usher in over 800 new clothing items and "variations," according to a fact sheet released by Rockstar Games. The wardrobe additions will be facilitated by an improved system for combining clothes. The update also includes refinements to the on-screen threat indicators, new Daily Challenges (including 15 daily Role Challenges) and Outlaw Pass #3—offering Gold and bonus cash in addition to unique outfits, camp upgrades and weapon modifications.

The update to Red Dead Online also improves in-game matchmaking. New "Asynchronous Matchmaking" employs Free Roam as a "waiting area" in between Showdown Matches and Races, while improving load times across the board.

The update will roll out Tuesday to Red Dead Online players on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.