I never thought I would be afraid of beavers. But after playing a legendary animal mission recently, I’m terrified of the buck-toothed bastards. However, I’m also excited that Rockstar finally seems to be adding more creative, exciting, and silly content into Red Dead Online.
The latest big update for Red Dead Online arrived last month and added a new frontier pursuit role to the game. Players can now become naturalists. Being a naturalist involves exploring the world of RDO and using tranquilizers to sedate animals, then collecting a sample from them. You get XP and cash whenever you bring these samples back to Harriet, an odd woman who loves animals and even talks to them from time to time. Harriet also offers players legendary animal missions. One of these missions involves tracking down a rare “Night Beaver.”
Now there are two variations of this mission. The first variation asks players to follow some poachers discretely to where the night beaver was last sighted. Kill the poachers and then sedate the beaver. No problem really, beyond a few firefights with some humans, but that’s an average Tuesday in RDO.
The other variation is where things get wild. You head to the location and discover some mutilated corpses, And soon find yourself under attack by a swarm of never-ending beavers. How dangerous can beavers be, though? Extremely dangerous. They are fast, small, and will quickly surround you. Their bites will sort of stun you for a moment too, which isn’t a big deal if it only happens once. But if a few of them start going in, you can quickly find yourself trapped in a growing pile of fur and teeth. This is what happened when I played the mission earlier this week and it’s why I’m scared of beavers now, even if I really enjoyed the mission.
I’m not alone in my fear and enjoyment. Over on the Red Dead Online subreddit, you can find numerous posts sharing clips from the mission and players telling stories of friends being chased by packs of beavers, screaming as they ran away to safety.
Getting attacked by a large swarm of violent beavers is bizarre and would be comical if it wasn’t so damn terrifying. It’s also unexpected. Red Dead Online is for the most part a fairly serious and realistic game. There are a couple of exceptions of course. For example, a legendary bounty mission added last year has your player getting drugged and seeing giant animals.
While I’m not sure if I want Red Dead Online to become as over the top as Grand Theft Auto Online has become in 2020, more content like this surprising beaver mission would be welcome. Stuff that’s more fun, a little weirder. The wild west is filled with some strange stories and events. More of that stuff in RDO would be a nice improvement. I don’t need jetpacks or flying horses. But I think this beaver mission is an example of how Rockstar can have more fun with Red Dead Online without completely breaking the more grounded tone it’s created with the world and its systems.
Now if you excuse me, I’m going to invite a few friends to join me on this beaver hunt, and I don’t plan on warning them about the swarms. They’ll earn some XP, but my reward will be their yelps of terror.