Just as I feared, it's a microtransaction-fueled grindfest like GTA Online, but it's an even more immediate sting.
Remember Battlefront 2? Remember how pissed off people got about that game, and rightly so? Well, to unlock Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in that game without paying real money, you needed to do about 80 hours worth of grinding to get them. In Red Dead Online, it takes an estimated 96 hours to grind enough gold bars just to paint your starting pistol black. Seriously, the economy's already fucked when it took GTA Online a good few years to get to the point it's at now.
That, and it generally isn't really. . . fun? There's none of the mini-games from the previous Red Dead's online, and there's very little of the style that helped its PvP stand out. There's no more standoffs at the beginning of matches. And it tries to get you "invested" in this story of getting revenge on people who wrongfully imprisoned you, but I couldn't care less. I just wanted to get the tutorial over with, and when I did and I saw the stores, I stopped playing. And that's not even to mention the horrendous character creation (not as bad as GTA Online's initially was, but still). There's potential there, but unless Rockstar does something fast, it's dead in the water.