It’s not straightforward flushing hundreds of hours of online game progress down the drain, however scores of cowboys are doing simply that. Players are leaving their Red Dead Online accounts behind on consoles as a way to decide up the Windows PC model of the sport, though it means forsaking unique cosmetics, renovated moonshine shacks, and even real-money investments.

Red Dead Online began as a mode inside Red Dead Redemption 2 on the common-or-garden PlayStation Four and Xbox One, but it surely’s now out there as a stand-alone recreation, and playable on the brand new era of consoles because of backward compatibility. Red Dead Online accounts are not cross-platform; you possibly can go from PS4 to PS5, since that will be utilizing the identical account, however not from PS4 to PC or from PC to Xbox One. That implies that the players choosing up Red Dead Online for $4.99 on PC, even when they’ve a wealthy historical past with the sport, need to hit the restart button.

My buddies have all made the change just lately, which suggests we’ve left accomplished season passes behind, together with established characters we deeply cherished dressing up and pampering. So, what makes that sacrifice value it?

Red Dead Online - Two cowboys, a man and a woman, fight with knives on the open planes. They are surrounded by a ring of fire.

Image: Rockstar Games through Polygon

For some players, it’s about escaping from a console that feels limiting. Players I spoke to over Twitter and Discord talked about loading instances, connection points, and preserving the last-generation system actively attached as a burden that plagued their console playtime in Red Dead Online.

Jumping to a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X may clear up some of these points … however that requires truly discovering and paying for one, which isn’t any straightforward feat for most individuals. Meanwhile, anybody with a gaming PC can simply drop $5; Rockstar has made the on-ramp quite simple. The whole Red Dead Redemption 2 recreation isn’t required anymore, and players may even skip the tutorial to get proper again into the open world for optimum effectivity. The worth has additionally been accessibly low for now; it is going to go as much as $19.99 on Feb. 15.)

Some players are forsaking the unique rewards from the primary season passes of the sport, together with cool dances, fairly rings, particular eye patches, or masks for his or her horses. There’s no method to return and reclaim them when you bounce to PC; the limited-time Outlaw Passes are finished and dusted.

“In the beginning, [starting over] kind of sucked, because I wasn’t as flashy and all,” mentioned one participant who goes by HealsNKills, in a dialog with Polygon over Twitter. “But it’s actually nice to get a fresh start.”

There are additionally massive achievements that take hundreds of in-game {dollars} (or real-money forex through gold) to construct again up, like having a moonshine shack with a bar, a band, and an enormous nonetheless full of high-quality booze.

The sacrifice continues to be value it for some. “The most impact for me was on performance and visuals, which were just so much better on PC,” says GracelessExit, one other participant we spoke to over Twitter. “Starting again was worth the better overall experience.”

Red Dead Online - a host of cowboys gather together in a saloon to cheer. They are each holding up a glass of moonshine.

Image: Rockstar Games through Polygon

There are additionally new social alternatives for followers who make the bounce. Private servers, like Wild West RP, supply storylines and unique occasions for players who arrange Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC. Private server play goes far past what base Red Dead Online provides, with mods to permit players to buy wagons, equip new hairstyles, or use instruments like shovels and axes within the open world. These perks, together with role-play communities, are a draw for die-hard followers who’ve grown drained of the usual expertise.

There’s additionally an extent to which starting over truly makes the sport’s pacing higher. GracelessExit talked about that earlier in Red Dead Online’s growth, there have been restricted roles. By enjoying the sport recent in late 2020 or early 2021, the participant can simply dive into all of the content material on supply directly, as a substitute of ending the roles and ready for brand new ones one patch at a time.

Early adopters of Red Dead Online have complained usually concerning the recreation’s pacing and replace schedule — particularly, that it seems like a drip feed. A brand new participant isn’t taking within the recreation’s roles and missions one by one, with monthslong breaks in between. They get to leap in proper to the good things, and juggle a number of priorities directly.

Players can earn every part totally free, in the event that they usually log in and full each day challenges. Missions and challenges award small quantities of gold, which might be hoarded and saved for costly upgrades or cosmetics. Rockstar sometimes runs occasions just like the Festive Series, which pays out double gold and tons of in-game {dollars}. This isn’t an ideal system, and HealsNKills admits that the “only downside” of his alternative to begin over on PC is that “the gold bar grind is high and too overpriced.”

Players have misplaced rings, horses, and attire, however on the finish of the day, the Red Dead expertise transcends these items. It’s about moseying round with buddies on the frontier, and that also stands sturdy. Hopefully, Rockstar finds a technique to restore these misplaced riches, but it surely’s not sufficient of a barrier to cease players from leaping again into Red Dead Online on a brand new platform.