Guide for Red Dead Online – How to Level Moonshiner Fast & Easy and with a little Profit
Foreword: what you might need
2. gold bars, obviously – my preferred (best) spot for the shack is Heartlands; seems to be the easiest access wise; it is the closest shack to a fence, which can be useful for purchasing fire bottles to blow up stills. Besides the fence it is also the closest shack to station delivery and fast travel point which is very useful for you to re-stock on ammo and other things you order through a catalog or if you need to fast travel from the shack (Yes, it is even better placed than Tall Trees near Blackwater, if you’ve chosen wrong you can pay $250 to change shack location)
Starting Capital – I would suggest $1000 just in case. You can earn them doing trader or collector.
Why do you need starter capital? To buy mash and flowers for flavor from Madam Nazar.
You need money to fast travel back from delivery locations to level up faster too.
It will help if you also had the capital if someone destroys your wagon, like a griefer with a dynamite arrow or a modder. Occasionally, you will also fail to deliver all moonshine (if you go off track even a little) and or if NPCs destroy it. So if the shine you sell should be sold for $90 and you lose even 1 bottle, the price will go to $68. But this is just based on luck.
Once you have starter capital and buy flowers for flavors (or collect them, be on a lookout for flowers always, but it is faster to buy a full batch of 30 flowers 1 dollar each from Madam Nazar), you can start doing 30 minutes (lowest quantity of bottles missions) because they are the fastest to make.
In between those 2 missions, you can do 2, sometimes 3 bootlegger missions. Each will net you 300 moonshine XP. You might think the missions do not give you money, but it is not true. First of all, they are one of the most fun missions, and then you get to kill a lot of NPCs. Kill and loot them always, and if you loot them, you will get moonshiner recipes, jewelry, collectibles (most of the time Ancient Alcohol), and even treasure maps (rarely). It is a good idea to equip some ability cards that you want to level because you will kill many of them. You can even use them for gold dailies.
Never forget to check Revenue Agents’ Wagons. They most often contain a lockbox with 1 Moonshine, 1 Gold Watch (7 dollars apiece), 1 Chewing Gum to refill Deadeye, and some useless ammo. If you have 30 moonshines in your inventory, drink 1 to fortify health for easier access to other items in the lockbox. Image of Wagon and Lockbox below:
Once you complete a mission, fast travel back to the shack for efficiency; it should cost you 1-4 dollars most of the time and rarely more.
If you free roam, you will also get random moonshine events/missions that you can do; they are just like those you get from Maggy and give you 300xp. Don’t miss those too.
The Easy Fast Part (sequence or what you came here for)
1.You start production of smallest amount (30 minutes), but try to make the shine 2 star it nets best results and is better than making 3-star shine as it requires ancient alcohol collectible but only adds 10 dollars on top of star 2. Save the alcohol for dailies.
2. You do 2 bootlegger missions
3. You do a delivery
4. You use fast travel to go back to the shack and start another production before doing anything else
That is enough to level up once, so all in all, you will have to repeat this sequence 20 times. That would mean it takes 10 hours to level up if you play without breaks, do not waste time, and do not break the sequence.
XP gains are 300 per bootlegger mission, 300 when you being cooking, and 1100 for small star 2 batches. (the actual XP gains are slightly higher, but only slightly). So as you can see, it is enough to get 2000xp for each level.
Tip: It would make sense to position your camp halfway to Valentine or another place that you end up being sent to often if a mission ends in the middle of nowhere, and riding to any fast travel point in a town can take a while.
Tip 2: Fast Travel to Camp/Shack always tops price at $5. So if you travel from Tumbleweed (New Austin) to Heartlands Shack, which is located by Emerald Station, it will cost you 5 dollars as opposed to fast traveling to the station, which can go upwards to $15 depending on how far the travel is.
The same applies to camp, so in some cases re-positioning a camp and traveling to it can be cheaper.
Best Most Efficient Shine
The most efficient shine rating is 2 stars (rating depends on ingredients, it influences XP and price); making 3 star costs too much because you will be giving up collectible items and gaining the same if you sell it to Nazar.
The most efficient quantity is small. It takes 30 minutes to make, and if you lose it, you will lose less money. It also affects XP and price. But it also affects time, so if you make a large quantity, you will (besides having 2 still upgrades, each costing around $800) have to wait an hour, which is not efficient.
You will get time reduction at higher levels, and it will take 24 minutes to make the small-batch, where it will take 48 minutes to make a big one. Still better.
You can also knock the price of mash down if you complete all story missions and then do 2 bootlegger missions every time before you start another production (which is how you should do it using the sequence for XP gains and time-wise). So the cost of mash can go down to just $10!
All in all, moonshine is not worth investing money into unless just for fun. So if you want wardrobe unlocks, horses, and satchel upgrades, you do not need to invest in purchasing role upgrades (stills and whatnot), and you can earn upwards of $1000 while leveling. Otherwise, you lose money. Therefore, medium and large delivery quantities result only in a loss.
In my opinion, the best way is to unlock everything and earn a little money and then use the collector to earn money just for the sake of spending it.
Dealing with troublemakers (players)
I suggest switching between offensive and defensive modes here.
When you go out to do bootlegger missions, you should stay in the offensive mode because people will flock to you for loot from their corpses whenever you are killing agents. As you know, their loot is quite nice (collectibles and jewelry) for your additional income.
What I do is I kill them if I see them looting my stuff and defend against them. Sometimes I even kill them, so they do not take away my killing XP. But this depends on if you are good in PVP and want to get all the stuff and these missions to net money.
If you don’t want to fight, be in defensive mode. Most players do not know that there is a lockbox in a cart, so they never check it, so most likely, they will miss it and only loot the bodies.
When doing moonshine deliveries, you should always be in defense mode for extra damage reduction and less presence on the map (you are less visible on radar, and the map shows you only when you are very close to players). In defense mode, you cannot use paint it black on players, but they cannot use it on you, so you will have to aim well.
To enter defense mode, press “L,” scrolled down to Online Options, and changed the playstyle from offensive to defensive by pressing the keyboard arrow key left or right.
Note: You cannot attack anyone unprovoked in defense mode as it will immediately send it and add a lot of hostility. You cannot enter defense mode; people know where you are and try to kill you.
But people who kill defense mode players also receive a lot of hostility, so they might not want to attack you for that reason, even if they can kill you.
Dealing with troublemakers (Revenue Agents) & and how to do Deliveries
So shine is fragile; if you go off the beaten path, it will immediately start breaking. Sometimes it makes no sense, but this is how it is.
So once you are in defense mode, you want to enter into cinematic mode by moving in the direction of the track’s yellow path and holding V on your keyboard until you enter it.
This will allow you to take it easy as the driving will be done for you; all you have to do is keep watch. While in this mode, you can do anything you normally can, like to calm a horse or reload a gun, but you cannot aim and use inventory, and you have no control over the camera.
I do encourage you to sometimes peak out of this mode when on a straight road so you can check your radar and surroundings. To exit the mode, simply press V.
Sometimes you will encounter Agent Roadblock. Don’t open fire. There are 3 scenarios here.
1. They let you go without stopping you by just telling you to ride through
2. They tell you to roll into the yellow field in the middle of the checkpoint, check your cargo, and tell you to continue moving
3. And they check cargo and open fire
So never open fire 1st as they will only attack you 1 out of 3 times (33% attack chance).
If they open fire, immediately get out of the wagon and dispatch them; make sure you are not using the wagon as a shield. Most of the time, I have enough time left to loot their corpses and check their carts for loot boxes.
Then you get back on your wagon, and here you can either use cinematic mode but peak out of it from time to time as you will be chased by revenue agents on horses or drive manually. Make sure you do not go off the yellow path. So sometimes it can be better to peak out of it from time to time. That way, the shine can be safer.
When Agents are upon you, stop the wagon, shoot them, and continue going. (You no longer need to get off the wagon as you cannot really protect shine from shots, make sure you kill them quick)
Alternative path of delivery
If your Shack is in Heartlands or any other area with many roads (it doesn’t really work for Bayou because there are few roads), you can create your own path using waypoints instead of going the yellow path on the map. Just make sure you do not go off-road. If you never cross the original yellow path, you will never encounter a checkpoint but will likely spend more time driving. This method will also take more time, and if you plan a bad route, you will fail the timer.
Regarding the waypoints, if you place the red waypoint in an opposite direction of the yellow path, you can enter cinematic mode and follow the waypoint; however, after a certain time, the game will create a new yellow path for you because it will stop following the red path and continue following the yellow path. So you will need to look out for that moment by exiting the cinematic mode. The new yellow path can sometimes lead into the old one, where there are Revenue Agent Roadblocks, but if you change the road too drastically, then the new yellow path will never have roadblocks. Or you can just put waypoint and map markers and drive manually.
Be careful; the path you create yourself may include a terrible road and have your bottles break even if you stay on the road.
Overall, unless you are terrified of roadblocks, this is not really worth it, but this is doable. Also, this is good if you need to do a daily distance traveled.
If a Player attacks you
If a player attacks you, you should immediately disconnect during the attack, not after your wagon has been destroyed. If the mission reaches a failed state at any point, it means that Rockstar servers received the data and if you disconnect after the failed mission, it will remain failed. But if you disconnect during the mission, you will be free to restart the delivery without being harassed by enemy players during the attack.
My own results using this method
I started with $1000 just in case. I lost my shine to a glitch only once. I delivered 19/20 bottles many times, resulting in a payment of 68 instead of 90 dollars.
I also beat all the story missions for fun and used outlaw pass XP boosts, and event boosts, and sometimes I freed roamed and did random bootlegger missions. All in all, I earned $1200 while leveling. I can say that Moonshiner is much faster to level in comparison to the trader, for example. And in certain ways, more profitable.
Please, have fun and enjoy and be well!
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