Only 1% of the candidates belong to this very united group.
By Luke Reilly
The last time I got back into Valentine in Red Dead Online, I was hit, tied up, stabbed and shot again. Some days, it's life in the wonderland of Rockstar West, where the atmosphere is beautiful but the murder blind.
I tend to spend most of my time in Red Dead Online alone against the whole world; hunting, fishing, and just survive in the simulation. Sometimes I can walk alone in the cities without incident, but unfortunately, things regularly go faster south than a stork attached to a scramjet. This is the risk that you run alone.
Today, however, it is different. Today, I am not alone.
"We tend to train two by two just because it makes a bigger impression when we go to town," says DirtyWorka, president of the PS4 charter of Reaper Lords, a GTA Online ™ club that has mostly migrated to Red Dead. line. "We will not shoot anyone unless he raises the weapon in our direction."
"In this case, we will all blame them," he adds with a chuckle.
We tend to ride in pairs just because it gives us a bigger impression when we go to town.
GTA Online has created crews for almost every niche you can imagine, from BMX stunt teams to aficionados of brutal suspension to fighter jet squadrons and more. The Reaper Lords were founded as a biker club dedicated to GTA Online in December 2013 – almost three years before Rockstar actually released the official 'Bikers' update. For years, they were just one of the many tight-knit clubs that played in Rockstar's vast open urban world. However, they have developed a talent to be noticed. After accompanying them after their stint at Red Dead Online, it's not difficult to understand why.
The Reaper lords invited me to spend an evening with them, guiding me in their game. As I pass my camera around, Lords' Column – as they call themselves – stretches practically around the corner. out of sight. They are close to 20, riding slowly and slowly in pairs. It's quite an image; certainly different from anything I've ever seen in Red Dead Online. It looks like a cinematic or, at least, a kind of play. The arrival of a group of real players who wander patiently and resolutely in town is fundamentally at odds with the typical online anarchy, where players run like hummingbirds on a nectar pudding, the handful of other players chosen at random who were already having fun in Valentine. are totally pierced.
"You must all see this guy, man; it's crazy.
"God, it's cool like hell."
"They made and staged their entry and everything!"
A random spectator even takes the camera out of the game for a few shots while the horse train is running at full speed.
The sound begins to overload and crack at that moment as the audience continues to chat eagerly. Otherwise, Red Dead Online will clutter almost 20 new desperados who descend simultaneously on the city.
The column slips into the main street of Valentine's Day from the south and finally stops near the weapons depot. On command, they perform a synchronized split in the middle and climb to the right and left of the road. Several lords come to exchange game at the butcher's, which they raise from the backs of their horses to their shoulders. Nobody runs; the rhythm is relaxed and realistic.
"We're a little mixed up," says Dirty about the unique way the crew moves from one place to another. "Fifty percent of people see it and they say," Wow! ". They respect him and they are cool. And fifty percent are like, "Oh my god, I want to kill them all." Throw a stick of dynamite. "
We like to have fun and we want others to have fun too.
"I can tell you now, once that happens, we push them out of the hall. The problem with this game, if you have 20 people in a lobby, like this one, there is no one who can defend you. Once this happens, we destroy them absolutely. But, again, we are not looking for it. We like to have fun and we want others to have fun too. We get respect, we give respect. We receive a lack of respect, a lack of respect. "
Although I am only the guest of the crew, I have the feeling that if I were slaughtered in a summary way by one of those tights watching the lords do what they did, the consequences would be serious. . But nothing happens. If we take into account the Lords, myself and a few other spectators in our lobby, there must be more than two dozen players here in Valentine at the moment. And no weapon was thrown, much less a bullet fired.
It's the sweet west of here, and I love every moment.
The Reaper Lords have been playing Red Dead Online since its launch, bringing the game philosophies they've established in GTA Online to the world of RDO.
"We still play against GTA sometimes," says Dirty. "We will go there for events, and if we have friends who are still there doing things and want to go for a ride or something like that, we'll go to you."
"Some of us more than others play a lot there. But as a crew, we tend to spend more time here, now.
The crew has a base, a modest, abandoned farmhouse located between Valentine, Emerald Ranch and Fort Wallace, just northeast of the Heartland oil fields. The house has a functional interior and the farm itself is located in a relatively quiet area of the large RDO map.
"There are not a lot of people appearing in this area of the map, so it gives you a chance to relax and find your bearings before doing what we are going to do," says Dirty.
The house is blue, the color of the crew (all the lords gathered today for the ride wear clothes with at least one blue item), and towards the edge of the property is a single grave.
"We had a Lord Reaper who was one of our first members, Lord Dillinger Capone; he's really dead, in real life, "says Dirty. "So it seemed very appropriate for us to choose a place like this to pay tribute to him and keep his memory alive."
The rest of the crew are waiting patiently for this information to be passed on to me, although some are currently on guard at various posts around the ranch and others have been sent on the hunt. There are people from four continents, United States, Canada, Brazil, England, Scotland and Australia, aged 17 to 50 years old. No matter who can join the notoriously exclusive club, but few players finally manage to undergo the rigorous prospective process.
"If anyone wants to join us, the first step is to go to our website and fill out an application form," says Dirty. "The secretary gets all the requests and we have certain criteria – and I'm not going to give you exactly what they are because we do not want people to lie about their demands – but we have some things we're looking for on the site. applications and basically the secretary is the guardian. "
"If you meet the minimum requirements, the secretary then passes the request to our screening officers, who then contacts the applicants, we schedule what we call a summary, where we come in and set the rules for them."
The Reaper Lords have two charters, as they describe them. One is on PlayStation (the 'Los Santos' chart) and the other on Xbox (the 'Paleto Bay' chart). Although some of the lords present today participate in both consoles, each charter has its own hierarchy.
"When I was secretary, I was just curious. I wanted to see how many apps we had, "says Dirty. "So it was in 2017; it was after GTA was out for over four years and the club has been around for four years. "
About one per cent of those applying will become full members.
"We had more than 970 applications only with the Los Santos charter, and about 930 applications for the Paleto Bay charter. It's literally over a period of 12 months, four years. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, we did it several times on a regular basis, so that's when the situation slowed down a bit. But that just gives you an idea. To put that in context, we currently have less than 100 full members and many of us have been here for years. You literally envision that about 1% of applicants will become full members, and those who do so tend to stay here years and years later. It's not easy to get in and that's a little why we love it. "
While Red Dead Online (and certainly GTA Online before it) is mainly about murder, chaos and all sorts of malfeasance, it's about the loyalty, maturity and honesty that the Reaper Lords attach to more. Dirty explains that it takes a certain type of personality to be attracted by the goals of the club.
"We do not want booters, hackers and people who will harass users and engage in racist, misogynistic and cancerous behavior, because we want to preserve the reputation of our club," says Dirty. "This has tremendous value for all of us. We are very proud to be associated with it. "
"GTA is crazy. Red Dead is crazy about the world around you. It's the brothel; there is something for everyone, from 12 to sociopaths, but there is a certain type of personality who really likes to have the sense of order and discipline and to be part of an organization. We have many members who are former military, for example, or law enforcement forces. These are people who want to be part of a family and an organization that has a little order in this crazy world. "
Back at Lord Ranch, the day turned to night. The crew members continue to stand in a loose circle, everyone waiting for the opportunity to speak. No one is interrupted. Several crew members release torches that repel darkness and illuminate the gathering with a soft, warm glow.
Nobody idles while playing with his commands. No one is spamming emotes, trying to draw attention to themselves. The level of tacit etiquette here is very different from my usual online experiences, which generally look like a group of preschoolers fighting over a gym in the jungle. I see the attraction of the maturity of the crew and it seems particularly suited to the world at the slower pace of Red Dead Online.
When Dirty joined the Reaper Lords for the first time, he was looking for a group of sensible and weighted players to mingle with.
"I did not care if it was a motorcycle club at the time," he says. "But I'm going to tell you, as my time goes by and you play with these people day in and day out and you see some more than you see your own family or more than you see your friends in the real life, you start forging those relationships. This love suddenly arises and you're like: "Wow, it's become a very important part of my life and these people have become very important parts of my life." If I can not connect to the internet for a week or so, I really miss them.
"I never thought I would find anything like this in online games. It never seemed reasonable, but I am very grateful to all these guys. For me, that's what it has become; it has become literally like a second family.
This is a feeling shared by several other crew members present, although there are additional reasons why people have turned to the Reaper Lords.
"When I started looking for a club, the Reaper Lords appeared everywhere," says team vice president KreeKree. "You saw them on Kotaku's articles, and on Vice and that sort of thing."
KreeKree appreciates the structure of the club and knows that it will always be possible to play online with people you trust.
"You never miss things to do," she says. "There's always something going on, especially when you're doing small events in a mini club; it gives you something to do, mainly.
The club's current secretary, Assassin1, joined on a whim after spotting the Reaper Lords on YouTube, but the challenge of winning a spot on the highly exclusive crew has been taken seriously.
"I've never really played GTA or other games with a crew as such and I thought I'd go for a ride," he says. "I did not know that I was applying for the most difficult club to integrate."
"But I guess it became an obsession for me, I had to prove to myself that I could get into this club and that so many people had failed, and obviously it was profitable for me. "
Another member, DBoy, made a commitment to the Reaper Lords after it became clear that the crew felt they had their heart in the right place.
I thought maybe the whole GTA community was like that; I did not know before becoming more active that it was something unique.
"My first interaction with a GTA title was on the same day as my recap," says DBoy. "Someone gave GTA and then I put it on, I walked into an entrance hall, everyone shot me and I l got it up. turned off. Then I went to get him on Google and I kept seeing the name of Lord Reaper appear, then I sent a request, and I did not reactivate the game until I had the answer. "
The day after DBoy fell, he had a medical emergency, but a member of the Reaper Lords' crew was watching him every day he was in the hospital.
"I thought it was a bit dope and I promised to hold it and not let it down," says DBoy. "I thought the whole GTA community might be like that; I did not know before becoming more active than it was something unique. "
The Reaper Lords have strong ideas about the kind of adjustments that would fit their gameplay brand: free-focus lobbies, an easier way to distinguish friends from strangers on the mini-map, as well as activities. more emergent that can be realized in free space. lobbying as a team – but the feeling of respect currently prevailing in the world of Red Dead Online is undeniable.
"I've been here for about a week and the situation is different in the Greater Toronto Area," said Canadian member Duel. "I am grateful to you.I like the atmosphere.The idea that the surroundings are more natural.I like the hunting party; I think it is very relaxing.You go out. in the bush, with your rifle, and you track down your prized animal, and once you've killed that animal, it's actually pretty satisfying in my opinion. "
I do not need to feed my spoon. The online experience for me is about the people you play with.
"When GTA came out, it was a disorder When online gambling came out, it became the best online game of all time, "adds Dirty. "When it comes to the Internet, I do not think Rockstar needs to entertain me. They created this incredible environment in which I can do whatever I want. Therefore, for me, the online experience is more about having an environment in which I can have fun with my friends. I do not need to feed my spoon. The online experience for me is about the people you play with. "
After a night hike with a crackling storm in the distance, most of the second hour of our session is devoted to an entertaining and impromptu fighting club. The crew seized a Blackwater bar and the Lords clashed in heavy hand-to-hand fights. Without a fight, members just wait their turn on the balcony above and listen to the discussion, which is surprisingly easy to follow for a room of nearly 20 people. The Lords Reaper seems more than able to find or create their own entertainment in the Western sandbox of Red Dead. This is clearly not the kind of player who needs a checklist of official activities placed at the end of a string to avoid boredom.
"It's a shame that so many people only see the Rockstar logo and automatically believe that it will look like GTA," said crewmith, Firefoxkitt. "All the people I talked to and the articles I read; they do not appreciate the game for what it is. It's a beautiful game and you can do a lot of things. "
It's a beautiful game and you can do a lot.
Firefoxkitt believes that Red Dead Online should be allowed to stay separate from the more insane GTA Online, and insists that Red Dead Online is special in its own way.
"I think a lot of people are going astray on this. they do not appreciate every detail of this game that makes it great, "she says. "They just want this game to be like the other game that they like. "
Back to Valentine, every player on my screen is part of the team, but there is still a handful of people watching the show. One of them is heading towards the steering group, which stands in a rough semicircle, watching the scene.
"What are you doing?" He asks eagerly.
"We're just playing Red Dead, my brother," Dirty replies, observing that several other lords are negotiating carcasses at Butcher Valentine.
"You all have a unique way of doing it," the player continues. "It's a bunch of people. I do not even think I have know as many people. "
Dirty asks the viewer if he has ever seen so many players play in a lobby, each acting as he likes and not hurting others.
"I do not have it, man; Honestly, I'm really surprised this man, "admits the player.
"We do not shoot unless people become hostile with us," says Dirty. "We are just trying to keep calm and have fun playing the game."
"Well, I'll let you," the player replies. "You have a blessed day."
The player hisses for his horse, thanks the lords for the good pictures and leaves the city with his partner. One hears him speak one last time to his friend before he disappears out of range of the mic.
"God heck it was a lot of people.
"What's this should to be like, note a second voice.
"It's not an adventure," answers the player. "It's an army."
Luke is a game publisher at the IGN office in Sydney. You can find it on Twitter every two or three days @ MrLukeReilly. Anyone interested in joining the Reaper Lords can fill out an application on their website.