Quickest way to gain Honor in Red Dead Redemption 2 & how to keep it

There are good people in the world and there are bad people in the world. In real life, I think I’m a good person, so in games like RDR2, I generally like to be a bit naughty. However, in Red Dead’s case, good guys don’t always come last.

Although it’s fun seeing how high you can get your bounty (and killing innocents is a great way to get some extra money) there are many more benefits to being ‘nice’ in Red Dead, which is strange considering it’s an outlaw game and you make a living robbing people of their money, but anyway, these are the benefits you get from being good:

Good Rewards

  • Increased chance to loot better items such as food, jewellery and some tonics from bodies
  • Up to a 50% discount in all stores (this increases incrementally as you increase your honor)
  • New outfits only available to good guys (10+ new outfits in total)
  • Access to a new mission

Bad Rewards

And if you rob and pillage innocent people i.e. you’re bad, you’re rewarded with:

  • Increased chance to loot certain tonics that increase deadeye and stamina.

As well as the lack of rewards for being bad, you’ll also be plagued by bounties which can easily get out of hand if you’re as trigger-happy as me. Because of this, I tried to change my ways—which in Red Dead is actually harder than you think, as I was constantly running over people on my horse—and after some hard work and dedication I made it to rank 7 in the honor system (this is the final level that gives you rewards for being good), and here’s some of the methods I used to increase my honor:

Talk to People

This is one of the easiest ways to gain honor. For every few people you speak to (around 7ish), you’re rewarded with honor. So, whenever you’re in a town—either riding or walking—keep your finger on the left trigger and greet everyone you see. This is something you can do while you’re going about your normal business, you just need to remember to do it – a good place to put this into practice is at the saloon at night, as there’s a high concentration of people in one area.

This is probably one of the quickest and most effective ways to gain honor.

Donating to Camp

Donating items and money to the camp is also a great way to gain honor. Simply head over to the ledger and donate some funds, or if you have fallen on hard times you can donate items at the butcher – this method can become quite expensive, but for each successful donation you’ll gain 10 honor. If you’re donating money at the camp, $20 seems to be the magic number. If you donate $20 each day you’ll be well on your way to being an Honorable person.

When you donate items to the camp, you have to keep donating until the game takes you out of the donation screen. If you leave before this happens you won’t gain any honor.

Let Small Fish Go

I quite enjoy fishing in Red Dead 2, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (how British was that), so if you find the fishing boring, skip over this one. If, however, you’re as sad as me and enjoy spending your time on a boat or shoreline just staring out at the water until you get a nibble on your hook, then letting some fish go is a good way of making yourself a better person. When you catch a small fish, simply release it and you’ll get a little bump in honor.

It’s important to note that you’re free to take and butcher the bigger fish, it’s only the small fish that the game doesn’t like you killing.

Help People

When you’re on your travels, you’ll occasionally see white dots appear on your map. This is usually accompanied by someone shouting for help, or shouting for you to go and speak to them. Go and see what they want; usually, they’ll either want to challenge you to something or someone will need a small favour – most of these tasks take no time at all, so it’s well worth checking out every stranger in need that you find.

There are some strangers that will provide you with longer quests to do. In our experience, these don’t offer you any more honor than the shorter ones, so if you’re only trying to gain honor fast you can skip these.

Help Around the Camp

There are activities you can do in camp that you probably didn’t even know you could do, these include chopping wood and moving hay bales. In your camp, you will see a tree stump with some logs and an axe beside it. Simply walk up to it and push the action button to start chopping the wood, and likewise, you will also see some hay bales stacked up that need moving elsewhere. Each time you perform these actions, you’ll gain honor.

As well as these mundane tasks, camp members will occasionally ask you to find some items for them, which will also provide honor once you’ve given them what they are looking for.

The opportunities above are by far the quickest and easiest ways to gain honor in Red Dead 2. However, you can also gain honor in the following ways:

  • Surrendering to the lawmen – this seems to take longer than it’s worth
  • Bounty hunting – this is pretty fun and provides honor—as well as money—in return, but it takes some time
  • Paying off your bounties – you’re trying to be a good guy, you shouldn’t have these anyway
  • Killing rats in Saint Denis – tedious but does provide honor
  • Showing mercy – there are some missions and side quests in the game that give you the chance to show mercy i.e. not kill someone. By not killing them, you will gain honor
  • Completing story missions and end-game daily missions reward you with honor
  • There are some missions that will see you have a duel – if you choose to shoot the gun instead of killing your opponent, you will gain 10 honor

So, now you have high honor, you need to keep it. Doing that is easy.

Retaining Honor

Building honor is all about being good and helping out, right? So, that means keeping it means more of the same i.e. don’t kill innocents and abide by the law unless it’s a mission. However, there are some other important things to keep in mind, things that you might not have known would cost you honor:

Don’t Loot Innocents

Killing innocents is bad enough when you’re on a quest to become an honorable gunslinger, but killing them and then looting them just makes you a savage. You’ll lose even more honor if you loot an innocent after killing them.

Treat Animals With Respect

Killing animals doesn’t cost you honor. However, killing them for no reason does; if you kill an animal but neglect to skin it and take it’s meat, the honor system will look down on you. So, whenever you kill an animal, always remember to skin it. You will also lose honor if you watch or leave an animal bleeding to death, and yes, that even includes your own horse. Always mercy kill animals that are dying, or revive your horse if you still want it.

Commit Crimes in Secret

Whenever you know you’re going to commit a crime (I mean, we’ve all been there, some guy bad-mouths you as you ride past them and you just have to turn around and shoot them in the face) always wear a mask. I’ve resorted to constantly wearing a mask whenever I have to travel far, just because the people in the wild west are so rude.

The whole mask system does seem a bit broken though; sometimes, even when wearing my mask, they’ll know it’s me. Apparently, you need to change an item of clothing and your horse too, but that all seems like too much bother. So, if someone does recognise you, just take out the witness too.

Other ways you can lose honor include:

  • Killing innocents
  • Stealing from innocent’s homes
  • Robbing people
  • Choosing to kill people when given the option to save them

So, there we have it, the best ways to gain honor and how to keep it. Personally, now that I have the outfits and have plenty of money (so the discounts mean nothing to a baller like me) I have resorted to being a proper outlaw again with bounties in almost every state. Good things can’t last forever, right?

Check out our other Red Dead Redemption 2 Guides:
Ricky spent most of his childhood playing games, mainly FPS and RPG games and this has continued into his adult life. You’ll regularly see him on Overwatch until he rages, then he'll move on to FIFA until he rages again - then he gives up on multiplayer games and chills out with a single player adventure.

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