UPDATE 5/12/18: Rockstar is now able to reassure Red Dead Online players there are no plans to reset their progress.
"We appreciate all the continued feedback we are receiving on the Red Dead Online beta," Rockstar wrote on Twitter. "For players concerned about the potential for progress and stat resets, we currently do not have any plans to reset them as part of the beta's rollout."
While Red Dead Online remains very much in beta, it's pleasing news for those who have already sunk countless hours into the game's online portion. For now, Rockstar is focusing on the game's economy issues - with balance changes on the way.
"We are currently still working on game stability and economy balancing for an update that we hope to release later this week," Rockstar continued. "Please stay tuned for more news to come."
ORIGINAL STORY 27/11/18: Rockstar has warned Red Dead Online players that progress made during its newly launched beta may not be permanent.
Red Dead Online's beta kicked off earlier today, ushering in the first wave of players in what's set to be a week-long staggered launch. According to Rockstar, the beta's slow roll-out is intended to "[ease] our servers and systems into handling the increasingly larger player base".
Unlike many so-called "betas" these days, which primarily exist as marketing tools rather than for the purposes of any meaningful testing, Rockstar says Red Dead Redemption will remain in beta as long as required - "which may take several weeks or months" - in order to create a "complete, fun and fully-functional experience".
"We are aiming to deliver a stable and fun experience while collecting as much crucial information and feedback as possible to help us continually improve Red Dead Online," it explained in its lengthy early access news post.
To that end, Rockstar is reminding players that there may be certain circumstances in which progress could be lost. "We hope that all player progress during this early period of the beta will be able to remain intact long term," the developer wrote, "however as with many betas for large scale online experiences such as this, there is always the chance that we may need to implement rank or other stat resets in case of issues."
In other words, it's best not to get too attached to your character's progress, despite the fact that beta testing may continue for some time.
It's not a surprising revelation, for sure, but in this age where the words 'beta', 'stress test', and 'demo' are largely used interchangeably, it's certainly wise to remind players what they're getting themselves into. Still, it's unlikely anyone will complain too loudly about a company doing things the old-fashioned way when we've all now seen the ugly, festering mess of shame and regret that results when you don't.