In Red Dead Redemption 2 you have three attributes (cores) that can be leveled up: Health, Stamina, Dead Eye. You do not have a character level in RDR2, only these 3 attributes have XP and are leveled separately. Maxing out all attributes is also required for 100% Game Completion.
RDR2 uses a learning-by-doing approach to leveling up your stats. You must do certain physical actions a lot, such as sprinting to increase stamina or rowing a boat to increase health. The hardest thing to level is Dead Eye (which allows you to slow down time while aiming). The best way to do it is from completing Challenges. There are 9 Challenges in the game consisting of 10 tasks each (so 90 total). By doing all challenges you will automatically max out all attributes.
You can view your current level under Pause Menu – Player – Your Character – Health, Stamina, Dead Eye. Click each attribute and check under “Progression” to see your level and XP to the next level up.
Required XP per Level:
- Level 1 = 0 XP
- Level 2 = 50 XP
- Level 3 = 100 XP
- Level 4 = 200 XP
- Level 5 = 350 XP
- Level 6 = 550 XP
- Level 7 = 800 XP
- Level 8 = 1100 XP
Doing all Challenges gives you 1425 XP per attribute, enough to reach Level 8. That’s where XP progression stops but you can actually bring them to level 10 via outfit sets. The way this works is that every challenge category unlocks a piece of a clothing set after challenge 1, 3, 7, 10. So completing all challenges in a category gets you a complete set consisting of 4 pieces. Equipping all 4 parts grants you +1 skill bar on the attribute (=level 9). Doing ALL 9 challenges (90 tasks) then unlocks another skill bar (=level 10).
So really, the most straightforward way is to just do challenges, this gets you to level 8 with XP, to level 9 with the outfit set, to level 10 for having done all challenges. We’ll go through all other ways to gain attribute XP below as well. More detail about what challenge counts towards what attribute is also in the overview below.
Leveling Up Health
The best way to level up health is by rowing a boat continuously and by doing challenges.
- Row a boat over 100 meters = 20 XP (you can simply keep rowing until health is maxed out)
- Catching Fish = 10-30 XP depending on fish size. Big fish give more.
- Kills with Bow & Throwing Weapons = 20 XP
- Fist Fight Wins = 10 XP
- Consuming a Ginseng Elixir = 25% XP to next level up will be awarded instantly.
- Complete Challenges in these categories: Herbalist, Master Hunter, Weapons Expert = 25-150 XP per challenge. A total of 1425 XP for all challenges in these 3 categories.
Leveling Up Stamina
The best way to level up stamina is from sprinting continuously and by doing challenges.
- Sprinting 100 Meters = 20 XP (you can simply keep sprinting on foot, not on horse)
- Swim 15 seconds = 20 XP
- Surviving a fight with less than 25 Health = 20 XP
- Complete Challenges in these categories: Explorer, Horseman, Survivalist = 25-150 XP per challenge. A total of 1425 XP for all challenges in these 3 categories.
Leveling Up Dead Eye
Leveling Dead Eye is the hardest. Your best bet is to combine it with the challenges. Completing all challenges gives you a total of 1425 XP. Skinning large animals is the second best option.
- Skin animal = 1-10 XP depending on animal size (bigger gives more XP)
- Headshot from 50 meters or more = 1-5 XP depending on distance
- Craft an item = 1 XP
- Cook a meal = 1 XP
- Complete Challenges in these categories: Bandit, Gambler, Sharpshooter = 25-150 XP per challenge. A total of 1425 XP for all challenges in these 3 categories.
Those are all the best ways to increase your attribute cores to the maximum in RDR2. For more guides check out our full Red Dead Redemption 2 Wiki & Strategy Guide.