If you were around for the launch of Grand Theft Auto Online back in October 2013, you’ll remember what an unholy crapshoot it was. It was a buggy, glitchy, broken affair, but you can’t really blame Rockstar for that. It wasn’t just a launch, it was a damn event; albeit one you didn’t have to put pants on for. Nobody could have anticipated the entire population of the planet trying to log in at once, causing the system to crap itself and explode Scanners style.
The hype for GTA Online was something freaking special indeed. The main game itself, of course, was being hyped out the wazzoo. You couldn’t move for commercials, trailers and those damn ads they put in the corner of your browser window, which expand and fill your whole damn screen if your cursor approaches within 100 feet of them. The Online component received similar treatment, and rightly so. A more-or-less-MMO-if-you-squint-a-bit version of GTA V? Who wouldn’t leap right in on that?
A couple years later, Online is still going strong. Much of this is thanks to Rockstar’s support, with a steady stream of free updates and other content being added. The more recent next-gen release revitalized the experience too, drawing in a gaggle of new players while tempting original owners back. A couple years into its lifespan, Grand Theft Auto Online is a brilliant, liberating, almost daunting prospect. If you want to get ahead of the game’s hordes of players, where do you start? Right here, that’s where. Check out our list of 15 Ways To Dominate At Grand Theft Auto Online.
15 Get Your Crew Together
GTA Online being one big multiplayer mode and all, it’s no surprise that your first priority should be gathering buddies to play with. You can, of course, play with anyone who happens to wander into your lobby, but random players online can be dubious prospects in any game. Grand Theft Auto players are less prone to being friendly to strangers than most. In one memorable session, I was fleeing a store I’d just robbed when a fellow player gunned me down from a tractor and stole my money. Anything’s possible in this game, my friends. You’re in danger of drive-by shootings committed from a tractor crawling along at 8mph, so pick your allies wisely. More than this, the game’s mechanics are tailored around forming groups with your friends, with the motorcycle club and crew systems, so make use of them.
14 Have Some Kind of a Damn Plan
For me, personally, this is a big one. Once you’ve gathered your jolly band of criminal buddies, you’re all in the same session and good to go, decide on what exactly you want to do. Whether you’re racing, heisting, taking part in the adversary missions or something else, it’s best to have a clear cut idea. If not, someone will blow someone else up with a rocket or grenade (whether inadvertently or because the ragdoll physics in this game are batcrap crazy and hilarious to watch), they’ll want revenge, the other guy will want revenge for the revenge, and it’ll all descend into a ridiculous civil war.
It’s not uncommon for a four-hour playing session to go by without anyone achieving anything at all because of this. Which is damn fun in and of itself, of course, but if you really want to get ahead, you’ll have to stop heaving sticky bombs at each others’ cars and killing each other with pool cues (which is, granted, the coolest melee weapon ever). Put aside your differences, go sing Ebony and Ivory arm in arm in a meadow somewhere, then work together.
13 Be Money Motivated
As a wise man once said, if you ain’t got no money, take your broke ass home. It was actually Ludacris, now that I think about it, and I’m not sure he’s all that wise given his shoddy grammar there, but his point still stands: In GTA Online, money is everything. Everything.
Rockstar created Los Santos as a parody of the commercialism and vacuous nature of life on the Golden Coast and it shows in everything you do in the game. You’ll stand no chance in a firefight without beefed-up weapons. You’ll be screwed in custom races without a fancy-ass car of your own. You won’t have dollar bills to pay the dancers at the gentlemen’s clubs for a private topless dance. What would life be without fancy cars, high-end weapons or horribly-animated boobs that hang immobile in your face like two lifeless sacks of cement? Nothing, that’s what.
12 Level Up!
Just as important as money, though, is your rank. A lot of content, from weapons to customization options, only unlocks at a certain level. Unlockables run the gamut from rocket launchers to a new skin for your parachute or make up and lipstick style. This drip feeding is a common feature of titles like these, to keep the players working their way up, and it’s something to take advantage of. What are you going to do, use the standard plain parachute design like some chump? Of course you aren’t.
Fortunately, almost every act in the game contributes to your rank. Flying with friends, gunning down your enemies, stealing cars… Of course, completing missions is what nets you the big gains, but every little helps. Just get out there and play.
11 Double XP Events Are Your Friend
If you’re an FPS sort of guy/gal, you’ll be familiar with the concept of double xp weekends and events. They can build the hype and playerbase of a freshly-launched title, keep that momentum going, or try to lure players back to a dwindling game with the air of a jilted and desperate ex (don’t leave me! Don’t you freaking dare leave me!). They’re useful in all kinds of ways, in short, and you’ll want to abuse them as much as you can for optimum GTA Online result.
Rockstar announce these events regularly and keep rotating them for variety. They’re a super lucrative source of GTA dollars and RP, both of which are crucial resources to keep you going on the road to true domination. Don’t miss out.
10 Work On Your Stats
More recent Grand Theft Auto releases have included an RPG-esque stats system and the latest is no different. Here, your character has seven attributes: Stamina, Shooting, Strength, Stealth, Flying, Driving and Lung Capacity. Like Michael, Franklin and Trevor in the main game, you begin the game with a certain value in each, but can max them all out in you put in the time. It really is worth doing.
You gain proficiency in these areas the same way you would in real life: practice. The driving stat is super easy to increase just with normal play, for instance, while gunfights or the shooting range bolster your skills with weapons. From decreasing turbulence when flying choppers and jets to faster and quieter movement in infiltration missions, these all give you small but significant perks. You’ve got to take every advantage you can in this cutthroat world.
9 Make the Right Purchases
Now, I totally understand. You’ve got your first million in the bank and you’re feeling like Kanye West on the day Kim gives him his pocket money. So many gold-plated helicopters to buy, so little time. Pace yourself, though, young Padawan. Be careful with your burgeoning fortune and spend money to make money at first.
While a CEO office, vehicle warehouse and Motorcycle Club seem really costly, they open up additional sources of income which will soon see you turning a hefty profit. The latter lets you start up a lucrative drug business and take additional missions, while business CEOs enjoy similar opportunities. Selling stolen vehicles from your warehouse is a great money maker; you’ll soon realise just how badly Simeon was shafting you with the peanuts he was paying out for cars.
8 Go All 'Breaking Bad' On Their Butts
We’ve already touched on Motorcycle Clubs, which were added in a more recent update to Grand Theft Auto Online. Primarily, these were designed as an enhancement to the ‘crews’ mechanic, which allowed players to form a team of sorts and cooperate in all sorts of jobs and goals. If you join a Club, you can enjoy all of that and more. The feeling of cruising along the highway with your brothers and sisters, sporting all the creepy fetish-y black leather and questionable unwashed beards that biker gangs are known for, is a special one indeed.
More than that, owning a Club lets you make a drug lab, which is a brilliant source of income. It’s expensive to set up and there’s an element of risk involved (you need other players to help you take the drugs to their destination, and other players in the server can kill them to destroy your profits), but you’re sure making the big bucks here if you succeed.
7 Get Into 'Legitimate' Business
The other option, as we’ve also mentioned, is becoming CEO of your own company. You can do this by buying the appropriate properties via Los Santos Real Estate. It’s a good couple million GTA dollar investment, like the Biker Club, but it’ll pay dividends later. With an office in your name, you can recruit other players to different roles in your organisation, then set up your own missions and objectives. There are money making opportunities-amundo once you’ve done this, as well as new dynamic events which will start to appear across the city.
Once you’ve also bought a warehouse for storing vehicles, you can again recruit buddies to help you sell them on. Every little crash and ding on the journey will cost you a slice of profit, but with able drivers this is one of the best and fastest ways in the game to make cash.
6 Heists, Heists, Baby
Since the first time we played one of the story mode heists, we wanted to play some of those bad boys with our buddies in multiplayer. This was one of the much-hyped features of the upcoming GTA Online, but these missions didn’t materialize at launch. Or, for that matter, for a long damn time afterwards.
Now that they’re finally here, they’ve been worth the wait. Again, you have to pay an upfront cost to initiate these missions and there’s a good amount of prep work involved, but they’re sure rewarding. The payout for completing heists is significant, not to mention the gear unlocks which come hand in hand with doing so. They’re also some of the most varied and intense jobs the game has to offer, with optional challenge objectives to test yourself further. Completing those and feeling as raw and badass as the Red Hot Chili Peppers during their wearing-socks-on-their-wangs-onstage-for-no-fathomable-reason phase is what truly dominating is all about.
5 Shows of Power
Now, let’s think about dominating the game from a different angle. What if you want to truly dominate other players? To see them driven before you, hear the lamentations of their women, and whatever else it was that Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the craptacular Conan the Barbarian movie? If you just want to raise hell on the server and own all comers in an all-out war, you’re going to need to be seriously tooled up.
Throughout Grand Theft Auto history, the iconic powerhouse has been the tank. When you had maxed out your wanted level and the army showed up in these bad boys, you knew your ass was going to be shredded to spam. And so will all who oppose you in GTA Online, when you spawn a Rhino tank. Or you can rule the skies with the unrivalled foul-your-undercrackers firepower of the Hydra or P—996 LAZER.
4 Communicate with Your Crew
As with most online games, you’re going to want to be partied up and ready to go. GTA Online is as densely populated as a Thai bar on lady(boy)’s night, so you’ll want to know exactly where everyone is. It’s easy for specific job sessions and lobbies to fill up, or for you to be dumped into a whole other lobby when you finish a mission. At times, it’s tough to initiate a Quick Job with your crew at all, as games fill up so quickly.
So, just as with an objective match in an FPS, talk to each other. This makes coordinating your team in tough missions much easier, lets you know when to expect those invites (and you’ll want to take friends up on them fast), and all-round makes your experience much smoother.
3 Don’t Be Afraid to Play Dirty
Now, sure, this is Grand Theft Auto we’re talking about. You’ve got to expect a little underhanded play, a homicidal rampage or two and the odd tractor being dropped onto your face out of nowhere from the cargo bay of a plane (yep, I’ve been the victim of an array of bizarre and hilarious tractor-based deaths). This isn’t Barney’s The Dinosaur’s Cutesy Let’s All Be Friends Simulator 2017, after all.
As such, expect anything and everything. People will ram you off the track in races, attempt to sabotage your drug and/or vehicle deliveries and screw you over in a myriad of other ways. So get in first. Watch for pop ups on the HUD telling you that other crews are going for an objective of their own, as there are often RP rewards for thwarting them. Be rewarded for your assholism!
2 Be Prepared for the Screwiest of Rules
Mostly, this one applies to racing. When the Cunning Stunts update hit the game, it transformed races from a popular sideline, much abused way of making money and mission type into practically a full-blown game in its own right. Stunt races are completely lunatic, gravity-defying affairs which make you feel like the Borrowers driving through an elaborate marble run. For first-timers, this will not go well.
Particularly so when you factor in a camera that’s locked at first-person mode. I can’t imagine who thought that was a good idea, but screw them. Who wants to drive in first-person mode? I’ll tell you who. Nobody, that’s who. Not even at the best of times. When you’re driving a supercar around a twisty-turny Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-esque track, those are not the best of times right there. Practise using the bizarre camera options, because they will come up in matches and they will ruin your chances of placing well if you’re not used to them.
1 If You've Got It, Flaunt It
On your way to developing the kind of GTA Online crime empire that Al Capone would sell his horse’s heads collection to be a part of, you’ve got to be prudent. As we’ve said, it’s all about investing money to make money. Our final piece of advice might seem to fly in the face of all of that, but once you feel you’ve achieved all you can, feel free to go nuts.
What’s the point of being a success if you’re not rubbing the poor peasants’ noses in it (as I think Marie Antoinette once said)? There’s a fancy-ass yacht available to buy, which will set you back several million. Unlike a lot of the game’s super high end vehicles, it has no real practical purpose. What it does have, though, is a hot tub. It’s the ultimate status symbol, kind of like stuffing a sock down there but… nautically.
Once you’re a bigshot, after all, you’ve got to act/live like you’re a big shot. After all the work you did to get there, treat yourself yourself and brag like hell. You deserve it.