It's been over four years since the release of Grand Theft Auto Online, a game which is, on paper, pretty much exactly what was promised to me as the ultimate video game when I was a child. Hundreds of players? Check. Persistent, changing, online world? Check. Go anywhere, do anything gameplay? Check. Fly a jet, jump out of it, hijack a motorcycle, go over a jump, set off some fireworks dressed as Evel Knievel in a monkey mask? Buddy, so many checks!
GTA Online got off to a pretty rocky start, I was there at the beginning, but all the bugs and dropped quests and people falling through the world into oblivion have made way for a stable, bizarrely honorable game that is always getting new content and new players. In fact, it's now more popular than ever due to the constant stream of new, free content updates that add huge new missions as well as vehicles, weapons, and ridiculous outfits and disguises.Despite, or maybe because of, all those growing pains, the community and gameplay of GTA Online are stronger than ever. Whether you're a veteran player who has been knocking over corner stores since launch or a new player who picked the title up on a holiday sale, there is a deeply complicated system underneath what seems to be a relatively straightforward criminal simulator. Here are 20 easy mistakes that most players make, and some ways to adjust your gameplay to be better and take advantage of those who don't!
20 Don't Buy A Supercar
I know, I know, everyone wants a Ferrari (or Grotti, the hilarious name Rockstar has used to avoid being sued) but trust me on this, you don't want to rush headlong into blowing all your cash on the flashiest car around. There are actually few situations in the game where owning a supercar is worth the time, money, effort, and stress than driving around in a super expensive car entails. It makes you a huge target for those who don't follow the advice on this list. Fast cars are tough to handle and you're more often than not looking for a car with durability and versatility rather than something designed to set lap records in Monaco.
Always pick the right tool for the job and use the element of surprise, these are the best overall tips for GTA Online and they apply very much to purchasing a flashy car as soon as you're able.
19 Be Smart When Tailing A Car
Tailing cars is a cornerstone of an open world driving game, based as they are on crime and police dramas in films which always feature the tactic. Tailing cars in the single-player modes of most games is all about not getting too close, but human players are smarter than that and they'll know what to look for.Don't do the obvious and stay in the same lane, change things up, try to obey traffic laws, and whatever you do don't go down an alleyway with them: they are most likely setting you up to be ambushed, or worse, the victim of a sticky bomb attack that you can't avoid. Pay attention to your map- there are plenty of ways to stay close to an enemy car without being right on top of them and most alleys can be followed form the street with a little creativity.
18 Underestimating Your Enemy
GTA doesn't have easy visual cues to tell you how strong a player is. Compared to something like Destiny, where the more your opponents look like comic book villains from space wearing Egyptian artifacts the more likely they are to space magic your butt into oblivion, GTA Online players are all wearing variations of normal looking clothes, and you can't see their weapons until they're using them on you.
That said, don't assume anyone is an easy mark. Obviously even a low-level player with some skill and take down anyone, you can very easily bite off way more than you can chew by being overconfident. Use traps, narrow fields of fire, alleyways, and gang up on every opponent, even in casual combat situations. Even on the mean streets, safety first!
17 Seeking Endless Revenge
Revenge is a dish best served cold, so say the Klingons, but any meal gets old after a while if it's the only thing you eat. While GTA Online makes it easy to find who downed you and track them down, making them taste the sweet coppery tang of their blood as you gun them down in the street, but then, they get the same information about you.
This can lead to the endless revenge scenario, where two players constantly circle each other in a never-ending spree of one-up-manship. I know it can be hard to let go of losing to some punk in a video game but sometimes you have to move be the bigger person and move on from a loss. There's a lot more to this game than just wasting the same guy over and over again.
16 Make A Plan
Despite its reputation as a crime spree simulator, even the simplest missions in GTA Online require more planning than just what guns to bring to the firefight. Knowing what you're getting into can make your jobs go much smoother, especially in the multi-level heist scenarios that are the best parts of the game.
Your individual skill as a player will only get you so far if you're just charging into battle with no regard for how you're going to get out of it, or what you're gonna get into once you start a fight. This is especially important if you're playing with other people. Even something as simple as making sure everyone knows where the rest of their team is going to be, and what everyone's strengths are, can give you a huge advantage over those who aren't putting as much thought into their jobs.
15 Slow Down Or Fail
This was the top piece of advice in my article about Battlefront II and I believe it applies to every online multiplayer game, from COD to Overwatch. So many players begin each round with the sprint button already down. They charge right to the heaviest fighting and are, most of the time, immediately cut down.Players are fragile in GTA Online and one headshot can drop you very easily. The ease of acquiring automatic rifles and explosive weapons makes you even squishier, so be very aware of where the fighting is and don't be in such a hurry to get there. Use your map and the icons to track players and, if you are taken down, be aware of where the shots came from and try to flank your enemy.
14 Use Passive Mode
What a godsend of a feature this is! Every free roaming game should give players the option to opt out of the constant warzone of violence that is the Los Santos of GTA Online. By setting yourself to passive mode you can avoid the biggest and most annoying hazard of the game: spawn camping.
You know the feeling, as soon as you enter the game you can get blasted before you can even get your bearings. Setting passive mode right away can prevent this, allowing you to at least get away from the danger zone and get your head straight. Then, if you're prepared and ready, you can go after the guys who have been griefing you. Just don't get hooked on revenge!
13 Communication Is Key
Buy. A. Headset. If you're going to play any multiplayer games online, buy a headset. Don't even think about doing a heist without a microphone- you probably won't even get selected for the job or, once the team finds out you don't have one, you'll get kicked.True story: when the heists first got released I tried to jump into one without much thought. I also hadn't played the game in a while so my knowledge of the controls had definitely lapsed. At the very beginning of the match, I couldn't remember how to get into a car without hijacking it, so I kept hauling the driver out, he would haul me out, and we would continue. If I'd had a headset, I coulda just asked.
12 Targeting Players' Cars
They seem like obvious targets when you first start the game: cars are flashy, they seem to be everywhere, they're much easier to shoot at than individual players, and the blow up so, so good. Here's the thing: those cars are expensive and they take a lot of time and effort to acquire. If you blow up too many player cars, you can get labeled a "bad sport" and you don't want that.
Bad Sports are relegated to their own lobbies, where they're stuck playing with other Bad Sports. Sometimes they're forced to wear dunce caps so they are more easily recognizable to other players in the open world. The rules about how, exactly, you are labeled a bad sport are kind of vague: dropping from games and jobs seems to be an easy one, and getting reported by other players works too.
This is technically a valid tactic and is something you should be able to do successfully, you are, after all, a hardened criminal. When you first start out, you can only rob people for $100 but at level 50, the 'robber' perk ups that number to whatever the player is carrying on them at the time. Level 50 is no joke and by that level, you probably won't be hard up for cash. Plus, it makes people really, really angry.GTA Online has a strange honor system, as this article has hopefully made clear. There is, apparently, honor among thieves and players who deliberately grief others, blow up their stuff, and rob them are singled out and shamed. Mugging players is a one-way-ticket to having a bounty put on you and is generally seen as despicable. If you're into that, cool, but be prepared to face the consequences.
10 Use The Internet
I don't mean the in-game internet, though that is a real thing that serves a useful purpose, like ordering cars and guns online, just like in real life. No, I mean the real, our world, meatspace internet to gain an advantage and give yourself a helping hand in the game.Listen, you played through the story of GTA V without using the internet to help you out. Good for you, congratulations, you played a video game "the right way." Now you're diving into a piranha tank full of highly competent and skilled piranhas who have been piranhas for longer than you so they are better at it, and have, like, sharper teeth. Okay, forget the piranha metaphor and just look stuff up online. You already did! You're doing it right now! Keep it up. Your teammates will thank you.
9 Don't Trap People In Buildings
Look, I realize a lot of these items could basically be boiled down to "Don't be a jerk." That's true, I own that, because it's a fact. Jerks can't punished for their behavior, and people who play honorably are rewarded. This next time drives me absolutely nuts because the only way to get around it is to log off of the game.
Don't use your car to trap people inside shops. Just don't. It's a really easy to get reported for bad behavior and it serves no purpose at all other than being a bully. You can't get a kill for it, you can't get any cash for it, it's just rude and mean and dumb. It's like holding the door closed in a public restroom so your 'victim' can't get out.
8 Not Knowing The Area
Map control is key in any multiplayer game and especially a cover-based one where characters are as squishy as they are in GTA Online. There is no excuse not to know the areas where the jobs are taking place, especially because the multiplayer missions take place in the same areas as the single-player campaign, which you have spent dozens of hours driving and running around in already.
Knowing the map lets you protect your flanks and exploit the flanks of your opponents. It lets you move from objective to objective easily and be a better team player. Just like the above point, use the internet to get the upper hand- there are tons of YouTube videos and maps showing routes and strategies, watch some Let's Plays, whatever you gotta do.
7 Don't Play Alone
This really is really the best way to play any game. Find a group of friends who are at the same skill level as you are to run through the missions and heists together. The heists were the best part of the single-player portion of GTAV and they are also the best parts of the multiplayer. Having a crew you to do the missions with will also avoid my most hated multiplayer game trope: players who rush through every single level, sprinting form action to action and doing their best to hurry you up.
With a crew of people you know and trust and are comfortable speaking with (because you bought yourself a good headset, right?) you can take your time and experience the stories the way they should be experienced.
6 Forgetting About The NPCs
With all the psychopathic players running around with high powered weapons and armored dump trucks, it's easy to keep your eye out for anyone driving erratically who is obviously a human player on the warpath. It's easy to forget that Los Santos is, by default, an extremely dangerous place full of regular people who, in the hyper-violent pseudo world of the Grand Theft Auto series, everyone is packing ridiculous heat.
The cops are one thing, but there are still gang members all over the place who will throw down at the slightest provocation. Even shopkeepers are packing serious metal under the counter, and they will slam you down with some buckshot as soon as you turn your back on them. Don't be a proactive monster and wipe out everyone you see, but don't take your eye off them either.
5 Overusing Passive Mode
So, as we covered above, passive mode is a great way for new players to get the lay of the land, or more experienced players to get into the activities they want to and avoid all the grief that unscrupulous players can rain down on them. However, if you're always playing with passive mode on, you're missing out on some of the spirit of the game.Like someone who walks through life with their face in their phone, or a parent who's always videotaping their kids instead of playing with them, passive mode allows players to waltz through Los Santos missing out on the some of the danger that is part of the inherent appeal to GTA Online. With no risk of random attack or death, the city because one giant lobby where you wait for events to start or your friends to come online. It may be safe, but it'll get boring real quick.
4 Don't Play Dirty
I touched briefly on the 'Bad Sport' mechanic in GTA Online and while it can be very effective in protecting players from abusive behaviour, it can also be obtuse and a bit unfair. The things the Bad Sport system sees as bad behavior doesn't cover everything a player can visit on another player that is irritating.
To avoid getting a bad rep and having a bounty put out on you, just play nice. Be helpful, use your microphone, don't mug players you just finished a game with, don't fight over who gets to drive. The game is tough enough as it is without two out of four players jockeying for the prize of who's the tougher big boy. Despite all the tools that online multiplayer games give you for being a jerk, it's entirely up to you whether you use them or not.
3 Use Your Headlights
This is a tip for a specific situation but is a good general tactic in a lot of scenarios. If you're being harassed by an aircraft, especially a fighter jet, it can very difficult to shake your opponent if you're out in the hills. A really easy and surprisingly effective way to shake an aerial pursuer is to turn off your headlights. Just like Batmobilebile in Batman Begins, you'll melt into the surrounding countryside at night and even negate an obvious target during the day.
This isn't only effective versus aircraft. It can be an easy way to lose a vehicular pursuer, if you're able to get yourself around a corner or into an alleyway, losing the brights can be a simple and effective way to ghost your way into the streets.
2 Accept Your Place In The Pecking Order
Look, a life of crime is tough. You're not going to be blasting fools with a rocket launcher and flying around in personal helicopters right away. Just like it's important not to underestimate your opponents and not bit off more than you can chew, you gotta accept the fact that you're gonna be in a meat grinder for a little while.
And that's okay! This is why you don't farm or play the game in passive mode. The only way to get better is to keep playing, learn the mechanics, don't panic when you get into combat. Accept the glory of the small, street-level hit. Embrace the joy of even the smallest successful jobs. Stick with your friends who are the same or similar level to you. Before long, you'll have that armored car, and it'll be worth the time it took to get it.
Getting started in GTA Online can be really difficult, especially now that the game has been out for years and there are so many high level (and rich) players out there. Anyone who has played any other MMO knows there is one way to get out of the low-level doldrums quickly: farming.Farming is a perfectly fine tactic, as long as you're not doing anything that is exploiting the game or breaking the economy, like gold farming in World of Warcraft. Problem is, you're not really playing the game the way you ought to be. Sure you can put your head down and grind for cash and XP, but then what? You've put yourself up on a level with players who actually know what they're doing, and will expect you to be able to keep up.