originals\ Oct 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm

GTA Online tips for fun & winning

GTA Online

GTA Online has arrived!

But what is it? What do you do with GTA V’s massive open world and 15 other players? What is this about a persistent online world? Is it an MMO or is it just a natural progression of Rockstar’s multiplayer from GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption?

You won’t necessarily find the answers to these questions by the end of GTA Online’s tutorial, and you might even miss a lot during the first few hours. This guide won’t turn you into a high-level master of GTA Online, but it will hopefully alleviate some initial frustration. Why get mad when you can win and have fun doing it?

Let’s get started...

Understanding what GTA Online actually is

GTA Online screenshot

One way to think of GTA Online is that it’s an MMO with a 16-player server capacity. That isn’t “massive” by any stretch, but it helps to explain the game’s structure. Like an MMO, there is a free-roaming open world (we’ll refer to this as "free roam"), and instanced content like races, missions, survival, and deathmatch that you engage in with set numbers of players (the game’s blanket term for these are “Jobs,” so we’ll call them that).

Another way to look at it is that free roam is a gigantic lobby for gathering players into more focused gametypes. It’s so much more than a glorified lobby, though, and that’s one thing that can be hard to understand when other players are killing you repeatedly.

What to do in free roam

GTA Online screenshot

The initial tutorial will get you situated with a car, a gun, and take you through some missions, but if you’re like me, you’re probably going to want to play with your friends, get annoyed that you have to finish the tutorial, and not pay enough attention to all the tutorial info. It’s a lot to take in, and I honestly had an easier time absorbing it by learning from my friends and experimenting.

Beyond being a place to drive around and kill other players, free roam is full of dynamic activities and bite-sized missions to partake in without starting a new instance or Job. Robbery locations are indicated on the map, and sticking up a convenience store is a fun way to make some quick cash (you can even yell into your headset to intimidate the store clerk). Another way to make money is to steal a car, take it to a mod shop, and sell it.

Characters like Simeon will give you missions through your phone as well. Sometimes these are full-on instanced Job missions, but you’ll also receive free roam activities. One example lets everyone in the server know that there’s a hot car Simeon wants resprayed and delivered. From there it’s an impromptu race to grab the car or kill the driver and take it for yourself. In addition, your created character will have run-ins with characters from the single-player storyline, like Lester, Lamar, and even Trevor, with full cutscenes and missions given by them.

Starting a Job and getting lost in playlists

GTA Online screenshot

Jobs are where GTA Online’s more focused activities occur. You can start them by driving to a specific job on the map, or simply opening the pause menu. From there you get a pre-game lobby for adjusting settings and inviting other players. You can invite your friends, members of your crew, or simply invite everyone in your current free roam server. Once the Job starts, everyone who joined is pulled from free roam and tossed into a separate game with just those players.

One of the best ways to lose an evening to GTA Online is to gather your friends and just play different Jobs for hours. After a Job is over, a voting screen appears, allowing everyone to select the next Job type, replay the last Job, or elect to return the group to free roam together.

[Continue to page 2 for more tips...]

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About The Author
Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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