GTA Online makes half a billion dollars a year even though its a hot mess – PC Gamer

Chances are good that youll end up on a server with at least one person who can blow you up from throughout the map whenever they feel like it. Or they generate in tanks emblazoned with the Nazi flag, which our author Morgan has run into.
Due to the fact that I do not spend a heap of time in GTA Online just messing around in the open world, cheaters have not completely destroyed my experience. I spend more time in missions with my friends. If youre interested in doing any of GTA Onlines “free wander” activities, like running a drug company or buying and selling products as a CEO, youre at the mercy of other gamers on your server.
On the bright side, one of my good friends was chased by a modder who made collectibles rain from the sky, and each collectible gave him a healthy piece of RP (GTA Onlines experience points). Unfaithful is rampant in GTA Online, but at least its often ridiculous and funny.
Loading times.
3 minutes and 15 seconds. Thats the length of time it took me to pack into my GTA Online home from Windows last night, as Steam very first opened the Rockstar launcher and then spent a short life time filling me into an online session.
For a designer with Rockstars resources, GTA Onlines load times are really overwhelming. The initial load into the video game takes ages, however it would be more tolerable if you didnt have to fret about more loading as soon as you made it in. Unfortunately that isnt the case. Filling an objective is likewise sluggish, and when you finish a mission and choose to go back to complimentary stroll, youre going to be stuck loading for another minute or 2. This is exacerbated by the cumbersome mission system (more on that later) and connection issues that can kick you out of a session; if youre having fun with friends, youll have to wait 2-3 minutes to load a session simply to open the menu to rejoin your friends session with another 2-3 minute load.
I will say that regardless of the wait, GTA Onlines loads are impressively smooth. You get in an online session with 20-30 other players, without any visible stress on the server or disruption for other players. (It is possible to introduce the singleplayer, then begin a private online session where some of the open world online features are handicapped, then invite pals, however youre still dealing with long loads with this approach, anyway).

(It is possible to release the singleplayer, then begin a private online session where some of the open world online features are disabled, then invite good friends, however youre still dealing with long loads with this approach, anyway).

Just typical GTA Online things, like a boat landing in the middle of the city and my dive button breaking.

For reasons I can not fathom, Rockstar chose to split all of GTA Onlines functionality throughout 3 different menu systems: the overarching system menu (Esc), Interaction Menu (M) and mobile phone (Up arrow). Maybe the Interaction menu was a bolted-on service to add more capabilities in GTA Online that you dont have in singleplayer. Possibly my preferred bit of WTF menu design is that GTA Online tells you to transfer your money at an ATM to prevent other players from stealing it from you, and you can discover an ATM by picking it from an Auto GPS list in the Interactions menu. GTA Onlines snowy upgrade made driving to missions even more bothersome.

The mobile phone is the worst perpetrator, due to the fact that its unclear what things you can only do on the phone, and how much of the phones performance is just adding an in-universe skin to pack you can manage from another menu. For example, on your phone you can pull up the contacts list and call NPCs to demand tasks. Theyll likewise call you, a lot, because of how popular that remained in GTA 4. But you can also introduce objectives from the primary menu, though its annoyingly buried: Esc > > Online > > Jobs > > Play Job > > Rockstar Created > > Missions (phew). In spite of using the main menu to release missions, you join them by accepting a welcome through your phone. Although theres a tab in the main menu particularly committed to your good friends list.
Other activities are confusingly spread out throughout various menus. For example, you use the Interaction menu to register as a CEO and invite people on the server to join your company– however you get those invites on your phone, in a specific app. (The invites disappear quickly, that makes it simple to believe youre trying to find them in the incorrect location). It took me days to realize theres a subsystem in the Interaction menu for equipping extra body armor, eating treats to replenish your health, and buying more ammo.
Possibly my favorite little bit of WTF menu design is that GTA Online tells you to deposit your cash at an ATM to prevent other gamers from stealing it from you, and you can find an ATM by picking it from an Auto GPS list in the Interactions menu. However, you can pull up the web browser on your phone, go to the bank website, and deposit your cash from any place you are. I could not tell you why the video game only recommends the slower, more complex choice, however its a very GTA Online thing to do.
The lobby system is obnoxiously limiting.

GTA Onlines snowy upgrade made driving to objectives even more bothersome. (Image credit: Rockstar) How many GTA and Red Dead objectives begin with a long drive or flight to a goal while an NPC talks your ear off? About 90 percent of them? GTA Onlines break-in objectives are no various, but Im fine with that, because they in fact have actually stories connected to them. The random tasks you introduce from the menu do not, however, yet theyre full of the very same looooong drives, often halfway throughout the map, and it feels entirely arbitrary.
Rather of having actually a set generate point someplace slightly near your goal, jobs just start you wherever you were in the open world at the time. And when choosing a task from the menu, theres no way to tell where the goal is going to be. That implies youll often fire up a task and after that find you have to drive to the opposite side of the city or method outside the city to do an objective that takes all of 5 minutes..
Perhaps the objective was to protect some sense of immersion by not teleporting you, however that headed out the door with the 3 menus. And if you fail a mission, the quick retry option actually generates you actually close, which means Rockstar did set generate areas for each single objective however makes you drive to get to them anyhow. What a wild-goose chase..
Years of expansions make the new player experience overwhelming.
Whenever I fill into GTA Online, I get calls about doing the Doomsday Heist and the Casino Heist, even though Im still working my way through the original set of heists released in 2015. I get alerts about this demonstration derby called Arena War and lorries the video game desires me to buy. I get text messages about bounty targets and vehicles I should steal.
The majority of these things cant be shut off and will definitely flood every new GTA Online player, specifically those who purchase the Criminal Enterprises starter pack to avoid the grind necessary to get to the heists. Its exactly what it seems like– years of updates piled onto a video game without any changes made to efficiently integrate them into development.
Its not like other video games have not figured out how to do this right, either. Warframe added a new tutorial a few years in to reflect all the changes to the game over its life. Fate 2 streamlined its onboarding last year, dumping the entire vanilla project. Final Fantasy 14 overhauled and compressed its entire very first project to help players get to the growths faster. Heck, even TF2 figured this out, years back. But GTA Online, one of the most rewarding and successful games ever made, is both stuck in 2013 and strained with 7 years of luggage.

Grand Theft Auto 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 look like cash. Rockstars attention to information is unrivaled, and every new game the developer releases feels much deeper, broader, and more detailed than any other open world video game of the era. Each makes a statement when it lands: This is what you can achieve today with a thousand people and a budget of half a billion dollars.

Grand Theft Auto Online, the multiplayer equivalent to GTA 5, makes a really different declaration, which I will now summarize with a gif:
7 years after it first released, Grand Theft Auto Online continues to make crazy quantities of money for Rockstar and publisher Take Two. Playing GTA Online while understanding that it made $600 million simply in microtransactions in 2019 provides it the opposite sensation of Rockstars singleplayer video games, where you can see and feel every dollar of polish. How is GTA Online this rickety, this complicated, this filled with cheaters, this sluggish? To play Grand Theft Auto in 2021 is to wonder continuously how a video game so successful, played by millions of individuals, might basically be The Homer..
In December I started playing GTA Online due to the fact that I wished to do all of its break-ins with my co-op group. Theyre intricate objectives that require real teamwork, and like the heists in Grand Theft Auto 5s singleplayer project, theyre quickly the very best part of the game. Really getting to the great things requires evading cheaters, dealing with not one, not two, however three separate menu systems, comically long load times, and some other bullshit, too. Consider this a 2021 trip of what you need to bear with to attempt to take pleasure in GTA Online.
Cheaters.

More GTA 5 and GTA Online.

( Image credit: Rockstar) My friends and I dont spend a lot of time in GTA Onlines open world. Ill select one from the main menu, welcome my friends, and well run through it.
There are numerous GTA Online objectives, but it just surfaces a few of them on this screen. If you pick to revitalize the choices, which it only lets you do as soon as, it then loads up completely various types of objectives– generally PvP races, or deathmatch, or horribly uninteresting parachuting. If you do not want to select from the choices provided, you have to go back to free mode– which suggests about a 2 minute wait as you rejoin the online session, just to then launch a new mission lobby from the menu. Its agonizingly sluggish.
Letting me select from the whole list of missions while hosting a lobby appears like a pretty basic ask. Rather, we most likely spend 3 minutes loading to every 10 minutes we invest playing.
Oh, and for some reason, GTA Online only provides me the checkmark that suggests Ive done an objective before about half the time, which is truthfully simply baffling.
You cant disable text chat.
I think the idea is to guarantee every gamer gets to experience at least a little racism?.
Objectives have plenty of dead driving time.

( Image credit: Rockstar).
Did you understand theres a hidden minigame in GTA Online? Its called “Remember which menu” and I dislike it. For reasons I can not fathom, Rockstar chose to divide all of GTA Onlines functionality across three different menu systems: the overarching system menu (Esc), Interaction Menu (M) and smart device (Up arrow). Maybe they believed it would merely be excessive for these to all be in one menu system. Maybe the Interaction menu was a bolted-on service to include more abilities in GTA Online that you do not have in singleplayer. I do not know. I do know that using them in maddening..

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