WITH around 15 million people logging on within the first hours of Grand Theft Auto Online going live, the eagerly awaited addition to Rockstar North’s single player experience endured a difficult birth last week as connection problems plaguing many. Fortunately, the glitches have been ironed out. For those taking their first steps in the multiplayer version of Los Santos, here are some tips to ensure your budding criminal career gets off to a flying start.
1) Don’t rush to select any old custom vehicle - the need for speed is vital in GTA Online, and hasty getaways are not easy if you have tagged and insured a cumbersome family hatchback. Top end vehicles won’t be accepted by the discrete employees at Los Santos customs, so instead aim for a mid-level saloon with a bit of punch. It’s also worth using stolen vehicles during your first few hours in the game - these will attract police attention, but your wanted level will seldom go above two stars, meaning that each time you easily elude the law, you acquire some all-important RP points and rank up quicker.
2) Join a crew - not only will this bring bonus RP points whenever you complete a job, it is the way the game was intended to be played. With a large enough posse linked up with headsets, a free roam around Los Santos is a whirl, and the strength in numbers means that any attacks from unscrupulous players are swiftly dealt with.
3) Be aware you can get a high performance car for nothing - if you are patient, and save up enough to purchase a garage, an Annis Elegy RH8 will be available to order for free from the Legendary Motorsports website. A sports car with good handling and an excellent top speed, it is an ideal vehicle for those getting used to the game.
4) Protect your investments - discerning players will likely spend thousands of pounds lovingly customising their cars, but take steps to prevent any old punter stealing it by insuring it and fitting a tracker. There is an option in the select menu to restrict the use of your custom car to you, or if you are feeling generous, members of your crew or friends list.
5) Bank your dubiously earned hauls regularly and quickly - being alone in Los Santos, especially if you are on foot, is an invitation to be robbed. But by squirrelling away money in your account, it is safe, and can still be accessed immediately when shopping in clothes shops, barbers, tattoo parlours and the like. However, use your phone for internet banking - even a short trip to an ATM can be perilous.
6) Fly between hold ups - helicopters are few and far between in GTA Online, but can be found at the airport, near where the flight school is, or on the roof of the Central Los Santos hospital. Flying offers a degree of protection, and is also a great way of carrying out hold-ups. Police helicopters are only alerted once your wanted status reaches three stars, but can be outpaced relatively easily. During a recent session, I robbed five stores in succession, making around £8,000, before escaping a four star wanted level. In a car, it would have been a different story.
7) Use mod shops - one of the easiest and most lucrative ways to make money is by selling cars. Los Santos Customs does not only exist to pimp your ride - they will buy a huge variety of vehicles, offering anything up to £10,000. The majority of times you steal a car, the police are none the wiser, and so this is a sensible way to build up some loot for the purchase of a garage or apartment. Be advised - you can’t simple steal one car after another in the one session - you’ll have wait 48 hours of in-game time in between deliveries. And as with the custom car, garages will only accept low or mid-level vehicles, so don’t presume you can make a fortune from flogging high-end sports cars.
8) A mask makes hold ups easier - if you are looking to escape the attention of the police quickly, wear a mask while carrying out a robbery. Immediately afterwards, go into your inventory and take it off. This regularly results in your wanted level dropping by a star, which can be noticeable when three stars fall to two, and those annoying police helicopters decide to call off their search. Masks can be found at the store on the promenade of Vespucci beach.