In October 2013, Grand Theft Auto Online was released two weeks after Grand Theft Auto V. Many players complained of connection problems and game freezes during load screens. Although Rockstar released a technical patch on 5 October to resolve the issues, some players reported that their character progress disappeared after the patch was released.
In GTA Online, players create their own customized characters through the use of a character creation tool. Unlike many other games where players can create their own character, the physical appearance is derived from the pre-defined parent and grandparent characters that players choose instead. Collectors Edition includes several bonus characters from other Rockstar titles that can appear as possible parents as part of the character creation tool — Niko Bellic from Grand Theft Auto IV and Claude and Misty from Grand Theft Auto III can be chosen as parents.
As a silent protagonist, players move to Los Santos in search of new pursuits after meeting Lamar Davis on Lifeinvader. The story begins several months before Grand Theft Auto V. After winning a street race against the player, Lamar introduces them to Gerald, a drug dealer, and Simeon Yetarian, a corrupt Armenian car salesman. Players gradually build up their reputation, attracting the attention of meth dealer Trevor Philips, hacker Lester Crest, and Mexican drug lord Martin Madrazo, who also hire them.
Eventually, Lester offers the player bigger job opportunities, recruiting them for several bank robberies; a shady government agent known only as Agent 14, who enlists their help with a highly profitable drug deal; and Trevor, who recruits them for several bank robberies. A few years later, Lamar hires the player to sabotage rival gangs to set the stage for his eventual rise to power. However, this only leads to Lamar having a falling out with his own gang, so he attempts to win back their trust, once again with the player’s help. The player slowly builds up their own criminal empire during this time, starting with a small organization, which is then expanded by acquiring a warehouse and an office to aid the player in the theft and sale of various items. After a while, the player also starts a motorcycle club and runs additional illicit businesses with a shady contact named “Long John Teabag”.
With the 2017’s Gunrunning update, the timeline of events has advanced in real-life timing, and each new update event takes place in the release year associated with the event. By this time, the protagonist continues to expand their empire by purchasing a bunker, where they conduct a gunrunning operation alongside Agent 14, and a hangar to help them run a smuggling operation with Trevor’s former associate Ron Jakowski.
In the following years living in Southern San Andreas until the early 2020s, the player opens a new nightclub in Los Santos with the help of former Liberty City nightclub entrepreneur Tony Prince and begins using it as a front for their illicit businesses; becomes a top competitor in a demolition derby-like TV series taking place at the city’s Maze Bank Arena; becomes a VIP member at the newly opened Diamond Casino & Resort and begins assisting the staff with the various problems they are facing; helps a retired Lester Crest plan a robbery of the casino alongside Georgina Cheng who seeks retribution against Thornton Duggan for tricking her brother Tao into selling him the casino; conducts several new jobs for Gerald, and enters a short-lived conflict with the Kkangpae after they raid their personal yacht.
Which ends with the player killing the gang’s leader; they are hired by Martin Madrazo’s son Miguel to steal some incriminating files of his family from the world’s most notorious drug dealer and cartel boss, Juan “El Rubio” Strickler, from his private island in the Caribbean region of Colombia; becomes a member of the LS Car Meet, where they are introduced to Kenny “KDJ” Dixon Jr. and Sessanta, who provide the player with several robbery contracts after they purchase an Auto Shop and prove themselves to them; begins working for the former street hustler now multi-millionaire Franklin Clinton, and helps him get a big client for his new business; is hired by Agent ULP as a sworn-in IAA special agent to investigate a criminal conspiracy involving local petrochemical magnates, and starts their own LSD business with the help of the Fooliganz gang.
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On PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, sessions were limited to 16 players. On PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, sessions were expanded to 30 players (with two extra spectator spaces).
Online players can choose from a variety of session types:
- In Free Mode, solo sessions are entirely PvE.
- The players can choose who they would like to play with, including Invite Only and Crew Only.
- Random players are coexisting in an open Free Mode lobby and PvP is more common. This is the ‘default’ session type.
- A message will appear on the screen after two minutes of inactivity warning players of this. The timer will beep for the final 10 seconds before the player is kicked out of the session.
- Passive Mode in Grand Theft Auto Online allows players to roam around on foot without being killed by other players.
- The Heists Update introduced the Daily Objectives, a feature that is presented in the form of 3 different objectives that must be completed each day (in real life). Players receive Cash and RP points for completing these objectives on a regular basis. Players who complete these objectives periodically will receive larger rewards.
- Players can earn in-game items such as T-Shirts, tattoos, and chrome wheels by completing awards.
- In GTA Online, you can access the Global Text Chat and the Team Chat by pressing T (for Global Text Chat) and Y (for Team Chat).