Grand Theft Auto Online Spring Updates (image from rockstargames.com)
Grand Theft Auto Online players were promised the highly anticipated cooperative heists, a new dlc and the ability to own more than one home by Rockstar Games two weeks ago.
Cooperative heists, the most highly anticipated feature of the online game, are promised to be released this spring, but no definite date has been given. That particular carrot has been dangling for so long, it’s hard to take Rockstar seriously when they announce its impending implementation.
Coming this spring to Grand Theft Auto Online, team up with your most trusted Crew members or with random other mercenaries in Grand Theft Auto Online to pull off cooperative Heist Missions for glory and profit. We know many in the GTA Online community have been looking forward to this update — stay tuned for much more information to come.
GTA Online (image from attackofthefanboy.com)
Up until this point, most of the Rockstar updates have seemed to address exploits that allowed players to make money in the game “illegally” through glitches. There is a general belief that Rockstar is more concerned with being able to make more money from the game through the sale of shark cards than it is with enabling players to enjoy the game.
The first of the updates rolled out on April 8, and included among its top abilities the ability to call Lester and for the small fee of $5000 get the cops to ignore you for three minutes of free-for-all game time.
PokerMcBluff, a user on the Rockstar support forums, wrote a brilliant post outlining the many problems that plague the LSPD including the problematic wanted timer, the seemingly invincible police force and their marksmen like abilities, and random security guards who apparently listen to the police band all day in an effort to help the police force contain the populous.
GTA Online forum post
These are problems that players have complained about time and time again on the Rockstar forums, and the request for a police-free lobby has gone out more than once. Rockstar’s solution seems to be more of a way to bleed money out of the community than it is an actual appeasement to players wanting to be able to go to war with their friends without police intervention. It would cost much less in bail and health fees to get killed by the police repeatedly over three minutes than it costs to give Lester the money to pay them off.
The rest of the updates in 1.12 continue much in the same vein. There are more fixes to prevent money glitches and hacks with a few player pleasing perks thrown in including getting a small amount of RP for voting at the end of jobs, replacing the Gusenberg sweepers that were lost after the Business update, and fixing the issue that prevented players from getting more than $10,000 for a fully-modded vehicle at Los Santos Customs.
But what about the other longstanding problems?
GTA Online Time out screen (image from polygon.com)
The game timing out is a huge issue, and it occurs for players across the board on both the XBox 360 and Playstation 3 platforms. I myself have encountered long load times when trying to launch online mode upon starting the game, and have often been tossed completely in between missions due to timeout errors on the server.
As much as I am eager to see heists enter the game, I am more interested in Rockstar fixing the problems that are already plaguing the game and have nothing to do with game economy.
I understand that Rockstar is a business, and they are here to make money, but I think that if they want a long-term, sustainable product, then the time is now to fix the things that players complain about every single day.
It is impossible to imagine them even being able to successfully implement heists with the problems that already occur daily on the Rockstar servers. There are lots of holes, and these holes will continue to be a source of both irritation and innovation on the part of the player base if Rockstar doesn’t pay attention.
Grand Theft Auto Online
The money glitches came about due to player frustration with the inability to make good money through normal means in the game. Rockstar answered that by providing the ability to grind the same missions over and over again.
What that has turned into is 1,000 invitations to Rooftop Rumble every single playing session, and why wouldn’t it? The ability to earn $18,750 and over 4,000 RP in under five minutes would appeal to anyone. It’s easy, it’s legal, and it won’t land you in the much dreaded cheater lobby.
It is rumored that heists will have a maximum payout of $80,000 per player, and while that may seem like a lot, when you add in the amount of time it will take for planning and execution (based on the way heists work in story mode), it may not be worth the trouble at all.
GTA Online Survival Mode (via segmentnext.com)
Survival takes at the least 20 minutes to complete and get all the way to the 10th wave. The payout on that is $20,000 maximum. Why would I spend 30 minutes doing survival when I can do Rooftop Rumble at least 5 times in that time and make 5 times as much?
Rockstar was very ambitious in putting out an online gaming product that operates on such a large scale, and it is a good product, but it is a good product with a lot of problems that still need to be worked out.
Rather than making promises it can’t or won’t be able to keep, Rockstar should focus harder on making improvements to what is already in place.
Those improvements could very well make room and a way for the grand ideas that are still in the future for this awesome game.
Do you play Grand Theft Auto Online? What are your thoughts on Rockstar’s development of the game thus far? What would you like to see? Talk to me in the comments!