As leaked a good long while ago, Rockstar has crossed the final "t" and dotted the final "i" in phasing out the release edition of GTA 5 by unlocking returning player content for all players of Online, adding the dastardly Duke O'Death to the multiplayer portion of the game.
Returning player content was a small bundle of nifty, uniquely functional vehicles only available for players who transferred their characters from an old-gen version of GTA Online over to the Enhanced Edition (PS4, X1 and PC). These vehicles weren't designed to throw balance into whack, meaning they weren't the quickest or most destructive. Instead, their merits lay in style and novelty, making them interesting rather than useful.
They were Rockstar's way of thanking players for their loyalty in upgrading to the current edition of the game. However, now that the character transfer system has been disabled in order to prevent transfer hackers from taking over the current-gen consoles (which enjoy immunity to other hacks due to hardware safety measures) this point is somewhat moot.
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Seeing as there won't ever be anymore returning players, Rockstar thought it prudent to put the content formerly exclusive to them on sale for every player in the game. If you're hurting for a Kraken or Dodo, but only jumped into the game with the Enhanced Edition to boot, this is for you.
Of course, because this *is* the internet, this particular move stirred up some controversy because the actual returning players felt like this invalidated their own loyalty rewards. Nevermind the fact that the content was exclusive to them for two years, that Rockstar was under no obligation to offer these bonuses anyway, and without transfers being a thing, no new players would ever even have the opportunity to acquire them otherwise.
Keeping this content locked wouldn't have given the returning players an unfair competitive advantage, true,. However gating off content permanently with no way to access it at all isn't a great practice, even in these cases. Generally speaking, the commemoration of loyalty in video games should be restricted to visual and cosmetic items alone. In the case of the Kraken, for example, no other submarine exists in the game
On the other hand, if you're a returning player who bought any of these fine items, Rockstar is trying to make up for any hurt feelings of entitlement by fully reimbursing your purchases. In other news, players on GTA related subreddits whine about Rockstar's alleged "greed".
For those who are unfamiliar with the returning player content, the exact items are as follows:
- Marshall Monster Truck
- Dodo Seaplane
- Kraken Submarine
- Imponte Dukes Car
- Declasse Stallion Car
- Blista Compact Car
However, on top of all this, Rockstar also threw in another car, which isn't exactly new to GTA 5, but was previously unavailable in Online. The mean ride that would have tossed the game's balance at the time, the brutal fan favorite muscle legend that Rockstar teased as arriving in Online some time ago: the Duke O'Death.
Like so many other "secrets" this wasn't particularly well kept, as leaked info showed that it will be coming to the game's multiplayer portion weeks ahead of release. Nonetheless, the addition is more than a welcome one. Why Rockstar chose to go for the Duke is probably because by now the various vehicles added to GTA Online have leveled the playing field enough for the DoD to not break the balance.
The Duke O'Death can be yours for the relatively low price of GTA$ 665,000. The ride certainly lives up to expectations in terms of endurance, as it doesn't succumb to the first explosive hit when unmanned, and can survive two if a player is inside. You won't be able to fire out of the vehicle in any direction other than forwards, much like in the case of the armored Kuruma, of which we might be seeing less in the streets after this launch.
If you want to tweak the ride a bit, know that custom license plates are only available through the mobile companion app, iFruit. As for upgrades, you'll be dropping GTA$ 86.1k in total, with turbo and armor making up the bulk of your expenses, costing 30k each.
Adding to things is one of the meatiest round of Online bonuses we've seen in recent months. Based on past patterns, this is likely the part where Rockstar is helping players build up some capital for the upcoming major DLC, which in this case will be that gunrunning update we're all waiting for.
Instead of just tossing the double RP and cash promo on a selected Adversary Mode (speaking of, we're still waiting on Top-Down), Rockstar has made it so that every contact mission will provide twice the usual rewards through the first of May. On top of this, special cargo deliveries - which already provide a premium reward - will grant players a 25% bonus on top of the regular payout.
Beyond these two ways to rack up more cash there is also a smorgasbord of discounts on offer, slashing the prices of some of the most popular items in GTA Online. Buying a CEO warehouse will cost you half the usual price so long as the event lasts, while a host of other items are 25% off.
These include the Karin Technical, the and the Benefactor Turreted Limo for those of you who want guns on your wheels. If you're content with non-weaponized vehicles, the Progen Itali GTB, Dewbauchee Spectre and Truffade Nero are all on discount as well. These three cars are pretty recent additions to the game, and the Nero is a fan favorite.
Even though the Duke O'Death sort of makes it obsolete, the Karin Armored Kuruma is also discounted, as is the HVY Insurgent, Benny's upgrades, body armor and ammo. All that said, arguably the most practical of the discounted items are the CEO offices, which usually start at 1 million. These are the cornerstone of any of the game's most lucrative activities, making them a must-buy for anyone who doesn't have one yet.
The new premium race on offer comes from the Special Vehicle Circuit's lineup in the face of Surf and Turf, locked to the Blazer Aqua. These races offer comparatively massive payouts for the winners, while everyone benefits from triple the usual RP.
This round of bonuses is pretty major, and will last a good long time. We're suspecting this is buildup towards the gunrunning update, since it was suggested that it would either drop in May, or in early Summer. Whichever turns out to be accurate, we're really hoping that the whole passive mode hack issue is solved by that time, since releasing a new DLC with that mess still going on would really take the shine off it.
While we wait for the streets to be safe again, only to be made perilous once more by rampant arms dealing and wanton militias, we can always screw time away with our new beastly muscle cars and cute submarines.