Heists are an important element of Grand Theft Auto Online, and possibly one of the most integral parts of progression in the game.
They are the game's stand-in for end-content, being among the most difficult and most lucrative activities you can do. Heists require teamwork, coordination and skill, and completing them successfully will reward you accordingly.
If you're saving up for something big, chances are you'll do Heists. They will follow you across your GTA Online career, becoming available early on while staying relevant and important even once you've unlocked everything and own a bunch of high-end items.
Heists are broken down into set-up missions and the finale. The set-ups themselves tend to be easier, and aren't particularly rewarding to complete, whereas the finale is the real attraction. It is possible for teams to be backfilled if someone leaves in between missions, however a full team of four is always required for all Heist missions.
Heisting with random players isn't ideal (though not as bad as people say), so we suggest you try and find a team of regulars to play with.
A lot goes into running a successful heist. Knowing the mechanics and special gameplay of the individual set-up missions and the harder finales, as well as knowing what kind of tactics to employ to avoid obvious pitfalls and other fail-states.
Beyond a grasp of how the game works, you'll need to be able to cooperate with your team and listen to what everyone is saying. In order to keep the team coherent and cooperative, you also need to make sure you've distributed the earnings fairly, which is also covered by this guide.
HEIST HIGHLIGHT VIDEOS
If you reach Rank 12 and have a high-end apartment, you will be able to play 4-player cooperative heists online. Lester will call you, and you’ll need to go see him. After that, Lester will call whenever you can play a new heist, and you can call him to replay a heist.
The time you must wait in between heists is roughly 15 minutes. Heists in GTA Online can be played on three difficulty levels. Playing on Normal earns you twice as much as playing on Easy, and playing on Hard earns you 25% more than playing on Normal.
Once you accept or request a heist, you become the Heist Leader. The Heist Leader can invite any player who has played the GTA Online tutorial through the first LTS job from Gerald. The Leader must front the costs, but also determines how the total payout will be divided.
The ability to split the payout means the Heist Leader can earn a lot of money. If you're hoping to make a lot of money through Heists, work out a plan with your team about how you want to divide the payouts. This is covered later on in the guide.
In addition to the payout division, you'll want to work out in advance the role each player will perform, as explained later on when we get to the set-up missions. Communicating with your teammates will make Heists a lot easier, as will understanding their strengths and weaknesses and being prepared with good equipment such as silencers and body armor.
Heists involve multiple missions. The Heist Leader will earn 10% additional RP from setup missions, but only the other participants will earn money. Setup missions usually earn you around $15k-$20k. Once you finish a single setup mission, all the players will be returned to Freemode. The Heist Leader can then start the next part of the heist.
Back when GTA Online launched, you unlocked Adversary Modes by completing heists. Back then there were only 3 modes available. Today, there are 45 types of Adversary Modes with hundreds of missions, and they are no longer tied to heist completion.
Every heist has its own Elite Challenges.
Here you'll find a general rundown of how the various heists are structured and what each mission leading up to the finale, including said finale, is comprised of. You'll get an idea of what to expect in terms of mechanics and what encounters you'll be facing, so plan accordingly.
Heist #1 – The Fleeca Job
Cost – $11,500
Total Payout – $57,500 (Easy), $115,000 (Normal), $143,750 (Hard)
Unlockables – Kuruma and armored Kuruma
Elite Challenges – You finish in less than 5:20, the car takes no more than 6% damage, and no player dies.
Mission #1 – You must drive Lester to view the bank and then go back to the Warehouse.
Mission #2 – You must steal the Kuruma currently held by gangsters, and take it to the Warehouse.
Heist Info – One player takes care of security while another drives the Kuruma to the bank. Once security has been handled, that player must drill through to the box while the first player intimidates the bank staff into not interfering. After that, both players should take the Kuruma toward Fort Zancudo.
Extra Info – This heist actually only requires two players as it's considered a tutorial!
Heist #2 – The Prison Break
Cost – $40,000
Total Payout – $200,000 (Easy), $400,000 (Normal), $500,000 (Hard)
Unlockables – Lampadati Casco and Principe Lectro
Elite Challenges – You reach extraction in less than 4:40, Rashkovsky takes no more than 1% damage, and no player dies.
Missions #1 – One group must fight the Vagos at the airport so a pilot player can steal a Velum and take it to LSIA.
Mission #2 – You must steal a prison bus and get away from the police.
Mission #3 – One group of players must steal a police car, infiltrate the precinct, and get the prison transfer schedule back to the apartment. The other group must take and drop off Rashkovsky’s Casco.
Mission #4 – While one group takes care of the associate, the others must kill the lawyers and take their deposition.
Heist Info – One group of players must infiltrate the prison and escape with Rashkovsky. The other group must control the plane to be ready to evacuate them. After Rashkovsky and both teams are in the plane, you must fly to the ocean.
Heist #3 – Humane Labs Raid
Cost – $54,000
Total Payout – $270,000 (Easy), $575,000 (Normal), $675,000 (Hard)
Unlockables – Mammoth Hydra, Buckingham Valkyrie, HVY Insurgent, armored HVY Insurgent, Nagasaki Dinghy, Night Vision mask, and Rebreather mask.
Elite Challenges – You finish in less than 11:00, the vehicle takes no more than 2% damage, and no player dies.
Mission #1 – Two players, one as the buyer and one as a bodyguard, must get the keycards from your contact. Having two lookouts is also recommended. If you’re having trouble with this Mission #2 – You must steal two Insurgent LAPVs from Merryweather. Since the vehicles are armed, having a gunner in each one will aid your escape.
Mission #3 – You must steal an EMP from the nose of a Hydra jet on a naval carrier. While one player gets the Hydra, the others should pilot jets to help out. You must get the Hydra back to your rendezvous point.
Mission #4 – You must steal a Valkyrie from Merryweather’s base. You can either choose stealth or a head-on approach. Once you get the Valkyrie, shoot down the attacking helicopters.
Mission #5 – Drive a stolen LAPV, with the EMP inside, into Humane Labs and park it. You don’t want to be caught, and a silencer might help in case you need to fight.
Heist Info – One team will enter Humane Labs wearing night vision goggles and rebreathers, in order to get the files. The other group will fly the Valkyrie to drop off the first team, pick them up at the end, and fight off enemy reinforcements in the meantime.
Special Unlockables – Hydra and Valkyrie
To get the Hydra jet, you must finish the third mission, in which you retrieve the EMP. This mission is only available if either you’ve hosted both The Fleeca Job and The Prison Break, or if you’re playing with a host who has. Afterwards, visit the in-game website for Warstock Cash & Carry to purchase a Hydra for $3 million.
To get the Valkyrie combat helicopter, you must finish the fourth mission, in which you steal the Valkyrie. Like with the Hydra, you’ll only be able to access this mission if you or your host has previously hosted The Fleeca Job and The Prison Break. Afterwards, visit the Warstock Cash & Carry site to purchase it for $2.85 million.
The two variants of the HVY Insurgent, also unlocked through this Heist, can be purchased for $675,000 (regular) and $1.35 million (armored).
Heist #4 – Series A Funding
Cost – $40,400
Total Payout – $202,000 (Easy), $404,000 (Normal), $505,000 (Hard)
Unlockables – Karin Technical, Discount for Mule
Elite Challenges – You finish in less than 6:30, you kill 75 enemies, and no player dies.
Mission #1 – One team will go by air and another by water. The water team should approach the yacht to steal the drugs, while the air team should either provide firepower from a distance or swoop in to drop their passenger. Collect all of the packages and get back to land through the tunnels, and head to the last objective.
Mission #2 - Steal a garbage truck and then collect garbage bags from four different spots. Watch out for the waves of enemies that will try to stop you. Be careful when fighting at the gas station that you don't blow it up.
Mission #3 - Take silenced weapons to the Dingy and use stealth to take out the enemies in the trailer park. You should split into two groups and coordinate your attacks. Take the van from the north edge of the trailer park and escape, with everyone but the driver shooting your pursuers.
Mission #4 - Have two players act as lookouts and snipers at first while the others remain on the ground. Beware of the train. Clear out the enemies and head for the trucks. Two players should take the gunner truck while the others get the remaining trucks. Escape to the drop off point.
Mission #5 - Go to the farm wearing your mask and take care of the enemies, although you should be all right if you leave some alive. Head to the back and have two players drive trucks in front and behind the tanker to protect it as you make your escape. Explosives may be tempting, but might cause you trouble due to the close range.
Heist Info - Defend the warehouse, both by shooting from cover and using mines when necessary. After that, have two players use the trucks to protect the vans as you move them. When driving, use the bridge as cover if the helicopters are giving you too much trouble, and fend off all enemies until you reach your goal.
Heist #5 – The Pacific Standard Job
Cost – $100,000
Total Payout – $500,000 (Easy), $1,000,000 (Normal), $1,250,000 (Hard)
Unlockables - Savage, Principe Lectro, and Gang Burrito Van.
Elite Challenges - You finish in less than 10:15, NOOSE isn't called, and no player dies.
Mission #1 - You'll take two cars, each of which has a Driver and a Navigator. The Navigators must use their phones to locate vans. You'll need pictures of all the vans' license plates, after which Lester will tell you which one to steal. Steal it and drive it back to him.
Mission #2 - Take the transponder from the stolen van to an island, where Avi Schwartzman is hiding. Take out the helicopter, fight the police on the island, and take Avi to the indicated boat. The next part is a timed mission, but be careful. When you reach the lake, head toward the center so you can shake off police interest, and then drive Avi to your goal.
Mission #3 - Head to Vinewood as two teams: one Transporter and three Decoys. Find the white van and take it to Vinewood Boulevard, where you'll fight a number of enemies. Once the coast is clear, the Transporter player should grab the equipment you need and return to the white van, while the Decoys get into the black van. Distract the enemies until the Transporter reaches the goal, and then destroy the black van.
Mission #4 - First, you must ambush a convoy to steal a military truck, so block the road with as many vehicles as you can. A helicopter will come first, followed by the convoy. Make sure you don't destroy the truck in the fighting. Two players should take the truck, and the other two should take an Insurgent. Head toward the drop-off point, defeat any enemies that remain, and take the truck to the goal.
Mission #5 - Head to the Lost's clubhouse to steal the Lectro sports bikes. Fight the Lost, but make sure you don't destroy the bikes in the process. Steal the bikes and drive to the drop-off point, avoiding the Lost's roadblocks and fighting them along the way.
Tip: as you leave the clubhouse, your map will prompt you to turn right. If you head straight instead, and go right at the next turn, you will bypass the roadblocks.
Heist Info - You'll split into three teams: one Hacker, one for Demolition, and two for Crowd Control. Head to the bank and go inside. The Crowd Control players should kill the guards and keep everyone else intimidated by shooting nearby. The other two must go to the vault.
The Demolition player should use thermite charges on the door at the back of the lobby and the next one at the top of the stairs. When that door opens, one of the Crowd Control players needs to head to the back room to intimidate the tellers and kill any security that arrives. Meanwhile, the Hacker should get through the next door, after which Demolitions will get through the next gate. After that, they should grab the money and meet up with Crowd Control at the exit. Only one player should take the money. Any players with the stolen money will lose some when hit, and it's easier to defend one player than two. The player with the money should try to avoid combat.
A very challenging fight with the police awaits you on the other side, and you'll fail if you try to stay in the bank for too long. Clear out a path and fight your way to the bikes. You can either use them or a car to escape. There should be a police car you can steal, or a SWAT van if the alarm is sounded during the Heist. You also might want to drive the bikes or a car to the Vinewood Police Department to grab the helicopter on the roof. Once you have your vehicle of choice, don't follow the waypoints! Instead, follow the left highway until you reach the cliff, and then parachute (or drive, if you understand the path well enough) to the boat down below. Drive the boat to the goal to complete the final Heist. The player with the money should duck to avoid losing any more along the way.
One-Time Extra Payouts
There are number of extra challenges that you can complete (one time per character) in order to receive extra payouts as below.
First Time - Finish each Heist for the first time for a $100,000 bonus.
First Person - Complete all the Heist setups and finales in first person mode to get a bonus of $100,000. (Host must set camera to First Person)
All in Order - Play all of the Heists and their setup missions in order for a $1,000,000 bonus.
Loyalty - Play all of the Heists and their setup missions with the same team for a $1,000,000 bonus.
Criminal Mastermind - Play all of the Heists and their setup missions on Hard, in order, with the same team, without any players dying for a massive $10,000,000 bonus.
General Tips For Heists
Get A Vest
As the host of the heist, you have quite a few settings open for you. Before you begin the first set-up, you should select "player saved outfits". Beforehand, it is handy to pick up a heist vest, with is either the black or grey combat vests, as these will significantly boost survivability.
They halve all damage received, regardless where it's coming from, and this effect does not degrade or run out. Use these vests in a heist whenever possible. Granted, they do make you run a tad slower, but you can make up for it with the good old run'n'jump technique. Just keep sprinting and hammer that jump button like there is no tomorrow (be mindful of ledges though, or there really won't be a tomorrow for your character).
Refill Your Supplies
Three things you'll need for a successful heist run is ammo (duh), snacks and armor. What many, many players seem to forget, thus ending up as bloody splats on a wall, is that you can refill and use these from the interaction menu even while in a heist. Now, we're not suggesting you stand around mid-gunfight to fiddle with a menu. While in cover (or if you're the kind of guy that tears toilet paper with one hand, while driving), you can pull up the menu to munch some health back into your system, equip more armor, and to buy more ammunition.
An added bonus is that while you're in cover, running, or driving, you can spam snacks without waiting for the eating animation to play.
In fact, if you don't dally too much, cover is something of a safe haven. Many players aren't mindful of their current status (despite, you know, the bloody red rave show the screen turns into when you're near death...). You should always keep track of your health and armor levels, and if you're running low, get into cover and do what we outlined in the previous paragraph.
Know The Map
Map awareness goes a long way. If you're playing the given heist for the first time, you might feel compelled to follow the path the GPS tells you to, helpfully highlighted with yellow navigation lines. While these certainly won't lead you astray, knowing the map, or simply pulling it up, will allow you to find better routes. Most experienced players have their own preferred routes to follow, and these often yield better results.
Your Team Is Critical
One of the biggest problems that heist teams face is coordination and the fact that one guy's inability will drag the other three down too. If the planets align, a blood moon rises and the tides reverse, you might find a heist team of randoms that actually have enough intelligence between the three of them for you pull off a setup successfully. And you can always invite the same trio back for more.
If you do this, remain patient and give them a few minutes as they might be stuck in a loading screen for a while. The way these invite notifications work, they'll see them even in the loading screen, as it arrives via the PS4 or Xbox interface, not the in-game phone.
Set Yourself To Passive
If the inevitable does happen, and someone bites the dust, you can always retry from the last checkpoint, no need to start the whole thing again. A good precaution is to set yourself to passive before the heist begins, because this way some random player, or god forbid, one of your teammates might gun you down after completion just for the laughs, meaning you lose a good portion of the cash you've worked so hard to
The Armored Kuruma
One of the best "jolly jokers" of doing heists is the obscenely overpowered Armored Kuruma. Sitting in that thing is almost like having a bunker as it takes ages for its armor to be whittled down. If you have a Kuruma, bring it. If someone else has a Kuruma, get in. Seriously, if the Kuruma, pulls up, if it keeps honking, or knocking your feeble mortal vehicle that is anything other than a Kuruma, you get out, and get in the Kuruma.
Of course, no vehicle, no amount of armor, no outfit and no custom route will ever compare to having a group of friends, all with microphones set up, sufficient experience and a capability to cooperate. If you communicate, and know your team, you're likely to succeed.
Put On A Mask
A quick and easy way to lose the cops when you are in a pinch is to equip a mask when the line of sight is broken. The UI indicates whether police can actively see you with solid wanted stars, while flashing wanted stars show that though you are still being pursued, you are hidden. This is the time to conceal your face.