Over the course of over three years, Rockstar's massively popular multiplayer game GTA Online has, through a constant stream of free DLC, built up an absolutely massive library of items, vehicles, weapons and properties available for purchase in-game. For new or returning players, the sheer amount of stuff to choose from might feel overwhelming. How are you going sort through it all it find the best items?
As the number of vehicles, weapons, properties and additional items (customization, upgrades, yachts, offices, warehouses, businesses, clubhouses) continuously increases while the price of goods in GTA Online are pretty high (we cover the reason for that here), it is especially important to make sure you buy something you won't regret later.
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Those items that can be sold only return a small percentage of the purchase price, while there are many - especially among the particularly expensive purchases - that cannot be sold back at all. As such, unless they want to lose out on a lot of cash, the discerning player will do some research as to what should be bought while keeping in mind their GTA Online character's bank balance.
Sometimes new players jump into GTA Online by purchasing a Shark Card Bundle, which immediately grants them a larger cash base from which to kick off their criminal career. At other times, players are only now returning to the game after a long hiatus, discovering that they had a lot of money on them when they stopped playing.
We've put together, with the help of online resources, a shopping list containing a number of must-have items, some low-priority but good to have items and finally some items to avoid. Some of these are not available from the get-go, in which case we'll mark when they become unlocked, and we'll list price as well.
These items are crucial for success in GTA Online. You really ought to pick these up as soon as you can, as some missions and scenarios are made significantly more difficult without them. Many of these are unlocked later on as you progress or are rather expensive, but they're definitely worth it.
- Assault Shotgun (Rank 37/$1500) - Possibly the best weapon in the game for close to mid range combat. Necessary if you plan on doing a lot of PvP such as Deathmatches, TDMs, LTSs and various Adversary Modes. This weapon is also a good friend in Freemode, though long-range weapons are preferable.
- Homing Launcher ($75,000) - In a perfect world, this weapon would be seldom used. However, unfortunately we live in a world full of Hydra griefers. While passive mode is a more effective weapon against these bastards, the Homing Launcher is a great choice if you decide to meet them head-on.
- Heavy Sniper (Rank 90/$9500) - In the hands of a moderately skilled player, this weapon becomes the cheese of GTA Online. Basically one-shotting everyone from the chest upwards, the Heavy Sniper will soon become your best friend in this game, especially in Freemode where aggressive self-defense is about as crucial for survival as water and oxygen.
- Special Carbine ($12,832)- The go-to all-rounder of GTA Online. You'll be faced with few situations were this weapon doesn't come in handy, and it really should be the default gun of choice for everyone.
- Armored Kuruma ($525,000)- The "Karuma" as countless players keep erroneously referring to it is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, owning one is handy if you want to succeed at heisting and they make most missions much easier than with any other car. On the other hand, it's overused in Freemode by trolls and the like. You should definitely buy one for utility, but we urge you to consider it like alcohol - consume responsibly and with restraint.
- Insurgent Pickup ($1,350,000)- Armed and armored, the weaponized Insurgent will be a necessity in case you take to doing CEO work, or in case you and your buddies want to police your lobby. As the closest thing to a tank without being a tank (and also being better than the Rhino), the Insurgent is ideal for protecting yourself, your friends, your businesses and for hunting down rowdy players who think the K:D ratio means anything in this game (spoiler alert: it doesn't).
- Savage Attack Helicopter ($1,950,000) - The savage is like combining the Kuruma and the Insurgent while adding the ability to fly. The Savage is great in missions where it is allowed, and it is also a prime tool of vigilante justice and asset protection. It also doubles as a troop transport, and three other characters fit in beyond the pilot. An absolute must-have for CEOs and associates.
- Heavy Combat Outfit - Don't even think about Heisting without this. You'll either be kicked right out by the host or you'll just die constantly.
- Buzzard Attack Chopper ($1,750,000) - This mean vehicle unlocks at Rank 43 and is relatively cheap compared to its vast utility. It makes completing missions in our best money making method guide significantly faster.
- Pegassi Oppressor Mk II ($3,890,000; trade price $2,925,000) - The suped up big brother of the regular Oppressor, this flying jet-engine bike packed with homing missiles is a griefing nightmare, but also your best friend. Like the Buzzard, it significantly decreases the time needed to complete the best missions in the game.
Good to Haves
These items are not absolutely necessary in GTA Online, or they're more intended for higher rank players who have some cash saved up to invest. You shouldn't be running head over heels to buy these items, but you should definitely remember to grab them sooner rather than later.
- X80/Whatever the fastest car is at the moment - Sure, it's pretty expensive for just one car, but if you plan on doing some races - which you should, as the racing scene in GTA Online is really lively - you'll be needing it. Most racers will be rolling with the current fastest car anyway, and you'll have a real hard time scoring wins with a disadvantaged ride.
- CEO Office/Warehouse( Starts at $1,000,000) - As described in our money making guide, running crates as a CEO is one of the best ways to secure a steady stream of income. The payouts are great and the jobs aren't as finicky as running a Heist. While PacStan still has a bigger one-time payout, and setting up a CEO business takes a large investment, in the long run crates will be your best source of income.
- Pisces Yacht ($7,000,000)- I can already see the comments about how players regretted buying their yachts. Well, if you bought the most expensive model, the Aquarius, then I can absolutely understand your regret. That said, the Pisces, which is the mid-range yacht among the three, is actually superior to the Aquarius in spite of being cheaper. Plus, owning a yacht will unlock Piracy Prevention, which isn't only a good source of cash and RP, but it's genuinely fun. That's why you're playing, right?
- Clubhouse/Business - While the lower initial investment required for Businesses saved them the ire CEO offices and warehouses got back when Finance and Felony launched, players were still vocal about their disappointment at not turning an instant profit. However, if you know what you're doing and handle businesses right, they're a great way to generate passive income while you're off running crates. As for the clubhouse, it also doubles as a 10-bike garage, so there's that.
- Vehicles in every class - Some modes and races are locked to certain classes of vehicle, forcing players to use those. If you don't have such a vehicle, you can rent one or you are barred from playing. It doesn't hurt to stock up your garage with rides for every scenario. Being prepared pays off.
These items are less about being better in GTA Online and more about enjoying it more. These won't make you more cash, they won't help you dominate your opponents. However, they might help make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
- Character Customization Items - Though their purely cosmetic, things like clothes, tattoos, accessories and hairstyles will help you make your character truly your own. So much DLC has been released that at this point GTA Online offers more customization than the freaking Sims, so you're guaranteed to find a (or more) outfit and style that you like.
- Preferred Personal Vehicle - Do yourself a favor and when you're choosing which of GTA Online's many cars will be your personal vehicle, don't care about the stats. Try some cars out, get a feel for them, and pick one that drives, handles and looks to your liking. Customize it, upgrade it and cherish it. You'll be a lot less eager to play if you force yourself to use a statistically better ride that you personally don't like in Freemode roaming.
Avoid At All Costs
For the love of god, don't buy these things. They're expensive and you'll be guaranteed to regret them, and you can't sell them back. These items are cash thrown out the window. Just don't.
- Luxor Deluxe - The gold plated jet that costs 10 million but doesn't do anything. You can drink champagne, smoke cigars and access the internet while on-board, but that's it. This is a waste, and a perfect representation of real-world decadence. At least it's realistic in that regard.
- Pretty Much All Pegasus Vehicles - Other than those Pegasus vehicles we listed above, barely any are worth the massive amounts of cash needed to buy them. Some might seem cool on paper, but in practice most of them are pretty useless.
- Aquarius Yacht - As we mentioned above, the Pisces is a great choice, while the more expensive Aquarius is pretty much a waste. It costs 8 million, has fewer customization options than the Pisces and even seems less luxurious - and even the Pisces is a waste of money ultimately. There is no point in buying any Yacht unless you're swimming in GTA$ with absolutely no idea what to do with your extra millions.
What in-game items would you add to this list?