GTA Online New/Returning Player’s Guide

Whether you’re entirely new to GTA Online, or a player who only just now upgraded to a current-gen edition, or maybe someone who has only ever played single player up until this point, jumping into the multiplayer portion of the game might seem intimidating. We’re here to help.

Due to its popularity, there is a lot of info floating around the web regarding GTA Online that’s more or less entered public knowledge. It must be said that some of these bits of info are misconceptions, occasionally fueled by the overzealousness of the community when it comes to complaining.

However, don’t let that put you off. GTA Online is popular, and gaining popularity, for a reason. It’s one of the most polished multiplayer experiences available today, with a massive amount of content to explore and many different ways to interact with your fellow players.

GTA Online has enjoyed constant content support in the form of free DLC packs adding tons of new content to the game since launch. Today, Online looks and plays a whole lot different than it did back when it first launched in 2013. As the game recently celebrated its third anniversary, all that new content has been adding up, greatly expanding Online beyond its original scope.

This really isn’t an issue for long-time players, since they’re learned the ropes quite a while ago, meaning that with each new DLC, they just need to get a hang of the new content. On the other hand, new or returning players have a lot – and we do mean a lot – to catch up on.

There’s contact missions, Freemode Events and races. There are also stunt races, but those aren’t like races. There are also PvP jobs like deathmatches and last team standing, but these aren’t missions. You also have heists which stand apart, as well as side activities such as vehicle exports and crates. Oh, don’t forget about Adversary Modes either, or various contextual side activities. Did we mention you can rob stores, and there are bounties?

Well, yeah, it’s easy to understand why a new player might be a bit overwhelming – but worry not, for this guide is here to get you started with the game.

First things first, don’t worry too much. GTA Online doesn’t exactly have any major pitfalls, so it’s not like you can cock things up early on to such a degree that your character becomes unsalvageable. Or, to any degree, really. Every way to play is the correct way, but some ways are correct-er.

When kicking things off, feel free to just mess around and get a sense of the game, especially if you’re unfamiliar with GTA V as a whole and still need to get your bearings on the controls and whatnot. There isn’t a lot of guidance we can provide for the absolute beginning of the game since you won’t need it. In-game tutorials and prompts hold your hand for a while, and after that you’re still so low rank that not much is accessible at all.

A bit later on however, more and more of the world opens up, with more and more activities to do and items to buy. What cars should you get first? Which weapons are best? What missions should you do?

Your First Cars

The first two rides you should get into your garage are the free Elegy, which is a great starting vehicle and a solid all-rounder in terms of role, as well as an Armored Kuruma as soon as you can afford it. You need to finish the Fleeca Job heist at least once to unlock it, and it costs GTA$ 525,000, meaning this will be your first major milestone to strive towards.

Before you get the Kuruma, the Elegy will do nicely, however the armored car is essential for soloing missions later on effectively and efficiently. Kurumas are quick, good off-road and the armored variant will keep you alive in pretty much all PvE encounters. This thing is a workhorse, and we suggest treating it as such. Using it in freemode will likely draw some unwanted attention, as the vehicle has a reputation for being a “douche mobile” due to the unruly behavior of many who use it outside of missions.

The Armored Kuruma will also be essential for running the Pacific Standard heist later on, which will likely comprise your main source of income for a period at one point or other.

Beyond these two cars, it’s highly recommended to get a Zentorno, especially if you go racing. This is another frequently used vehicle, and with good reason. It’s pretty great all around in terms of performance, and in the hands of a good driver, can be used to win races even against statistically superior cars. That said, for the love of god, please don’t paint it chrome.

Get a job

In GTA Online, money is everything. It’s also notoriously hard to make, and pretty time consuming in relation to most other MMOs. Of course, the easy way out is to buy Shark Cards, but not everyone can afford them, or maybe some players are conceptually opposed to the practice. In this case, you’ll do yourself a favor if you play smart from day one.

Many people tell horror stories about the dreaded “grind” in GTA Online, however if done right, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by getting an early start. While the more recent DLCs might seem “off limits” to new players since they’re new and presumably end-game content, there is no need to fall into this trap.

In fact, we highly suggest getting in on the businesses from Bikers as soon as possible. Stealing supplies means they have low upkeep, however they are a great source of semi-passive income. So long as you keep the supplies stocked, the business will continue to generate cash on its own.

If you kick off your business early on, by the time you reach the point where it makes sense to start doing CEO activities such as running crates and exporting cars, you’ll have enough cash accumulated that the initial investments won’t be an issue.

Don’t neglect smaller missions

You might think that since Heists and businesses and CEO work is where the big money’s at that nothing else is worth doing, but you’d be wrong. Contact missions especially help to collect some starting capital, as well as teach you the finer intricacies of the gameplay.

Adversary Modes shouldn’t be ignored either. While they didn’t use to be popular, nor particularly rewarding, recent additions to the lineup tick both of those boxes. They’re fun, there are plenty of players and they pay damn well. Good examples are Deadline and Vehicle Vendetta.

You should always keep an eye out for whatever jobs are part of each week’s on-going double RP and Cash promotion to maximize your gains. For more money making tips, refer to our extensive in-depth guide on the matter.

Don’t forget RP

It’s easy to think that money is all that matters in GTA Online, but this assumption would be wrong. Until you hit the soft-cap for rank, you’ll constantly be unlocking new items or perks. You might have noted how, in spite of mentioning weapons in the opening, we didn’t touch on the matter yet.

The simple reason for this is that they aren’t something you should worry about for a while. It’s pretty simple, if a new gun has better stats, get it. There really isn’t too much difference between gun and gun in GTA Online, however there are two you will definitely need to grab the moment they become available: the heavy sniper and homing launcher.

Both of these weapons are unlocked upon reaching a certain level, with the heavy sniper having a pretty high rank requirement. You’ll be gaining quite a bit of RP from regular gameplay, and if you lean on earning lots of cash, the RP will flow as well, however nonetheless, you ought to look through our RP guide as well while you’re at it.

What part of GTA Online do you find most intimidating as a new player?

Aron Gerencser
Aron is responsible for the bulk of the news posts that you’ll find on GTA BOOM each and every day. He loves getting involved with the community and is an avid fan of all things Rockstar Games. When not covering GTA news, playing an RPG or anything sci-fi related, Aron spends his time working on his novel.


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