Ever since the release of the Heists DLC for GTA Online, one particular vehicle had gained a dreaded reputation for being the go-to tool of harassment used by griefers and trolls. The mere sight of the hated Hydra could compel players to hop into another lobby. But, now the age of the deadly fighter jet is over.
The age of the rocket powered, missile-toting motorcycle has dawned.
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For those of you who have joined us since the release of the Gunrunning DLC, the Hydra is a VTOL capable military fighter jet with homing missiles. The missiles are quite powerful, capable of destroying most vehicles with one or two shots and they lock on very quickly. On top of this, the Hydra is fairly hard to take down from the ground.
As an online multiplayer game, GTA Online attracted the standard ratio of bellends who thrive on petty acts which inconvenience their fellow gamer. Collectively known as griefers, these less than savory fellows typically endeavor to repeatedly kill other players who are minding their own business. The Hydra, which is the perfect vehicle for this purpose, became their go-to vehicle and gained a poor reputation for it. Alas, a technically well constructed albeit poorly balanced vehicle became bastardized by the tomfoolery of the wayward.
Players who were fed up with not being able to enjoy the game's content for being dogged by these rascals called on Rockstar to add a viable counter to the Hydra. The vehicle was slightly nerfed in one patch and allegedly, the Homing Launcher released prior to the Heists update was suggested as a counter, however by that time players had already learned how ineffective it is.
Essentially, ever since the March of 2015, GTA Online bore the load of the Hydra with no effective counter. Sure, plenty of players might say that you can "easily snipe through the canopy", but in reality, saying that such a feat is easy is more than just a slight exaggeration.
The standard reaction to griefers was switching lobbies. Often they worked in teams, so trying to get revenge would lead to more deaths and feeding the trolls, with only coordinated efforts being successful in policing lobbies. Crews would set up invite-only lobbies for members, or join public lobbies en-masse and enforce their own rules. The solo player grouped with randoms, however, was mostly defenseless.
Now, this isn't a scenario of true combat. Griefers don't grief because they've mastered flying the Hydra or the game's combat mechanics. They simply sneak up on whatever unsuspecting mook they find and blow them up. It's dirty fighting, and you own aptitude at the game is irrelevant. Skilled players are still susceptible.
However, when the Gunrunning update recently rolled out, everyone thought that the tyranny of the Hydra would be over, and they were right - that said, we should have been more careful about what we wish for.
The Gunrunning DLC added a whole suite of weaponized vehicles to GTA Online, some of which were existing vehicles that had a few guns strapped to them, while others were entirely new machines. Among them was the Anti-Aircraft trailer which was something many fans hoped would be the community's deliverance.
Instead, the AA trailer ended up falling short of expectations, being rather vulnerable. That said, the Hydra was toppled from its throne of being the king grief machine. Some who haven't got with the times will still use it, but Gunrunning added a whole new vehicle perfect for harassing players: the Oppressor.
The bike - yes, bike - is named in such a way that would suggest the developers knew what it will be used for, which makes its inclusion even worse. Did Rockstar do this on purpose!? Anyway, the Oppressor is a rocket-powered flying bike. While the Rocket Voltic was a car which could boost its speed and jump off ramps with a jet engine, the Oppressor has wings too, meaning it can actually, properly, fly.
What's so bad about a flying motorcycle? All the drivers can do is perform kamikaze attacks, right?
Wrong. The base model is equipped with fairly harmless machine guns, which isn't an issue either, however they can be upgraded to freaking homing missiles. This gives us a flying bike with a much smaller profile than a Hydra, with a higher speed than the Hydra, and the same weapons as the Hydra. Bollocks.
Comparatively, the only downside of the Oppressor compared to the Hydra is lack of armor and protection, but good luck getting in enough good shots before it kills you. Small and quick, the Oppressor is almost impossible to hit with explosive weapons, even with the Homing Launcher. Sniping the driver off the bike should be easier due to more of the player character being exposed, but its speed still makes that hard unless it's coming straight at you - in which case you're probably already dead.
Instead of solving the issue of Hydra griefing, the new DLC just transformed it into another flavor of griefing. So what can players do against the Oppressor? The same as the Hydra mostly: switch lobbies, join crews, play with friends. Just remember not to barrage the griefers with expletives, because that is what they want.
Who knows, maybe we'll get a good Oppressor and Hydra countering weapon or vehicle in the next major update?