On the 12th of June, Grand Theft Auto Online underwent scheduled maintenance. While planned to be a routine procedure, something went wrong.
A high number of players logged in afterwards to find their rank reset, items missing, money gone and progress rolled back or wiped completely. Since then, however, it looks like has Rockstar solved the issue, restored progress and given players an apology gift.
Initial reports of the bug causing progress loss appeared on GTA Online community sites practically right after the scheduled maintenance was over.
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The exact circumstances of the cases varied, but they all shared the fact that in some manner, progress was rolled back. Some people's characters were bumped back to a lower rank or even rank 1. Others lost vehicles and apartments. Some lost money or research progress. Any combination of these affected countless players.
Naturally, all those affected were in an uproar.
GTA Online fans can be rather vocal and emotional, even among gamers, when something like this happens. Reddit posts, support tickets and Tweets about the issue flooded the web - some less... polite than others. After two days, Rockstar stated on their support page that the bug was known and the team was working on a solution.
Today, several reports have appeared that the issue has been resolved. Based on one screenshot, the game's loading screen splash informed players that their accounts have been restored to their status from before the bug wiped progress.
Additionally, a bonus of GTA$ 2,000,000 has been deposited in the Maze Bank accounts of those players affected as an apology.
We've also heard of open Support tickets being updated with a notification of account restoration. In these cases, the support message didn't detail that 2 million bonus, but we're guessing that this 'apology' bonus is universal nonetheless.
A third category is players reporting a restoration of their progress without any notification - just because your Support ticket wasn't updated doesn't mean your progress hasn't been restored. It's worth checking GTA Online if you haven't already.
Following reports of the items, progress and money going missing after the maintenance, a slice of the community assumed that the players affected were using cheats and hacks in GTA Online, and the maintenance simply allowed the penalties to be rolled-out en masse.
In some cases people reporting the bug on Reddit were outright dogpiled by accusations of hacking. Luckily, this turn of events and pictorial proof of Rockstar acknowledging the bug vindicates those affected.
GTA Online uses a peer-to-peer server architecture, something which isn't frequently used in major AAA multiplayer productions.
Peer-to-peer is a cheaper solution suited to low-traffic games and was chosen because during development Rockstar didn't assume Online would be a run away successful mode. This peer-to-peer server model being stressed by GTA Online's colossal player counts has led to an uncharacteristically high amount of bugs and issues affecting player accounts, while also making the game vulnerable to hacking.
Hopefully these issues coupled with the explosive success of GTA Online will spur Rockstar to invest in dedicated servers for Red Dead Redemption 2 and whatever is next for the GTA series.