Rockstar sure knows how to bring about the holiday spirit in GTA Online and this year they're doing it with more than just flipping the snow switch.
They've been stringing up all kinds of fantastic surprises this December, starting with The Doomsday Heist and followed by the double-car DLC release alongside the snowfall. Now, they've topped it all by helping players enjoy all of this without the interference of hackers.
Reports have sprung up on GTA community sites about a major band wave hitting the PC player base, however it's reasonable to assume that the console populations have been... "culled" as well. While the hacker situation is hardly as bad as it was back in 2016 and early 2017, they're still somewhat common under normal circumstances.
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Ban waves are always an effective way to root them out, though only temporarily. Whenever such a mass ban happens, the servers are a lot cleaner for a few days until the hackers start trickling back in, and they usually return in full force after a few weeks, but nonetheless legitimate players are given brief respite.
For newer players - because there is always newer players - the permanence of the hacker problem in GTA Online can be puzzling. However it is caused by an underlying issue in the game's framework which essentially makes it impossible to properly solve. So until we get the next GTA game with its own Online mode that doesn't use peer-to-peer server architecture, this will in all likelihood persist. Hopefully Rockstar has learned from this and will give Red Dead Online its own dedicated in-house servers.
In case this still isn't enough, players logging in today will unlock their special holiday gift package of in-game items. This little present includes an all-new Odious Krampus mask, which looks like it would feel right at home during Halloween as well, a Fireworks launcher, 10 rockets for the said launcher and a randomly rolled exclusive in-game shirt, pulled from the pool of timed log-in rewards over the years.
Rockstar still has stuff lined up for the remainder of 2017 in the face of additional weekly DLC releases including the usual car-a-week. Even once the snow dries up once, it will return for an encore during New Year's. In the meantime, happy holidays to all GTA Online players!