Feature Article

Five Tips to Get You Started in GTA Online

Because wanton mayhem is always more fun with friends.

If you've been spending time in Los Santos over the past two weeks, you've probably become accustomed to the finer workings of Grand Theft Auto V. Good thing, too. The layout of the gameworld, the relative strengths of each weapon--all of that knowledge will come in handy when Rockstar flips the switch on GTA Online. But if you want to maximize your multiplayer success, there are a few concepts unique to GTA Online that you'll want to keep firmly in mind.

Familiarize yourself with the interaction menu

Because you're sharing the world with 15 other players, hitting the pause button in GTA Online doesn't actually pause anything. So if you pull open the overworld map while doing a buck-twenty down the freeway, you're pretty much asking for a nasty accident. Fortunately, Rockstar has a solution for this in the form of the interaction menu.

Hold select or back, and you'll get a little menu in the upper left that lets you create a quick GPS route toward common destinations such as Ammu-Nation, Los Santos Customs, and convenience stores (a great source for early-game cash). It's a handy system that lets you navigate toward specific locations quickly and easily, without ever giving up control of your vehicle or character. The interaction menu can be used for other things, like managing your inventory, but its most useful trait is quick and painless GPS routing.

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Don't carry too much cash

While there is an entire leveling and stat system in GTA Online, let's be honest: cash is where the real progression happens. The more money you earn, the more properties and vehicles you can buy. That's why you may find yourself tempted to keep all that cash on you when you run around, a constant reminder of just how wealthy you've become.

Here's why that's a bad idea: you lose a significant portion of your cash when you get killed. Literally. It falls to the ground, just waiting to get snatched up by the very person responsible for your death. So do yourself a favor and stash your money away in your bank account. The ATM is your friend.

Don't turn your back on an angry shopkeeper

Early into GTA Online, one of the best ways to earn a bit of quick cash is to hold up convenience stores. Walk inside, pull out your gun, and wait for the cashier to empty out the register. Whether you shout vulgarities into your headset to speed him up is entirely your call.

While there is an entire leveling and stat system in GTA Online, let's be honest: cash is where the real progression happens.

But the score's not over when you grab the cash. These cashiers tend to pack heat and a profound sense of vengeance, so if you turn your back on them while running to the door, there's a good chance you'll get yourself killed before you even make it outside. Instead, be sure to keep your gun on the cashier as you grab the money and back out the door without ever taking your eyes off him. You could also just off the cashier the moment he hands over the cash, but that will earn you a three-star wanted level instead of the two stars you'd normally get for holding up one of these stores.

Nice guys don't always finish last

If you're struggling to earn cash early in your GTA Online career, you may find yourself tempted to begin killing other players on sight just so you can loot their dead bodies. But GTA Online will reward you for your good behavior in the form of regular cash payments. It may not earn you as much money as straight-up murdering strangers, but it's at least a consistent form of income. And there's one other benefit, too: you won't earn yourself a "bad sport" reputation. Rockstar has built a matchmaking system that makes sure jerks are matched up with other jerks, effectively banishing the worst offenders to a murderous wasteland of their own creation. Suddenly those good-behavior rewards sound pretty nice.

If you need a break, turn on passive mode

Even with the bad-sport system, you'll still run into violent jerks. It's inevitable. So if you want to spare yourself the headache of dealing with these rotten apples, or just want to sit and enjoy a nice sunset on the pier, pull open the interaction menu and enable passive mode. This feature makes you invincible to enemy gunfire so long as your own gun remains holstered. Start firing retaliation shots, and passive mode will turn itself off. Essentially, it works for as long as you're willing to resist the urge to fight back. It's a nice way to just soak up the world and avoid any confrontation. It's also handy if you need to step away from the controller for a minute. Just make sure you've got enough spare change to afford the $100 price tag required to enable passive mode.

Hopefully these tips will give you a little bit of a leg up when you're first getting started in GTA Online. If you've got any advice of your own, be sure to leave a comment below.

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