As is with all multiplayer games, some items have fallen far by the wayside in GTA Online to the point that they'll desperately need a buff to be viable again.
Unfortunately, GTA Online doesn't directly buff outdated content to keep up with newer content. Powercreep is real and it isn't necessarily bad, but that doesn't make these unfortunate items any better. This article should still serve as a talking point for how these items might have been good in the past.
Predictably, this list won't include items that do not need a buff. As beautiful as the Oppressor Mk II is to use, it doesn't desperately need a buff. Instead, it will focus on general items within GTA Online that could use a buff of some kind in the scenario that GTA Online did balance patches as other online games tend to do.
Five items that desperately need a buff in GTA Online
#5 - SMGs
For the most part, all SMGs in GTA Online are utterly outclassed by Assault Rifles. While a lot of it does mirror real life, from a gameplay perspective it just means that one whole weapon archetype is mostly worthless by comparison. Headshots generally kill NPCs in one hit, so any weapon can get the job done in close quarters, and SMGs tend to have terrible range at a distance.
It's fine to have weaker weapons, but it would be interesting to buff the SMG archetype in some fashion so it can be used more often. Rockstar could buff up its rate of fire to make it a more noob-friendly weapon that still loses to other weapons in the hands of a skilled player, but there isn't much to do with a weapon class this weak.
#4 - Planes in general
With flying vehicles becoming the norm in GTA Online, there's seldom a reason to use a plane when somebody can fly their bike or car in the air all the same. Considering planes tend to have horrific handling by comparison, it does seem unfortunate that they have become largely obsolete. Even something like the Hydra isn't as powerful as it once was.
However, it's the non-weaponized planes that suffer the most. They're big targets, often have no armor, and are expensive to own. Considering the Hangar is often seen as one of the weakest properties to own, there would have to be some serious buffs to make planes relevant in the modern GTA Online metagame.
#3 - Boats in general
Planes are able to transport a player from one side of the map to the other. By comparison, a boat is a terrible means of transportation. Whereas a plane can travel over a body of water quickly, the boat does it more slowly with no capabilities to survive on land. As far as general vehicles go, boats are arguably the worst in the entire game.
There isn't much content in the ocean, especially since submarines and submersible vehicles like the Toreador can do everything boats can do, only better. Boats aren't able to go underwater, so there's really no reason to own one except for an alternate method for throwing money away in GTA Online. The best kind of buff boats could ever hope for would be for more content taking place in the ocean, which is more likely to happen than anything else on this list.
#2 - Chernobog
A vehicle as large and immobile as the Chernobog shouldn't be so weak defensively. It's a large vehicle, so taking only four direct explosions isn't a great trait to have. Considering many weaponized vehicles can spam a few explosives towards the Chernobog before the Chernobog's driver can react, it's easy to see why this vehicle is often seen as just a novelty to play around with in GTA Online.
The concept of the Chernobog is awesome, but it desperately needs buffs if it's supposed to do the job it was designed for. Its missile capabilities are neat, but having such a large vehicle this slow and vulnerable is practically suicide. Its hefty price of $3,311,700 ($2,490,000 at trade price) doesn't do it much good, either. It's fun to use, but a buff to its defensive capabilities would be the most logical thing for it in GTA Online.
#1 - Rocket Voltic
The Rocket Voltic is a pathetic vehicle for its price. $3,830,400 is way too steep for a vehicle with no weaponization or armor, especially since many weaponized vehicles these days have the ability to fly, submerge underwater, or do something utterly ridiculous. Even $2,880,000 as a trade price is a bit steep for what's essentially a novelty in GTA Online.
The Rocket Voltic wasn't always bad, but it's a prime example of a vehicle that got powercrept hard. Players can't sell their Rocket Voltic either, so they're stuck with a meme vehicle that'll be destroyed by the numerous modern vehicles in a lobby. Boosting is a cool ability, but its competitors are similarly priced, so there's seldom a use for the poor Rocket Voltic. Just giving it armor would be a nice buff most GTA Online fans would appreciate.
Note: This article reflects the writer’s personal views.