GTA Online often combines fun and frustration; for some players, however, the former is overtaken by the latter.
It's been almost eight years since GTA Online has dominated the video game industry. With a huge player base, Rockstar Games has made record profits since its release. Unfortunately, it's not always sunshine and rainbows for the players. There are several major issues left unresolved in GTA Online.
Whether it's bad players, powercreep, or pay-to-win policies, it can be a stressful experience. The highs are really high, but the lows are lower. As the years go by, it seems like none of these issues are going to be addressed.
Although it's still popular, more than a few players quit when it became too much for them.
Five aspects of GTA Online that are simply the worst
#5 - Rockstar Games can be rather lenient with griefers
The GTA community often jokes that Rockstar Games barely lays a finger on griefers, but will immediately act on hackers giving away free money. The latter makes sense from a business standpoint - Rockstar Games loses money if players don't spend theirs on microtransactions, such as Shark Cards.
However, gameplay suffers when griefers are allowed to do whatever they want. Most GTA players feel like Rockstar Games only does the bare minimum to keep griefers in check. The Bad Sport mechanic does nothing to deter their behavior.
Griefing becomes a problem in GTA Online when players are unable to complete their tasks. For example, trying to drop off an expensive vehicle is nearly impossible in a populated lobby.
Spawn camping and verbally insulting players is a terrible experience that creates a toxic environment.
#4 - Annoying phone calls
One of the most disruptive moments in GTA Online is the constant phone calls. Whether it's Lester Crest, Paige Harris, or Agent 14, they will consistently interrupt players about some recent updates. Even if the player already owns the weapon or vehicle, they will still get notifications about it.
Sometimes players wish they could just turn on silent mode. No one wants to log into the lobby, only for Lester to pester them about MC businesses. These phone calls also happen in the middle of a match between different players.
Worst of all, players will receive texts and emails about these updates. Most players considered Paige to be the worst back in the day. Even if players got the Terrorbyte, she would still ask them about it.
#3 - Lack of weapon balance
With the introduction of futuristic weaponry in the GTA series, it begs an existential question for players. Overpowered vehicles like the Oppressor Mk II already overwhelm players in populated lobbies. The question players ask is whether or not there is a stopping point to these weapons.
GTA Online looks more like Saints Row than it does its own series. It wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for the fact the game is mostly stuck in the past. The map barely updates itself beyond interior locations and Cayo Perico.
It's strange seeing rocket cars and laser guns on a map that was made for 2013.
The lack of balance also leads to a powercreep. In order to survive, players need to use the best of the best weapons and vehicles. However, newer players cannot afford it right away. As a result, they will be torn to shreds unless they buy Shark Cards to catch up.
#2 - Players need to pay-to-win
Microtransactions are always a major point of contention in the video game community. One of the worst aspects of GTA Online is the necessary use of Shark Cards. Most players don't have the patience to grind all day. Instead, they can use real life money to get there faster.
Players can spend their money however they please. Unfortunately, in times of economic uncertainty, not everyone can afford this privilege. GTA Online has become pay-to-win, since the most powerful weapons and vehicles are ridiculously expensive. It's not fair to people who simply want to play the game.
It's bad enough that players will literally beg hackers to give them money. Not that it matters, since Rockstar Games will immediately rollback everything. GTA YouTuber Dark Space said it best:
“GTA should be a game, not a job.”
#1 - There hasn't been a new GTA experience since Online
Back in the day, Rockstar would continuously release a steady lineup of games. It wasn't just GTA titles either; their fine selection of games included Max Payne, Bully, Midnight Club, LA Noire, and Red Dead Redemption.
Since GTA Online, there has been a sharp decrease in newer games from Rockstar. With the exception of Red Dead Redemption 2 and its online mode, the only new content provided is for GTA Online.
There was an attempt at a stealth action game called Agent, but the trademark was abandoned years ago.
Rockstar makes billions from GTA Online alone, which is why they mainly prioritize this one game. However, it comes at the cost of creativity. GTA 5 and Online have been around for almost eight years.
By comparison, Rockstar released ten GTA titles between 2001 and 2010.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.