In theory, GTA Online's free mode should be the chaotic, online multiplayer paradise that it looks like on paper, but the reality is quite different.
The biggest sell of GTA Online, by far, is the fantastic free mode that essentially takes everything players love about the open-world chaos in single-player mode and gives it a multiplayer spin.
The idea was first explored in GTA 4's version of Online to relatively moderate success, and was earlier explored by modders with GTA San Andreas MP. However, as a game grows, it must introduce new weaponry, items, vehicles, and other content forms.
This is what GTA Online did, with the introduction of bigger, more powerful items that outclass previous ones by quite a large margin. However, power is often exploited for all the wrong reasons, giving birth to a significant GTA Online problem: Griefing.
How bad is GTA Online's griefer problem in 2021?
What is a griefer?
To truly understand what a griefer is, fans need only play GTA Online for a couple of hours in free mode. Colloquially, the term is used to describe players whose sole purpose in the game is to not only disrupt, but effectively, ruin the game experience for others in the session.
Typically, a griefer will spot another player trying to complete an objective or simply go about on their own business and will make it their life's goal to bombard them with missiles.
While that has to be annoying, players can always fight back. A true griefer reveals themselves when they enable passive mode or use other trickery to make themselves impervious to damage in GTA Online.
Modders, cheaters, and hackers have been able to use cheats such as enabling God Mode in GTA Online, but that hopefully will come to an end with Rockstar Games ramping up its anti-cheat service.
However, there is a very fine line between griefing and healthy competition as free mode is designed with the purpose of threat from other players.
It is when opponents are needlessly destroying parked Personal Vehicles and Aircrafts that it truly devolves into griefing territory.
How bad is it in 2021?
On a list of problems that currently plague GTA Online in 2021, the griefer probably doesn't rank as highly as others, such as modders and privacy issues. Over time, players have found ways to combat griefers and develop a solid set of counters and workarounds to the problem.
Businesses are often now run in private sessions in GTA Online, where players can grind solo and make a ton of profit without griefers' threat. However, the security concerns brought on by modding and cheating take precedence over griefing and bad behavior.
Rockstar's Bad Sport lobbies are generally an excellent way to ensure that griefers are separated from the herd. At worst, griefers can cause players to quit the game or switch to a private lobby.
However, security and privacy issues will give GTA Online an awful rep and cause a major fallout with the fans. Therefore, while the griefer issue remains a problem, it is not as monumental as some other issues currently plaguing GTA Online.