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Is GTA Online Freemode any fun in 2021?

(Image via Rockstar Games)
(Image via Rockstar Games)
Rahul Bhushan
ANALYST
Modified 27 Apr 2021
Feature

Anyone who has owned a copy of GTA 5, maybe just out of plain curiosity, has tried playing Online at least once. Their first time on the game starts off quite well, with them having a rather charming experience with an extremely in-depth character customization suite.

Once the player is ready and hopefully having completed the tutorial, the open-world of Los Santos and Blaine County become available right off the bat. The joy of complete freedom and non-linear progression in GTA Online is quickly eclipsed by an oncoming missile that destroys the player to bits.

After dusting themselves off, they try and make their way to Ammu-Nation to perhaps gear up for battle. But before they can even come close to opening a car door, they are hit with another missile as a flying hoverbike screams past them.

They then turn off the game and vow to never play it again. This is quite often the case with most players trying out GTA Online, but if they can stick around for a bit longer, the game is much more than a toxic wasteland.

Is GTA Online Freemode any fun in 2021?

GTA Online has developed somewhat of a bad reputation amongst online multiplayer enthusiasts purely because of players that are termed "griefers". Essentially, these are players whose sole purpose in the game is to destroy other players' experience of the game and waste their time.

These activities include disrupting and intervening during heist setups, missions, and a variety of other activities in GTA Online. In some instances, griefers interfere during important heist setups that raises the challenge level of the mission in a way that is wholly unprecedented.

While that is troublesome, the solution is to play heist setups and other contact missions in Closed Sessions or Solo Lobbies. However, in the case of Cargo or Resupply runs, they are unavoidable, as they must be completed in public lobbies.

This is often where lines get blurred as the game makes it a point to broadcast the player's location to everyone. GTA Online is designed to let other players have a go at people resupplying products or selling product, so as to increase the level of challenge.

At that point, those players aren't griefers anymore. They are simply playing the game the way it is meant to be played, and all in the name of fair competition.

The opportunity for kindness

While there are plenty of griefers about, there are many players simply roaming about Los Santos willing to lend a hand. They can often help out in carrying cargo or product, and even getting rid of griefers.

Players have had experiences where a random player came up to them and helped out with missions and even developed a friendship with them. This kind of stuff is also commonplace in GTA Online, which is what makes the game so special.

Because underneath all the wanton violence and chaos, there is an opportunity for players to develop organic friendships and help each other out. Quite often, players might even get into friendly competition in races and deathmatches, making GTA Online one of the best places to hang out.

Friends and crew can jump into a session to go hiking, skydiving or drift around at the airstrip. The possibilities are endless. Plus, during the time of the pandemic, GTA Online became quite a hotspot for friends to hang out virtually and share moments together.

The modder issue

While on consoles, the biggest problem affecting Freemode remains the griefer presence, on PC, there is a far bigger threat. Modders and cheat services have been able to exploit the game's systems to gain unfair advantages such as God Mode or Unlimited Money.

This has even led to a major privacy risk, which is something many popular streamers have spoken about at length. Cheating issues tend to ruin Freemode for players to the extent that they cannot enjoy the game anymore.

If the game is to survive yet another console generation, then Rockstar has a lot of work to do when it comes to PC. Since the PC market is still pretty large for GTA Online, it should be a priority for the studio to fix many of these issues.

Published 27 Apr 2021
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