The final days of 2016 are slowly trickling away and the gaming press is abuzz with all kinds of end-of-year awards and nominations. Rockstar is closing a strong year for GTA Online, which saw many sales, updates, and changes to the game. While many of these changes were positive – about which you can read here – some weren’t as well received. 2016 being a horrible year has become something of a meme on the internet and some events in GTA Online fit this theme pretty well.
Luckily, the good aspects outweigh the bad, but Rockstar had a few fights on their hands this past year and they didn’t get around to hammering out some of the issues that began to show on their three-year-old multiplayer title. Here’s hoping the issues in this list will be addressed sometime next year!
While the DLC model for GTA Online fell into place near the tail end of the year starting with Further Adventures in Finance and Felony, Rockstar had a few stumbles earlier in 2016. Even though the main Lowriders update was long released in 2015, the devs were still trying to ride that wave into 2016. In April, we got a version of the current “major update first, minor additions after” model with the whole major update part cut out. Custom Classics and the standalone lowrider vehicles were pretty much all we got by way of DLC for more than a month. Sure, it was free and we should be thankful for free DLC, but after Rockstar got the community hooked on major updates beforehand, it was hardly enough to keep people hooked. While the April Lowrider season was a concrete anchor of this, there was a longer DLC drought around that time too.
Why this sucked: The community had to go months without any kind of proper DLC.
Weapon Management Only Half Solved
While GTA Online has been pretty much universally praised by players and critics alike, if there’s one design criticism that always came back, it’s the weapon wheel. The method used to select weapons is a hot mess of inconvenience, as our character will always be carrying all the weapons we’ve ever bought. While the weapon wheel is neatly separated into categories, we need to scroll through each weapon within a given category each time we’re looking for a specific model. When you have dozens of pistols and assault rifles, this just gets tedious, and there is no “favorite” system that defaults on a weapon of your choice. The issue was partially solved by the weapon locker introduced in Further Adventures in Finance and Felony, however, the locker only works while doing CEO missions or in Freemode. The moment you get into a different job or heist, all of your guns are dumped back into your pocket. Plus, this should be a basic feature in the game, not a bonus to be bought.
Why this sucked: We still can’t customize loadouts in heists and jobs.
The Banshee 900R Bug
Sure, eventually the bug was fixed, briefly turning the fully upgraded Banshee 900R into the fastest car of the game. But while the error was around, this otherwise cool car was relegated to being nothing more than a showpiece. With the speed at which (no pun intended) the current fastest car in the game is changed, the time any vehicle spends in this prized position is short anyway. Thanks to the bug that caused the upgraded Banshee to be slower than the stock version, we had even less time to enjoy the Banshee while it was top dog than usual. It was overtaken after a very brief stint as fastest car, and knowing that this was caused by a bug added insult to injury. At least it still looks good, right?
Why this sucked: An otherwise neat car was deprived of its chance to shine.
Lack of Halloween DLC
Remember the Halloween surprise of 2015? Not only did it add quite a few character customization items, with masks at the forefront, but it also brought two slick rides to the game – the Franken Strange and the Lurcher – as well as one of the best Adversary Modes the game has ever seen, Slasher. After such a strong Halloween lineup last year, we expected Halloween 2016 to be even more extravagant in GTA Online. So what did we get? Well, we got a kind of crap and expensive bike with a skull on it. That’s it. That’s all the new content we saw for Halloween. Well, that, and a re-run of last year’s content with a double RP and cash promo slapped on Slasher.
Why this sucked: Considering how cool the Halloween Surprise was last year, such a low effort commemoration this year was a major letdown.
High Prices In Import/Export
The DLC itself is pretty awesome, having added a number of features – character re-customization included – to the game, while also bringing GTA Online back to its roots by focusing once again on the theft of autos. However, Import/Export also has a bit of a drawback – the insane prices. Simply getting started with the new content requires a minimum investment of one and a half million, and all of the special vehicles cost multiple millions even with discounts. The special executive garages, fully upgraded, also go into multiple millions. Considering that $100 will get you a Shark Card worth $GTA 8 million in-game, that means that fully appreciating the new content in Import/Export costs more than the game itself in terms of real money… And then you’ve only bought one or two of the 8 special vehicles, and still have other content unpurchased.
Why this sucked: Players who have neither much free time nor the disposable income for Shark Cards can’t really enjoy the DLC at all.
No Solution For Griefers
GTA Online has a serious griefer problem, and while the hackers have been dealt with, the annoying little backbirths using Hydras to shit on everyone are still around. Rockstar attempted to address foul play previously with the new Ghosting feature, intended to prevent repeated spawn kills and the like, however, it’s hardly the kind of griefer deterrent players have been looking for. Sure, getting harrowed in Freemode while faffing about is just a minor inconvenience, but when griefers go after your valuable shipment of CEO crates, causing hundreds of thousands in damages, we have a serious problem. Going vigilante on their asses usually works, but sometimes provoking them will just exasperate the problem.
Why this sucked: Asshole players continue to exploit game mechanics to ruin the fun of others.
The Insurance Fraud Hack Crippled The Game For Days
While 2016 was the year that the hacking problem on PC was finally solved, it was also the year when the hacking problem was at its worst before being solved. The biggest hit the community took was the insurance fraud hack, which, when used, automatically destroyed the personal vehicles of the hacker while fooling the game into thinking that other players did the destroying. As such, innocent players were being hit by repeated insurance fees, draining hundreds of thousands or even millions from in-game wallets in moments, while also adding bad sport points. The issue got out of hand so quickly that Rockstar had to deactivate the insurance and bad sport systems before coming up with a permanent fix.
Why this sucked: Players lost actual cash in-game, potentially losing real money due to microtransactions being a thing.
Yet Another Year Passes Without Story DLC
At this point Story DLC is basically guaranteed never to happen for GTA 5. We’ve fleshed out the topic multiple times, but in the end, it comes down to profitability and investment. Making GTA Online updates is cheaper and generates more revenue than Story DLC ever would, which is why we’ll probably never get any further updates for the singleplayer mode of the game.
Why this sucked: We’ve been waiting for Story DLC for years. Seems like the wait will never end.
Which were your biggest disappointments in GTA Online this past year?
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