With barely a toenail into 2017, there really is no telling how this year will turn out. While we have a few predictions regarding what changes will come to GTA Online, we also have a few fears about what might go wrong in the near future. And while some of these are unlikely, them happening would have severe negative effects on the game.
Looking back, 2016 was a strong year for GTA Online and there is no reason to think that 2017 won’t be even stronger. Rockstar has bold plans for the game’s future and if they want to keep it relevant in its fourth year, especially when competing with the release of Red Dead Redemption 2, the developers will need to bring their strongest DLC game to date.
Hackers might return
Nothing is unhackable. While 2016 saw the rapidly deteriorating hacker crisis on PC resolved almost entirely, it is entirely possible that a new way to circumvent Rockstar’s anti-cheat systems will be discovered. Hackers are luckily a truly rare sight these days, whereas mere months ago there were usually several in each lobby.
The hacking “business” was massive in GTA Online. While there were only very few actual hackers who knew a thing or two about programming, thousands of script-kiddies bought modded accounts or mod-menus to be loaded into the game, allowing them to do all kinds of irregular acts like drop cash, insta-kill anyone, spawn props, crash games and become invincible.
The worst stage of the hacking crisis was when the insurance fraud hack became widespread, actively robbing players of in-game money they might have paid for with actual cash. While the current situation is fortunate, we fear the day when we will have to report on the return of the hackers.
A DLC drought
In early 2016, around the time Lowriders: Custom Classics was released, GTA Online fell ill. It was an odd sickness, one which impaired the game’s ability to bring new content to the table beyond a whole month of nothing but a new lowrider each week. There were no major DLCs before the cure of Further Adventures in Finance and Felony was administered.
This DLC drought was only made bearable by the occasional Adversary Mode and the week-long events. Granted, based on how video game development cycles work, if RDR2 is being released this autumn, then it was about that time that the crunch began to wrap up development. While Rockstar has multiple studios meaning that the manpower for proper GTA Online content support was there, chances are some of the folks from North jumped in to help the RDR2 team, not to mention funds were likely reallocated.
Since RDR2 is the only new project brewing over at Rockstar, as far as we know, there is not much chance that this will happen again, but the possibility is there that in spite of the intent of keeping GTA Online popular and relevant, Rockstar will want to improve on RDR2’s exposure by winding things down in Los Santos for a month or two around release.
DLC could get even more expensive
While in the end, when played right, the missions in Import/Export provide for good enough of an income source to turn a profit relatively quickly, the prices of the various bits of content in the update did make many players do a double-take. On its own it isn’t much of an issue, however the initial scare did remind players that things could get out of hand in the future.
With Shark Cards having given the in-game cash a clear real-world monetary value, the cost of getting everything in Import/Export is rather hefty. Comparing things to the most price-efficient Card, the Megalodon, means that every 8 million is worth $100. Since you can almost spend twice that just on I/E content, it’s understandable that players were a bit riled up, especially considering it takes a good long time to earn that much cash, even when using guides.
If prices are hiked up even further in future updates, players will start having genuine reason to get riled up. If everyone will have to endlessly grind the same few jobs that pay out best just to enjoy the new content, the game will start feeling more like a chore, losing any sense of fun.
Bikers was a good example of how to balance prices. Much of the content was relatively cheap, allowing for players to jump in easily, while there were a few bits of high-end content that came with a heftier price tag. The problem with Import/Export wasn’t that it had high prices, but rather that all of its prices were high, meaning that newer players couldn’t even get a taste of the content.
What are your biggest concerns about GTA Online in the new year?
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