Only three weeks ago the GTA V Online issues began. Remember those days? When gamers were clogging servers with record-setting numbers and there was lag and boots for all? Soon after, characters were getting deleted and many a near-heart attack was had waiting for that MUTHAF-----NG tutorial race to begin. Be patient, Rockstar assured us, the game is in ongoing development. The demand is unprecedented, but we're working round the clock and talking to fans through the Rockstar Support Twitter and Rockstar Newswire page.
And now that the latest has patch mopped up most of the GTA V Online issues mess fans are discovering a whole new set of headaches. Rockstar is ruining the game they worked so hard to let us into. There have been a series of changes in the latest patch that have perpetrated a game-wide pussification designed to make it accessible for crybaby douchebags and not the real online gamers who know that jerks and losses are part of what community gaming so much fun.
I first learned about being a-raped by other gamers in Ultima Online. UO let players kill each other without consequence, except for an ever-growing bounty board that was essentially a ranking system for the game's most dangerous individuals. If you had nice stuff and took it with you beyond the safety of town someone could kill you and take it. You had to be careful with your valuables. It was simple. Brutal. Thrilling.
Most online gamers learn to deal with people beating them on a regular basis. And, by rite of passage, most online gamers learn to beat people when they get good enough. It's part of what makes playing against other people so much fun. It feels like a real win. And that feeling is being sucked out of GTA Online thanks to the new "Bad Sport" rules.
In the latest patch aimed at fixing the GTA V Online issues Rockstar has taken some nanny-state steps into the multiplayer world of Los Santos. Personal vehicles, a great feature in the game, are being overprotected by a new rule that charges players cash for destroying them as well as branding the player a "Bad Sport" and isolating them from friends and crew members.
This is absurd. The game is called Grand Theft Auto. It's not Happy Fun Town Car Parade. Losing a vehicle to theft or vandalism is something every single player would expect to have happen to them in the game. And Rockstar already installed another great feature to counter the loss: insurance. For roughly $1,000 you can get your personal vehicle restored. To illustrate how long it takes to earn $1,000 in GTA V, you could've earned $3,000 before finishing this sentence. It's a minor annoyance at worst and it used to be a great way to mess with your friends.
Now the "Bad Sport" system puts a dunce cap on you if you do it too much (and by too much it's something like 3 times in a day) regardless of the context. Destroy a friend's car too many times as a goof? Bad Sport. Kill some jackass who's been trying to run you over for the last half-hour? Bad Sport. Then it isolates you from friends and crew members and palces you in "Bad Sports" only games. It's poorly conceived, poorly executed and caters to the kind of fans who won't be playing GTA Online very long. Angry fans have already started a petition to have it removed.
But the GTA V Online issues don't stop there.
A recent announcement about the latest patch on the Rockstar Newswire declared that "players now only lose a maximum of 500 GTA$ upon death in Freemode." The system used to be that if you carried too much cash it could be taken by someone who killed you. So after pussifying the "Auto" in the title, Rockstar has now decided to mess with "Theft." Again, this was a system that gave players plenty of ways to protect your cash. You could deposit it in an in-game ATM, which could be located with a waypoint. You could even deposit cash straight from your in-game cell phone. It was even possible to become invulnerable to bullets with Passive Mode enabled.
Did we really need more protection? No. All it takes is one or two robberies to teach players the lesson and that's that. There's no point in making permanent changes to teach a lesson learned in the first few hours of gameplay. But crybabies get candy, as the saying goes. And Rockstar is giving it to them with all these safe play rules.
Meanwhile, in-game money is where a lot of the recent GTA V online issues continue to be. The recent patch also announced that players would no longer be able to replay missions and earn the same amount of cash. Because I guess it's better to punish people who want to earn their own money than it is to have them wait for you handout. Rockstar has been vocal about all the easy money coming our way, but it's been over two weeks since the GTA $timulus was "coming early next week" so I think fans should be forgiven for being impatient. And there's no word on when the microtransactions will become available and, frankly, after a free $500k from Rockstar I can't imagine needing one.
I rant because I care. I've had a lot of fun playing GTA Online with my friends the past few weeks and I'd like to continue to be able to play the game I paid for. I want to screw with and be screwed by other players in the game. It's fun to troll. It's fun defeating trolls. It's fun to play invite-only maps alone. Rockstar already had a nice balance of features for players who wanted order and those who wanted chaos. They need to focus on giving us the GTA $timulus and getting the hell out of the way.
Let Los Santos figure out how to deal with Los Santos.