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GTA: Online and inefficient communication

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I recently got back into GTA: Online after a slew of updates and joining an official crew of a forum I frequent. I’ve enjoyed myself so far, getting frustrated every now and then with griefers and the like. But a change of play style came when I realised that no one has any idea of people’s intentions in-game. You can’t trust anyone you come across, because its just easier (and subsequently more fun) to kill each other on sight. It made me realise there are real benefits to ineffective communication in an MMO.

In a similar vein to DayZ or Rust, GTA: Online has means of communication. You can text players a message on the in game phone (or via the PS3 messaging tab). Or you can directly call and voice chat, or just scream expletives into a microphone or blast distorted music. Typing with the PS3 controller is painfully slow. you also have to pause the game and stop what you’re doing. Before you’ve even sent your message, you’re already making out with the gutter, or slumped over your brain splattered dashboard.

More accurate than you thinkVoice chat is annoying and global. You hear everyone talking at the same time, be it racist comments from a 13 year old, or other provocative language from people old enough to know better. So all in all, unless you’re on a private TeamSpeak or Skype chat, communication in GTA: Online doesn’t happen.

This limitation provides a very tense environment, especially if you’re playing as a female character like I happen to be. Although, harassing private messages are something I wish didn’t happen. It doesn’t bother me, but it confirms to me that women trying to play as their gender get treated way differently. ”Lol, are you really a girl?” No, but feel free to be nice to me simply because you think I am.

I consider this hostile environment a plus, because I couldn’t imagine GTA: Online being anything but a bunch of deranged degenerates pillaging everything in sight. You’re constantly looking around you and on your map for players close to as they line up their attack, like an aggressor pre-empting a strike. This confrontation is very common and expected by Rockstar. This is evident by the unlockable skill offered by Lester to be able to hide yourself on the map for one minute. More than enough time to strike and take them by surprise.

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Of course, with the good comes the bad. You’ll be faced with people who spawn camp, and more commonly people who will wait outside shops or car modification stores to blow up your car and kill you during the exiting animation. My advice? Insure every car you care about, so they have to pay for damages, and bank all of your money using the in-game phone so they don’t get a cent. Once you respawn, run and hide and kill their asses back in return. Revenge is a dish best served frequently.

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The bounty system is a manifestation of this hostility as a game mechanic. Every now and then, a person will have a bounty placed on them for an amount of money. Something I’ve enjoyed doing is racing other people to hunt them down and collect the bounty, even killing people beforehand so they don’t steal my kill.

Another major realisation for me was the lack of penalty for dying. The stakes are raised slightly if you are carrying more that five grand of unbanked money, because then players can steal it. But as long as any vehicles they blow up are insured, you lose nothing but time spent respawning and getting your car back. This is still impetus for people killing you, because it’s thrilling and encouraged by the game mechanics.

I think games like this will become more common. It’s a safe way to experience tense confrontations akin to real life confrontations without having to endanger yourself. It’s rather thrilling to be caught up in a dangerous situation. The confrontations in GTA: Online boil down to fight or flight, because there’s not enough time to talk it out, similarly with DayZ and Rust. It’s understandable that this may seem redundant in a GTA game where the main hook is committing crimes in an open world.

But since playing GTA: Online I finally understand the appeal of survival games with limited communication, even in GTA: Online where it is likely unintentional.We’ll definitely see more of these types of games cropping up, and I’m pretty happy about that.

Last Updated: March 11, 2014

16 Comments

  1. Great article Snook. I’m still living in hope for GTA on pc.

    Reply

    • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

      March 11, 2014 at 10:25

      Amen brother!

      Reply

      • General JJ the Fett

        March 11, 2014 at 10:28

        If it’s on Steam, Steam Chat will come in handy for this. Best way for me to keep my voice chats private.

        Reply

        • VampyreSquirrel

          March 11, 2014 at 10:53

          GTAV + Steam = epic win!

          Reply

          • General JJ the Fett

            March 11, 2014 at 11:02

            That would be one of the epic moments of the year if that happened. That, and EA going belly up.

          • Admiral Chief in Vegas

            March 11, 2014 at 15:13

            Indeed!

    • Stephen Snook

      March 11, 2014 at 10:28

      Thanks! It’ll come out. They’d be silly not to.

      Reply

  2. b89

    March 11, 2014 at 10:23

    Don’t you lose money on hospital bills every time you die..

    Reply

    • Stephen Snook

      March 11, 2014 at 10:28

      It’s a really small amount. Like 200 bucks or something. I think it’s only if you kill yourself.

      Reply

  3. Admiral Chief in Vegas

    March 11, 2014 at 10:30

    “Revenge is a dish best served frequently”
    Most true this statement is

    Reply

  4. HvR

    March 11, 2014 at 10:32

    “I think games like this will become more common” Yes but sadly for the wrong reasons, just because it broke sale records.

    Right now a bunch of big dev houses are making clones with no innovations to be released just before the beta phase.

    Reply

    • General JJ the Fett

      March 11, 2014 at 10:33

  5. RinceThis

    March 11, 2014 at 10:37

    Nice one Snook! I love GTAV online, it’s mental, manic, and mischievous. And alliteration win.

    Reply

  6. VampyreSquirrel

    March 11, 2014 at 10:49

    I really need to play more GTA Online… gotta level up to unlock more stuff!

    Reply

  7. Fred

    March 12, 2014 at 19:57

    Interest in GTA online is apparently waning. There has been little to talk about, and it seems that the media is getting tired of making stuff up to try to take advantage of public interest that no longer exists. If that’s too deep for you, then stick a hot poker up your anal regions and sniff the resulting steam.

    Reply

  8. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    March 12, 2014 at 23:22

    On the money Aussie Stevie! Excellent write-up as usual.

    Reply

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