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Spoilers for all preceding HD Universe entries of the Grand Theft Auto series, including Grand Theft Auto V's singleplayer campaign will be left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!
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"Man, dawg, I'm glad you here man! There's all kinds of opportunities in Los Santos. I mean, that's if you got the nuts to pull 'em off."
Lamar Davis to the Online Protagonist, shortly after their arrival at Los Santos International Airport

Grand Theft Auto Online is the twelfth overall game in Rockstar GamesGrand Theft Auto series, which began as the multiplayer component to Grand Theft Auto V. The original version of the game launched on October 1, 2013 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, less than a month after GTA V's release. Ports for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 eventually followed suit, launching November 18, 2014. A PC port was also released five months later.

Rockstar officially considers GTAO a separate game from GTA V, although prospective players were required to buy the latter to access the former, even if they had no plans on playing the single-player campaign. GTAO was eventually sold as a standalone game shortly after the release of its Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 port on March 15, 2022. This particular port of GTAO is subtitled Expanded and Enhanced on official Rockstar media.

GTAO's story begins with the fresh arrival of a certain Heroic Mime — your created Player Character — into Los Santos, greeted face-to-face by Lamar Davis after having been friends through LifeInvader for some time. After giving the Online Protagonist a brief tour of the city, Lamar introduces them to Gerald, another Grove Street gangbanger, kicking off the player's journey into climbing the seedy underbelly of Los Santos, one job at a time, until they eventually pull their own legendary heist scores and build their own sprawling criminal business empire.

Expanded and Enhanced Retcons the beginning of the story for console players, with the Online Protagonist making a comeback into Los Santos after serving a lengthy prison sentence for robbing $4,000,000 from a bank. After their release, they find that the money's been laundered through a front business and some assets (mainly in vehicles), already giving them a small foothold into the city.

GTAO is structured as an MMORPG spinoff of GTA V, with players gaining GTA dollars and reputation points through either the Wide-Open Sandbox "Free Mode" with up to 30 people, or structured missions designed for a handful of players, such as heists or story missions. There's also a variety of competitive game modes, ranging from Grand Theft Auto IV-esque fare like deathmatches and races to wacky, Rule of Fun Adversary Modes for a more arcade-like experience. Players have plenty of ways to earn money, and just as many ways to spend it — guns, cars, clothes, and last but not least, businesses to make even more bank off of, both illicit and legitimate.

The game's been constantly updated since its release as 2013, with a full list of them below:

    Updates 
  • Social Club Gear: Adds in a new SMG and sports car. Requires a connection to the Rockstar Social Club, which is optional for the console versions but mandatory for the PC version.
  • Collector's Edition Vehicles: Anyone with a Collector's Edition version of the game gets some special vehicles, weapons and a friggin' blimp. The special edition got the same stuff minus the vehicles and most pre-orders for regular versions got the blimp.
  • Stimulus Package: Released as an apology by Rockstar for the buggy launch of Online—anyone with an account before October 2013 got $500,000.
  • The Beach Bum Update: Released 19 November 2013. The first post-release update added in a new pistol and a broken bottle melee weapon, beach-themed clothing and vehicles.
  • The Christmas Update/Holiday Gifts: Released 24 December 2013. On Christmas Day, Los Santos was covered in snow—hope you've got an all-wheel-drive car. Also had Christmas themed masks and suits which, if not bought, disappeared after Christmas.
  • Capture Mode Creator: Added in in Spring 2014. Adds the Capture multiplayer mode in, and allows players to make their own.
  • The Valentine's Day Massacre Special: Released 13 February 2014. Added in some spiffy new 1920's mob-styled suits, a classic 1920's limousine and a Tommy Gun, the Gusenberg Sweeper. As with the earlier Holiday Gifts update, the ability to buy the clothes introduced in this update was removed on March 2nd. If you bought clothes from the pack before then, you keep them.
  • The Business Update: Released 4 March 2014. Added in the first new plane, three high-performance cars, a new high caliber pistol and an assault rifle. Also, put the Interaction Menu into Single Player.
  • The High Life Update: Released 13 May 2014. Adds a new assault rifle called the Bullpup Rifle, a new motorcycle, two high-performance cars and a sports SUV. For Online players can now purchase two new properties, something people had been waiting a while for, as well as new apartments. Players also now have a "Mental State" which increases when killing civilians and cops — this is to help keep separate players who kill others for the sake of pissing them off, and players who want to simply explore.
  • The "I'm Not A Hipster" Update: Released 17 June 2014. Adds in new Hipster-themed cars (seven of them) and clothes, alongside a new dagger and pistol. Several of the exclusive single player vehicles (Including the ones the playable characters drove) were made purchasable through in-game websites.
  • The Independence Day Special: Released 1 July 2014. Made to celebrate the Fourth of July. Contains new America-themed clothes, a monster truck, a motorcycle, fireworks (and a launcher to go with them) and a musket. Like the Christmas Update and Valentine's Day Massacre Special, any clothes not bought in Online were removed in August.
  • The San Andreas Flight School: Released 19 August 2014. Adds in the Flight School for Online, allowing players to level up their Flying levels faster (Normally it takes a long time to do this—as in, some reports say you get one percent to your skill for ten minutes of flying). Also adds in a new Corvette Stingray style muscle car and new helicopters and planes.
  • Last Team Standing Update: Released 2 October 2014. Adds new jobs for the Last Team Standing game type, new 'soldier' themed clothing, reserve parachutes, a new Sniper Rifle and Shotgun, two new motorcycles and a new supercar.
  • The Festive Surprise: Released 18 December 2014. The first full content pack for the eighth-generation consoles, added new Christmas-themed clothes in Online, two new cars and new weapons—the Proximity Mine and the Homing Launcher.
  • Heists Update: Released 10 March 2015. Adds single player-esque Heists into Online mode as well as new Heist-related content such as more vehicles and clothes. Originally intended to be included at launch, but design issues and shifting priorities delayed it for over a year. This is the first update where its weapons and vehicles are not available in Story Mode; this was the only update for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions where this is the case. Content being exclusive to Online would later become the rule for all of the post-7th gen updates.
  • Ill-Gotten Gains Part 1: Released 10 June 2015. Designed for players who have made a large amount of money from the Heists, this pack adds incredibly expensive new clothes, weapon designs, cars and gold tinted planes and helicopters.
  • Ill-Gotten Gains Part 2: Released 8 July 2015. The follow-up to Part 1, this update adds in newer, slightly less expensive vehicles, clothing, & tattoos; a new single-shot break-action pistol and a pair of knuckledusters; and the ability to create jobs inside Fort Zancudo and Los Santos International Airport. It also added in The Lab FM to consoles, and, to signal its release, the Independence Day Special content. This was the final content update released for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the gamenote  as well as the last update to add content to the single player gamenote .
  • Freemode Events Update: Released 15 September 2015. Allows players to experience "a completely new way of playing GTA Online" by introducing new game modes, activities, and other features, ranging from mundane things such as attempting to take over a heavily guarded location to weirder things such as hunting a superpowered player across the map with attack choppers. It also adds the Rockstar Editor to eighth-gen consoles while adding in new features to the PC version.
  • GTA Online: Lowriders: Released 20 October 2015. Another Online-only update, this centers around lowriders; As such, it includes new vehicles and vehicle options, a new customs shop in Strawberry, some new missions from Lamar Davis, new clothing and tattoos and other cosmetics, and two new weapons - the Machine Pistol and the Machete. The update also allows players to open car doors, trunks and hoods, switch on the engine, neon lights and radio via the Interaction Menu; the option to purchase a fourth property; and new luxury designs to some other weapons.
  • Halloween Surprise: Released 29 October 2015. Made to celebrate the Halloween season. This update adds in two new vehicles, new vehicle customization options, a flashlight, a new Adversary Mode where one player hunts other players in dark areas, new masks and face paints, and two new character actions. Like the Valentine's Day Massacre and Independence Day specials, the content will be removed on 16 November, but players who bought any of the content will keep them.
  • Executives and Other Criminals: Released December 2015 added more opportunities for Crews to work together to take on each other's in freemode, along with two new helicopters and five completely new cars, one of which is a limousine with a mini gun turret, plus versions of cars already in the game with heavier armour, a choice of new luxury stilt apartments in Rockford Hills or new customisable apartments in Eclipse Tower for the added fifth property slot and a selection of three customisable luxury yachts which act as a floating and somewhat mobile apartments, and come with their own selection of Jetskis, boats and helicopters.
  • GTA Online Lowriders: Custom Classics: Released 15 March 2016. Adds the Vapid Slamvan to the list of vehicles customizable at Benny's, as well as adding the brand new Dundreary Virgo Classic, and gives the Willard Faction the new upgrade style "Custom Donk", which features huge wheels. Two new weapons were added; the Compact Rifle (an AK with a short receiver and no stock, and therefore has higher recoil) and the Double Barrel Shotgun (a break-action Sawed-Off Shotgun that fires both barrels at once), both of which can be fired from bikes.
  • Further Adventures in Finance and Felony: Released 7 June 2016. Continuing the eternal quest to become the kingpin of Los Santos, this update expanded the systems from Executives by adding offices to plan your exploits, warehouses to store "cargo", new vehicles, a weird van/RV hybrid, a plane , a helicopter, new clothing, and a boat. Drum magazines that hold more ammo than the Extended were also added to select guns.
  • Cunning Stunts: Released 12 July 2016. Adds stunt race tracks and specialist racing vehicles. Also adds a stunt race creator which was unlocked on 4 August 2016.
  • Bikers: Released 4 October 2016. Adds the ability for players to form their own motorcycle clubs (MC's), complete with clubhouses, and also adds various business ventures to go along with it, such as drug running, contract killings and more. Also brings 13 motorcycles (including the return of the Zombie and various others from The Lost and the Damned) as well as six brand-new weapons such as a compact grenade launcher, a battle-axe, and the Street Sweeper Shotgun. The ability to use melee weapons as well as kicking from a motorcycle was also introduced.
  • Import/Export: Released 13 December 2016. As a sort of continuation to Further Adventures in Finance and Felony, players are now able to sell cars for profit. Many new cars and motorcycles were also added, as well as a bunch of new vehicles with new and awesome abilities, such as the Knight Rider-inspired Ruiner 2000.
  • Cunning Stunts: Special Vehicle Circuit: Released 14 March 2017. Expanded upon the Cunning Stunts and Import/Export content, adding stunt races for specialty vehicles.
  • Gunrunning: Released 13 June 2017. Allows the player to start an illegal arms business inside an underground bunker. Also included are various military-themed armed vehicles and the ability to research and purchase new modifications for your favorite weapons.
  • Smuggler's Run: Released 29 August 2017. In this update, players can buy their own aircraft hangar and customize certain aircraft within it, including some older Pegasus-only aircraft. Some of the new aircraft have the ability to drop bombs, while others can deploy flares to get homing missiles off their tail (the humble Flare Gun was buffed to also have this effect). Additionally, the hangar is also the place to help Ron Jakowski smuggle contraband around the state of San Andreas, in a manner similar to special cargo in the Further Adventures in Finance and Felony update.
  • The Doomsday Heist: Released 12 December 2017. An airheaded genius and eccentric billionaire named Avon Hertz has determined, with the help of his AI companion Cliffford, that all-out war is brewing in the United States, and Los Santos is sitting right in the epicenter. Hertz enlists the help of Lester, the online protagonists, and eventually Agent 14 to find out who's the mastermind behind all of this. The eponymous heist is a three-part storyline, each encompassing its own heist, similar in length to the older ones. Players can buy an underground facility to start the heist, and it comes optionally equipped with an orbital cannon that can vaporize any player on the map for a measly $500,000 per shot.
  • Southern San Andreas Super Sport Series: Released 20 March 2018. Adds additional racing-oriented vehicles and new race modes, including "Target Assault", where the driver races through checkpoints while the gunner on a turret shoots at targets. The driver and gunner switch places after each lap.
  • After Hours: Released 24 July 2018. This update introduces nightclubs, which operate as a front for the online protagonist's various criminal enterprises, centralizing them into one location. Of course, a nightclub isn't without its DJs, and players are able to recruit them from newly-introduced missions. After Hours also saw the return of (in)famous Liberty City nightclub impresario "Gay Tony" Prince. Music featured in the nightclubs features musical talent from Solomun, Tale of Us, Dixon, and The Black Madonna; said artists music can also be heard on a new radio station, Los Santos Underground Radio (LSUR).
  • Arena War: Released 11 December 2018. This update adds the eponymous mode, inspired by Twisted Metal, a new property, and several new vehicles in the vein of the aforementioned series, the 2008 remake of Death Race, and Mad Max. Seven sub-modes exist, ranging from the standard Flag War, to the unusual, such as Hot Bomb, where you play a lethal version of Hot Potato.
  • The Diamond Casino and Resort: Released 23 July 2019. This update opens up a new version of the casino at the Vinewood Racetrack, allowing players to partake in various casino games such as blackjack, three card poker, roulette and slots as well as horse race betting. The update also adds in additional luxury properties and high-end vehicles, as well as a new string of missions. The eponymous casino is currently owned by the Triads, more specifically Tao Cheng. However, the recent renovation forced them to go to the Duggans, a cutthroat Texan petrochemical conglomerate, and now they want the whole thing. With the player's penthouse and the staff's lives at stake, you'll have to prevent the hostile takeover by any means necessary.
  • The Diamond Casino Heist: Released 12 December 2019. It's been a few months after the mess involving the Duggans, and with the family patriarch out of the way as part of a deal, his nephew has been running the show at the Diamond. The Chengs are not happy with the arrangement, and they want revenge. Now, those who helped the casino stay afloat must now rob it blind on the behalf of the vengeful Triad family, using an arcade as a central operating base for rehearsing and planning. With multiple avenues to approach, and a highly secure facility to break open, this job will be your toughest one yet. Fortunately, you'll be robbing it with some familiar faces, Lester in particular. Make a crew, and break the bank.
  • Los Santos Summer Special: Released 11 August 2020. Players who own the Galaxy Super Yacht get access to a new co-op mission series, made at the behest of the yacht's captain, who's suddenly found themselves in a heap of trouble. Meanwhile, on land, Los Santos's biggest movie director Solomon Richards finds that his office has been robbed of many of his old films, and asks the Player Character to help retrieve them. Smaller updates include new locations for Business Battles, two new games for arcade owners, and the usual plethora of new Adversary Modes and super cars.
  • The Cayo Perico Heist: Released 15 December 2020. The heist stakes are higher than ever before, with the online protagonist setting their sights on an entire private island to fleece. The heist is the first that allows players to attempt completely solo, and much of the planning is done through a heavily armored submarine as a mobile base of operations.
  • Los Santos Tuners: Released 20 July 2021. Adds several tuner-oriented cars, customization options, and races via the LS Car Meet. Also adds a media player to the radio wheel whose playlist is expanded by finding collectable media sticks. This update will be the first to have features only available on the Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PC versions.
  • The Contract: Released 15 December 2021. Sees the return of Story Mode protagonist Franklin Clinton. Since knocking over the Union Depository, Franklin has made a name for himself in Vinewood, starting a new "celebrity solutions agency" catering to the Vinewood elite in need of solutions to high-society problems. After Lamar lands Franklin his first contract - Dr. Dre - it's revealed that Dre's cell phone with his unreleased tracks wasn't merely lost shortly before the Cayo Perico Heist - it was stolen. The DLC's new missions follow the misadventures of Franklin, Lamar and the protagonist as they try to get Dre's works back to him.
  • The Criminal Enterprises: Released 26 July 2022. Rising gas prices are plauging the state of San Andreas, and supply chain disruptions have made things hard for everyone, even the online protagonist's criminal empire. The IAA suspects that the Duggan family is behind the gas price hike, sending Agent ULP to try and recruit the protagonist to help on Operation Paper Trail, their investigation into the family, as a swear-in agent after proving themselves during the events of the Doomsday Heist.
  • Los Santos Drug Wars: Released 13 December 2022. Long after Trevor "went Vinewood" in Smuggler's Run, Ron frantically calls the protagonist, telling them what he's feared has come to pass: a new gang of drug dealers has rolled up into Trevor's former territory. The party-going Fooliganz, led by one opportunistic Dax, are making it their mission to get everyone in the state of San Andreas high on their product alone, and have a hell of a time partying while they're at it. The update introduced GTA Online's first business on wheels, an acid lab installed in an armored truck, unlocked after completing Dax's mission line. Later updates rolled out under the same name added random events inspired by Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars that make it easier to resupply and sell acid, also pertaining to any other drug-related motorcycle club business players might own.
  • San Andreas Mercenaries: Released 13 June 2023. Merryweather Security Consulting is plotting to muscle out San Andreas's various criminal enterprises for more power in the state. Charlie Reed, the online protagonist's personal hangar technician, is one of the few criminals not willing to take this sitting down, enlisting the protagonist and a few others as part of his own personal military unit, the "Los Santos Angels". The update includes a new mission line for the Los Santos Angels, as well as a few quality of life updates for the Hangar business to bring its earnings more in line with other content. However, about 197 cars such as the Bohdi and Dune Buggy were removed from the in-game websites due to many players not using them as much as other vehicles.
  • The Chop Shop: Released 12 December 2023. An update which brings back Yusuf Amir along with his cousin Jamal Amir in order to help the player with the tow truck service in Red's Auto Parts as well as Salvage Yard Robberies.

Grand Theft Auto Online provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The rank cap is 8000. It used to be a whole order of magnitude lower on the 7th gen version of the game, but Rockstar ended up increasing the cap at the behest of players who hit the old one. The new rank cap was actually used as a honeypot for modders on consoles back then (especially Xbox 360) — particularly stupid modders would just max out their experience point counter and subsequently get banned for attaining an unattainable rank. It should be noted that the last item that ever gets unlocked for players is at rank 120 (135 if one were to count armor carrying capacity in the inventory), and even the most dedicated players who've been playing for practically every waking moment since launch day are very rarely past rank 1800.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: Online Los Santos has tons of crap to do all the time, and you can find yourself caught up in someone else's adventure at any time. Walk down a particular block and you'll find a squad of cops chasing another player, a shoot out between players, an impromptu drag race, or a heist in progress. If you choose, you can even play favorites—for example, involving yourself in a police chase by ramming the cops off the escapee's trail or screwing the other player over just for the hell of it.
  • A.K.A.-47: like with cars, clothes and everything else, the GTA universe is filled with fictionalized versions of real guns and gun manufacturers. One specifically named gun is the Gusenberg Sweeper, based on the Thompson submachine gun.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Can be invoked by players simply by drinking any alcohol until they pass out. Most of the time, the Player Character will spawn somewhere either in the building where they passed out (possibly vomiting into the toilet they just woke up on), or end up somewhere completely different. The Macbeth Whisky Shot is expressly designed to knock the player out in one swig and has rare random events associated with it, such as passing out in a nightclub and waking up near the Epsilon Program building with a "Kifflom!" t-shirt, or finding out that the protagonist stole a van from the Diamond Casino and Ms. Baker demanding it back as a free roam mission.
  • All Bikers are Hells Angels / Badass Biker: The Bikers DLC allows you to join or start your own outlaw motorcycle club with up to 8 members (A club President, Vice President, Road Captain, Sgt-at-Arms, Enforcer, and three others, complete with clubhouse, illicit businesses, rival player clubs, and additional motorcycles and weapons.
  • Already Met Everyone: Familiar people show up for the "first" time in this story such as Lamar, Lester, Trevor, Simeon, etc.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different/Another Side, Another Story: The story of Online follows your silent custom character in events that initially happen a few months before the single-player storyline, but start to take place after it, apparently in real time, as Agent 14 states in a Gunrunning mission that it's 2017, the year the Gunrunning update was added.
    • The Contract DLC's "Short Trip" mission string has you and another player play as Franklin and Lamar instead of your characters. This switch is explained in-universe by getting them high off Lamar's organic weed so much, their perspective literally flips over to Franklin and Lamar's.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: When leveling up, cosmetic items, such as various outfits, hats, and haircuts will be unlocked.
    • Further clothes and tattoos are unlocked by completing various challenges, playing some missions a certain way, completing the Diamond Casino Heist while wearing certain outfits, through rising in ranks at the LS Car Meet and Arena War. There are also rare clothes that can be only unlocked during certain one time events.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • The Passive mode prevents other players from randomly gunning down the passive player whilst they're on foot. Doesn't work while in a car, and you can't return fire either. This was changed in the next-gen versions to be a complete ghost mode, making one completely untouchable by other players. However, damage from nearby exploding vehicles can still kill you, which players can use indirectly. You can also still come under attack from NPC characters and your only options are to run, or disable Passive Mode (which isn't instant and which has a cooldown before you can re-enable it)
    • Zig-zagged with the Simeon vehicles, as while it is possible to force the list you've been given to refresh in case you can't find any of the cars on the list, you cannot 'deny' the request and as such may end up with a two-star Wanted rating because you're stealing a car Simeon wants, even if you have no intention of delivering it.
    • The audio from the microphone chat can be completely muted, which is very useful if you don't want to hear 12-year-olds and living room background noise constantly.
    • Any vehicle that you're in becomes invincible if your controller disconnects, as the game doesn't pause.
    • In the Prison Break heist, the pilot has to evade a Lazer fighter jet using a Velum, one of the slower and more awkward planes to fly. To prevent the pilot's job from being impossible, the Lazer can't fire homing missiles.
    • A small one, but any car you buy automatically comes insured. It's a small thing, but it can save a ton of frustration when you're taking your new vehicle for a spin and you happen to run into a player who's not hesitant about being a "bad sport".
    • A new feature added for griefing is ghost mode. If you hold back from attacking somebody who's chasing you around and harassing you by repeatedly killing you then you get the option to become a "ghost" to them and them alone for a limited time, letting you get away. A nice feature for those who want the randomness of other players but still don't want to be killed by the same person.
    • In the Gunrunning update, trailers that become detached from the Phantom Wedge during delivery missions will respawn right-side up after a short time instead of being marked destroyed. This is likely in response to criticisms of the Bikers update whereas any vehicle that got stuck would be considered destroyed after a short time.
    • In free mode any weaponized vehicle will have a unique car icon in the map/mini-map that will show you what type of weaponized vehicle it is instead of not showing up at all. This makes it easier to tell where the threats from other players are and how heavy the vehicle's offensive is, such as a tank compared to a missile firing flying car.
    • When doing any freemode job that requires taking a marked vehicle the game does not allow other players to lock onto it. Any other vehicle with a player in it can be targeted this way, but "cargo" vehicles with players in them are completely immune to it. It can't be understated how much this helps as it forces skillful aiming instead of just having the right toy to screw over another player, including a lot of aircraft that would otherwise easily catch up, preventing any random person in a Buzzard from making a vehicle warehouse impossible to stock in that session.
    • If one loses interest in their nightclub's upkeep and let its popularity drop to zero, Gay Tony and British Dave will eventually get the hint and stop bugging the player about it.
    • When the game launched, players could only have a single apartment or garage property at a time and you would be given a refund of half the price you paid for said property when you switched it out for another one. As the game continued, the amount of properties you could keep was increased in multiple updates with the maximum amount being three in the original Gen 7 versions of the game before it shut down in 2021 and ten by "The Criminal Enterprises" update with the "Los Santos Drug Wars" update allowing players to buy the Eclipse Boulevard Garage with it not counting towards the cap.
    • If the player owns an office, they can purchase a maximum of five warehouse spaces for their goods to be stored instead of relying on just a single space for profit.
    • The Diamond Casino and Resort update added quite a few:
      • Passive mode was reworked to be more in line with Red Dead Online, having cooldowns that are minutes in length as opposed to a few seconds to prevent griefers from exploiting it to harm other players and then get away scot free with invincibility shortly after.
      • The relative uselessness of Nightclubs in comparison to other businesses was addressed by increasing how much popularity is earned per Nightclub management mission.
      • Daily Objectives were reworked by removing a number of Player Versus Player objectives so people who don't want to kill other players don't have to. Objectives like "Sell/restock a business" or "Set yourself as Looking for Work" were also added as something of a Hint System towards lucrative money-making methods. The first objective in the list is now also a global one, shared by the entire server so that there's no trouble finding other players for that particular objective. Lastly, monetary rewards for completing the objectives daily, weekly, and monthly were all increased.
    • The Diamond Casino Heist update added:
      • A five minute cooldown to calling in the Oppressor Mk.II after its destruction to curb the nigh-omnipresence of the vehicle in Free Mode sessions, especially at the hands of griefers (although the particularly rich ones realized the cooldown wasn't shared between Oppressors).
      • As for the titular heist, it does away with the traditional setup missions completely, having Free Mode setup missions instead. These setups can be done completely solo without fear of losing a lot of progress due to someone disconnecting or just plain old quitting. The heist finale is also easier than the original heists and the Doomsday Heist.
    • The Los Santos Summer Special update made sending your Personal Vehicle back to storage without registering as a Motorcycle Club a feature. Said patch also threw a bone for competitive racers: Griefers who like to drive the wrong way and collide with oncoming players are now automatically placed in non-contact mode if the game detects such behavior.
    • The Tuners update added an Auto Shop which contained two for existing types of content. Auto Shop Robberies are shortened Heists in all but name, requiring only two Free Roam setups that can be done in private sessions before getting to a Finale mission, a format that was eventually carried over into The Contract update. The legitimate business side of the Auto Shop has a less frustrating version of Import/Export, with customers automatically bringing in their vehicles for modding and vehicle deliveries not exposing the player to other players on the map. Should the delivery car get destroyed, it simply respawns in the player's Auto Shop instead of getting lost forever.
    • The Contract added "Imani Tech" vehicle mods for a select few vehicles introduced in the update. The most notable ones include a lock-on jammer and vehicle armor that can withstand more than one explosion to prevent prospective Griefers from destroying the Imani Tech vehicle with very little effort. Both of these features were formerly only present on mission-related delivery vehicles.
    • The 9th gen "Expanded & Enhanced" edition has a few:
      • The game uses a title screen menu similar to the one used in Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar's previous game, allowing players to decide on what they want to do without having to wait for the game to load and connect to a lobby first.
      • The revamped tutorial, Career Builder, gives newly created characters $4,000,000 scot-free to buy things with, to alleviate the painfully slow early-game grind — the only caveats are that only one "main" property (office, bunker, nightclub, or motorcycle club) can be bought, and that they have to spend at least $3,000,000 of it before being allowed to start the game. The in-universe justification is that the online protagonist robbed the money sometime before the events of the game but got jailed for it, and the properties were needed to launder the money in the meantime.
    • The Criminal Enterprises update brought a few notable quality of life changes:
      • A lot of older business properties' income (office, motorcycle club, bunker, and nightclub) up to snuff to things added after it, generally adding at least one more avenue to gain income from each business. Nightclubs in particular got the heftiest buffs as they brought in absolute abyssmal money before this update — their passive income was increased, the safe limit was increased to $250,000 (up from $50,000), and new nightclub popularity missions were added to help maintain the club's income, with some of these missions being as simple as tossing a troublemaker outside.
      • After months of on-and-off events doubling the payouts of CEO and Motorcycle Club associates, Rockstar decided to just make it a permanent feature. The money associates earn for helping out others with their sale missions was also increased.
      • The payouts of the original heist series and the Doomsday Heist had their finale payouts increased. All the originals were increased by 75% aside from the Pacific Standard Job, which saw a 50% increase alongside all three acts of the Doomsday Heist.
      • The Oppressor Mk. II saw another nerf, with the turning radius on its homing missiles drastically increased. Its flare countermeasures also got slapped with a long cooldown and decreased ammo count. On a related note, players no longer get charged with insurance costs when destroying other players' weaponized vehicles (including the Oppressor), averting PVP crimes of self defense.
      • Last, but not least, players are able to launch sale and heist prep missions in invite-only sessions, a feature Rockstar themselves lampshades was repeatedly requested over the years in the Criminal Enterprises patch notes. For the risk-takers, the High Demand bonus for selling cargo was increased from 1% per player to 2.5%. The bonus caps out at 50% (or 20 rival players) so players don't need to be in a full 30 player session to make the most of the bonus.
    • The Los Santos Drug Wars update:
      • The Hint System cellphone calls players receive about purchaseable business properties were completely reworked. Instead of bugging the player constantly until they cave in and buy, various markers are placed around the map bearing info about a specific business. Players only get the relevant call or text message upon entering these markers.
      • A handful of new random events were dripfed into the game in the months following the update, mainly serving as a way to quickly resupply the player's various illicit businesses without having to buy supplies or do the more tedious supply stealing missions. The map is also dotted with a handful of street dealers that change their locations daily, offering a way for players a slow but safe way to sell their product. In both cases, players don't have to worry about mission timers bricking their sell runs or getting harrassed by Griefers.
      • While the player is still limited on how many apartments and garages they can own in the game with the best ones only giving you storage space for 10 cars, the Eclipse Boulevard Garage added in the update can hold 50 cars and doesn't count as one of the limited properties the player can buy or possibly trade for another one, meaning you permanently have a garage property that you can keep.
  • Anti-Grinding: The game is littered with these to keep players from making too much money and stop buying shark cards.
    • In general, a lot of the money making activities are tailored towards having multiple players, even when it doesn't make sense. You can often do these missions solo, but doing so is so tedious that many players would rather spend time working in the real world to buy shark cards than playing them.
    • Robbing stores too often causes the wanted level for each robbery to gradually rise. Likewise, after selling a stolen car to a mod shop, they won't accept any more for a period of time. You can also only export a Simeon vehicle once every 24 hours from the list he gives you.
    • They quickly patched being able to immediately replay the same job request over and over after some players grinded their way to earning the most expensive apartment. To wit, executing the same job over and over automatically makes the same job harder each time you pull it off (for example, the Where Credit's Due mission- for each subsequent times you do the job, the game throws in gangsters to protect the car and subsequently increase their numbers, and then increase the aggressiveness of the police by having them come in larger numbers, move in on you faster, etc. Not playing the mission for a certain amount of time on the other gives a cooldown timer that resets the difficulty of the job.
    • Client missions, especially Diamond Shopping, can grant the player 30,000$ for literal five minutes of work. To counteract this, Rockstar sets the cooldown timer of the missions to half an hour.
    • All sale missions can only be started in public sessions where the player is vulnerable to griefers with oftentime vastly superior firepower. This is a particularly noteworthy example because having your goods destroyed in a sale mission can cost you millions of dollars and days of work, setting your progress back significantly.
    • Sale missions can be extremely tedious even without the threat of griefers. You often have to drive a vehicle and deliver the goods to multiple points from across the map. If you have a lot of goods, you will need multiple vehicles, which makes the sales impossible for solo players as they need to complete the sale before the time limit. The vehicles you get are thankfully not that slow most of the time, but exceptions exist, chief among them being the memetically hated Post-Op van mission. You have to drive a slow-moving mail truck to deliver the goods in this mission. Everytime you reach a destination, you have to get out and personally place the package at the buyer's doorstep, which takes up a lot of time. It's impossible for solo players to do anything more than two post-op truck at a time.
    • Even if you somehow manage to get into empty public session, Rockstar can find away to make the grind hard for you. Import/Export missions in empty lobbies will always spawn two pursuing cars to damage your vehicle during delivery. These annoying cars aren't hard to destroy or particularly dangerous, but they will constantly shoot at and ram your vehicle to reduces its sale value.
    • Unless you have three friends to selflessly help you, it's only possible to source one cargo at a time in Smuggler's Run missions. It takes around 15 minutes to finish one cargo source mission, and each cargo is only worth a paltry ten grand. By comparison, contact missions which cost you nothing to start can give you 20k for the same amount of time and work. It's pretty telling that not even triple pay weeks can convince players to do Smuggler's Run mission.
    • Similarly, CEO crate missions give you the option to choose between sourcing one crate at a time and sourcing multiple. Choosing to source a single crate falls into the same problem of tedium as the hangar example above, so many players prefer the later option despite its higher cost. However, that comes with its own set of problem. Choosing to source multiple crates can sometimes give you a simple mission where you only have to deliver a single vehicle to its destination, but sometimes you will get missions where you have to deliver all the crates individually. Unless you have friends, you will have to do multiple delivary trips. These missions also have a hidden timer that's only shown when you have five minutes left. Worst still, the distance between the crates and their destination are often very vast, so you will need an aircraft to even stand a chance of delivering them in time.
    • Subverted with the launch of the Cayo Perico heist. It can be done solo, and the setups are themselves pretty fast to the point where it is undisputably the fastest money per hour in the game. Even a player who's not entirely focused in in grinding can make 1.5 million per hour with it, which is miles ahead any other activity the player can do, beating all the passive income business and even CEO crates by a huge margin. The only things that hold the player back on this heist is the price point of a basic submarine (the base of operations for the heist) costing 2.2 million, which can be a bit of a hassle to grind for new players who don't have access to other profitable things in the game. Unfortunately, the heist became a straight example when it got Nerfed in the Criminal Enterprises update — the solo version of the heist was slapped with a cooldown timer of three in-game days (roughly two and a half hours) and the main target and secondary targets are weighted to generate in favor of the latter on the next replay to discourage players from speedrunning to the former.
  • Arch-Enemy: If a player kills you the most times, they are labeled as your archenemy and you will receive more points for killing them. It also works the other way around.
  • Armed Blag: Gruppe 6 armored money transports appear at certain locations in free mode, and the player can rob them if they wish.
  • Armor Is Useless:
    • A basic Pistol can rip even Super Heavy Armor to shreds in no time. Unlike the single player campaign, armor in general is merely an extension of the player's health bar, which gets depleted just as fast as body armor does.
    • Various other forms of armor in the game zigzag this trope:
      • The Armored Kuruma is almost completely covered in bulletproof armor plating, including a large part of each and every window. Even the tiny bits that are unarmored take some concentrated firepower to get through, unless an attacking player has armor piercing rounds. It's a Game-Breaker that completely trivializes most Player Versus Environment content, but when taken out of its element, it shows its weakness: it's just as susceptible to explosives as any civilian car.
      • Most armored vehicles released after the Armored Kuruma flip the weaknesses around, being susceptible to small arms fire but having the ability to tank at least one explosion, making them slightly more useful in Player Versus Player contexts.
      • Warstock Cache & Carry has an item called "Ballistic Equipment". As the name implies, it's a full suit of ballistic armor, with an infinite ammo minigun as a bonus. The armor itself isn't like regular body armor; it instead increases the player's maximum health to the point where they can tank one or two direct explosions without getting ragdolled before being left with a sliver of health. However, it has a lengthy list of drawbacks for the sake of gameplay balance; the player's running speed is slowed due to the armor's weight, they can't switch to other weapons, can't enter vehicles or building interiors (to prevent camping), and entering any deep-enough body of water instantly kills them.
  • Arms Dealer: Drug Wars DLC introduced the Gun Van, a black market arms dealer operating out of a parked van that changes location daily, and inventory weekly. The van sells certain guns at a discount, as well as a rotating selection of guns not available in Ammu-Nation, including Molotov Cocktails and the alien Energy Weapons that were removed from Ammu-Nation in the same update. The player also can have their own secret gun factory with the bunker, which is also used to unlock modifications for a selection of weapons and vehicles.
  • Arrange Mode: The arcade game The Wizard's Ruin has a "Grog Mode" that's unlocked when beating the game for the first time as Thog, the main character. Unlike his brother, Grog cannot use his Mana Meter to level up for a stronger melee attack, but as a tradeoff the meter itself can hold more mana, letting him spam his Desperation Attack more often (which is vital to scoring high and getting in-game achievements). Some of the game's enemies also have their attack patterns changed slightly.
  • The Artifact:
    • The game retains various remnants of earlier concepts from back when it was supposed to have a different direction, and features that have been replaced or made obsolete by newer additions:
      • The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game have locked slots in the character selection screen, implying there would have been eventual ways to unlock them. No such thing ever came, and the enhanced version of GTA V even got a completely new character selection screen without such slots.
      • Player's rank doesn't do much anymore other than showing how much have you played the game - there's vanilla game content like weapons, car colors and tuning parts locked behind it but there's also a whole arsenal of DLC weapons with no such restrictions. A single DLC vehicle (Dubsta 6x6) used to require rank 100 to unlock, but that restriction was later dropped.
      • Originally, getting killed in free roam would have you drop a larger portion of cash that you have on hand and not in the bank, this was changed to only $500 for balance. However, if you're carrying more than $5000 on hand the game still displays a notification that you should deposit it as fast as you can to not fear losing it.
      • The Import/Export update added a fleet of Special Vehicles with unique features (such as Ruiner 2000 with weapons, a parachute and jump ability) which required owning a dedicated vehicle warehouse to house, and they would be called using a special menu. Later updates abandoned this format, adding newer vehicles with similar features that are just normal personal vehicles stored in regular garages, called upon through the Mechanic like any other car. The aforementioned original fleet of special vehicles, however, still requires you to have a vehicle warehouse for you to own them.
      • The illicit businesses added in the Bikers update could only be purchased through a deep web-esque in-game website through the player's Motorcycle Clubhouse laptop. Players were also required to register as a Motorcycle Club President instead of a CEO to make any use of these properties. Later businesses that were added to the game canned both of these ideas, with most of them being available on a single website that's accessible through the cell phone (Maze Bank Foreclosures, or Warstock Cache & Carry for "properties" revolving around military vehicles), and their functions are accessible by both CEOs and MC Presidents alike.
    • The Dukes' customization options are extremely limited compared to its beater counterpart, despite the Beater Dukes having plenty of customization options that would fit an intact car, and there being base game cars like the Banshee whose customization options have been expanded on in updates.
  • Art Evolution: As well as carrying most of the fundamental improvements introduced for single player in the 8th gen versions, Online is constantly evolving with each new update.
    • Vehicles in each new update generally improve in modelling quality. Some vehicles will feature characteristic handling and unique interiors and details, often some sort of reference to their inspirations or even subcultures which they are associated with. Vehicles designed with first person in mind will be filled with more minute details. For example, the Vapid Winky, the in-game equivalent to the Willys Jeep, features visible VIN tags on the interior. While most of the cars in the base game and even GTA IV do some tweaking to avoid comparisons to real cars, the general direction of design with each new update skirts closer and closer to outright copyright infringement.
    • Weapons and props improve in the same way, down to their icons in the weapon wheel.
  • Artifact Title:
    • Can be applied to one's own Beater Dukes. Parts can be applied that restore its condition, but it will still be called a beater.
    • The Doomsday Heist. It operates like a heist mission with the planning stages and set up missions, but the goal isn't to steal something, rather stopping a rougue AI.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • If you thought the single-player taxi challenge was too easy for you, call in a limo driver from the Diamond Casino, tell them to hurry to your destination, then marvel as the driving AI struggles to cope with controlling a vehicle larger than a van at speeds they're not programmed to handle. If the limo manages to not fly off a cliff or get stuck on something, it'll be battered and broken by the time it reaches its destination. Even if you don't tell them to hurry, chances are they'll still get a few scratches on the limo because the AI isn't equipped to handle limos. The similar SUV Service offered by the player's Agency is plagued with the same problems.
    • NPC actors placed on floating objects in the Capture Creator can't find their pathing (being in midair and all), so they just stand still and just shoot or melee things from the spot they're standing on. Also, actors tend to do absolutely nothing with some of the newer weaponized vehicles and aircraft.
    • In free roam missions, enemy NPCs sometimes have the bad habit of going after a player that's not involved in the mission at all. This can result in things like a sale mission taking longer to do because the enemies the sale's players are supposed to kill are driving off to the other side of Los Santos trying to kill an unfortunate passerby.
    • One of the player's Agency Security Contracts involves protecting the client's assets. Occasionally, a pair of cars holding Elite Mooks with Molotov cocktails will appear and try to burn the assets. Problem is, on some variations of this mission, they'll get out of their car and attempt to torch their target, but end up killing themselves because the Molotov hits the car they just got out of.
    • Anytime an NPC catches fire, they will just writhe and flail about on the ground screaming until they burn to death or, very rarely, the fire goes out. Apparently Stop, Drop, and Roll isn't a thing in the GTA universe.
    • The LSPD fit this trope to a T, being so incredibly stupid it's a wonder they know how to breath; standing still in the open while being shot at, engaging in combat with heavily armed and armoured vehicles with their inferior weapons such as taking on a tank with a handgun, flat-out ignoring orders to stay in formation or retreat, continuing to engage a suspect regardless of how many fellow officers have been killed, giving away the element of surprise by shouting tough-guy lines, firing their guns in dark areas thus the muzzle flash alerting criminals to their positions, shooting at incoming vehicles, setting up roadblocks on the wrong side of the highway, heavily damaging their cars during pursuits, hitting other officers with their cars and sometimes plowing into them hard enough to kill them, as well as continuously killing and then stealing cars from the wrong people which leads to the slaughter of every officer at the impound.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • A "shed" was seen by fans in many pre-release screenshots and some trailers, prompting players to speculate what could be inside it. While it turns out it was actually a cable car station, the parachuting mission involving diving off it is called "The Shed".
    • Carrying a tank by a cargo bob and using it as an improvised attack aircraft, as popularized by Achievement Hunter, is used in one of the resupply missions of the Gunrunning DLC.
    • One of the Diamond Casino heist prep missions involves infiltrating the Los Santos morgue to steal a keycard off of a now-deceased Diamond Casino valet, still in uniform and all. This is a nod to the player base's (continued) tendency to kill the valet standing at the front door of the Diamond for no particular reason. Lester even lampshades this by opening his briefing with a talk about how life-threatening the job of a valet is.
    • The Short Trip mission "Fire It Up" from The Contract ends with Lamar insulting Franklin in a similar manner to Story Mode's first mission (after the prologue) back from eight years ago. The mission itself also begins with a high Franklin remarking "Oh shit, here we go again!"
  • Asshole Victim: The targets in the Payphone Assassination Missions that came from The Contract are a wide variety of scumbags the world is better off without. In alphabetical order:
    • The CEO, a corrupt construction company CEO involved in almost every kind of crime that can come with the industry.
    • The Cofounder, a hedonistic creep dragging his company down with him.
    • The Dealers, an aggressive gang of drug dealers with no standards, so much so that even other criminals want them wiped out.
    • The Hitmen, a gang of criminals hired to silence a corporate whistleblower.
    • The Judge, a greedy and corrupt judge willing to let the guilty go free for cash and lock up innocent people.
    • The Popstar, a rich creep who used his cash to get away with everything from hit-and-runs to spiking women's drinks.
    • The Tech Entrepreneur, who plans to steal untold amounts of user data and sell it off to the highest bidder.
    • The Trolls, a gaggle of internet trolls spreading the most vile things online and planning to tank various stocks, hurt countless people.
  • Attack Drone: The drones launched by the Terrorbyte added in After Hours are armed with a stun gun and a self-destruct. Taken up to eleven in The Contract, as you can now modify certain player vehicles with both grill-mounted machine guns and remote-control capabilities.
    • Invoked with the RC Bandito added in Arena War. This remote control vehicle is able to be equipped with the ability to deploy up to three mines of the player’s choosing, is able to self-destruct, and is also invisible to the radar.
    • The Contract takes it even further by being able to have remote control installed to your personal vehicle instead, courtesy of the Agency's Imani Tech, which works in a similar manner to the RC Bandito. Unfortunately, this only works for select few vehicles introduced in the update.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The luxurious Swift Deluxe Helicopter and Luxor Deluxe Jets allow you to hang out with other players inside and drink champagne. Too bad that they cost incredible amounts of money, and are magnets for griefers everywhere. Fortunately, both vehicles were later added to the in-game internet in Story Mode, for those who want to enjoy the luxury without the threat of being blown up. You'd better hope you have it insured though!
    • The megayachts from the Executives and Other Criminals update can fall under this too. Depending on customization, the price can range from $6,000,000 to nearly $10,000,000. However, they are nothing more than pieces of property that don't even come with a garage. Furthermore, the yacht is always out at sea, making it too far from stores or other conveniences. At least it comes with a respawning helicopter, a valuable transportation feature, and is hella defensible with its anti air missiles, ability to disable the use of weapons while on board, and immunity from player traps like proximity mine since your yacht doesn't exist if you're not in a session.
    • While a lot of cars in the game can be this when you look at performance vs price, the cars that get the most attention are low riders. A well pimped out lowrider could run you the same or higher cost than a hypercar, but don't really boast many advantages over the common cars they are based off of, many of which can stolen for no cost to the player. The hydraulics system is useful for changing the clearance and center of G when going from roads to uneven terrain, that's about all they can do that other cars can't. They really exist to show off and boy do they.
    • The Mobile Operations Center (MOC) that came with the Gunrunning update. It's a gigantic semi hauling an absurdly huge trailer. While both are heavily armored, more so than the Insurgent, and the trailer can have turrets fitted, the trailer is so huge that turning corners without hitting another car, sign or anything else is impossible, several overhead things are slightly too short to pass under without having to abandon the trailer, such as the bridge frame leading to the Mount Chiliad tunnel. Granted since its required to do certain things, most notably modding weapons and doing special mission that greatly discount the other DLC vehicles, its not entirely useless.
    • The Vigilante added in the Smuggler’s Run update. The stupid thing is the Writing Around Trademarks love child of the 1989 Batmobile and the Tumbler armed with machine guns and missiles. The car is powerful enough to send vehicles flying by running into them and it has a stupidly powerful rocket engine that recharges almost instantly and can blow cars away just by activating. However, the car isn't inherently bulletproof, thus the cops and anyone else can make short work of you, there is no horn, thus hitting the horn will trigger the rocket engine and the rocket engine is so powerful that, if you're not careful, could send you flying halfway across the city and into the ocean!
    • The Criminal Enterprise Starter Set. For 40 real-life dollars, players can start off their criminal career on the right foot by automatically obtaining with a collection of locations, vehicles and gear along with a cool million totaling just over $10 million in-game dollars. Sounds cool, right? Well, when they call it a "starter set", they mean "starter set"; everything they give you is the cheapest you can obtain yet leave out a Hangar, warehouse and Facility, the vehicles are either average or the worst choice you can have, the weapons are unimpressive and the clothes and tattoos are most likely not your cup of coffee. (This was later lowered to 10 dollars)
    • The orbital cannon. Yes, it may be fun nuking people from orbit without any fear of retaliation. However, it costs $500,000 per shot ($750,000 if you're using automatic targeting). This thing will drain your money quickly if you go overboard with it.
    • Pixel Pete's Arcade. It's the cheapest of the retro arcades to buy, coming in at a comparatively cheap $1,235,000 (For reference, the next cheapest arcade, Wonderama, is over 300 grand more expensive). The impractical part? It's in Paleto Bay. Meaning you are in for LONG bits of driving during setups, requiring you to basically traverse the entire map and back several times during hest prep.
  • Bag of Spilling: Downplayed Trope, as it only affects the Cayo Perico heist. Equipment and weapons you get in heist setups will not be carried over to the next time you do the heist. To justify this, Pavel explains "You leave a loose end, El Rubio will strangle you with it" and tells tales of a crew that successfully robbed Cayo Perico but were later tracked down and killed because they used their own weapons.
  • Bank Robbery: "The Fleeca job", "Pacific Standard" and "The Bank Contract". Fleeca Job is the first of the heist storyline and requires two players, Pacific Standard requires four players, and The Bank Contract can be done by one to four players, where the target is six different bank branches, which the player or their team have to rob as many of as they can during the time limit.
  • Beach Episode: The free Beach Bum update, adding a number of beach-themed clothing, vehicles, and Jobs.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The Diamond and Casino resort arc ends with the casino thankfully being saved with pointless destruction and everyone is allowed to keep their jobs, but Vincent is sadly the exception and ultimately the Chengs suffer yet another major defeat.
    • The Cayo Perico Heist plays this for laughs; Sure, Miguel ends up barely gaining Martin's attention and finds out he paid for pretty much nothing, but let's be honest, El Rubio using a picture of Patricia and Trevor together was definetly a good laugh to have after the daunting infiltration of a dangerous island...and ultimately? that's one less thing El Rubio has against Martin.
    • The Contract: Dr. Dre is a downplayed example as ultimately it benefits Dr. Dre in the end; Sure, all his hidden demos were released to the public against his will, but he realizes that it's on him to an extent since Jimmy has been encouraging him to do it personally. Ontop of that, Johnny Guns is neutralized, and the phone copies were retrieved which means all of his private stuff and further demos remain unreleased.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!:
    • Weapons can be modified in Ammu-Nation, or at various weapon workshops you can unlock with various properties, and many include the option "Yusuf Amir Luxury Finish" option, with elaborate carvings and gold details. Getting enough kills with a weapon will also unlock solid gold and solid platinum finishes.
    • El Rubio has a golden single-shot pistol (a Shout-Out to The Man with the Golden Gun) in a drawer in his office that you can steal.
    • Added in the 'Doomsday Heist DLC as a tie-in to the release of Red Dead Redemption 2'', the player can go on a treasure hunt to find a gold plated double action revolver.
    • Several properties the player can buy have a Weapons Workshop, where they can upgrade certain select weapons into Mk II variants, and customize them with different liveries and tints, including plastering them with logos of the GTA Bland-Name Product designer clothes.
  • Book Ends: In the heists update the titular heists start and end with a bank robbery, the second one is obviously far more dangerous but also pays out much better.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Killing an enemy with a head shot results in the player immediately gaining 25 reputation points.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Up-N-Atomizer pistol. It's a short range weapon that deals low damage but high knockback, making it incredibly useful to save vehicles you managed to get stuck during sale missions. Downplayed Trope, because you can use it to have fun with the physics engine and troll players... But it's still mostly useful for the boring yet practical purpose of saving your cargo. For other niche uses, it's good to use against the Oppressor MkII, the griefer's vehicle of choice, as it's a flying motorcycle whose rider can be knocked off by the pistol's massive projectile when they're zipping around too much to be hit by conventional guns or homing missiles (and can save you a tidy $10k on consoles if you decide not to blow the bike up afterwards); and perhaps most boringly it can be used to blow up any stationary explosive prop like fuel tanks and munitions crates in one shot, without having to resort to expensive explosives or large amounts of bullets. It's only ever necessary to clear certain missions, but over a long grind the saved money will add up.
    • The Sparrow helicopter. The helicopter itself is unremarkable, but it has the unique distinction of being the only aircraft that you can call and it will spawn right next to you no matter where you are. This, combined with the fact that it's on it's own cooldown timer from your personal vehicles, makes it very useful as a general purpose vehicle or when you need a quick getaway and your actual personal vehicle is destroyed and on cooldown.
    • The Velum approach for the Cayo Perico heist. Sure, arriving in a smugglers' plane might not be as exciting as infiltrating via. an underwater grate or parachuting from a high-altitude stealth plane, but unlike those other methods you can use it to escape when you're done, and the airfield is also where you can shut off the power to the cameras and the anti-air around most of the island.
  • Black Market: You can eventually become a member of the black market as either a CEO or as a Motorcycle Club President. The products that you can sell range from hard drugs, to counterfeit goods, to high-end cars. If done correctly, this can be quite lucrative.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The Karin Sultan comes with this trope:
    • The base game has the Sultan.
    • The 2016 January update has the Sultan RS.
    • The Diamond Casino Heist has the Sultan Classic.
    • And finally in Los Santos Tuners has the Sultan RS Classic.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: In-game money can be purchased for real money. This is, however, somewhat balanced out: you still have to reach a certain level before you can purchase and use some items. Over the years, though, the real money cost of GTA$ hasn't kept up with the rising costs of better equipment and vehicles, and better money making options were released like the Cayo Perico Heist. As a result, GTA Online is like Warframe in that you technically can pay to win, but it's extremely ill-advised and simply grinding is usually the better option.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • In the mission "Diamonds are for Trevor", you have to make your escape with Trevor's boat, even when you could take a helicopter or any other faster, much better transport.
    • The Heists are especially bad about this. Of note is "Series A Funding - Coke", where the goal is to storm a yacht and steal the cocaine onboard; the crew is split into two teams; two players attack the yacht by boat, two by helicopter. Despite both teams going to the same location, the mission won't progress if a member of the boat crew tries to take the helicopter, or vice versa.
    • And in the Prison Break, the first guard the 'prisoner' and 'guard' players pass by will inexplicably become hostile even if both players are blending in perfectly, resulting in an immediate shoot-out. There is no way to sneak past him, so shooting first is pretty much the best option.
    • Averted with several setups for heists that can be massively optimized by use of glitches and/or workarounds. In Pacific Standard- Signal, you are tasked with driving a bunch of Jetskis to an island, shooting a bunch of cops, rescuing a guy, and escaping on a boat. You can skip the Jetski part, and find helicopters that have spawn points around the city. Picking the guy up by helicopter is massively easier than using the boat.
      • Also, the finale of the Pacific Standard Job has been optimized to perfection. Usually, you need to break into a bank. Two of the four heist members have the ability to grab the money. This money is constantly decreasing as the people with the money get hurt. If one person does it, then the other members can protect him. Also, the game expects you to make your escape on bikes, which obviously offer little protection. If a player has the Armored Kuruma car in a specific garage, he can go get it mid-mission and then pick up the person who has all the money, who has stayed in the bank and is relatively safe from gunfire. Enjoy actually getting $1,250,000 to split between your guys, instead of far less.
    • In the Cayo Perico Heist setup for the Kosatka Sub approach, you have to steal a Sonar Jammer from a nearby Merryweather test submarine. Paval will mention that all the equipment for this heist will have to be destroyed because otherwise it could be traced back to you, and El Rubio (the guy you're stealing from) is a very powerful and meticulous man. However the entire point of the Sonar Jammer is so that your sub is never detected during the heist, so if Rubio looks for it at all, it would defeat the purpose of having it in the first place. But nonetheless it must be disposed of like all the other equipment, since otherwise it would permanently unlock the Kosatka as an approach for future heists (and the Kosatka is also one of the best approaches too).
    • Another involving the Cayo Perico Heist. To scope out Cayo Perico, the player is tasked with interupting a drug deal so they can steal a Velum and infiltrate the island whilst disguised as a smuggler. Once the player has gathered the intel, they return to Los Santos and the Velum is stored in a hangar, whereupon it can be used to return to the island for further intel gathering as many times as the player wants. Despite this, if the player wants to use the Velum as their approach vehicle for the heist, they are required to steal a seperate one in a prep mission.
    • The game doesn't allow players to steal other players' valuable cargo in Free Roam lobbies, only giving the option to blow them up for an extremely paltry sum of cash. The only types of cargo this doesn't apply to is already low-value to begin with, such as Vehicle Cargo, Heist prepping equipment, and Business Battle cargo crates.
    • The Doomsday Heist and Diamond and Casino Heists all have preps that can be done solo in free mode. However, to account for the fact that there can be more party members, the game forces you to collect multiple pieces of equipment even if you have no intention of bringing that many people (such as four Strombergs). This is most noticable with the Getaway Vehicle prep for the Diamond and Casino Heist; some of the drivers will provide 4-seater cars as options but you still gotta steal two cars, even though you and everyone else can comfortably fit into a single car.
    • The finales for the Contracts added in the Los Santos Tuners update (which are basically a form of mini-heists) only allow you to pick a single vehicle from the Tuner class added in the said update to use throughout the mission, with the ability to call any other car or aircraft disabled.
    • Missions (which include some older Heist setups) that split the party into teams will harshly enforce the teams' objectives. If anyone attempts to deviate from their objective (say, leaving their designated vehicle or location) the game will start a countdown that will arbitrarily fail the mission even though you have not ticked any other failure condition. This is especially noticable on missions where one team is suppose to be on lookout or has a much easier objective; you are all but forced by the game to sit there and twiddle your thumbs until the other team finishes their task, and you can't help.
  • Butt-Monkey: An entire faction gets this. The Lost must have fallen severely out of favor with the Plot Gods, because they are a constant and recurring target for various quest givers (Trevor especially).
  • Capture the Flag: Added to the game sometime after release. In an update, players can make their own CTF missions with the Mission creator tool
  • The Caper: Heists are a major feature of the game, first introduced in the Heist DLC in 2015, with new heists added periodically. The targets range from small banks and drug dealers to the gold reserves at the Union Depository, the vault of the Diamond Casino and even the private island of a Cartel boss.
    • Tuners DLC introduces the Auto Shop that allows the player to do Contracts, robbery missions that are mechanically similar to the heists, and many feature the same targets as the main heists, but can be played solo and pay less money.
  • The Cartel: The Madrazo Cartel is a faction in the game, although in general they are friendly with the player character as the player does missions for Martin. Another cartel group is run by El Rubio out of his private island, Cayo Perico.
  • Cash Gate: Subverted. The game will keep telling you to get an apartment or garage, but it's possible to reach the highest level in the game without having one. It does make it difficult or impossible to get certain things, like cars you only can purchase through the Internet namely any high end or luxurious sports cars you can't merely steal off the streets and take to a mod shop to buy insurance.
  • Character Customization: Players can create their own character for play online. Options allows the player to determine their character's appearance based on who would've been that character's parents, including everyone from Story Mode (in addition to characters from previous GTA games, and even John Marston from Red Dead Redemption), in addition to options for hairstyles, facial structure, and starting stats.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: The multiplayer missions. Some of them tend to be quite lengthy, and have all of them have no checkpoints at all. Do a mission where you must ambush a drug deal, go to the mountains, hack the computer, and then run to the other side of town to ambush more Mooks at the airfield? Failing will be quite devastating.
    • This was later averted in heists, however.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Tolerated, if not flat out encouraged by the game mechanics. Some jobs allow the person who completes it to keep all the cash for themselves, players can rob each other for money, and can put a bounty on each other. Of course, you Troll, you can just do it just to piss people off, too. If you get too carried away, you will be labeled a "Bad Sport".
  • The Clan: The Duggan crime family.
  • Clandestine Chemist: Mutt is the resident chemist in an acid lab located in the back of a high tech camper the player can buy and operate after completing the First Trip series of missions in the Drug Wars DLC.
  • Collateral Damage: Committing suicide by shooting yourself in the head actually fires a bullet from your gun, and it can hit other players.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Online is built around this trope. From mega-yachts to gold jet-planes to high-rise offices to being able to store up to 209 personal vehicles, note  players can expect to spend quite a bit of money.
    • The orbital cannon introduced in The Doomsday Heist update takes this up to eleven - not only is it $900,000 just to install, but it also costs $500,000 just to fire (plus another $250,000 per shot for lock-on capability). That's US$9.99 per shot.
  • Cool Bike: The Bikers DLC gives you:
    • Liberty City Cycles Avarus and Sanctus choppers.
    • The Maibatsu Manchez, based on the 500cc KTM.
    • The Nagasaki Chimera trike.
    • A Nagasaki Street Blazer ATV.
    • A TRON-based Nagasaki Shotaro.
    • Pegassi gives us the Faggio Mod and Faggio Sport motor scooters, as well as its sports bikes known as the Esskey (based on the Ducati Scrambler) and the Vortex (based on the Ducati 1199 Panigale Streetfighter).
    • Shitzu gives us its sports bikes known as the Defiler and Hakuchou Drag (returning from Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned), based on Suzuki's Bandit 1200 Streetfighter and Hayabusa, respectively.
    • Criminal Enterprises DLC adds a legitimate business to the MC Clubhouse, where the player can modify and deliver bikes to customers, who often request fancy modifications.
    • Western Motorcycle Company proudly presents: the Nightblade, Wolfsbane, Zombie Chopper (all returning from The Lost and Damned), Zombie Bobber and Rat Bike, all respectively based on the Harley-Davidson models Night Rod Special, 1200 Custom, Fat Bob Custom, and KKF 14.
  • Cool, but Inefficient:
    • The RM-10 Bombushka gunship/cargo plane's weaponry and ability to transport vehicles fail to justify its existence. It is slower than a blimp, costs over $5 million and can be destroyed with a single RPGnote . It can't even transport vehicles when upgraded. The real kicker is that the Avenger surpasses the Bombushka is every aspect with similar price and weapon loadout but it can VTOL, tank up to 24 RPG hits and can upgrade weapons/vehicles.
    • The Volatol is arguably worse. While it is a huge plane that can drop 100 bombs, it is a huge plane with a massive hitbox, slow speed and terrible turning. The plane can be downed with a single RPG and is easy to hit thanks to its aforementioned size and sluggishness. These shortcomings meant it fails as a dedicated bomber, which happens to be its intended role.
  • Cool Car: Many of the fancier rides in the game such as the Infernus, Entity XF, Cheetah, Turismo, etc are these. Unlike single player, you unfortunately can't just steal them off the streets and take them to your garage or to LS Customs for modification. You have to save up your money and then purchase them off the ingame website LegendaryMotorSports.com.
    • Lowriders DLC introduces Benny's Original Motorworks, a garage specializing in Lowriders, where a selection of cars can be upgraded with hydraulics and customized further with unique liveries and accessories. Tuners DLC introduces the LS Car Meet and the Auto Shop, where the player can unlock more liveries and accessories, and modify their cars with a 5% discount. The auto shop also recieves cars from customers the player can modify to the customer's request — and more if the want, and then deliver to the buyer.
  • Coolest Club Ever: The After Hours update allows the player to run their own nightclub and use it as a money laundering front for their other illicit businesses.
  • Cooperative Multiplayer: In addition to deathmatches and other standard multiplayer modes, you can plot your own heists, stick ups, and other missions with friends. Interestingly, the person who actually grabs the money is the one who decides the payout between the other members of your crew, so it's possible to take all of it for yourself and completely screw everyone else over.
  • The Cops Are Cheating Bastards: Though the cops of V were noticeably smarter and deadlier than previous games in the solo campaign, they're downright inhuman at times Online, likely for balance against numerous players. Their accuracy and damage are significantly higher, to the point where a cop armed with a shotgun can chip off a good 75% of your health in a single hit from 4 or 5 city blocks away. Cops also spawn more rapidly and pursue the player more relentlessly, to the point where even if you've left them miles behind and have been out of their sight for a long while, they'll just happen to beeline toward your hiding place and find you again despite having no reason to do so. Couple that with the removal of an arrest system so any wanted level = kill on sight and you've got some pretty bloodthirsty and bullshitty peacekeepers of Los Santos.
    • You'll also find that civilians and store keepers are far more aggressive in Online than they are in story mode. If you hold up a store, there's a much greater chance that any civilians outside will start plugging away at you while you're holding the storekeeper at gunpoint, additionally you really don't want to turn your back on the storekeeper after the robbery is complete...
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted to all hell in later waves of Survival, where the enemies get military-grade weapons and tank plating for armor. While this can be (slightly) justified with the police, it gets a bit jarring when meth-addled hillbillies and common thugs have the same equipment.
    • In a way, however, Survival also plays it straight; enemies seem to feed off each other's aggression when grouped together and will continuously charge even well-entrenched camping positions according to predictable patterns, which can make cutting them down relatively easy. But it's common for a few stragglers to become stuck in parts of the environment, or, if your cover is a little too good, lose interest in finding you altogether and remain "dormant" in one place, which means that if you want to clear the round, you'll have to give up the advantage and leave the safety of your hiding spot to seek them out. A single enemy, especially on later waves, seeing you before you see them can mean game over at the last second.
  • Crime of Self-Defense: Online has no code defining what counts as self defense. As such, you'll get a wanted level for fighting back against hostile NPCs or players, and if you destroy another player's personal vehicle, it doesn't matter if they pummeled you, shot you or blew you up, you'll invariably have to pay their insurance. This gets especially aggravating if explosions are the only consistent way of killing them if they're driving (i.e. driving an armored Kuruma or an Insurgent).
  • Critical Existence Failure: Tires on the open-wheel race cars do not suffer any loss of grip regardless of their current durability, until the durability not only drops into the red zone but is halfway between the maximum threshold of said zone and zero durability, at which point grip levels basically drop off a cliff. It's a completely different story when tire wear mechanics are enabled on other car classes though. Not only are there now noticeable differences in grip levels between each of the 3 tire compounds, but the loss of grip as the tires wear can also be noticed, with much less of a "plateau -> drop off cliff" effect that the tires for the open-wheel race cars have.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: From the Gunrunning update onwards, Online confirms under no uncertain terms that Deathwish is the canon ending of GTA V:
    • Although killing him is optional, Michael canonically didn't kill The United Liberty Paper Contract in "The Wrap-up" as he appears as a supporting character in The Doomsday Heist update.
    • From The Diamond Casino and Resort update, one mission has Tao Cheng mentioning that he survived an assassination attempt in the Pacific Bluffs Country Club (which is where one of the assassinations took place in Deathwish).
    • Trevor is mentioned as having become a lifestyle coach by Ron in the Smuggler's Run update.
    • Although not mentioned by name, Franklin refers to Michael as still working at the movie studio during the mission "Off Course" in The Contract.
  • Cutting the Knot: Tired of everyone killing you when you get the high priority Simeon vehicle? Want no competition in destroying the target vehicles or planes? Want to survive a bounty placed on you for some easy xp, money, and an achievement? Just go into an invite-only session without inviting anyone else.
  • Defunct Online Video Games: The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Grand Theft Auto Online became examples of this trope on December 16, 2021, six years after Rockstar officially stopped updating them.
  • Denser and Wackier: While the overall tone of the game remains the same as all other entries, there is a lot more out-there stuff. Such include high-tech flying motorcycles with homing missiles, a series of heists where you save the world from a nuclear apocalypse, laser weapons added with Arena War, a fully functioning Kill Sat, Halloween events having supernatural entities out in the open rather than limited to Easter Eggs, and the Player Character potentially having thousands of kills under their belt due to the longevity of the game.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • Normally, if you steal a car, the protagonist will smash the windows to unlock the door. However, if you are stealing I/E vehicles, the protagonist will pick the lock instead. Any damage done to the vehicle is paid out your own pocket, so the protagonist is trying to maximize profit by not breaking the windows.
    • Agent ULP's phone call to the player regarding the IAA missions added in the Criminal Enterprises update has an additional line mentioning them doing well in Operation: Doomsday (as in, the Doomsday Heist) if they've cleared it before his call. He'll also try to begrudgingly thank the player for rescuing him during Act II of the heist, but he'll turn around and say he's not contractually obligated to.
    • During certain Holiday Mode events where peyote plants are available, players will get a special error message if they try to start selling their illicit products while any motorcycle club members are tripping on peyote, noting that they're "one with the animals".
  • Disc-One Nuke: The armored Kuruma car in GTA Online is a defensive form of this trope, and an ideal choice if you are getting tired with 12 year olds gunning you down. Unlocked during the very first heist mission string, it features armor plated body panels and windows that offer near-total protection from bullets, making nearly every mission vastly easier to complete because players can simply turtle inside the vehicle while shooting out of its window slits. While the $525,000 price tag is hefty, players who preordered the game and received a huge bonus cash grant were able to immediately afford it and a cheap safehouse to put it in. The Insurgent, which is like the armored Karuma, but with the ability to survive a few rockets, can be bought after unlocking it from a certain heist. An update made the Insurgent available to purchase right away without having to beat the heist and its price tag is around $600,000, which most have gotten by now thanks to the double cash events Rockstar periodically holds.
    • Playing it a bit more straight are the DLC Weapons, like the Special Carbine, Bullpup Rifle, Heavy Shotgun, and the Homing Launcher. The Special Carbine is a Carbine Rifle that's a little bulkier, but you can get it from the start, and upgrading it is worthwhile for heists, the Bullpup is a basic Advanced Rifle that is not nearly as strong,The Heavy Shotgun is a straight upgrade to the already overpowered Assault Shotgun, which only has a better fire rate, and the Homing except to say, if nothing else, it can be bought at level 1, while the normal rocket launcher is locked at level 100.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: It's rare for a game mode to have an objective that actually warrants the amount of force being employed (especially by the authorities). Criminals escaping via motorbike into the hills? Send fighter jets after them!
    • The Heists Update introduced a side activity in which Lester asks you to distract the police. You only need to drive into the area to get the cops after you. While this could be justified by you potentially disrupting a police operation, you'll eventually get helicopters and NOOSE sent after you.
  • Double Unlock: You have to reach a certain level to unlock some items, and then you have to buy the item with in-game currency.
  • Driven to Suicide: If you cause your own death, the game will say "You committed suicide". If you actually commit suicide (an option, where you can put your gun to your own head and pull the trigger), it says "You took the easy way out".
  • Driving Up a Wall: Open Wheel cars can be driven upside down along the roofs of tunnels. This is based on Real Life speculation that the aerodynamic design of Formula One vehicles generates enough downforce that you can, theoretically, drive one upside-down, although no one (that we are aware of) has ever tried to test this theory.
  • Drunk Rolling: Cayo Perico DLC introduces the "sleeping guard" random event, where you can find one of El Rubio's guards passed out drunk in the street, and going up to them, you can steal some momey, and a key from them. The key can be used to open a drawer in El Rubio's desk in his office on the island to unlock a golden single shot pistol.
  • Early Game Hell: Especially if you don't have friends playing the game. To unlock the more efficient ways of grinding money you need to put down a hefty sum to unlock them first. Good luck scrounging enough for an Apartment, then running Heists with randoms.
  • Emote Animation: There's a handful of emotes, most of them used to gloat or offend someone like Flipping the Bird and saluting with a smug look on your character's face.
  • Energy Weapons: Present and accounted for in the Up-n-Atomizer (a concussive Ray Gun), the Unholy Hellmaker (a plasma assault rifle), and the Widowmaker (a massive gatling laser cannon).
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Most of the street gangs have both male and female members, the Lost MC have black and white, and male and female members, and the Professionals and Merryweather are also racially diverse, but exclusively men.
  • Evil Pays Better: Certain player-owned businesses like the arcade, nightclub and motorcycle clubhouse can generate income by actually functioning as the front businesses they pose as. However, the income from these activities is always woefully outpaced by all the illegal stuff players could be grinding from these businesses instead. The only real benefits players gain from legitimate business is that the sell missions are generally easier, and they don't paint a giant target on the seller's back for everyone in the same session to see.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: The Doomsday Heist in a nutshell. You want to prevent World War III because your criminal empire wouldn't survive long After the End with no client or resources. Without fuel, how would you enjoy your Weaponized Car or jet plane?
  • Excuse Plot: Most game modes give a flimsy reason for teams of players murdering each other. Cops confiscated our weed? Start a massive shoot-out in the streets. Crooks made off with important evidence? Storm their HQ and kill every last one of them. The most blatant is probably Deathmatch, which just tells you to kill as many people as possible for their money.
    • Hell, the whole plot of GTA Online. The only reason why your character is in Los Santos in the first place is because he or she met Lamar on Lifeinvader.
  • Experience Points: Successfully completing missions, pulling off robberies, winning races, and other activities will earn you Reputation Points that allow your character to increase in rank and unlock better weapons, vehicles, and other purchasable items.
  • External Combustion: One of the modifications you can fit to practically any car that fits into the mechanic shop is a bomb that can either be detonated remotely via cellphone, or set to detonate the next time the car is started. Enterprising players who became tired of griefers carjacking them at gunpoint learned that they could fit one of their fancier cars with such a bomb, then cruise around the city waiting for a player brave or stupid enough to try and jack them. Once the would-be thief is merrily is on their way, the car's owner simply whips out their phone and...boom.
  • Expy: The protagonist never speaks and takes jobs from just about anybody paying, much like Claude.
  • False Flag Operation: Lamar's plan in Lowriders is to provoke a Gang War between the Ballas and Vagos by having players perpetrate drive by shootings on members of the two gangs while disguised as their opposites. However, things go horribly wrong as OG Chamberlain Families member Vernon learns about Lamar's plan and becomes furious at him, resulting in Gerald cutting ties with Lamar as a result and Vernon wanting nothing to do with Lamar ever again.
  • Flare Gun: Available to purchase in eight different colors, and can be used to set people on fire, or to deflect homing missiles.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the start of the Cayo Perico Heist when Dr. Dre, DJ Pooh and Jimmy Lovine appear at the airport, they are forced to leave right after they arrive because Dr. Dre's phone gets stolen since it has unreleased songs from Dre on it. During "The Contract" update released a year after "The Cayo Perico Heist" update, they later hire the protagonist and Franklin Clinton's agency to help them retrieve it.
    • One of the random dialogue Pavel says after being caught and thrown off of Cayo Perico says it's a long swim back to Los Santos. You can escape the island during the heist by swimming out to the ocean.
  • Freudian Slip: In the patch list for the Tuners update, one of the patches fixes a bug with obtaining English Dave's "Beetle".
  • Game-Breaking Bug
    • In the days after launch, the overloaded Rockstar cloud servers began to break down and prevent players from accessing their created characters. Players were instead given an innocuous prompt to start a session with a new, generic character, not realizing that this would overwrite all previous online character data and reset their progress. Rockstar was forced to put out a PSA warning against the generic-character feature before patching the whole thing out.
    • The servers themselves are a continuing problem; Rockstar released a large sum of money to all Online players as an apology for the server woes early in release, but they missed the original stated date by several weeks because they were worried the servers would nullify the deposits.
    • The original update that added Online Mode caused a little-known bug for a number of unlucky players who found their single-player games utterly broken, with all mission hubs inaccessible and progress rendered impossible as a result. Additional updates have corrected this bug but those affected must still replay from the beginning to get their progress back.
    • There's currently a money hack running rampant that allows players to attain billions of GTA dollars from store robberies and bounties. The hack is so easy to do that some players believe it to be a honey pot.
      • Rockstar responded and removed the ability to hack yourself or other players to multi-millionare-dom. All hacked money was removed from players' bank accounts. Those who were hacking also had penalties applied while innocent players who just got the money were left alone.
    • When the Capture the Flag game mode was first released, players discovered that hovering over the capture point in a helicopter with the objective in tow resulted in millions of experience points per hour. Rockstar responded by removing every CTF map containing a helicopter.
    • Servers have issues with keeping some players in a session with other people. While this is usually just an annoyance in public lobbies, this issue become greater in missions, where all the enemies will likely tear apart lone players, and will likely cause some hairs to be torn out during Heists and Lamar missions, as these will be failed if there are less than 4 players in the session at one time.
    • The servers are still not perfect, but cloud failures and unexpected failures are much less common.
    • The game's complete lack of sanity checking when it came to peer-to-peer communication or communication to Rockstar Social Club eventually bit this game in the ass in late January 2023, when an exploit partially enabled remote code execution through GTA Online itself and players were advised not to touch the game at all until it was fixed, or else potentially suffer lasting damage to their PC. Security experts already knew about this since close to the game's PC launch as it was already laughably easy to execute arbitrary code limited to within the game itself, and the game's lack of sanity checking already existed long before the PC version on Xbox 360 and PS3 (see the money hack linked a few bullet points above).
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • To a small extent with the Diamond Casino heist. Unlike the original and Doomsday heists, the Diamond Casino heist justifies repeat playthroughs in its cutscenes — the Cheng family wants the online protagonist and their crew to rob the Diamond blind so that the Duggans write the casino off as a liability, making it safer for the Chengs to take back. However, this is as far as the writing goes in its justification, because all the dialogue treats every run as if it were the first (aside from one or two throwaway lines).
    • The Cayo Perico heist follows a similar formula. After the first playthrough, the protagonist's disguise changes from a "tour manager" for Keinemusic to blending in with the island's cargo pilots, owing to El Rubio's increased paranoia. Pavel will also express some glee at the prospect of robbing El Rubio again, mostly just to make a fool out of him. However, like the Diamond Casino heist before it, most of the mission dialogue remains the same as it was the first time around.
    • If you do the Cayo Perico heist rerun on hard mode (which Pavel says is you returning almost immediately after robbing El Rubio), El Rubio can be heard yelling over the comms about how the guards better get their act together since no one wants to attend parties on an island that is frequently getting robbed.
    • During one of Franklin's missions, he gets into a friendly race with Lamar, who requests him not to use his special ability to try to cheat like he did back in 2013. Indeed, the player is unable to use Franklin's special ability to slow down time, since Online is played on, well, online servers.
  • Gangbangers: Like story mode, the game includes the Families, Ballas, Vagos, Aztecas, Marabunta Grande, a Korean street gang called Kkangpae and as a new faction, Fooligans, an Expy of the Juggalo fandom. The player character is technically considered an affiliate of the Families, as Lamar inivted the player to Los Santos and is the first guest giver.
  • Gangland Driveby: Guns can be fired from inside vehicles, and a couple of missions specifically require you to kill targets this way:
    • The first mission of Lamar's Lowerider missions is a False Flag Operation to try start a war between the Ballas and Vagos by pulling off drive-by's in gang cars on respective turfs, and in a later mission when targetting a Ballas convoy, the players get a minivan with a sliding side door allowing the player on the back seat two handed weapons like a rifle or a machine gun from the back seat.
    • Two different payphone hits require the player to kill the target(s) firing from a car, with the Pop Star also specifically necessitating a False Flag Operation using a Vagos gang car.
  • Gatling Good: getting to rank 120 unlocks the Minigun at Ammu-Nation. There are a number of Weaponized vehicles, and some can be upgraded to have gatling guns.
  • Generic Ethnic Crime Gang: Aside from the outlaw bikers and gangbangers, Los Santos is also home to an Armenian Mob outfit.
  • Getting High on Their Own Supply: The Fooliganz make, sell and love their LSD, and lace the player character to initiate them into the gang.
  • Global Currency Exception: Diamond Casino chips. Other than their obvious use for gambling, the casino's clothing and decoration store only accepts chips for purchases. Buying things en masse becomes somewhat annoying when one considers that the only way to get more chips is to win them, trade for them at the casino (which has a GTA$50,000 hourly limit), or grind them at a very slow pace through Casino Work jobs in free roam.
  • Go Fast or Go Boom:
    • The adversary mode: "Hunting Pack" features players in vehicles split into two teams. The attackers are trying to stop an armored vehicle from reaching it's destination, while the defenders are trying to defend it. The defenders will fail if the armored vehicle falls under the minimum speed for long enough, in which case it'll explode.
    • One of the Import/Export car sourcing missions involves the player stealing a suspiciously unguarded objective car for their vehicle warehouse. Upon starting the engine, a timer and speedometer appear in the bottom right of the screen, and the player gets a text from their secretary telling them that the car's wired with a bomb that runs on this trope's logic. Fortunately, the bomb only explodes when the player falls under a certain speed for several seconds in a row, making it fairly easy to avoid death unless the player happens to get stuck somewhere.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: there are a ton of collectibles on the map, including action figures, Lamar Davis' legal weed packages and a full deck of playing cards. During Halloween and Christmas, there is also usually limited time holiday themed collectibles. The map also shares the same 50 stunt jumps from single player.
  • Griefer: With a name like Grand Theft Auto Online, its to be expected that other players will try to wreck your shit for the lulz factor at any given moment. Obnoxious players in particular (preferably with a high bounty on their heads) will often patrol the streets of Los Santos in a Rhino Tank (or more recently, the Oppressor Mk. II flying motorcycle) blowing up anything that moves land or sky. Unless you have an RPG, expect to get killed repeatedly even if you are just minding your own business and have no intention of trying to kill said griefer.
    • For the lucky few who can afford the incredibly expensive Deluxe versions of the Luxor or Swift, they can expect griefers to be hot on their tail. The only way that the player can avoid having Griefers destroying their prized aircraft is to use Passive Mode or get the vehicles insured as quickly as possible.
    • People in a chopper with rockets or a military jet (which has the benefit of better lock-on targeting) can be just as bad as their fellow trolls in tanks as they can more easily get away from your line of firing.
      • You can also be said griefer if you so choose though ironically repeating said behavior will likely put you in the "bad sport" lobby complete with a dunce cap!
      • With the heists update, you can be a jerk and not give your fellow crew members their fair share of the score.
    • And, sadly, the personal vehicle system also makes it harder to respond to somebody being a jerk, because if you destroy their vehicle while they're attacking you in it, then you risk having a penalty put on you that puts you in servers with other people who are much more likely to do horrible things for no reason.
    • Hackers have become more and more rampant in Online as time has gone by, and the nature of the hacks used has also become more advanced and more malicious over time. Money hacks and invincibility are one thing, but spawning masses of objects into the world that can negatively affect performance to the point of crashing the game for other people is entirely another. It has technically reached a point where the advice by many honest senior players to new players is to launch a private friend-only or solo session and stay out of the public ones.
    • When somebody with a vehicle warehouse is trying to sell a car the game makes it clear that to successfully profit from ruining their mission other players have to steal the car being sold and take it to a designated area, however other players will fuck with the seller by going after it with the intent of destroying it, which doesn't give payout.
    • In general, the fastest money-making activities in the game are restricted to public free roam sessions, and attempting to do them results in the participating players getting marked on the map, opening the door wide open for military aircraft-delivered griefing. The only thing sellers have going for them, barring like-minded and equally-armed friends, is the fact that their delivery vehicles are extremely durable compared to their non-mission counterparts. For someone looking from the outside in, one might argue that the mechanic serves a similar purpose to games like EVE Online, Metal Gear Solid V, or The Division. However, attacking players get chump change for their efforts (in fact, if they're not in a military vehicle, they'd lose money destroying other players' cargo), so the implication is that griefing is encouraged by the developers only for griefing's sake (or perhaps frustrating the victims into buying Shark Cards).
    • Because of all the mentioned above reasons, Rockstar Games eventually had to change their game policy in April 2024 because it was getting so bad, with people who try Griefing now being banned from the game permanently.
  • Guide Dang It!: The game is pretty good at telling you most things, however there are a few spots it does miss.
    • The game relies on giving you various hints during the loading screens or when they are needed due to nearby events. This is normally ok, but sometimes the hints that it gives you could be more useful if they appeared before, such as information about Armored Trucks or that high end vehicles you find on the street can't be made into personal vehicles and must be bought.
    • On the prison break finale, the two players busting into the prison are expected to start a shootout as soon as they get off the bus. The game doesn't mention this, and the way the mission is set up heavily implies that you're supposed to be keeping the disguise up until you meet the target, rather than start firing as soon as you enter the prison. The only hint is one guard who, after you pass him, inexplicably starts shooting at you for no noticeable reason.
    • On the Pacific Standard setup where you're tracking the locator, one player drives and the other uses an app on their phone that will point out the rough location of several mail trucks. The driver is supposed to take the tracker to these trucks so the tracker can take a picture of its licences plate. What the game doesn't mention is that, while using the tracker app, pressing the D-Pad directions will put an arrow up on their driver's screen pointing in that direction, allowing players to communicate the location without a mic.
    • Certain businesses (the nightclub, special cargo warehouses, and the arcade) let you upgrade the vehicles used in their respective sales/heist. While at least the nightclub has Gay Tony call you and tell you to upgrade the vehicle used if your vehicle gets destroyed multiple times, there is nothing telling you that you can upgrade the various special cargo sale vehicles using the red toolbox inside warehouses and getaway vehicles by getting in and pressing the button.
    • While almost every vehicle you can obtain by using the Lucky Wheel in the Diamond Casino through a 5% chance is actually obtainable through the in-game websites, the only vehicle you can get exclusively this way is the Lost Slamvan which has an even lower percentage chance of being obtained than other vehicles through the already low percentage you can land on the vehicle slot making it obtainable being 0.005%, it is the hardest vehicle to own legitimately in the game.
    • On the Cayo Perico heist, there is no indication outside of one of Pavel's random dialogue after being caught and thrown off the island, is that you can escape the island during the heist by just swimming out to the ocean.
  • Gun Accessories: Most guns can be fitted with scopes, supressors, a foregrip, extended magazines and a flashlight. Further modifications can be unlocked through the Bunker business, including a thermal scope, and specialized ammo.
  • Hacker Cave: The Benefactor Terrorbyte is a mobile one for the Player Character. Inside, one can hack into any of their business computers and run a resupply run for that business. In addition, the player can run missions for Paige.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Zig-zagged in a very strange way. The game lets you name your characters online, but after that, you'll probably never see said name again, unless you've created multiple characters and are in the character select screen- the parts of the game with voice acting will never mention your name, and in cases where names are shown, only the player's Social Club nickname ever comes up, not the name of the character that the player has designated.
  • Heroic Mime: Zigzagged. The multiplayer protagonist doesn't speak during the cutscenes, for obvious reasons. Similarly, when the player phones Lester for assistance, the protagonist is not heard speaking, only Lester's responses (lampshaded by Lester sometimes addressing the player as "my creepy silent friend"). But they can "speak" during gameplay if the player talks through a mic, complete with generic mouth flaps.
  • Hold the Line: The Survival missions in Online require the players to hold off 10 increasingly difficult waves of computer-controlled enemies.
  • Holiday Mode:
    • All of San Andreas has been covered in snow on a weekend on or near Christmas every year since 2014. Rockstar went the extra mile in 2020, having another snow day on April Fools.
    • In a similar vein, Rockstar has been running Fourth of July events since 2014, which is usually one of the only times of the year that players can buy and restock the Musket and Fireworks Launcher from Ammu-Nation.
    • 2019 saw the debut of limited-time Halloween events, like alien-themed Survival missions and peyote plants in Free Mode that turn you into random animals.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Whether they're shooting at you from a moving vehicle while your behind cover, or from a chopper about 200 feet in the air, the enemy NPC's WILL end you.
  • Improbably Cool Car: Despite the in-game website claiming that only 10 were made, it is entirely possible for all 30 players in a lobby to drive around in their own Truffade Z-Type.
  • Joke Character: A Joke Vehicle in this case, the Maxwell Asbo, in essence a faithful recreation of a mid-2000s Vauxhal/Opel Corsa. From the name itself ("asbo" is a British slang term for a problem child) to its wide array of bodykits and its very pointed choice of inspiration, the Asbo is a clear reference to Chav culture. It's also, regardless of how it's modified, one of the worst handling cars in the game.
  • Joke Weapon:
    • The snowballs that appear only during Christmas events are defined one of the worst thrown weapons in the game. They barely deal damage in any way.
    • In Festive Surprise 2023 introduced the Snowball Launcher, a festive variant of Compact Grenade Launcher which as the name implies, they launch snowballs. They're significantly less lethal than the thrown snowballs.
  • Kaizo Trap: The end of the Prison Break Heist finale has players parachute out of their getaway plane to swap over to a helicopter to fly back to Los Santos, with Agent 14 debriefing the heist crew and talking about the next heist already. However, the mission is very much not over and players can still die from hitting the ground too hard or accidentally blow up the chopper hitting something.note  And yes, because there are no checkpoints in the original heist series, the whole finale has to be restarted from the beginning.
  • Karma Meter: The High Life update introduced a stat called "Mental State", which starts at 0% and works its way up whenever a player kills other players, NPCs or blows up cars. Harming other players causes it to raise the most. Staying out of conflict and/or playing anything outside of Free Mode empties it.
  • Level Editor: A relatively simplistic one, called the "Content Creator", was launched soon after the game, allowing players to create their own deathmatches, races, and Capture missions, some of which may be "Rockstar Verified".
  • The Load: In Heists, the person who got "Bronze" rank usually ended up as this. It pretty much always goes automatically to whoever used your team life, and aside from that, it goes to the person who accomplished the least related to the task or did the worst job at it (reached the destination slowest, killed the fewest targets, took the most damage). Depending on your group, though, this can often just be a bad luck run, and someone always has to take the role, so it's zigzagged from the player's perspective, while the game sees it as being played straight.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: GTA Online can take anywhere between three to ten minutes to load. This is down to server population, loading all the players and their actions, the map itself and anything else online-specific. In other words, get ready to listen to Tangerine Dream Mona Da Vinci A LOT when you're loading in to the online.
  • Macguffin: Any game mode involving a "package" that has to be captured or protected. What the actual package is (money, drugs, evidence, etc.) is completely interchangeable and exists to give both sides something to fight over.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Because damage sustained by the player character takes a while to fully disappear, the player can be casually walking around Los Santos with gaping holes in their face and major organs.
  • Meme Acknowledgement: The Madam Nazar fortune teller bot in the Casino heist update spouts these out at random; some of her lines are just regular cliched fortune teller lines, others reference her game of origin, but many also joke about the various glitches, memes and conspiracies not only from this game but the entire franchise. This page lists them all.
  • Mundane Solution: There isn't anything stopping you from escaping Cayo Perico during the heist by just swimming into the ocean.
  • Mundane Utility: There really isn't anything stopping you from using a supped up hypercar to reduce your commute time.
    • With the addition of Sercuroserv CEOs its far from uncommon to see people using their CEO abilities to call in Buzzard attack helicopters, and then using them run various errands faster.
      • Or if they're rich enough, buying an Akula gunship helicopter and using its stealth mode to simply get around without appearing on a potential Griefer's minimap.
    • Some players will only go shopping in their choice of armored car, or better yet with a Securoserv protection detail in a turreted limo guarding the door.
    • The hydra is a fighter jet the player can own, which already makes it a must-have. However with its fast speed and VTOL capabilities its not uncommon to see people use them to pick up groceries at the convenience store and then rob said convenience store.
    • Have to get through a hilly windy road? There is nothing better for that than the Ruiner 2000 with its parachute and jump functions.
    • The APC is the most heavily armored and one the most heavily armed vehicles in the game. Its also both amphibious and a personal vehicle making it a great choice for going mudding or getting to your yacht without having to switch to a boat.
    • The Mobile Operations center is essentially a mobile fortress that's hauled by a trailer. You can use it quickly lose your wanted level by just entering the trailer. Or you can use the built-in closet to throw together an outfit on the fly.
      • If you want to forgo practicality, you could install a living quarters on one and just use it to hang out with friends in it.
    • The Cayo Perico Heist update gives us the Kosatka, a fully loaded submarine with guided missiles, sonar, the Sparrow attack helicopter, and the Kraken Avisa submersible. But it also has a fast travel feature whose price per use drops to merely $2,000 after completing the heist. It's common for players to use their Kosatka as simply a Warp Whistle and then the Sparrow to fly themselves onto land.
  • Mushroom Samba:
    • Drug Wars DLC introduces the Fooliganz, a rowdy gang looking to corner the market on LSD in Los Santos. Playing through their storyline, they once give the player character a beer laced with acid and lead them on a psychedelic trip where the player starts riding a bike that turns into a flying motorcycle, meets aliens and/or sees the gates of the Epsilonist heaven, turns into a rabbit, and finally wakes up in their underwear after hallucinating falling from the sky. Later, when chasing Dr Friedlander, the player is hit by hallucinogenic gas, leading to a gun fight in the yard of a rehab facility against a number of hallucinations ranging from apes with guns to clones of the player character. There are also the optional Fooliganz side missions, one of which involves destroying a rival weed grow house using strange chemicals, that then give the player character hallucinations of endless waves of clowns attacking them until a timer runs out.
    • On Halloween most years, Peyote cacti are placed around the map, and if the player eats one, they temporarily turn into a random animal ranging from a poodle to a cougar, until the animal gets killed.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: SecuroServ is this in all their glory. They perform numerous dirty deeds for their clients from assassinations, to running illicit contraband, to bribing the police. No task is too small or too against the law.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • Heists revolve around this trope, as the developers' idea of "hard" is throwing an absurd number of enemies at the player. Some Contact Missions (namely, ones that require more than four players) also subscribe to this idea.
    • The arcade machines that players can buy for their arcade properties are, rather appropriately, this trope. Lester even lampshades the difficulty of the side-scrolling beat-em-up The Wizard's Ruin after completing the arcade setup mission.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Just like in the main game, you can visit the Vanilla Unicorn. Unlike the main game, the girls keep their tops on during private dances.note  A female protagonist will also shower with a bikini top on, which is odd considering due to camera angles you only ever see a character's back when showering.
    • Bizarrely, Online does still contain nudity; if you go to the Playboy mansion lookalike, you can encounter a woman wearing nothing but her bikini bottoms.
      • For a while at least, there was a glitch a player could do to make their female character appear topless!
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Helping the police take down another player will invariably end up with them turning their guns towards you.
    • Additionally, some of the strangers requiring help are actually elaborate scams. If a woman comes screaming for help claiming that her friend is being assaulted, going to help may end with you being robbed and maybe gunned down to death by said woman and her co-conspirators. Don’t go... or go prepared if you’re looking for some cheap experience and money.
  • No-Harm Requirement: The first and the last heist require half of the crew to keep the people in a bank foyer down without killing them, while the other half gets the money. Failing to do so, or killing one of them will fail the mission in the first heist and spawn N.O.O.S.E. teams in the last heist. You will however need to kill armed guards in the last mission.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Most mission names are appropriate and often have a nice pun to them, but a few have no apparent relation to what's going on. Rooftop Rumble, for instance, has nothing at all to do with rooftops.
    • The Doomsday Heist is a notable example, as you're not actually pulling off a robbery, you're actually trying to save the world from nuclear armageddon.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • Muggers can be hired, for $1000, to mug a specific player, causing the mugger to steal a portion of the cash they have on hand, rather than deposited at a bank, by the mugger running up and attacking the player. However this has the extra effect of basically ragdolling the player, presumably to keep retribution from being swift and effective from the mugged party, and also causes the mugger to steal any vehicle the target player may have been in. Considering the closest a player gets to knocking somebody over is killing them, muggers are a solution to keeping their target alive.
    • The longer a mission goes on, the more money and RP it gives out upon completion. This was made to keep shorter games and longer game from paying out differently, so 2 short games would basically pay out as much as 1 longer one, but people who know the mechanics may intentionally stall at some points to reach the time goal to increase the rewarded payout. note 
    • The VIP/Bodyguard system can be used to have fun with your fellow Organization members, as it allows for launches due to friendly fire being off by default.
    • While they are usually miniscule amounts, the bounties NPC characters rarely call on the player are basically free money if you prefer to play alone, since they can only be claimed by other players.
    • The "Commit Suicide" option in the Interaction Menu was probably meant for players stuck somewhere inescapable or to spawn farther away than usual to escape someone who's spawn camping in free roam. Instead, it's most notorious as a tool used by kill/death ratio-obsessed tryhards in free roam to preserve their K/D, as a suicide used to not count against it. Even when an Obvious Rule Patch made this option count against K/D, tryhards still used it to escape the cops and get right back to farming kills on AFK or underleveled players.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The Hang-On and OutRun-inspired Race'n'Chase arcade cabinets are named after the beta version of Grand Theft Auto (Classic).
    • The Los Santos Summer Special update added two new arcade games, one of which is QUB3D, the falling block puzzle game from Grand Theft Auto IV, appearing almost exactly as it did in that game. To make the reference more obvious, the game's description on the arcade games website says that "it's the same game you've been playing for decades".
    • The Surfer Custom introduced in the Los Santos Drug Wars update has a livery based on The Truth's Mothership.
    • During the start of "Fire It Up", Franklin said "Oh, shit. Here we go again..." during what appears to be an out-of-body experience, before Lamar concludes it as a side effect of an LD Organics marijuana.
    • The Maibatsu MonstroCiti is claimed to be the next generation of the similarly-named Monstrosity from Grand Theft Auto III's radio ads. Its description also claims "some people think it's just a twisted urban myth", referencing how the Monstrosity wasn't actually drivable in III.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Like in single-player, you can pick up hookers. Unlike in single player, they have a strange habit of running screaming from your car after you're done. You can also get the numbers from the girls at the Vanilla Unicorn once you've gotten an apartment, but they'll only answer if you've got a particularly high end apartment. And then subverted; turns out they're just there to give you a free private dance with constant touching.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Avon Hertz and Cliffford's ambitions of committing genocide on all of humanity and creating a dystopia out of the remains make them wildly different from every other villain in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, who are usually much more grounded in comparison.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: The Big Bad of the Doomsday Heist employs an army of cyborg clones, some of which are capable of turning invisible.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Works as a one-hit melee kill.
  • Play Every Day: This game has a few relatively minor examples:
    • Daily Objectives, which reset once every day at 6 AM UTC. Players get a small pittance (GTA$30,000) for completing all three on the same day, but there is a "streak" bonus for completing all dailies for a week straight (GTA$150,000) and a month straight ($750,000). Since there are ways to earn that much money in a few hours, much less a month, most people eschew the dailies unless they're doing it for fun.
    • The Diamond Casino Lucky Wheel, which gives players one random prize and is available exactly 24 hours after the last spin, akin to a "login bonus" in other free-to-play games. The 1-in-20 grand prize is the car displayed on the podium in the lobby, which usually rotates once every week. Unfortunately, most cash prizes on the wheel are relatively minor (and the grand prize car "sells" for nothing, since sale prices are based on its purchase cost, and it's given for free); the the most useful thing one can earn from the wheel is a free resupply of one of their businesses, which is obtained randomly when landing on the "Mystery" slot. On the other hand, said slot can give a measly pack of cigarettes...
    • There are a a variety of dead drops hidden around the map which respawn daily in random preset locations, usually in the form of drug caches or laundered money. Unlike the Collector role in Red Dead Online, there's no Set Bonus or additional reward for grabbing a specific group of collectibles in one day, and the money rewarded per collectible is paltry (at most, $25,000), making these less of a mandatory grind and more of a nice bonus for exploring the map.
  • Police Are Useless: Zig-zagged. In some missions where the police are explicity involved, they can do a very good job of shooting you dead or trapping you, but in all the rest they're entirely absent.
  • Police Brutality: Entirely possible depending on who's playing as a cop in most game modes. Since the cops are basically just palette-swapped versions of the crooks, it's likely to see police cause as much wanton destruction and death as the crooks themselves.
    • Also, the police in Online never attempt to arrest someone with a wanted level, and will always shoot to kill.
    • They will also kill civilians on a regular basis. If a large grouping of cops either kills or loses their target(s), they will mill about for a while in the area. There is a good chance that a pedestrian will then bump into one accidentally and be promptly slaughtered. this gets even more horrifying if one or more civilians nearby has a gun, as they will try to defend the victim from the cops, with predictable results usually.
      • Also, there's a good chance that this will lead to a spiral in a populated area, such as the downtown streets. Get a bunch of police together in one tight intersection, wait for the chance civilian bumping into a police officer, and then watch as the police open fire, cause nearby civilians to panic, speed away and hit a police officer in their panic, get ruthlessly gunned down, and the cycle continues.
  • Power Creep: Applies to many vehicles added in the various updates, as well as some weapons to a degree. The High Life update introduced the Pegassi Zentorno, a supercar outclassing every other one in general performance which led many players flocking to its ownership overnight, all until a bit over a year after, when the Progen T20 became the best all-around supercar. It even happened with some Muscles and Sport Classics - the Lampadati Casco, a late 1950s sports coupe introduced with the Heists outclasses most other Sport Classics, including a Miura-based 1960s supercar; and the Coquette Black Fin, which beats out modern Muscles and even Supercars!
    • The DLC weapons aren't really that balanced for being available from Rank 1, especially the Homing Launcher, which can basically replace the RPG. The rest of the guns aren't too bad, but they do often replace or remove the need for more conventional weapons earned by leveling, with the only weapon class not having a straight-up replacement within the DLC weaponry being sniper rifles.
    • The Doomsday Heist DLC, as well as Gunrunning before it but not to the same degree, introduced the personal flying vehicle with homing missiles. The Deluxo isn't the fastest aerial attack vehicle, it can only hold 30 missiles, and it's expensive, but it's a personal vehicle, meaning if you harass somebody in it and they destroy it they have to pay 10'000 for the insurance and get a bad player mark. Every other vehicle of this type cannot be personal and so cannot give you a penalty for blasting it out of the sky for launching missiles at you, but this one is more annoying for that sole reason.
      • The Oppressor Mk 2 is the same but even worse, with the ability to prevent homing missiles from connecting with it by throwing them off course and being faster while still being free flying unlike mk. 1
    • Another way this has worked out is the migration of more content into the free world. While that's what people wanted, there are now a lot of high paying missions that it only takes one failure to prevent the payout for, while you often have to pay to get them going. With the above mentioned flying homing missile shooters as well as them respawning while your payload won't respawn. While there still are options to make money without resorting to free mode, the fact that most business content added in is only in free mode has made it so it only takes one obnoxious jerk in a room to ruin buissness for everybody else.
  • The Power of Friendship: It's more profitable to tackle missions as a team than alone. Not only are they easier to accomplish, you get twenty percent more EXP for completing them as a team, and you get even more for doing them with members of your Crew. Of course, just watch out for that "Disorder" mentioned above.
  • Power Limiter: The game prevents players from simply stealing high-end vehicles off the street by preventing them from driving the vehicles into garages with the in-universe explanation that such vehicles are tagged and easily traceable. Instead, players will have to pay millions of in-game currency obtained either by playing missions or purchasing cash cards with real-world money. Also, stealing cars can result in a bounty being placed on the player's head and end up targeted by other players looking to make a quick buck.
  • Present-Day Past: Originally Online's story takes place a few months before GTA V's single-player campaign to prevent players who jumped right in without playing single player first to get story mode spoilers cementing it in early 2013. Later content updates caused the game to descend into anachronism as post-2013 vehicles and weapons were added and characters discussed or referenced contemporary events. In one MOC mission Agent 14 explicitly mentions that 'it's 2017', indicating Rockstar has retconned the time period to match the current date.
  • Press X to Die: Your character menu has an extra option which is not present in the character menus for either of the three main protagonists: "Commit Suicide".
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: A subtle one but interrupting freemode events tends to be one with skewed punishments. A lot freemode events where you destroy cargo don't pay out that well, roughly $20,000 at most, whereas payout for the delivery player tends to be much more, such as $200,000 in some cases. While the other players don't see that money, all players playing in a more trusting, less hostile fashion also means when the other players want to do similar events, if nobody bothers them then they get more money than destroying the shipment and in turn having other people try and destroy theirs and succeeding would. It can be divided up as: if all players don't ruin each other's work earns them 10X payout on their own ventures, ruining somebody else's venture and successfully running your own earns you 11X, and ruining somebody else's and having yours ruined is 1X, and not ruining somebody else's and having yours is 0X.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Zig-Zagged. The only things your character's sex affects are their animations, clothes available to them (recent updates tend to add unisex clothes, though) and some dialogue. There are no male prostitutes or strippers either, however, and prostitutes don't have unique animations for female characters, so every female Player Character is seemingly turned on by somone performing a jerking motion above their crotch.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • A downplayed example during the Doomsday Heist: At one point, Avon and Lester get into an argument about the economic viability of cryptocurrency (e.g. Bitcoin), with Lester calling them a bubble, something that was all the rage back in 2017 when the Doomsday Heist update was released.
    • The fact that Ron reveals in the Smugglers Run update that Trevor has "Gone Vinewood" and is no longer his boss references how Trevor's voice actor, Steven Ogg, has since joined the cast of many high profile shows in Hollywood following his role as Trevor and the fact that he has since become disillusioned with the Grand Theft Auto fandom which led him to refuse to voice Trevor again and cut ties with Rockstar Games in the process. Because of this, the role Rockstar originally planned for him to have in the Los Santos Drug War update was given to the newly created Fooliganz as a result.
    • A lot of the business quality of life updates shipped with the Criminal Enterprises update were justified in-universe with some combination of gas price inflation, supply chain disruptions, and record high heat waves driving more people indoors — all things that were happening the world over in real life to various extents when the update dropped on July 26, 2022. Oddly, none of the older functions of the player's businesses were changed at all, despite these justifications.
  • Required Spinoff Crossover: With Red Dead Online, this game's Spiritual Successor. A variety of promotions held by Rockstar involve playing one game and getting bonus content on the other, mostly going from GTA Online to Red Dead Online.
  • Respawning Enemies: For the most part, as per series tradition, only cops (and if you're in Fort Zancudo, soldiers) will respawn to pursue the player when killed...unless, of course, you're playing missions such as "Dry Docking" or "Stocks and Scares". For whatever reason, almost any mission that takes place on Elysian Island will put you up against infinitely respawning Merryweather mercenaries. Have fun trying to open a safe with them breathing down your neck.
  • Retcon: The Enhanced & Expanded version of the game changes the introduction when creating a new character thanks to the new Career Builder which reveals that they were arrested for robbing over 4 million Dollars and had the money kept through laundering businesses and was already either a Business owner, Biker Club owner, Gunrunner, or a Nightclub owner instead of arriving in San Andreas for the first time and meeting Lamar in person after becoming friends with him on Lifeinvader. Because of this, the introduction missions along with the first meeting cutscenes for Lamar, Gerald, Lester, Simeon, Ron and Trevor, and Martin Madrazo are no longer shown with some of them implying that they already know the player. However, the original introduction missions and first meetings are still considered Canon.
  • Rewards Pass: Of a sort. The Expanded & Enhanced version of the game has an optional subscription service called "GTA+". Unlike Take Two's previous endeavor with this trope in Red Dead Online, there's no level grinding involved.
  • Rice Burner: Many vehicles you are tasked with retrieving in the Import/Export missions have... less than tasteful modifications applied to them.
    • Of course, players themselves can invoke this trope as well. You want a chrome Adder with pink dollar rims and green neon? There is absolutely nothing stopping you.
    • Most likely unintentional but the Itali GTB Custom, which you get by buying the regular Itali GTB and then taking it over to Benny's. Performance testers discovered that the Custom is around a full second slower than the original, with the cause being that unlike all other cars, spoilers don't improve traction with this one. As a result, it's a car with more customizable parts but is slower than its non-Custom counterpart.
  • Save Scumming: A rare example pertaining to an online game. Since the game saves data to Rockstar's cloud servers at regular intervals rather than after every action, it's possible to get refunded for certain things simply by quitting the game or otherwise forcing a disconnect quickly enough and rolling back progress by a few minutes. Examples include getting refunded for car and weapon mods, Diamond Casino losses, or even Orbital Cannon fees.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: There is a sawed-off pump shotgun, that can also be fired while riding a motorcycle. Lowriders DLC also introduces a Cool But Inneficient sawed-off double barrel shotgun, and Bikers DLC the Sweeper, a short automatic shotgun, both also usable on bikes.
  • Sequel Hook: Los Santos Drug War doesn't end with a definite conclusion and Isaiah Friedlander remains at large. The player is told that there's still more work to be done and that they'll be contacted when plans gets finalized.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • The high-priority vehicles. Woe betide the newbie who picks one up, goes through all the trouble of losing the cops, and pays all the money to repair/respray it, only to be gunned down the second they leave the Pay 'n' Spray and have it swiped from underneath them.
      • If you know that someone is lying in wait to kill you and steal the high priority vehicle, however, the schmuck status can be inverted by placing an ignition bomb on the vehicle so that if you get gunned down after exiting Los Santos Customs, you'll get the last laugh when they blow themselves up.
    • Custom deathmatches with titles such as "100000 RP + $$$ + Rank Up". The titles promise easy and quick RP and money. However, once you play them, you'll find that these deathmatches are rigged so that the creator always wins. Everyone spawns in an enclosed area armed with only melee weapons, but there is a tank, helicopter, or stash of guns in some hidden area that only the creator knows how to get to. The creator will then proceed to rush to his hidden weaponry and continuously spawn kill you.
    • The game tells you to press the chat key and sing in the shower to earn extra RP. Yes, it does give you RP- a measly 50RP. But you also broadcast your (probably terrible on purpose) singing to everyone on the server. The severity of the repercussions depends on whether you're in a public server, a crew-only or friend-only session, or alone, at that time.
    • With some careful placement, its possible to open a car's door place a proximity mine inside it, and shut the door with no one being any the wiser. If you see a special vehicle, or worse a target vehicle,note  from the Import/Export update just sitting in the road, there is a good chance it has proxy bomb in it.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: For Trevor at least, the Series A Funding heist turns out to be entirely pointless, as the drug deal at the end (with all of the product that he's just paid the four of you to get for him) is actually a sting operation by the DOA, and Trevor is forced on the run with nothing but an Impotent Rage figure as consolation.
  • Shooting Gallery: Some Ammu-Nation stores have a target range inside with challenges for different weapons, when completed, gives the player dicount on weapons and ammunition. If the player buys the Bunker, and buys the Gun Range for it, there is another set of challenges, which wehn completed increase ammo carrying capacity, and some hats and shirts
  • Silent Snarker: In cutscenes for missions and heists the player characters sometimes react this way to the eccentricities of characters like Lamar and Lester.
  • Simple Solution Won't Work: In the "The Contract" update, the player is sent to a Triad-owned nightclub to retrieve a videotape so they can track down a person of interest. While the player is going to the club, Franklin asks Imani why she doesn't just hack their security system. She tells him that the system is so primitive, it's not hooked up to the internet.
  • Sinister Surveillance: The Terrorbyte fulfills this with the player scanner. This allows users to see a wide array of stats from another scanned player from their weapon accuracy to their favorite vehicle to the number of sex acts that they have purchased.
  • Sky Heist:
    • In the "Do You Even Lift?" mission, the players have to acquire one or more Cargobob helicopters, and then they are tasked with stealing four vehicles by airlifting out of their driveways and delivering them to the top of a multistorey car park in Pillbox Hill.
    • A nightclub owner who books The Black Madonna will be asked to use a Cargobob to rescue her from an impromptu concert. By the time the player gets there, she will have already been put into the back of a police car and the player will have to use the helicopter's winch to carry the whole car to safety. Unfortunately, this also results in an Accidental Kidnapping as there's a police officer in the car with her.
  • Sky Pirates: In Smuggler's Run, one of the mission involves stealing cargo from airplanes. While they're flying. By shooting them down with a jet fighter!
  • Smuggling with Dolls:
    • One scene for one of the heists has the players deliver a truck of action figures with cocaine inside them to... surprise! Trevor; one of the main anti-heroes from the campaign. Naturally, he plays with them.
    • Invoked with the player's MC Cocaine business if they buy the equipment upgrade.
  • So Last Season: Plenty of vanilla game content or content from earlier updates gets obsoleted or at the very least downplayed in its usefulness by later additions. The Rhino tank was once a fearless death machine, later becoming far more impractical due to better ways to blow up others such as spawnable Hydra jets. Various armed vehicles become supplanted by weaponized vehicles added in the Gunrunning update, which are not only more powerful (a flying bike that can shoot rockets, a muscle car able to shoot rockets and dual miniguns without the need of a second gunner, etc.) but can be actually owned and called like any personal vehicle unlike the earlier Pegasus vehicles. The Annihilator helicopter is a cross-game example even, once fearless in GTA IV multiplayer but not even useful at the beginning of GTA Online's life, not armed with any rockets and with more cumbersome handling, unlike the Buzzard.
  • Statuesque Stunner: The player character of the game if female stands at an impressive 5'9" when not wearing high heels.
  • Stealing from Thieves:
    • One of Paige's Terrorbyte heists involves interrupting a robbery in progress to kill the crew and snatch the take for yourself. Keep in mind that on your way to the drop-off, your location will be broadcast to everyone else in the server, so there's a good chance that another player will invoke this on you in the same mission.
    • In both the Diamond Casino Heist and the Cayo Perico Heist, several setup missions involve stealing weapons and equipment from other professional heist crews. In some cases, like the vault drills setup for the Diamond Casino Heist and the unmarked weapons for the Cayo Perico Heist, Mission Control outright directs the player to a NPC heist in progress somewhere in Los Santos for the relevant equipment.
  • Stock Ness Monster: One can show up as a rare random event during the Cayo Perico Heist's intel gathering and finale missions. Unlike most other easter eggs, Pavel has some dialogue related to it, and seems to be awfully familiar with the creature, calling it "an old friend of mine".
  • Story Branching: A variation is present in the Diamond Casino Heist. Players are given a choice between three different approaches to the Heist: Silent & Sneaky (using stealth to slip into the vault undetected and escape without anyone knowing), The Big Con (using disguises to sneak into the vault while hiding in plain sight), or Aggressive (barge in, guns blazing, and strongarm your way into the vault). Each approach has different ways it can be accomplished, including different entry points, exit points, disguises, weapons, and so forth.
  • Spoonerism: The apltly named Cunning Stunts update is just begging you to do this.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Some guy won't stop killing you? Simply call the Police, and they'll take him down for you.
    • The reason why Trevor sends you to rob the Ballas during Series A Funding? Earlier, he found a bunch of public photos on Snapmatic featuring the Ballas posing with weapons and lots of drugs. Even worse, he implies that the images were also geotagged.
    • Just because the player owns multiple safehouses and properties and is the boss of them, that doesn't mean that you don't have to pay each day for certain utilities like electricity and water or even mechanic services. If the player doesn't have enough money to pay for the total utility services, then they will not have any of those services available for that in-game day and won't get them back until the next day or longer when the player has enough money to pay them off.
  • Take That!:
    • In previous games people have commented on the absurdity of pulling out a large weapon out of nowhere (usually a RPG). The heists update has one of the characters say, "You know in those games where someone pulls out a rocket launcher and people say 'Where is he keeping that, that's so unrealistic!'. I say you haven't spent enough time in the US judicial system."
    • One of the decal options for the Sultan RS plasters Princess Robot Bubblegum's eponymous character all over the vehicle. The Sentinel Classic has a similar customization option, humorously named "2D Relationship". Last, but not least, the Zion Classic released in the Diamond Casino and Resort update has the option to place a full-fledged PRB body pillow in the back seat to go with the gaudy livery. As the GTA wiki states, this is a jab at the real life itasha subculture in Japan.
    • In one of the Cayo Perico heist's setup missions, Pavel will mention the "great American sport" of shooting down flying bikes with guided missiles, a rather obvious jab at Griefers that get their kicks blowing up other players with the Oppressor Mk.II.
  • Temporary Online Content:
    • Before their removal with the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game, Crate Drops used to occasionally contain limited-time cosmetics that became discontinued after their relevant event, with the most unique of them being the Independence Day beer hats.
    • Since the release of the Xbox One/PS4 version, obtaining limited-time cosmetics is often as simple as logging in during a specificed time frame (or, occasionally, completing a specific activity within the time frame).
    • Starting with the Los Santos Drug Wars update, new vehicles occasionally stop getting sold a few weeks after their release, with their respective in-game purchase page reading "OUT OF STOCK" where its price would normally be. This is Downplayed in Expanded and Enhanced, where players can potentially buy these cars outside of their initial release window if they see one owned by another player at the Los Santos Car Meet and commission Hao to make an exact replica of the car. Thankfully those vehicles are permanently readded in San Andreas Mercenaries.
    • San Andreas Mercenaries removes more than 180+ vehicles from the vehicle websites like Legendary Motorsport, Southern San Andreas Super Autos, Warstock Cache and Carry and Benny's Original Motor Works due to being considered lesser-used and the veicles can only be obtained by purchasing in LS Car Meet test rides, the Luxury Autos and Premium Deluxe Motorsport dealerships and in the Vinewood Car Club (only in PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S with GTA+ subscription) and obtained for free in the Lucky Wheel in The Diamond Casino and Resort and the Prize Ride Challenge in LS Car Meet.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: If you've got the cash to splash ($500,000 per use and an additional $250,000 if you want the game to handle the targeting for you) then you can get over-the-top revenge on annoying online players with the Orbital Cannon Strike after you've built it.
  • Third-Person Seductress: If you play a female character in Online mode, you can modify her appearance and apparel to your heart's content. And yes, you can also make your character stripperific too, wearing underwear or bikinis in public without attracting any raised eyebrows.
  • Time Skip: Starting with theGunrunner and Smuggler's Run updates, the game's storyline takes place after the events of the single-player game. On one gunrunning mission, Agent 14 mentions that it is 2017. And on the Smuggler's Run introduction, Ron states that Trevor had gone "Vinewood" on him and left the business to him to run.
    • As of the Casino series of updates, the game's events take place in 2019.
    • Continuity Snarl: Owing to Online's non-linear progression. Agent 14 doesn't give a definitive answer as to whether he and the player already met (the player may have bought a bunker before ever doing any heists) and the player can still do contact missions and the Series A heist for Trevor despite him "going Vinewood".
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: It seems that, before the single-player story, everyone in the LSPD had terribly itchy trigger fingers. For one, they'll always shoot at a player with a wanted level, even if the player in question only has one star. Also, they see defending yourself against someone shooting or punching you or helping them bring down a gunslinging maniac as crimes.
  • Train Job: "The E.C.U. Job" is a mini heist from the Auto Shop, where the goal is to steal a prototype Engine Control Unit being transported by train.
  • Triads and Tongs: The Los Santos Triad has their own businesses in the city.
  • Trick Bullet: As of the Gunrunning update, the player can employ an R&D team to research a handful of different ammunition types for certain guns. These range from the borderline useless tracer rounds to the heavy sniper-exclusive explosive rounds.
  • Troll: You can be an uber dick to other players if you so choose given the name of the game. i.e grab a random car off the streets or one of your fancy rides (that has insurance for obvious reasons), drive to the nearest LS Customs, order an ignition bomb, park it outside the entrance to said mod shop to where its impossible to enter it without moving the blocking vehicle and wait for an unsuspecting player to try and move it out the way.
    • Another popular method of trolling is to join high paying missions, such as Rooftop Rumble, pick up the package that needs to be delivered, kill the other players by running them over, and then refuse to deliver the package.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Unless avoiding the cops is specifically part of the challenge, the police will never be alerted during missions. This is especially glaring in Rooftop Rumble, in which you'll get into a large shoot out right down the block from a police station.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Downplayed for the most part.
    • If you call in a Merryweather support helicopter, and shoot it down on purpose or by accident, they will point blank tell you that you don't meet their standards and refuse to offer any of their services to you for a while, with the implication that your wanton cruelty has cost you their business.
    • Start killing members of the Families on Chamberlin Hills, and you'll end up earning Lamar's ire whenever you try to call him for a mugger.
    • Played straight, however, when killing two hostages in Online during the Pacific Standard Job causes the tellers to raise the alarm and call NOOSE!
  • Villain Has a Point: During a setup mission in Series A Funding, Trevor tells the Online Protagonists to be careful on what they post online and make sure their settings are secure. After all, a bunch of public photos featuring the Ballas posing with weapons and drugs along with said photos apparently being geotagged were how Trevor found a target to rob.
  • Visionary Villain: Cris Formage. You can rip him off in single player mode, but the first time you die in Online mode, you are confronted with Formage floating down from Heaven to meet you and tell you about passive mode. Maybe the Epsilon Program isn't such a scam after all...
  • Weaponized Car: Starting with the Import/Export update, the storage and customization of weaponized vehicles have been possible with the vehicle warehouse.
    • The Gunrunning update has added further to this with weaponized vehicles available as personal vehicles.
  • We Only Have One Chance:
    • One of the optional Diamond Casino Heist prep missions, "Duggan Shipments", involves the player going after ten of the eponymous shipments in transit throughout the state of San Andreas, full of high-power weapons and ballistic body armor for the Duggans' elite guards stationed at the casino's vault and its administrative areas. Lester explains in his briefing that they only have one shot at the shipments before inevitably arriving at the casino. The number of Elite Mooks that show up during the heist finale goes down for every shipment destroyed by the end of the mission; destroying them all makes all the guards rather average soldiers armed with only pistols and weak SMGs.
    • The Prep phase of the Cayo Perico Heist has three "Disruption" missions: Destroying armor shipments to leave guards more vulnerable, killing weapons dealers to give guards weaker gear, and destroying Buzzard attack helicopters to prevent summoning them if/when you are discovered. You have 10 minutes to finish each one when activated and Paval warns that you have only one attempt, meaning that, if you fail, you cannot try again until next heist. On the other hand, successfully completing each one will make your current heist on the island much easier.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Cayo Perico, El Rubio's private island and the location of the titular Cayo Perico Heist, is described as ostensibly a Caribbean island just off the coast of Colombia, but is based off of Norman's Cay lore-wise and geographically a mirror image of Canouan. Although they are also both Caribbean islands, they're nowhere near the country. During the Google Maps-styled zoom out and zoom in for loading screens, the camera moves a few hundred miles south-by-southeast of the state of San Andreas, which would place Cayo Perico even farther from the Caribbean. Lastly, just to make things even more confusing, Pavel's coordinates on the Kosatka's planning computer place Cayo Perico at 55.9533° N, 3.1883° W, which is in Scotland (where Rockstar North's HQ is located, likely making this an Easter Egg not meant to be taken seriously).
  • Zerg Rush: The Entourage PVP mode. 1 VIP in heavy armour and armed to the teeth, 1 to 5 bodyguards armed to the teeth, 2 to 6 assassins with barely adequate weapons. The VIP is able to tank massive damage but cannot run, and has to reach the evacuation point in 10 minutes, the bodyguards have only three Videogame Lives and must protect the VIP, the assassins respawn forever, and must kill the VIP.

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