Taking liberty in Los Santos - A beginner's guide to surviving Grand Theft Auto Online

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Oct 04, 2013 03:17 PM EDT

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Rockstar's recent title update isn't really doing the trick they hoped it would for Grand Theft Auto Online, and most of us are stuck twiddling our thumbs, left watching that perpetual loading message.

That being said, that does mean there's a bit of time left to study up to make sure you're not completely mauled by Los Santos' more prepared residents once you make your way into the online foray:

- Cash is key in GTA Online. However, that doesn't mean you can't occasonally get a freebie every once in a while. First thing, when you have a chance to steal a car, make it a good one. Any other vehicle you get after this will cost. If you're already past this point, you will have the option of either selling it, or pulling an insurance scam on it, both of which will net you some quick cash.

- Link to your Rockstar Social Account. If you don't have one, now's a good time to set one up. Once it's linked, you'll get a free sawed-off shotgun. With a lot of people still unable to get online, having this boomstick on hand can help you get off to an early advantage over that pea shooter of a pistol.

- We've already discussed the various stores littered throughout the map that you can rob. But when you do, be smart about it, and wear a mask. They cost like everything else in game, but if you ever find your way back in a store you've already hit, it'll make sure the cashier won't recognize you. While you're playing the part of stick up man, you can yell at the cashier to make him get a move on, provided you have a headset. Some can be stubborn and need a little extra "encouragement." Resist the urge to let fly with the hot lead, as it'll only increase your wanted stars.

- Keep a close eye on your money. All cash you have on hand can and will be taken from you by other players. ATMs are an excellent place to store your money and transfer it online (don't worry, it can still be spent from here), but they're not always accessible. Waypoints to nearby ATMs are helpful, but the best option is to punch up your smartphone and transfer your money via the Maize Bank website. Just be quick about it, as you're a bit vulnerable while your gaze is watching your account, and not watching out for potential dangers. Keep a small amount on hand so you can enter passive mode if need be.

- You can sell cars to custom shots about once an hour, but only cheap, non-premium, (mostly) undamaged cars. No sport cars or high end bikes, so if you come across any of those, you're free to keep 'em for yourself. Doing this is a relatively decent way of getting some quick, easy money.

- Once you've gathered enough money, avoid pimping your ride, and don't worry about the swanky bachelor pad. The first thing you want to buy is a garage, otherwise, all that money you spend on your car will be for naught should that puppy get wrecked. Once you have a garage with some decent transportation, I'd suggest working on your arsenal. Well prepared and poorly dressed is considerably better than the other way around.

- Next to cash, RP is the next most valuable kind of in-game curency, as it's what will help you rank up, and unlock more stuff: armor, guns, equipment, houses, and so on. That being said, do your best to go for perfect mission ratings. The better you score, the quicker the RP stack up.

- There's supposedly honor among thieves, and Rockstar is enforcing that with a behavior scheme. Other players will rank you based on your actions, so be fair. Badly ranked players wind up being hunted down as a wanted man by other players. If you're playing the part of a bounty hunter, said evil players will show up on the radar as red dots, and you can earn a nice cash reward for taking them out. On the flip side, Rockstar rewards good players periodically with items and cash. Working with other players in missions is also a good way to earn more RP.

- Though, if you want to be a bit of a bastard, one way to get the drop on other players is to get a gaggle of remote bombs, litter them about one spot, then wait for a player to get close. Hit the trigger than collect the dough.

- Missions that will help you stack up both the RP and cash that should be repeated - "Meth'd up" and "Violent Duct."

Best of luck online, and if you've discovered any other tips, share 'em in the comments section below. 

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