Grand Theft Auto Online's "Bad Sport" System is Broken

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Oct 09, 2013 07:34 AM EDT
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By attempting to justify the statement that is this headline, I open myself to the wide world of being labeled as a sore loser, whiner, and cry baby labels, and whatever else comes with it, but so be it.

That being said, let me first admit that I adore Grand Theft Auto 5, and not just because I drank the Rockstar kool-aid. Simply put, the campaign mode is exceptional, and hours seemingly fall off the clock while I play. The game's online version, however? I just can't get into it, and holy hell have I've tried.

Lord knows Grand Theft Auto Online got off to a rough start, what with overcrowded servers, connection issues, and more. Like everyone else and their mother, I tried signing on the day the game went live, only to make it as far as completing my character, and then be then disconnected from the server after a lovely 15 to 20 minute waiting period. Thankfully, I've been able to make it online since then, but these times are few and far between. The few times I have managed to get access, I was quickly mowed down by my online brethren (for seemingly no reason). You'll find messageboards and support forums filled with people claiming similar stories.

It's important to remember that GTA Online's Los Santos isn't Grand Theft Auto 5's Los Santos. It's not like it's a brand new city with a different layout, or new buildings or anything like that. But while three protagonists are the only ones willing to go absolutely buck wild in the GTA V, in GTA Onlinedamn near everyone is. No, GTA Online's Los Santos is probably a bit closer to Camden, New Jersey, just with way more, and way better trained cops.

I was expecting this. After all, running around violently committing acts of mayhem is kind of what the GTA series is known for. But I felt reassured that, eventually, the bad apples would all find their way into the same rotten basket courtesy of Rockstar's "bad sport" system.

The idea was if players act in malicious ways towards others, such as wrecking another player's car or dropping out of a job, they'd be slapped with the GTA equivalent of a scarlet letter.

These modern day, virtual Hester Prynnes will be forced to play with other "Bad Sports" for a period of time as a result.

It sounds great in theory, but there's just one problem. One glaring, gigantic, problem. This system isn't just flawed, it's completely broken, and what's more, no one seems to have any idea how it works. Despite my inquiries to Rockstar hoping to get an answer, the company's silence is deafening. But I get it, the company kind of has its hands full with other issues.

Reporting a player, whom mere seconds before I had helped pull a heist with, who goes on to gun me down in cold blood, has no discernable effect. They're still zipping around Los Santos with my share of the loot! The lack of an explanation only serves to make the online mode all the more frustrating, especially when compared the game's stellar campaign mode, which is what earned the game its ten-digit figure.

It doesn't work in the other way either, whether someone's decision for voting to kick you is logical or not. Case in point, apparently taking any longer than 15 seconds to set up a deathmatch is considered enough reason to vote to kick them.

When people are afforded the level of anonymity that the internet provides, coupled with the complete lack of repercussions, natural law states that assholes will undoubtedly flourish, and they'll screw around for no other reason than "because." Darwin was actually on the cusp of making that a foreword in "On the Origin of the Species," but a drunk Alfred Wallace told him to give it the axe.

Admittedly, the very idea of zipping around Vinewood with my crew, all guns blazing, yep...I was tickled at the concept. But while I didn't by GTA 5 for the possible strength of the online game, if Rockstar is going to offer it, they owe it to the players not to release a broken product.

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