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GTA Online beginners guide: Everything you need to know to get started in GTA Online

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

Fresh players are still flying into the multiplayer world of Los Santos and Blaine County on a regular basis, which is why we've put together this GTA Online beginners guide to help them start out the right way. Your initial forays can feel somewhat intimidating when you set foot in GTA Online, as the area covered is so huge and there are players around you with years of experience, but if you take our advice then you can ensure you still get the most out of the game. Let us lead you through our GTA Online beginners guide, as we aid you with navigating the opening set up and missions that will eventually take you down the path to criminal success.

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What lifestyle options should I choose in the character creator?

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When you get started in GTA Online, the first thing you'll be presented with is the character creator, where you can choose various lifestyle options to determine how your character spends a typical 24 hours. These alter your player stats and to an extent your appearance, but in all honesty the effect is minimal and has little bearing on actual gameplay, so instead you should focus on the appearance section of the character creator - you're going to spend a lot of time looking at your avatar, and once your overall look is locked in it can be very expensive to make any further changes, so make sure you're happy before moving on to start the game.

Can you skip the GTA Online tutorial?

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

After creating your character, you'll board a flight into Los Santos International Airport and begin the tutorial section. You may see a prompt with the option to skip the GTA Online tutorial, but you absolutely shouldn't as it's an invaluable introduction to the mechanics of the online world. Lamar Davies will pick you up and guide you through the basics, including races, missions, shopping, and robberies, as well as introducing you to several other handy contacts. Players have also experienced issues in the past with receiving missions to complete if they skip the tutorial, so make sure you play through it as it's really not that long.

What should I do next?

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

With the tutorial completed, the whole world of GTA Online is opened up to you in Free Roam mode and you can do whatever you want. This is the perfect opportunity to get out there and explore, so you can see exactly what's on offer to you. A good activity to get started is stealing vehicles and either delivering them to Simeon if they're on the wish list he sends you, or taking them to a Los Santos Customs so you can sell them. Either will turn you a profit, but there will then be a time delay before you can fence another vehicle in the same way.

If you want a slightly more structured activity, open your phone (up on the d-pad) then choose Job List to find recent missions you've been invited to, or Play Quick Job then choose the type of mission you'd like to jump into. You can also choose a specific mission by pausing and going to Online -> Jobs -> Play Job then browsing through what is available. Working through Jobs is a great way to flesh out the story of what's happening in the GTA Online world, as well as bringing in new and familiar characters while you earn money and level up.

How do I stop other players griefing me?

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

A lot of GTA Online players you encounter will be friendly, but due to the nature of Free Roam you will sometimes find people who only want to cause chaos. This can be particularly frustrating if you just want to cruise around and explore the Los Santos streets, but another player is following you and constantly shooting you / running you over / blowing you up. If you find yourself in this situation, there are several steps you can take to improve things.

Firstly, if you open the Interaction Menu (M on PC, or a long press of the PS4 touchpad or XBO view button) and scroll to the bottom, you can Enable Passive Mode. This will stop any other players from interacting with you, though in turn you won't be able to equip any weapons or use melee attacks. If that interferes with your current activities, you can also pause then go to the Online -> Players menu, highlight the player in question, then select Kick to suggest removing them from the session - if enough another players agree and do the same, they'll be removed. Finally, if you just want to get away from them then either pause and select Online -> Find New Session, or choose a Job to jump into and you'll leave the troublesome player behind.

How do I replenish my health, armour, and ammo?

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

As in GTA 5, your character's condition is measured by two factors - health and armour - shown under your radar as green and blue bars respectively. To recover your health you can consume snacks, by purchasing them from vending machines. Handily, you can also buy and stockpile them by visiting convenience stores, then open the Interaction menu and choose Inventory the Snacks to eat them on the go and top up your health.

Body armour is purchased at AmmuNation stores, and again this can be stored in your Inventory and equipped when required. You can choose which type of body armour is displayed on your character, or none at all if you'd prefer not to interfere with your existing outfit - showing or hiding your armour doesn't affect the armour bar. While ammo is sold at AmmuNation, you can also buy it through the Inventory menu, and although there's a convenience charge added to the cost if you use this route it's definitely worthwhile if you find yourself short on bullets during a firefight.

Do I need to buy a property?

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

There are different types of properties available for purchase, which open up various benefits to you for owning them. Garages allow you to store vehicles for personal use, so it's worth picking one up as soon as you can afford it. To see what's available, open the Internet on your phone then choose the Money and Services tab at the top and visit Dynasty 9 Real Estate. When you have a bit more money available you should invest in a high-end apartment, as these not only provide a base of operations and somewhere to change your clothing, but also have attached garages for more vehicle storage and a planning room where you can prepare Heists.

Then there are business properties, which can open up whole new streams of missions to complete. Offices (purchased from Dynasty 8 Executive Realty) let you run cargo and vehicle missions, while Maze Bank Foreclosure will sell you everything from motorcycle clubhouses and nightclubs to huge underground bunkers. All of these business activities require time and plenty of initial cash to get up and running, so don't worry about them too much when you start out.

What's the best way to make money and level up fast?

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A lot of the cool missions and weapons in GTA Online aren't available until you reach a certain rank, which you increase by earning Reputation (RP) for completing tasks in the game. If you want to know how to level up fast in GTA Online then check out our separate guide to learn about adversary modes, cargo drops, working for organisations, and more.

Likewise, there's very little available for free in GTA Online, so you're going to need to keep your virtual bank account topped up with GTA$ if you want to keep your criminal enterprises up and running. Of course, you could just buy a GTA Online Shark Card for an instant cash injection, but that costs real money so shouldn't be at the top of your priority list. We've got plenty of advice about how to make money fast in GTA Online in our other guide, so take a look for help with pulling off daring Heists, cargo missions, VIP work, and other lucrative pastimes.

That should be enough information for beginners to get started in GTA Online, but for more help you can read our complete suite of guides:

GTA 5 Cheats | GTA Online patch notes | How to play GTA Online | GTA Online fastest cars | GTA Online fastest bikes | GTA Online best weapons | GTA Online best paying missions | GTA Online Gunrunning | GTA Online casino | GTA Online Prime Gaming benefits

You can also check out our predictions for GTA 6 in the video below:

Iain is better known to many as ‘Mr Trophy’, due to his slightly unhealthy obsession with amassing intangible PlayStation silverware, and he now has over 140 Platinum pots in his virtual award cabinet. He does not care for Xbox Achievements.