How to play GTA Online: A quick-start guide to acquiring cash, vehicles and property

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GTA Online, the online multiplayer world of Grand Theft Auto 5, has been around for almost five years now and shows no signs of going away any time soon. Rockstar have continually supported it with well over 30 updates and expansions in that time, and there's now more to do in San Andreas than ever before. Getting started in GTA Online can be a daunting prospect, and with so many missions, vehicles, and properties all gunning for your money and time it's easy to become overwhelmed. To help you out, we've put together these handy tips to get you up and running, plus a list of must-see activities and events to make sure you get the best out of GTA Online.

Complete the GTA Online tutorial

To get going in GTA Online, you'll first need to complete the tutorial section, and this should be available any time after completing the Prologue of the main single player game. To access it, either hold down to the d-pad to bring up the character selection wheel and select the bottom segment (which represents your GTA Online character), or pause the game, pick the Online menu tab and choose the Play GTA Online option. You'll be taken through a character creator to define your appearance and characteristics, before being launched into San Andreas to meet some familiar faces and learn the ropes.

Buy a decent car and a garage

We say ‘buy’, but you can actually pick up one of the bests sports cars in the game for the grand cost of ‘bugger all’. To get an Elegy RH8 completely gratis, just register for Rockstar’s Social Club. Once you do, this two-door speedster (which resembles the Nissan GT-R) will be yours. Thanks to its great traction, it’s a superb choice for races. Make sure you invest in Loss/Theft Prevention to ward other users off nicking your shiny new motor, too. You’ll also want to invest in a garage to keep your cars safe. At $25,000, the Unit 124 garage on Popular St is probably the best bet for cash-poor beginners.

Keep cashing in at ATMs

Online Los Santos is a dangerous place. Any cash your up-and-coming crook is carrying on their person can be stolen by other players. To ensure you don’t lose all that moolah from your last job, make sure to cash your coin into an ATM. There are plenty of cash machines located around Blaine County, and you can use the Quick GPS on the Interaction Menu (hold down the touchpad) to direct you to the nearest one. Can't get to an ATM? You can also visit the Maze Bank website via your phone's web browser and make a deposit through there. In GTA Online, prudence pays.

Save up, then buy an underground facility

To partake in GTA Online’s Doomsday Heist, you’re gonna need a bigger boat/underground facility to hang your hat. These huge bunkers are one of several key requirements for playing the bonkers robbery (you’ll also need to become a CEO), and as such, they’re expensive. The cheapest can be found at Paleto Bay, and will set you back $1,125,000 from the Maze Bank Foreclosures site – funnily enough, $1,125,000 is just under what a $19.99/£11.99 Great White Shark Cash Card nets you. For that whopping fee, your criminal mastermind in-waiting gets a security room, lounge, and sleeping quarters, among other luxuries.

Steal a chopper

Blaine County is one sizeable piece of real estate, so stealing a chopper can be a huge time-saver. Considering one of the cheaper ’copters from Elitás Travel (the $780,000 Buckingham Maverick) will still fleece your finances, your change purse really will thank you for nicking a whirly bird. Perhaps the easiest one to steal can be found at Los Santos International Airport, near the flight school. With skilful driving, you can vault the nearby fence and claim it for your own. Let skyward crime commence!

Purchase a high-end apartment

Before you can enjoy GTA Online’s superb heists, you’ll first need to hit level 12. Crucially, if you want to plan these multi-part jobs yourself – and thus have power over how the take is split up – you’ll also need to buy a high-end apartment. These fancy flats come with planning boards that are crucial to heist setups, and the ‘cheapest’ can be found in Del Perro Heights. Visit the Dynasty 8 Real Estate on your character’s phone, and the property can be yours for $200,000.

Keep your eyes peeled for Weekly Events

Rockstar does regular Weekly Events, which reward players with double RP and double cash rewards, like the recent shotgun-dodging Battle Week. Keep a beady peeper on Rockstar’s Newswire for the latest on these events, because participating in them often offers weekly discounts on cars and properties.

Play nice for Rep rewards

As in life, it pays not to be a dick in GTA Online... well, generally. If you frequently help out other players during jobs, and don’t try to screw them over by nicking their motor/money, you’ll receive a ‘Good Sport’ award. Said bonus usually comes in the form of extra Reputation Points or cash. See, it really does pay to play nice.

Complete story missions

Playing through GTA Online’s vast array of deathmatch types and races can feel generic. For something more bespoke, try some story missions. The likes of Lamar, Gerald, and Simeon Yetarian all cross over from GTA 5, and each has cutscene-laden missions to tick off. Most of these thieving tasks feel nicely personable, and finishing them nets you cash and Job/Reputation Points. To access them, bring up the mission list from the pause menu.

Continue to Page 2 for the 10 things you need to do in GTA Online