If you are new to Grand Theft Auto V Online, you may have missed the free $500,000 game currency "Stimulus Package" that Rockstar gave out to players who have played online from the GTAO launch date 10/01/2013 through 10/31/2013, to help compensate for various technical issues that have come up during the "launch" phase, with some of the worse technical issues being the irrecoverable loss of personal vehicles, character progress and even entire characters.
You may have also missed some of the many ways to boost "Reputation Points" (experience) and in-game cash, whether it is through repeating lucrative missions before they have gotten "nerfed" by Rockstar, or by taking advantage of the many gltches and exploits that have now been patched as of, or before the 1.07 update.
As such it is now a much more "slow and steady" grind for both experience and in game cash, which is how Rockstar more or less intended it to be, especially with the activation of the micro transaction system which conveniently allows players to spend real world currency to buy in-game cash with the following "exchange" rates in USD:
- $100,000 Red Shark Cash Card - $2.99
- $200,000 Tiger Shark Cash Card - $4.99
- $500,000 Bull Shark Cash Card - $9.99
- $1,250,000 Great White Shark Cash Card - $19.99
The most expensive option is obviously the best value, but really it is up to each individual player to decide whether they want to "grind" jobs, missions, races etc. for long hours to make the requisite money.
Beginner's Guide (Introductory Missions)
If you are just starting a character, the first thing you will need to do, is play the introductory missions until you reach free roam mode. As a new character you will have a rare opportunity to have a unique vehicle that isn't legitimately available anywhere else in the game at the time of this posting, the Declasse Asea which has a unique "sticker bomb" customization option. Unfortunately as of patch 1.07 there's no known way to duplicate it to other people, but you can keep it for your own personal bragging rights.
You can choose the Asea in the very first race that you participate in called "Mall or Nothing" and you can keep the Asea if you win 1st Place and drive it to the next mission "Learning the Ropes" where you have to retrieve a drug package for Gerald the next mission giving NPC you will meet. Just make a note or mark a "Point of Interest" on the map where you leave the car so you can back to it later.
You may want to head straight back to the Asea after the shootout with the rival NPC gang members as the last NPC with the drug package will be running away on foot and it will be easier to chase/run him down if you are in a car and you have a better chance of keeping the car from de-spawning/disappearing.
After you deliver the package just follow the tutorial guiding you through your first clothing purchase. After you have bought some clothes, Simeon will call you soon after offering free automobile customization. it is here where you can make the Asea your own "personal vehicle" by adding a tracker, insurance and whatever customization options are available at your level and all for free.
If you do not get first place in that first race do not continue to the next mission, otherwise you will have to re-roll a new character from scratch and there is no way to recover your previous character "look" customization nor is there a way to skip the introduction video/credits sequence.
Instead, simply exit GTA Online if you lose the race and then re-enter and it will take you back to the start of the race where you can select a car and race again. Also note that the Asea is not as nimble or maneuverable as some of the other car selections and you will have other newly rolled characters randomly entering the race against you so if you find yourself consistently losing, try exiting and re-entering so that the only other character you are racing against is Larmar the NPC that is helping you get "started" in GTA Online. As long as you keep a decent pace and make all of the checkpoints, it's should be reasonably easy to beat him in that first race.
Unfortunately as of patch 1.07 there is no way to duplicate the car to other players.
There is one more "introductory" mission given by Gerald you have to complete before you go into free roam mode called "Cypress Flats LTS" which is a "Last Team Standing" match where you and other lower level players split into two teams and kill each other until there is only one team left standing. You can repeat this as much as you want for RP and cash and to help hone your shooting skills.
Most importantly, it is one of the easiest ways to get the baseball bat and the crowbar melee weapons since they are not available for purchase in Ammunation. You should see 2 melee weapon pickups on the Cypress Flats LTS map, one is the bat and the other, the crowbar. Be sure to pick one or both of them up. if you miss them or die too early, you can start the LTS again through the Jobs menu or the map marker. Since it's a team match however you need at least one other player to start the LTS.
If you have a friend you can replay the game in a friends only or invite only session, get both melee weapons pickups and trade wins to help level each other up. As a side note, there's also a third melee weapon, the golf club which you can get from one of the golfing NPCs that spawn by the golf club. If you are lucky the NPC will simply drop their golf club when you point your gun at them, if not you can kill the NPC for the golf club and maybe evade a one or two star police wanted level.
GTA Online Property Guide
Strategy And Reasoning for First GarageAfter you complete the introductory missions and you have your personal vehicle and the optional melee weapons gained and sorted, the next thing you should focus on is getting a garage. the least expensive garage is the "bottom tier" two car garage for $25K, unless you are somehow was lucky enough and/or able to get your hands on the collector's edition, which gives you that same $25K garage for free.
Having a garage will enable you to order the free vehicle Elegy H8 from the Legendary Motorsports in-game website after you have joined and linked your Rockstar social club to your XBL Gamertag or PSN ID. Any of the three free "Beach Bum Pack" DLC land vehicles, available through Southern San Andreas Super Autos in game website, and of course the Collector's Edition vehicles can also be ordered/accessed once you have a garage.
You will also have access to the Speeder boat (garage not required), which is also available free as part of the Beach Bum Pack through the Dock Tease website for the initial order and the Pegasus concierge for delivery. You can call Pegasus through your phone and arrange a drop off of the boat to their nearest dock for $200.
You can also use any of the free vehicles like the Elegy to get around in Free Roam in with little worry of them getting destroyed and/or impounded since they are free to replace and you only have to worry about paying out insurance if you have spent expensive mods on them which again I don't really recommend until you have a decent bankroll.
How to Bankroll Your First PropertyYou will need some starting cash, so after you have completed the introductory missions and are in free roam mode, you can start robbing convenience stores. For the earlier levels at least, I recommend playing "invite only" or "friends only" sessions until you can at least get your first garage and have a decent sum in the bank to pay for your ammo, armor, hospital visits, etc.
If you don't mind exploiting the game mechanics, you can rob the same store over and over again and reset your wanted level quickly by exiting online mode as soon as you pick up the dropped cash. Again it's probably best that you are in an "invite only" session so there's not interference from other players.
Here's the order of operation for the "Convenience Store Robbery" exploit:
- Make sure your respawn point is set to "Last Location" instead of "Personal Property".
- Find a store on the map, drive to it, then enter the store.
- Point your gun at the clerk to initiate the convenience store robbery.
- Either yell into the headset or shoot the wall to have the clerk "hurry up".
- With your gun still pointed at the clerk pick up the dropped cash then back up behind one of the shelves. You should get around $1K per robbery after
- The clerk may or may not pull a gun on you, if you are not safely behind cover shoot him before he shoots you otherwise he will either cower behind the counter or be shooting at the shelves and not harming you. UPDATE: taking cover is especially important after the 1.07 patch where shop owners now "have access to ammunation" so they may pull a pistol or worse on you if you try to rob them so keep an eye out!
- UPDATE: Exiting to the PSN store no longer respawns the store clerk. Leaving and re-entering GTA online however, will still work. If you are safe,
you can go into the PSN or XBL store, leave GTA Online which will automatically exit your current session and save your state to the cloud servers and reset your wanted level.
- Wearing a mask will supposedly prevent the shopkeeper from recognizing you when you pay them a return visit, so be sure to wear one when robbing stores.
- When you re-enter GTA Online (preferably in an Invite Only session), your wanted level should reset and the store clerk should respawn and be ready to be robbed again.
Exiting the PSN or XBL store will put you in a new "invite only" session.
- Deposit your money using the nearby ATM if present or your phone browser.
- Go back to Step 3 and repeat the process until you have $25K+ saved in the bank.
Again, as suggested above, it would be better for a newbie in the GTAO world if you play in an invite only or friends only session to avoid competition and griefers You can also try driving up to Blaine county where there is a less likely chance to run into random players, although griefers will find you and kill you if they have a mind to do so and "passive mode" cannot be on if you are robbing stores, so just keep that in mind.
Also be aware that you will also risk getting killed/arrested and having your car impounded if you fail evading any wanted level set on you, prompting you walk back to the pound and then steal your car back and then try evading your wanted level again, though as of patch 1.07 there is a way to "legally" get your car out of the pound for $250.00 so you don't have to risk another police chase if you just want to get your car out.
If you can get the hang of avoiding one to two stars, you will actually be in good shape for later in the game when armored cars start driving around and you start robbing them for $5K per AC robbed, but if you are not so good at it, you can wind up losing your only personal vehicle and a good chunk of your cash along the way. IMHO it's better to not take such risks until you have your first garage.
Also keep your eye out for sellable cars. Although the game will not allow you to sell "premium" cars worth over $100K at all, but it will buy "standard" cars that are under $100K at 10% of the value. For example the Lampadati Felon GT (convertible) which is worth $95,000 if you buy it online will fetch you $9,500 when sold to Los Santos Customs (LSC) undamaged and unmodified.
Here is a list of the top selling cars you can find along the way in GTAO:
Los Santos Customs (LSC) is restricted from buying 2 standard cars back to back, but you can sell cars to LSC one at the rate of 1 in game day or 48 real time minutes, so set a timer if you are interested in boosting your income this way.
Once you have $25K (And are at least level 4, which you should easily attain just through the convenience store robberies) you can enter the Dynasty8 website in the phone browser and purchase the cheapest two car garage. Although you only have 2 garage spaces to work with, you can keep your personal car safe, have a place where "free" cars can be delivered.
Now that you have your first property you can focus on building your RP, one of the best ways is through racing. Although spamming quick races for RP has been nerfed as of patch 1.06, the longer the duration and the more participants of both races and jobs in general, the better the RP and cash rewards.
As you progress in level, also keep an eye out for missions that are marked on your map, such as the ones from Lester and Trevor, as they will unlock more game modes, such as Armored Cars and Survival, for you upon completion. Survival Matches, which is basically 1-4 players vs 10 waves of increasingly difficult NPC hordes, is one of the best ways to boost your cash and RP once they are available provided you can last through all 10 waves.
Recommended Path to Upgrading Your Property
I recommend skipping the purchase of the lower and middle tier apartments entirely. The cheapest of which costs $80K and $125K respectively, serve minimal functionality at best and they do not come with a "heist planning room". Although they both come with a 2 and 6 car garage respectively, IMHO it would be better to save up the cash for the 2, 6 and 10 car "garage only" properties and ultimately one of the top tier apartments as soon as you can afford them.
This way you can maximize your garage spaces as you can afford them and ultimately put yourself in a position to plan heists once they become available, without burning any cash on the less functionally useful low and middle apartments, since you presumably want to have the top tier apartment with the "heists planning room" in the end anyway to take advantage of the future heists.
Unless of course you are "role playing" a character that would live in a lower/middle tier apartment then go ahead and go wild with them. If you are curious, there are videos that showcase the various apartments and their features. Special thanks to Holy Cowlick for making the videos linked below:
If you are focusing on the above strategy you will need to earn the following cash to buy the cheapest of the 2 car ($25K), 6 car($62.5K) and 10 car garages($105K) as you can afford them respectively and then save your last purchase for the apartment with the 10 car garage (cheapest is $145.5K though you can spend more for a different/better map location and view).
If you REALLY want to spend the least amount of cash, you can get the cheapest 2 car garage and then hold off on everything in the middle until you can afford the cheapest $200K ($187.5K with the credit from the 2 car garage property) apartment.
Here is a quick list in order to help maximize your property expenditures and garage spaces, assuming you do not have the Collector's Edition (which provides the first/cheapest garage available for free):
- Start saving up $25K for the first and cheapest two car garage.
- You can also optionally sign up for the Rockstar Social Club to have the ability to order and free "exclusive" Elegy H8 (2 Passenger Sports car) cars which cannot be ordered/retrieved unless you have your first garage and an empty garage spot to have it delivered to.
- There are also 4 new free vehicles from the Beach Bum Pack DLC, 3 of which require an empty garage space to order, the BF Bifta (2 Passenger Off-Road Buggy) , the Canis Kalahari (2 Passenger Off-Road Jeep) and the Bravado Paradise (4 Passenger Van). There is also a Speeder boat, which is available via Pegasus Concierge Service though your phone when ordered.
- A newly delivered Elegy, Bifta, Kalahari or Paradise also comes with a free tracker and free insurance so if you manage to get your car destroyed you can either spend to get it restored via claim (useful if you chose to spend any upgrades on it) or replace the destroyed car entirely for free by simply order another car and replacing the destroyed one.
- You also get a free tracker installed on any "non premium" car/motorcycle you are able to steal and place into your garage, so if you are into open world online mayhem a garage is a must have. You still have to purchase insurance however if you are interested in restoring the vehicle if it ever gets destroyed.
- Save your next $50K ($62.5K - $12.5 credit for the previous property) to purchase the cheapest six car garage. You can also optionally purchase your first 2 bicycles as the six car garage has a 2 slot bike rack. Using bicycles to get around is also a great way to train/increase stamina for your character.
- Save the next $73,750 ($105K - $31,250 credit from previous property) to purchase the cheapest ten car garage with the ability to rack and retrieve 3 separate bicycles. Although there is a fourth slot, the leftmost bicycle does not appear on the wall to be retrieved due to a yet to be resolved glitch.
- When you are ready to purchase one of the top tier apartments you will have $52.5K of credit from the previous property to apply towards one of the "top tier" $200K to $400K apartment properties so you will be spending a minimum of $145,500 ($200K - $52,500 credit from previous property) if you want to buy the cheapest top tier apartment.
- The top tier property is rumored to allow you to plan/initiate future heists and the rumor is very likely true as there is a "den" with a map of Los Santos in that apartment and an empty wall that looks similar to the many "heist planning" walls in the single player campaign.
ConclusionOnce you have a property and a decent bankroll, you can try your luck in an open free roam session. By driving around in one of the free unmodded vehicles, you minimize the risk of losing and hard earned cash by having another player destroy your personal vehicle, since you can simply replace the destroyed free vehicle with another free vehicle. You can also buy ammo, armor etc. if you want to try killing other players in free roam. It could add up to a lot of fun if you have enough cash to maintain your "combat" upkeep.
Hopefully this guide is of use to any new players to GTA Online. If there are any questions, please feel free ask in the comments below.