GTA Online Starter Guide – Joining Crews, Vehicles, Money, Jobs and PvP

GTA Online can be a rough journey for starters considering the fact that people who advantage over you will just make your life miserable.

The start to GTA Online shouldn’t feel too different from the single-player experience. After going through the rather unique character creation, you’ll be greeted with a lengthy cut scene (with credits rolling on the side) showing off the sprawling metropolis of Los Santos and the host of activities that you’ll be performing in GTA Online.

The game begins a couple of months prior to the events of GTA V, with Lamar picking you up from the airport, and after a few introductory missions, you’re thrust into Los Santos’ criminal underworld – free to lead your life of crime in a multiplayer Los Santos exactly how you want.

For more help on GTA Online, read our Easy Money, Level Up Fast and Character Creation Guide.

The world of GTA Online runs on respect and cash, and if you want to progress quickly through its ranks, the following tips should prove to be handy:

Join a Crew
The most important thing; that you should probably do right when you start playing GTA Online, is to join a crew. There are thousands of crews actively looking for more players to add to their posse over at Rockstar’s Social Club.

With a little searching around, you’re bound to find one with like-minded players. Alternatively, you could make your own crew if you’ve got a few friends ready to join it and be the leader of a gang of your own.

Being in a gang isn’t just about having a posse to guard your back from other players and the law enforcement, a crew to complete jobs with or a group to hang out with in Los Santos – it’s about money and respect, and you earn more of the latter for every job you complete when you’re in a crew; depending on the number of people in your crew.

If you want to climb up the crime-syndicate ladder quickly – you should join forces with a crew at the earliest. If you’re the kind of person who likes to be at the top of the world (or the leaderboards in games), then you will find being in a crew to your liking. Crews compete for bragging rights over Social Club leaderboards.

The rankings ladder is divided by crew size, so you’ll always be competing with crews roughly the same size as yours.

Additionally, linking your Rockstar Social Club account (or creating a new one if it doesn’t exist) with your PSN or Xbox ID will unlock a few freebies and customization options when you make your character.

Get a Car
Buying a car is probably one of the better things that you can do with the cash you earn in GTA Online.

During GTA Online’s introductory missions, you’ll be given the opportunity to jack a car, have a tracker installed in it and make it your own. DO NOT at this point jack the first car you see.

Take your time, and steal a car that you like. You won’t have the best cars available around you, but there will be some performance, mid-tier cars around that you can steal. This should prove invaluable early on, as you won’t have the cash to purchase a decent ride for yourself.

The better your car, the less time it’ll take for you to travel around.

Later, you’ll find yourself commandeering a multitude of vehicles – so it always pays to improve your driving, flying and riding skills, as you’ll find yourself alternating between different roles when doing jobs or playing with a crew. Build yourself a repertoire of vehicles and you’ll always be a valuable asset to your crew mates.

Make Deposits Actively
Keeping your cash in your wallet is not a good idea in GTA Online.

With 15 other players roaming about, the chances of you getting robbed by one of them are highly likely. Any amount that you have in your wallet drops to the ground and can be picked up by another player when you’re killed by them.

To keep your cash safe, your best bet is to actively deposit your money in the bank by visiting ATMs, or by using the Internet on your phone and going over to the ‘Money and Services’ tab. Since GTA Online never pauses, depositing through the Internet interface is somewhat risky.

Especially when there are other players close by who can see you fiddling around with your phone. Simply put, it makes you an easy target.

There’s also an option to enable Passive Mode in the interaction menu. This makes you invulnerable to other player’s gunshots as long as you don’t pull out a weapon yourself. Costing $100 (which is somewhat trivial even early on), it’s a good way to make a safe deposit right after completing a job.

You never need to have cash in your wallet for any transaction in the game, so there’s really no excuse not to spend the two minutes it takes to deposit your cash after every successful job. It only saves you from the frustration that losing all your hard-earned money brings about.

Focus on Jobs
If you want to move up quickly, there’s no better way to go about it than spending your time doing the all the jobs that are currently available. Don’t worry, you won’t be done with them anytime soon – there are literally hundreds of jobs currently in the game, with more on their way in future updates.

When doing jobs, you’ll find yourself playing with people, you don’t know most of the time (unless you’re playing with your crew).

To avoid embarrassment, acquaint yourself with the map of Los Santos and with the interaction menu, as you won’t be able to pause and mark a location on the map for your GPS.

The interaction menu is quite a nifty piece of the interface, enabling you to quickly toggle between important GPS markers and a number of other things on-the-fly. This, consequently, allows for some quick changes without the need to pause the game while driving over a hundred miles per hour on the highway.

During standard jobs, you and your crew will inhabit a new instance of Los Santos, meaning it will just be you and the others you were matched with instead of the usual sixteen. However, when free-roaming, you’ll sometimes be contacted on your phone by characters such as Simeon about hot-jobs that anyone can participate.

These jobs play out much like the ‘Mafiya Work’ game mode from GTA IV’s multiplayer, with only the first person (or crew) completing the objective getting rewarded.

Killing other players is easy money. If it’s your thing, you’ll have a lot of fun fragging other players and being amply rewarded for it in the form of the cash they leave behind. The best targets for mugging and looting are people you’ve just completed a job with; because that way you know they have a hefty sum in their wallets.

That all sounds very rewarding for player killers.

Wouldn’t that cause an over abundance of players who just keep causing chaos and act like psychopaths subsequently rendering the experience annoying for those who just want to feel immersed in GTA Online’s life-like world?

Thankfully, Rockstar wasn’t oblivious to the griefing issues this would bring about and has a matchmaking system in place which helps you connect with people who’re more like you to avoid the nuances that peace loving, co-operative people might find in a hostile player-versus-player environment.

Players who wreak mindless havoc and kill others frequently are marked as bad sports, and are only matched with players like themselves.

That doesn’t mean you won’t encounter players like those every now and then, but the frequency of that occurring and the number of such players that inhabit the same world as you should decrease in time.

Additionally, Rockstar also has a system in place that rewards players who don’t actively participate in high-heat activities an allowance.

Though the sum is paltry compared to how much you could earn by cracking someone’s skull open at someone’s behest, it’s still an incentive for those who want to lead a good life in the world of GTA Online.

That’s it for a basic introduction to GTA Online and its many features.

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Ali is a passionate RPG gamer. He believes that western RPGs still have a lot to learn from JRPGs. He is editor-in-chief at but that doesn't stop him from writing about his favorite video ...