I learned the hard way that the toxicity of GTA Online is real.
GTA Online, for all its popularity, has a horrible reputation for toxicity. For the most part, you could argue that this is true for any online game – you know there will always be a few idiots and their constant presence is just something you have to deal with while doing your own thing. GTA Online is a whole different ball game.
I had heard of issues with GTA Online in the past, but dismissed them as the standard price for a game of this type. They were some bad run-ins. They would never happen to me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Even though it was my first time playing the game, it felt like the community was waiting to scare me for good.
As a fan of the GTA series, I entered this online world with high hopes, but alas, my enthusiasm was short-lived. While going about my own business and trying – the key word here being try – to complete my tutorial missions, I was repeatedly attacked and targeted by a single grieving player. In a hall full of other users, this person decided that I, and I alone, were going to be the center of their game today. I could understand the animosity if I had attacked them first, but I was just an innocent bystander trying to find my way in Los Santos. I did nothing wrong.
This person’s effort to find me every time I reappeared was astounding – they surely would have done better to literally do anything else. the absurdity of the scenario, I expected empty.
As a newcomer to GTA Online, I had limited funds, no car, no guns, and a few valuable assets to my name, which meant my grief was clearly earning little or nothing by killing me multiple times. It then quickly became alarmingly clear that all they wanted to do was pester me – spend time in the game before I even started properly. This is one of the many things that need to be improved in the game.
Obviously, he was just someone who had nothing better to do. I moved on to another public lobby, happy to see my stalker’s back online. Problem solved, right? Wrong. Within minutes of entering this new lobby, I was again harassed by a veteran player determined to ruin my day.
While Rockstar gives you the option to report players, that doesn’t stop you from being targeted by them over and over again. The only way to escape these people is to exit the hall entirely, and even then there is clearly so much heartache out there that nowhere is really safe. If you can get kicked out of a casino for breaking the rules, then why not somewhere else?
Other online communities like Apex Legends and Red Dead Online all have large player bases, but the toxicity is relatively low by comparison. While RDO struggles with griefs, they don’t target new players so religiously. If other games can do it, surely one of the biggest properties in the world should be able to. The point is, it’s not all Rockstar. The solution is simple: don’t be that person. Don’t be the online equivalent of someone putting gum on a public ramp.
Maybe if I was in a team of friends and we had our own little team it wouldn’t be so bad and I wouldn’t have established myself as a target. For now, however, this will be my first and only foray into GTA Online – I can’t blame others for feeling the same if things don’t change soon.
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