Heads up: I’m about to sound like a rich, privileged arsehole. In real life, I write about video games for a living, so I’m lucky to have an apartment. But in Grand Theft Auto Online, I’m a rich prick who owns a piece of every criminal enterprise in Los Santos. So yes, I’m here to complain about having too much shit in GTA Online. You may now laugh and mock me in the comments.
I’ve had plenty of time to amass my ill-gotten wealth. Grand Theft Auto Online has been around for almost eight years, and every few months or so, Rockstar updates the game. Often these updates, especially in the last few years, add new businesses and expensive properties to buy. Sometimes they add other kinds of pricey assets beyond simple offices. For example, I own both a boring office building and a full-scale nuclear submarine. (We’ll get to the full list in a moment.)
I’m told that it’s good to diversify your assets. (I overheard this while helping a teacher in middle school who was watching Mad Money. Most of my financial knowledge comes from that day.) But even if that’s the way to go, in GTA Online my asset diversification has gotten out of hand. I own so many things that regularly I forget about a bunch of them.
So, I sat down and tried to list everything I own as if I were doing my in-game taxes, and uh, it’s some wild shit.
Here’s the list:
- A luxury apartment
- A large, fully furnished yacht
- Office space in a tall building
- Multiple warehouses for storing drugs, cars, and other goods
- A biker clubhouse
- A shack in the desert where folks make me cocaine
- Large bunker formerly owned by the U.S. Govt
- Aircraft hangar for smuggling contraband
- A CIA-backed hidden tech-facility
- My own nightclub with a massive, hidden underground garage
- An arena for various car combat mini-games and activities
- A casino penthouse
- That nuclear submarine
- Over a dozen cars, planes, helicopters, and boats
- A working arcade with dozens of arcade machines
- “Legitimate” car-modification shop
- Huge, nearly unbreakable military truck for managing businesses
- A BMX bike
- An armoured car
- A giant space cannon that blows people up real good
Add that all up and you get Too. Much. Shit.
Now, there are a few advantages to owning all this crap. I can basically do anything in GTA Online. Every update and mission type is just a few loading screens away, no need to buy something or unlock anything. I got it all. This is very helpful for all my friends who still play with me. Those freeloaders — I mean, pals — can take full advantage of my long list of assets. They get to play everything, making money and levelling up too, while not having to foot the bill for it all.
Another advantage, I guess: I can make long lists of all the stuff to help make a blog funnier.
That’s about all the advantages of my current situation. When it comes to negatives, there are quite a few.
The most annoying might be all the bills I incur from owning all of this stuff. Yes, bills, those terrible things that ruin our lives in the real world exist in GTA Online, and guess what? They suck here too! For each building, drug shack, or submarine you own, you’re charged a series of maintenance and utility fees at a rate of about once an hour while hanging out online.
Some of these fees only get charged if you’re a registered CEO or biker, which is something you don’t have to do every time you play GTA Online. And none of them hit when you’re racing or doing missions. But those CEO-related bills can add up fast. Some are small, like $US100 ($136) or maybe $US300 ($409). Others are much bigger. I own an upgraded bunker and every 48 in-game minutes receive a bill for $US9k.
If you own everything, are fully upgraded, and are registered as a CEO in a game lobby, you can easily get slapped with bills of over $US40k per hour for simply being online.
Another annoyance is that your map starts drowning in even more icons than usual. GTA Online often feels like it’s barely holding itself together as Rockstar shoves more and more content into the nearly decade-old game. And with all this new content, more and more icons dot the map. At this point, my map is mostly icons and symbols. I haven’t seen parts of Los Santos on my mini-map in years.
This was recently a problem when the new tuners DLC launched and for a solid 10 minutes or more I couldn’t actually find the new car meet on the map. I played with Kinda Funny’s Blessing Adeoye Jr. recently and he told me the same story. Other “rich” players I know have also gotten lost trying to find locations as their maps grow more and more cluttered.
There’s another weird, more existential issue with being rich and owning all this shit: I feel like a jerk. Most of those businesses, shops, and other assets I listed earlier have NPCs attached to them. Almost all of them live and exist exclusively within these assets. So the dude who runs my cocaine shack might go years without seeing another person besides all the folks there who are making me drugs. The bartender on my yacht is stuck on the middle floor of the big vessel, totally alone and cut off from anyone else. She’s been there for years. I don’t even remember her name. I’m not sure she has one…
Can video game NPCs feel pain or sorrow? God, I fucking hope not.
I’ve thought about selling some of my older assets. I don’t really need it all. But considering that a fair part of my job here at Kotaku is writing about GTA Online, I feel like I have to have it all ready to call upon at a moment’s notice. Who knows, maybe one day Rockstar will add a new feature to the biker clubhouses and I’ll need to don my leathers again and raise some hell! (Don’t get your hopes up, GTA bikers. That will never happen.)
So I’m trapped forever as a rich, lawless dude in a world filled with lonely NPCs, useless shacks, and hugely expensive underground garages. I own it all and it’s a curse. But I’d rather be rich in GTA Online than poor. Those cool new supercars can’t be bought with blogs and smiles. Daddy needs his fast cars and expensive clothes. So, for now, I’ll retain my position as a deplorable member of Los Santos’ .01 per cent. Please feel bad for me.