Grand Theft Auto Online opens via title update today, so Rockstar has detailed some of the multiplayer suite's features, including an assurance that players can't simply by their way to to an advantage.
As confirmed last week, players will be able to spend real-world money to buy in-game currency, or GTA$. You need this cash - earned in single- and multiplayer through mission progress, optional objectives, and the stock market - to buy weapons and upgrades. In a Rockstar Newswire post, the publisher said this won't unbalance the game.
"The option of purchasable GTA$ should not disrupt the playing field – and there are a few mechanics in place to help ensure that. All players still have to rank up with Reputation Points (RP) in order to get access to purchase high-end items," Rockstar wrote.
"No one can begin GTA Online and simply spend a lot of money out of the gate to get a leg up. You will have to earn your stripes and play to unlock access to the aspirational clothes, guns and other items. Please also remember that in GTA Online, hustling to afford the finer things by earning GTA$ doing robberies, stick-ups, winning races and other profitable activities is a fun gameplay experience rather than ever being a ‘grind'."
Rockstar also said it will keep an eye on balance and tweak if necessary.
Addressing another common concern, Rockstar said players invited into another's property will not be able to "shoot up their place or steal their cars from their garage". If you and another player own the same piece of property, you will each be able to enter your own personal instance of that property at any given time, and can enter other player's instance via invite, so multiple instances are fine.
The events of GTA Online take place in the months preceding the story of GTA 5. Once it unlocks today, you'll be able to play just by selecting the bottom slot on your character wheel. The exact time of the unlock is unknown as it depends on a title update.
When creating a character, players choose gender, parents, genetic history and lifestyle variables to generate stats and appearance. once you start playing you can access manual character customisation options by purchasing clothes, haircuts and accessories.
Rockstar said it intends to add new content to GTA Online soon, including the ability for players to generate jobs and share them. The Content Creator tool is due during northern autumn.