I write this partially as a reminder to myself: every Grand Theft Auto V player who logs onto GTA Online by next Monday, the 26th, will receive $250,000 of in-game cash. It's not a staggering sum, but it's enough to ease a new player in nicely or help established criminals save for something big and shiny. Rockstar are offering a rebate on items bought in-game too. I started playing GTA Online again myself recently and, after not enjoying it at all at launch and still finding some bits annoying, I am having a gay old time doing crimes with my pals or simply sightseeing with a bicycle and a podcast. I will welcome this extra virtuacash. Alice: go log in after finishing this post.
To get the free $250k, you'll need to log into the multiplayer sandbox by February 26th. After that, Rockstar explain, the money will arrive in you in-game bank account some time between February 27th and March 6th.
Rockstar are also offering a rebate. 10% of all GTA$ you spend between February 16th and 26th will be refunded to you by the 6th, up to a maximum of GTA$1 million. That's not huge but it's still handy. All price cuts and rebates are welcome.
As I said, $250k free is a decent amount to get started if you're coming to GTA Online fresh. While it won't buy high-end vehicles or the buildings needed to host end-game missions, it is enough for an apartment to host your own heist missions and have a little left over for clothes. Combine this with the $250k still up for grabs through an easy Red Dead Redemption 2 treasure hunt and you're set for the early game. And I would recommend having a crack, even if you didn't like it the first time.
When I first played GTA Online, I was so put off by how expensive everything seemed and how much grinding--of both cash and levels--was needed to do much of anything, and there wasn't even much anything. Since then, updates have added loads of cheaper unlocked weapons, everyone can get a decent starter car for free, and, most importantly, there are so many more missions and activities all over.
Yes, cheaters are still common and are still irritating. I am still annoyed by mysterious disconnection issues booting me from servers. Loading can take aaages. And if I played intensively, I might be irked that so much of the new content is so expensive. But as someone who drops by for a few hours and couple of missions every week, I'm certainly enjoying myself. And I've built some fantastic outfits. Oh god, I know I'll spend this $250k on clothes.
Disclosure: I know some people who work on GTA, as does every Edinburgh resident. Walk down any half-busy street and you'll spot at least two people in well-worn shirts from the Rockstar staff stash. Where do they all come from? Pods, I reckon.