Rockstar’s GTA V has just become available for online play today, although the sudden wave on players all trying to get into games or create their new characters at the same time is causing the servers to bow under the pressure resulting in time outs as well as other server related issues.
This is nothing new though when a game of this magnitude and popularity suddenly goes live for everyone at the same time as most gamers can attest to from previous launches. Unfortunately this is something that is fully expected and even with the best infrastructure and servers in the world at your disposal, can never prepare you for what happens when close to a million people try to play the same online game at the same time. Rockstar did have a closed Beta (although a bigger public one would have benefited them more) which would have helped in alleviating some of the issues, but you can only really know how the servers will hold up when these things go live. Hopefully things will start to smooth out throughout the course of the day as more servers are added and the loads get balanced.
Rockstar did alert players that they may experience initial server problems due to everyone trying to get online at once on the NewsWire page.
One thing we are already aware of, and are trying to alleviate as fast as we can, is the unanticipated additional pressure on the servers due to a significantly higher number of players than we were anticipating at this point – we are working around the clock to buy and add more servers, but this increased scale is only going to make the first few days even more temperamental than such things usually are.
The first couple of weeks we expect to be heavily focused on tuning the experience as it goes from internal testing to the reality of being played by tons of people in the real world so that all the usual teething problems for an online game are overcome. We hope it will all run incredibly smoothly, but please bear with us if it doesn’t, and help us fix any and all problems!
They are also keeping users up to date via Twitter as well as their official site as to what the issues are which is good.
For those trying to get into GTA Online today, please bear w/ us on some day one tech connection issues that we’re working to stabilize asap
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) October 1, 2013
Here is a list of current issues that people may be experiencing with GTA Online:
- Occasional “Rockstar Cloud Servers Unavailable” error message
- Freezing sometimes while loading into first race in GTAO with “waiting for other players” on the screen
- Intermittent “Failed to Host a GTA Online Session” error messages
- Race Corona (start area, marker) occasionally not showing up for first race
- Errors saying “Timed out when matchmaking for a compatible GTA Online Session to join”
- Occasional “Failed to start job” errors
- General issues with the Social Club site and Social Club features (slow loading, failed logins, emails not arriving, etc). For more information on Social Club status, please see: http://support.rockstargames.com/hc/en-us/articles/200357093
GTA Online allows up to 16 players per session to enter the online world consisting of the Los Santos and Blaine County, to start partaking in the massive multiplayer game with hundreds of thousands of other gamers. The online version of GTA V is set a few months before the story mode version that most people have either started to play or completed, but the world will be identical. Players are able to join in games on their own, or as crew and start to explore the world in-depth, by either catching a movie, exploring the countryside via bike or car or just hitting the shooting range for a bit of pre-gameplay shooting practice. Most players though will more than likely go straight for the throat and start entering Death Matches, GTA races or, join fellow mercenaries and degenerates to pull off a wide range of robberies and illicit activities together, to begin earning Reputation Points (XP) as well as building their GTA$ cash flow up to buy better weapons, cars and of course a nice pad. Users are able to use in-game purchases using real-world money via the in-game store to speed up their acquisition of certain items if they wish. This won’t enable you to rank higher (via increased Reputation Point)s than other players instantly, but will enable you to buy denominations of GTA$ so you can get access to better cars and guns quicker. The Cash Cards, that were initial spotted in the Rockstar site code by Reddit user 1880 are priced below:
- $100,000 Red Shark Cash Card – £1.99
- $200,000 Tiger Shark Cash Card – £3.49
- $500,000 Bull Shark Cash Card – £6.99
- $1,250,000 Great White Shark Cash Card – £13.49
However, before you can start to do all of that you have to begin by creating your own individual avatar. To do this you also have to decide on your gender as well as your Mother and Father. You are also given the option of choosing to give one parent genetic dominance or leave them more evenly matched. You also get to decide just how much sleep your character/avatar will get per night as well as how much partying they do. All of this will affect the overall look and feel of your avatar. You can also further edit these choices once you are out and about in the game.
Another important thing for new players to do, is to become a member of the Rockstar Social Club (it’s free) as this will give members access to weapons, vehicular unlocks, special Crew features as well as the Content Creator Tool which is set to be launched later in The Fall. Other benefits to becoming a member include access to the Assault Sub Machine Gun, the blazing Annis Elegy RH8 sports car, and unique haircuts for Franklin, Michael and Trevor to sport around town, so get your free Social Club membership now.
So, have you managed to start playing GTA Online yet? If so what are your first impressions?