When you first enter GTA Online you'll be presented with a police station lineup screen, which represents the character creator. Here you begin by choosing your character's parents from a selection that includes some familiar faces from prior Rockstar games to determine your basic appearance, then further customise it with a wide array of sliders until you achieve your desired look. If you previously played GTA Online on any of the console platforms you also have the option to import your existing character, which you can do at any time, but only once—so make it count!
The Online World
Once you have your character established, you're dropped into the online world via a tutorial presented by Franklin's partner in crime Lamar. This introduces the basics, but you're quickly set loose and left to your own devices across the entire GTA 5 game map. Each online session can contain up to 30 players, and by forming crews with your friends using Rockstar's Social Club you can meet up and complete tasks together.
In order to progress in GTA Online you need earn Reputation Points (RP), which are used to level up your character. This experience level is shown as your Rank, and increasing it will unlock new weapons, additional customisation options, plus more activities and jobs to take part in. The quickest way to gain RP is by completing jobs, and there are many of these to choose from.
Jobs in GTA Online fall into two main categories. The first encompasses traditional modes, including variants on races, deathmatches, capture the flag, and horde mode. In these you compete against other players, and your final position determines how much RP you receive. The other is Contact Missions, which you receive by text message from NPCs you've previously met. These are played co-operatively with others, as you take on different roles to complete objectives together and earn RP for your group performance.
As well as jobs, there are plenty of other activities to take part in online. You can hold up convenience stores and rob armoured trucks as they drive around the city, or attack local gangs by assaulting their territory. You can challenge other players to impromptu races or initiate one-on-one deathmatches with them, but be warned—being too aggressive will increase your Mental State and highlight you on the map as a target for others to take down. For a more pleasant pastime, you can always play a round of golf or a few sets of tennis with them instead.
The other important factor in GTA Online is GTA$, which you receive for completing jobs and activities. Most of the shops from single player are available, and you can spent your cash in these to buy fresh clothes, get a haircut, or have a tattoo inked to further customise your character. Ammu-Nation is the place to head and purchase new weapons, as well as stocking up on all important ammo and body armour. Once you've accrued enough GTA$ you can even buy your own apartment, giving you a place to rest and chance clothing, as well as somewhere to store vehicles if it has a garage attached.
This is the big one! Completing online heists requires a team of four players (all at Rank 12 or above) working together to bring home the score. One player must own a high end apartment as these contain a planning room, and they are designated leader by initiating the heist from here. They then recruit the rest of the team and embark on a series of set up missions, where players take on different roles to complete tasks leading up to each high earning heist finale. Initially there are five heists available, and these can all be replayed once completed.