GTA Online cheating even more rampant during free giveaway

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

There are two reasons to be mad about the otherwise great news that GTA 5 is free on the Epic Store right now: One, you recently bought GTA 5 for $30, but not recently enough to get a refund. That sucks. Or two, you enjoy playing GTA Online without modders spawning cages on your head.

As anyone could've predicted, the free copies of GTA 5 have resulted in a spike in cheating, given that permabans are no big deal when there's no money on the line. Over the weekend, one acquaintance called GTA Online "unplayable," partially because Rockstar's servers aren't handling the influx of players well, and partially because of the modding. 

A friendly GTA modder spawned an appropriate ride for this Reddit user.

A friendly GTA modder spawned an appropriate ride for this Reddit user. (Image credit: Rockstar (screenshot by Reddit user rockondio))

GTA Online is an oddity in that players tend to refer to those who compromise the game as "modders" rather than "cheaters." (All of the legitimate cheats for GTA 5 are singleplayer only). In part, that's because GTA modders can be fun people who use their godlike powers for the amusement of everyone. GTA can be enjoyed without any structure, and spawning a flying saucer for an alien gang is hardly "cheating"—it's harmless goofing around, even if it's against the EULA.

But if most GTA Online modders showed restraint and good nature, they wouldn't be so reviled. No, many use their easily obtained powers for evil.

Thank you modder, really cool. from r/gtaonline

While GTA Online modding seems to have spiked due to the giveaway—which I'm gauging by the number of recent posts about modders in the subreddit—it's not at all a new problem. Griefing may be extra rampant right now, but complaints about modders have been around since the game's PC launch.

Stopping malicious GTA Online modders is perhaps tricky for Rockstar, because GTA 5's modability is a huge part of its appeal on PC. Hell would be raised if Rockstar cracked down on singleplayer mods, and we also love multiplayer mod FiveM, which powers the roleplaying servers that made many of our favorite GTA stories possible. Any sweeping attack on modding would be undesirable. But so are griefers who try to crash people's games by spawning piles of airplanes.

Rockstar does issue bans for screwing with GTA Online lobbies, so once the Epic giveaway is over, this latest influx of modders may die down a little. If you don't have it, GTA 5 can be claimed for free on the Epic Store until May 21.


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Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.