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GTA Online cheating even more rampant during free giveaway

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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))
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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. 

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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), which powers the roleplaying servers that made many of our favorite GTA stories (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).

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 (opens in new tab) until May 21.

Tyler Wilde
Tyler Wilde

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.