When you're a stranger
"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" goes the famous piece of gangster wisdom. Not covered: what to do with strangers. I'm a little late to the GTA 5 heist party, and all my friends have moved onto other games, so I thought I'd try to complete some heists with the only crew I have left: complete and utter strangers.
Hours later, I've assembled some tips on the best way to play GTA 5's heists with people you don't know.
Open your home
You've worked hard to buy a killer pad, and now it's time to fill it with killers. To better your chances of putting together a crew, invite everyone on the entire server, regardless of their level. I know meeting strangers for the first time can be uncomfortable, scary, and anxiety-inducing, especially when inviting them to your online home. Don't worry! No one will ever, ever show up.
Join the crowd
Once you've given up trying to host your own heist, join one someone else has arranged. You'll be the second one to arrive, after the host. Soon a third member will join, then leave as soon as a fourth joins. A few more people will briefly join and then bail moments later. Eventually, the host will quit. It's just like that famous, forty-minute-long scene in Ocean's Eleven where everyone came into the planning room at different times and then quickly left in complete silence.
Stick to the plan
Eventually, you'll find a crew and start playing. Remember, though, a heist is only as good as its plan. For example, if a crew member with a minigun orders everyone to just wait behind him while he kills all the enemies himself, stick to that plan! Sure, it's boring. It's incredibly boring. It makes you wonder why you're playing since you might as well be sitting on the toilet or sleeping in another room. But it's the plan! Stick to it.
Roll with the changes
There's a lot of driving in heists, and often you may be a passenger for long periods of time. So, when you jump into a car with four people, but then two people jump out to take a different car, you may find yourself stuck in the back seat like a kid being driven to swimming lessons by his silent, preoccupied father. This is an awkward way to begin a daring criminal enterprise, but be professional about it. Because asking the driver to stop so you can climb into the front will have no effect.
Just because they're strangers doesn't mean members of your new crew don't have lives of their own. They're real people, just like you! So, when the person driving you around during the heist suddenly pulls over and pauses his game for eight minutes, don't be impatient! I'm sure he had something important to do and a good reason for not even bothering to tell you what it was or when he'd be back.
Take one for the team
Sometimes a sacrifice is needed. To protect a hijacked prison bus, for example, it may require a member of your crew, let's say me, to throw himself in front of a car. It's a shining act of bravery that will bring the group closer together.
Okay, look, I was late getting to the bus and I got hit by a car in front of everyone and it was embarrassing as hell. And then they all drove off without me. Let's move on.
Motivate your teammates
Sometimes members of your crew will need a little prompting, such as the time my heistmate refused to get into my car at the start of the mission. I honked. I honked again. I leaned on the horn for long seconds. I may have even given him some gentle encouragement by barking something like "Come on, fuck-o!" Still nothing. It turned out I hadn't allowed strangers access to my personal vehicles so he literally couldn't get in. My point still stands! Motivate. It's what leaders do.
Take a break!
Heists are long, drawn-out affairs, and it's important to take a little break every now and then. Even sometimes when you're in the middle of a heist, apparently. A rare heist where you're actually doing well and you haven't been hit by a car and no one is mad at you. Sometimes taking a break isn't really your choice. Sometimes GTA 5 just knows best.
Forgive and forget
Even in the best-planned heists, things can go wrong. Maybe someone pushed the wrong button and jumped out of the speeding car and died. Maybe someone fell off a cargo crane he shouldn't have climbed in the first place and died. Maybe someone got hit by a car in front of everyone else. Maybe that someone was all the same person and is really, really sorry but he had a good attitude and was trying his best. Forgive your teammates! Please.
When a job is done, just because someone in your crew made a lot of mistakes along the way and it took up everyone's time needlessly, take some time to celebrate. A good way to do this is with everyone ganging up and punching that particular heist member until he is dead. In this case, and in a few other cases, it was me being punched to death. But that's just the sort of friendly violence you can expect from a newly formed tight-knit group of best buds. It's all done out of love.