The 6 biggest changes in GTA Online since 2013

Grand Theft Auto Online came out in 2013, bringing a much anticipated multiplayer experience to GTA V fans. Almost a decade later, GTA Online is still kicking strong, with millions playing the game every month. But since 2013, a lot has changed in GTA Online. Here are the biggest changes that impacted GTA Online in the past years.

Making money

Back in the day, making money in GTA Online was way harder than it is now. When the game launched, the best way to make money was to rob stores. You could take out your gun, shoot a few bullets near a cashier, and they would empty the cash register to give you everything the store has. And usually it wasn’t much: a few thousand dollars at best. Some contact missions could also bring a bit of cash, especially Violent Duct and Rooftop Rumble. But the reward was really low compared to today.

Since March 2015, GTA Online players can pull off heists and make way more money. Sure, it takes longer – about an hour instead of a few minutes. But the reward is also way bigger: instead of a thousand, you can aim for over a million dollars.


When GTA Online first came out in 2013, it didn’t feature nearly as many vehicles as it does today. If there were a dozen cars in GTA Online at launch, the game now features 699 vehicles.

The various updates brought new cars, motorcycles, and even boats, planes, and helicopters. But the biggest change when it comes to vehicles is the introduction of flying vehicles like the Deluxo or the Oppressor MK2.


The griefers, these annoying players that kill you before you can do anything, have existed since the early days of GTA Online, but their methods changed since 2013. Back then, one of the scariest sights was a player driving around in chrome adders and throwing sticky bombs everywhere.

You could also get blown up as soon as you got out of your garage by a Rhino tank. They were everywhere, and the basics of any PvP activity. The Rhino was one of the most powerful vehicles, allowing you to kill an entire lobby without many counters. And there was no way of knowing if someone was in a Rhino since there were no icons showing which vehicle a player was using. It was just a circle on the map, and once you saw a tank, it was usually too late to escape.

Since then, the armor of the Rhino was nerfed, and we got plenty of new weaponized vehicles to blow enemies away. Nowadays, the threat is mainly in the air, as griefers will kill you before you can even look at their Oppressor MK2.

Free roam activities

Free roam activities today are a lot more advanced than they used to be. Back in 2013, there were two main activities that brought an entire lobby together: armored trucks and bounty hunting.

Every once in a while, an armored truck popped on the map, containing more money than what you earned robbing stores. Everyone tried to get to the truck first to steal its riches. The most common strategy was to tailor the truck with a car and throw a sticky bomb to open its door and steal the money.

Bounty hunting was a real adrenaline rush. Some players could get a bounty on their heads, and the entire lobby would start chasing after them to get the reward.

Over the years, Rockstar published several updates to GTA Online, bringing new content for players to enjoy. There are now a bunch of free mode activities you can do in the game, such as business battles or time trials. Since the Freemode Events update in 2015, special challenges appear in the free mode every 6 in-game hours, every 12 minutes in real life.

If a lot of people used to do free roam activities in 2013, it is no longer the case in 2022. As GTA Online features way more game modes and content than it did on its release, it also gives players more things to do than just roam around Los Santos and steal a few items to get money.


Races are a big part of the game in 2022. But if it is a staple in GTA Online, it has changed a lot since 2013. At first, racing in GTA Online was mainly about sports cars driving as fast as possible in the streets of Los Santos. But since then, a lot has changed.

If there were only 42 races at the start of GTA Online, there is a virtually unlimited amount of tracks now. Everyone can create their own custom race with the Content Creator feature. Players have been creating all kinds of tracks and they look nothing like regular street races now. The Cunning Stunts and Southern San Andreas Super Sport Series updates also brought new racing modes, respectively the Stunt Races and Target Assault.


The casino is now a major social space in GTA Online, despite only being around for about three years. Casinos were added with The Diamond Casino & Resort update in 2019. Before that, you could drive by casinos, but couldn’t get inside.

Now, you can drive by the corner of Vinewood Park Drive and Vinewood Boulevard to play poker, spin the Lucky Wheel, or bet on horses. The casino features a penthouse you can buy with its limousine service, two VIP lounge areas, a roof terrace, and an underground nightclub. And if you feel like more of a criminal, you can just rob the casino altogether with the Diamond Casino Heist. None of that was possible before 2019.

A lot has changed in GTA Online between 2013 and 2022. The Leaderboard dedicated an entire video to this subject recently, which you can check out for a deeper dive.

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Ophélie Castelot

I was born with a gamepad and played my first MMORPG at 8. I'm scared to death by Resident Evil's dogs. FPS enthusiast, I like to pewpew people. I love both video games and writing, so naturally, I'm a gaming writer. Want to pitch an idea or debate the latest game you played? Let's talk!
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