GTA 5 Online Heists: Taking Things to New Heights
Our pop culture seems to revere bank robbers. Indeed, “Cops and Robbers” is one of the quintessential childhood diversions, heist movies are a Hollywood mainstay, and famous thieves like John Dillinger are celebrated as heroes. It comes as no surprise, then, that video games simulating the bank robber experience are such a hit with gamers.
I got my first taste of this experience in Payday and Payday 2 (with its seemingly endless well of expansions), which my friends and I played nonstop for a few years. There was something immensely satisfying about donning a three-piece suit and a clown mask and knocking over a bank by force. As successive patches and updates gradually soured the Payday experience for me, though, I began to search for a new online heist experience. The game delivered my next big score in the form of GTA 5 Online Heists.
Heists allow four players to team up to plan and execute a multi-step mission culminating in a grand finale mission with a huge payoff. Putting together a solid plan and pulling off the final score can be extremely challenging, but even more gratifying. This article will walk you through the basic structure of a heist in GTA Online so you can get to planning your own bank job.
Breaking Down the Break-In
Like Danny Ocean in Ocean’s Eleven, every heist needs a good leader to put together the right team. GTA Online Heists allow players to step into those fancy shoes and put together their very own crew. This role comes with a certain degree of responsibility, but if your Heist is successful you will be more than paid back.
At the outset, the leader must front some initial capital to get the heist off the ground. This means that, in order to be a heist leader, you need to have some funds to throw around and a willingness to risk them. The risk comes from the fact that leaders put this money up to buy equipment for the heist, but don’t receive any payment for the set-up missions along the way. The leader only gets paid after the final mission, which means you have to pull off the entire job successfully if you want to see any money out of it.
The other three members of the crew, conversely, get paid after each set-up mission and are therefore considerably more insulated from risk than the leader. Adding on top of this the fact that the other crew members don’t have to front all that money at the outset, it can sometimes be pretty attractive to follow rather than lead. However, the leader typically gets to determine everyone’s cuts of the final score, which means that those willing to stick their neck out can give themselves the biggest share and are thus richly rewarded.
Being a leader requires GTA Online rank 12 and ownership of a high-end apartment. On the flipside, anyone who’s completed the tutorial can participate in Heists as a crew member.
The 6 Marks
There are currently six Heists in GTA Online. Each has their own unique flavor, so let’s take a brief look at them one at a time.
1) Fleeca Job
The Fleeca job is sort of a tutorial Heist and has the players working to steal some bonds from a safe deposit box in the titular bank. This is only a two-man job and is the only Heist in which the leader actually doesn’t need to bear the overhead costs for equipment procurement. In addition, the Heist consists of only two set-up missions and a finale. These factors make it the easiest and least risky Heist on the list. Of course, where there’s little risk, there’s little reward, and The Fleeca Job only pays $143,750 on the hardest difficulty.
2) Prison Break
The Prison Break is a step up in both difficulty and reward and is also the first Heist to utilize the four-person crew archetype. This Heist has players cooperating to spring a military prisoner out of high-security prison. There are four set-up missions, and the leader will need to foot the bill for startup costs. However, there is a handsome $500,000 payout if the heist is completed on the highest difficulty.
3) Humane Labs Raid
The Humane Labs Raid is the third Heist available in GTA Online and continues to follow the upward trajectory of difficulty and reward. Don’t let the name fool you – Humane Labs is home to a host of chemical weapons that will fetch a pretty penny to the right buyer, and you’re going in to steal them. This four-person Heist consists of five set-up missions and a finale, and nets you a cool $675,000 on the highest difficulty.
4) Series A Funding
Next on the list is Series A Funding, a Heist that includes a cameo by everyone’s favorite psychopath, Trevor Phillips. In Series A Funding, four players team up to steal a bunch of drugs from various dealers and give them to Trevor, so that he can complete a large deal that he has set up. The five set-up missions involve stealing the drugs, and the finale is the big delivery. This Heist pays $505,000 to teams who complete it on the highest difficulty.
5) Pacific Standard Job
The Pacific Standard Job is the fifth Heist in GTA Online and is a classic, no-nonsense bank robbery. In this Heist, four players team up to knock over the Pacific Standard Bank’s flagship branch in the heart of downtown Vinewood. This colossal undertaking requires five set-up missions to prepare for but rewards players with a staggering $1,250,000 if they can pull it off.
6) Doomsday Heist
Up until recently, the Pacific Standard Job was the fifth and final Heist available in GTA Online. Just like in any good heist movie, though, the crew has gotten back together for one last job – The Doomsday Heist. This Heist is a massive departure from the previous five, in that the set-up jobs are actually completed in the free-roaming overworld. This means that you and three friends have to go about acquiring the equipment necessary to pull off the Heist while at the mercy of GTA Online’s often chaotic and hostile world. To add to the challenge, others are alerted every time a team acquires a necessary piece of set-up equipment. As you might expect, this puts a pretty massive target on your back for competing crews and trolls alike.
The Heist itself is divided into three Acts.
- Act I pays out $812,500 on the highest difficulty
- Act II rewards you with $1,187,500
- Act III yields $1,500,000
That’s a whopping $3,500,000 to crews who can survive this chaotic free-for-all of a Heist. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s truly innovative and a lot of fun if you can pull it off.
The preceding should be enough of an overview to get you started on your life of crime. Each of the Heists listed above has enough nuance and detail to be the subject of its own article, but we’ll go into strategies for each another time. For now, get out there, and start heisting!