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Grand Theft Auto Online: 15 tips and tricks for new players

Some handy pointers to help kickstart your life of crime

Grand Theft Auto Online is the ambitious multiplayer component of Rockstar's acclaimed crime-'em-up, which features hundreds of missions, RPG-style character progression, loads of customisation, and even a whole new story. Before you get stuck in, here are 15 tips to help you climb the criminal ladder.

Locating helicopters
If you need a helicopter, there are a few places where they always reliably spawn: the helipads near Vespucci Beach, the Sandy Shores airfield where Trevor parks his in story mode, and the Los Santos International Airport runway.

Bank your cash
Don't run around with a lot of cash on you. Bank it at every opportunity to stop players killing you and stealing it. You can locate the nearest ATM from the interaction menu, accessed by holding back on Xbox or select on PS3. Alternatively, access the Maze Bank website on your phone.

Trigger happy clerks
When robbing a store, sometimes a clerk will pull out a gun and fire at you after you pick up the money. If you kill them your wanted level will increase from two to three stars. Some vigilante NPCs will also attack you if they witness the robbery.

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Using gestures
Replacing story mode's special abilities, clicking both sticks will make your online character perform a gesture, like flipping the bird. You can assign a gesture from the interaction menu.

Passive mode
Enable passive mode if you don't want to be bothered by other players. You can't be killed by vehicles or guns, but you can't attack or use your weapons either. This can be activated from the interaction menu for a small fee of $100. Your player icon on the radar will change to tell nearby players you can't be harmed - although some will still try.

Change your mood
Use the mood option in the interaction menu to change your character's facial expression.

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Easy money
The mission Violent Duct is really easy, only takes about 2 minutes to complete, and earns you $9,000 each time. Replay it with a friend to boost your bank balance. This may be patched out in a future update, so take advantage of it while you have the chance.

Using the phone
If you both have headsets, you can use the in-game phone to call a friend in single-player, and vice versa. Friends' names will appear in your contacts when you're connected to the internet.

Committing suicide
If you're stuck in the middle of nowhere without access to a vehicle, or otherwise incapacitated, you can kill yourself and spawn at the nearest hospital for $500 using the interaction menu.

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Find your friends
Select the highlight player option from the interaction menu and you can make the radar icon of a selected player flash for a brief period. This is useful for tracking friends. If you're near a friend, press B on Xbox or circle on PS3 to focus the camera on them.

Helping hand
Complete a job for Merryweather and you'll be able to call in, among other things, air strikes and ammo drops. The catch is that they cost a small fortune, especially for new players.

Bounty hunter
When you've unlocked Lester as a mission contact, you'll be able to call him and place a bounty on another player - although they won't know who did it. The target's radar icon will turn red for all other players on the server.

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Weapons free
If you're hosting a race job, select 'GTA race' from the lobby menu to enable weapons and Mario Kart-style power-ups. In this mode, players can also exit their car and steal another. Warning: these matches can be incredibly chaotic.

Car thief
If the cops see you in a stolen car you'll get a one star wanted level. To avoid this, try and use your personal vehicle as much as possible. If you lose your car it'll appear in the police impound. You can steal it back by leaping over the wall. If you take too long it'll be destroyed.

Special delivery
When you buy a garage you'll add a mechanic contact to your phone. This unlocks the 'request personal vehicle' option on the interaction menu, and he'll deliver it to you if you're near a road.

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