GTA Online has essentially become a cooldown simulator game where players have to manage the cooldown of missions just to keep playing something in the game instead of having any freedom to play whatever they want to play.

Ever had the feeling that after completing a mission, you wanted to play it again but when you attempt to do so, you are greeted by a very neat message at the top left of your screen telling you to wait for the Cooldown Time? That's what GTA Online has gradually become over its lifespan.

Do you want to play a new Casino Work mission? Wait 3 Minutes. Security Contract? Wait 5 Minutes. Replay VIP Work mission? Wait 10 Minutes. Source Nightclub Cargo? Wait 20 Minutes. Client Job? Wait Half an Hour. Payphone Hit? Wait 48 Minutes. Replay the same Heist? Also Wait 48 minutes. Replay Cayo Perico Heist completely Solo? Wait for an entirety of 3 in-game days, i.e., 144 minutes.

Let's take a step back and start from the beginning. Back when the game launched in 2013, we primarily had contact missions to play. There weren't any specific cooldowns that prevented players from replaying the missions.

Introduction of Cooldown Timers

Fast forward to 2015 when Heists DLC got released where players were able to join together for setup missions followed by a finale to conduct a Heist. However, the cooldown was of 48 minutes if players were to replay the same heist.

This meant that players could partake in other heists (there were a total of 5) if they wanted to keep playing. And the heists were long enough that players could never have more than 2 heists on cooldown.

further adventures finance felony

The Finance and Felony DLC introduced the Special Cargo business which allowed players to collect and sell cargo from their warehouses. Following in the same footsteps of the Heists, players had a cooldown of 5 minutes when collecting cargo for the same warehouse.

However, players were free to collect cargo for other warehouses (there were a total of 5). And cooldown was short enough that allowed players to ever get locked out of source missions, even with only 3 warehouses, no matter how fast you did them and even if you had help from other players.

Selling warehouses also had a cooldown of 30 minutes but filling up even a medium warehouse would take over an hour or two, let alone having issues with a large warehouse.

How Cooldowns Got Worse Over Time?

import export

Fast forward to the Import Export DLC which allowed players to steal and sell vehicles. A bit similar to a special cargo business. However, this is where things started to get interesting. There was a 5-minute cooldown on stealing vehicles.

This wouldn't have been a problem if we had multiple warehouses. Unlike Special Cargo warehouses, we could only own one. This forced players to play some other content and come back to the CEO office to start a new steal vehicle mission (Reminder: Terrorbyte wasn't released by this time) or wait for the cooldown to pass.

On top of that, selling a vehicle had a massive cooldown (20 minutes for 1 vehicle and progressively more if you sold more vehicles) which was another annoying issue. Because ideally players would source and sell 1 Top Range vehicle to make the best money. Which only used to take 3-7 minutes for the source mission and 2-4 minutes for the sell mission.

after hours

Next year we got the After Hours DLC that introduced the Nightclub. Although it was a great update, popularity missions had a 5-minute cooldown and after the Criminal Enterprises update, calling Yohan to manually source cargo for your Nightclub had a 20-minute cooldown. 

We also received the Client Jobs &  Challenges as part of the Terrorbyte. Client Jobs had a cooldown of 30 minutes to replay the same one and Client Challenges had a cooldown of 10 minutes to replay the same one. But even if players wanted to try a different Client mission from Terrorbyte, they had to wait 5 minutes as well.

diamond casino heist

Fast forward to 2019 when we got the Casino DLC and the Casino Heist DLC. The situation in this DLC wasn't as bad. We could call Agatha Baker for a quick mission but that had a cooldown of 3 minutes. And starting the next heist only had a cooldown of 10 minutes.

However, similar to Heists, later in the Summer of 2022 update, Casino Heist also got a cooldown of 48 minutes. Which again forced players to play other content in the game.

the cayo perico heist

Very next year we got the famous Cayo Perico Heist DLC which allowed players to finally conduct a solo heist. And it quickly became the fastest way to make money in the game. Players didn't even have to rely on exploits or glitches as they could make 1.5 million per heist which could be completed in 35 to 40 minutes, all the while playing the game as intended.

Worse Addition Of Cooldown To All Heists

cooldown simulator gta online update

However, the Criminal Enterprises DLC drastically modified all heists including Cayo Perico Heist. Base Heist payout was still the same but Rockstar modified the chances and cooldown times of Cayo Perico Heist to force players to play other content.

To keep it short, playing the heist less frequently and with other players (Co-Op) is awarded more than playing solo and more frequently. On top of that playing the heist solo gives the player a 144-minute cooldown.

On one hand, it encourages players to play other content but many players like to replay Cayo Perico Heist because of its dynamic nature and payout structure. If Rockstar were to modify the payouts of other activities in the game to bring it up to the same level as Cayo Perico Heist or vice versa, it would encourage players intuitively to try other content. And if possible, modify the content to make it more refreshing.

GTA Online: Los Santos Tuners Update 1.54 / 1.57 Patch Notes

After that we got the Los Santos Tuners DLC that introduced Autoshop contracts, despite the complaints about the dialogues and not-so-great payouts, the update was quite well received, especially the drip feed Halloween content. However, contracts were plagued by the same issue as the Heists.

A 48-minute cooldown on replaying the same contract which wasn't too bad because there were always 2 other contracts available on the board (only 3 contracts are on display at a time on Autoshop Board). But at times, players would be unable to play any contract on the board if they completed them too quickly as all 3 had already been completed by the player.

GTA Online: The Contract Title Update 1.55 / 1.58 Patch Notes

And the following Contract DLC introduced the Agency, which brought one of the worst cooldowns in the game. Starting any Security contract (even if it is a different one) had a cooldown of 5 minutes, Payphone hits (even if it is a different payphone or a different mission altogether) had a cooldown of 20 minutes and Dr. Dre's VIP contract also had a cooldown of 48 minutes.

Other cooldowns were proportional to the mission length and weren't as bad but Payphone hits in general take players 2 to 5 minutes to complete so adding a 20-minute cooldown was absolutely absurd.

And it got worse with the update that came with the San Andreas Mercenaries DLC. Payphone Hit cooldown is now 48 minutes. Which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

In the grand scheme of things, over the years, Rockstar has added a ton of content in the game, along with cooldown. However, these cooldowns don't encourage players to try other content. They instead force you. Modifying payout and content would be a much better way to encourage players to try different content.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, whether you agree or disagree with our remarks on the situation.

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