So I've been playing the game pretty solid for about a week here, and have been trying to think of ways to help improve the game overall and help keep things interesting. As it stands, the overworld gameplay gets very stale and repetitive - shoot first, who cares later. I wanted to hear other people's opinions on my idea here, and see if maybe we can get it passed up to someone who could make the change.
It's simple. Get rid of the white dots on the map. Completely. The only way for your white dot to show up on the map is to do something like shoot a gun. Think of it kind of like a very rudimentary radar. This does not affect players marked with bounties. I find it arguable keeping friend/crew dots on the map, however. I'll explain it more further down.
What this will do to gameplay - suddenly the game becomes less about how fast and how frequently I can find the other guy and mow him down. That guy who wants to go on a manslaughter? Now he can't suddenly show up and terrorize the rank 3 player with an assault chopper. It gives players reason to do things like speed (at the cost of sticking out to other players), or follow with traffic (in the hopes no one notices you specifically). It makes gang fights even more intense, because at any moment another player can swing in from behind unnoticed and open fire. It makes getting a bounty placed on your head all the more intimidating in the long run, as now you're [one of] the only player dots on the map. This also encourages players to learn the landscape and memorize landmarks as meeting places for friends/crew members. The applications are near endless.
On this note, change how in-game voice chat works. No more of this "everyone in the session can hear everyone". Make an audio radius around players. At x distance from said player, you can't hear them anymore. At the edge of that range, you can barely hear them. In other words, the closer you are the easier it is to hear them. This would encourage players working together to stay relatively close (discounting xbox players who will probably just use party chat anyway) so they can hear each other. I've seen this mechanic in games before, I know it works. The earliest example I can think of was way back in Halo 2, where you could hear opposing player's voice chats if you were close enough to them.
With these changes, it might be ideal to bump the session limit on player capacity a bit. I understand that at times raising player caps on a game can be difficult, but if possible (and with these changes taken into account), it would provide for a much more exciting and dynamic overworld than what we currently have.
The reason why I suggest such major changes is, to be quite frank, because we're clearly not playing a finished product. Online in its current state feels very much like a late stage beta. That, combined with the fact that the game is still so early in its release cycle, makes it much easier to make large changes to the game without it being too much of a hassle to players. Anyway, let me know your thoughts folks.