Anytime someone asks for advice about selling in Freemode, people will inevitably come back with their tricks for getting an empty lobby, and they all seem to think they’re clever. To me, this seems like a joyless way to grind, basically going through the motions, and frankly, sad and pathetic. Why are you stacking up money if you don’t even want to play the game? Why are you even playing GTA? Yes, I’m being rhetorical. I’m really not interested in your rationalizations for trying to play a multi-player game solo. Believe me, I’ve heard them, because it’s always the solo players complaining about this game. Well, duh, it’s not a single-player game.
For everyone else, if you want to get the most out of this game, if you want more from GTA than to make the number representing your imaginary bank account bigger, or to fill pixel garages with pixel vehicles, in short, if you’re here for the gameplay, you need to cultivate friends in the game. Everything you do in Online requires the assistance of others, even if only to have enough players to start a mission. This is especially true when trying to do business in Freemode. Freemode is rough. It always has been. That’s why R* placed these businesses in Freemode - to make them challenging. The reason “these douchebags” come along and destroy your supplies when you’re just “minding your own business” is because that’s what’s supposed to happen. Kid yourself all you want, but it is happening. This is the game.
TL;DR: You need more friends.
This means you need to defend yourself, and defend your cargo, especially when doing the sale. For this, you need friends. Lots of them. The more friends you have, the more likely someone will be online when you are. As you play the game over months and years, eventually all these friends you've made will condense into a crew of regulars - people you like, and who you play with all the time. Solo players are easy to victimize in this game, but if you’re rolling with crew of a half-dozen players, not so much. This alone will give you a huge advantage over tryhards, because tryhards have no friends. You’ll be able to use vehicles that require more than one player to use to their full potential. And you won’t have to cower in empty lobbies.
If you don’t have enough friends, you’re not ready to do business in Freemode. If you can only muster the three or four drivers, the bare minimum number of players, you’re just ripe for the picking. Especially if you don’t have the sense to exit the vehicles and fight off an attack. Believe me, I see it all the time. They just keep driving as if, IDK, the attacker is going to go away. To do a successful sale, you need three or four drivers and some air-support. You need at least one good pilot in a Hydra who can take out anyone who approaches the convoy. The Hydra can hover, which makes it easy to stay near the much slower-moving convoy, and he can also strike out, and pick off anyone before they get close to the cargo. But, if everyone has different checkpoints, you need more, right? One guy can’t cover everybody, and he might even get shot down. I would never start a sale without at least six people. You also want to plan in advance, and make sure everyone understands their roles, and what to do if attacked. Look at the map before starting out. See what lies in your path, and whether you might want to reroute. Then have someone always watching the map. See what vehicles are on the map that might present a threat. Plan on taking them out. Pay attention when someone ghosts or goes off-radar. Assume they’re coming for you, and watch the sky.
Last night, there were eight of us in a full lobby. There were three enemy jets in the sky, (in GTA, if they’re not a friend, they are an enemy), and a guy griefing in a Deluxo. We were seeing a lot of kill notifications, so, all in all, a pretty aggro lobby. One of us needed to sell his bunker, so he got into Biker mode and sent us all an invite. In Biker mode, you can hire up to eight people, and players get paid more for sales, but the fact is, it’s not even necessary for all your friends to be in the organization to help. The real payoff is when you turn around and help them, not the chump change they get paid.
They gave us two Phantom Wedges for the sale. We had one guy in a Hydra, two fully-manned Hunters, and the drivers for the Phantom Wedges. We started off from Paleto Bay, heading down to Elysian Island. We all just hovered over the convoy, minding our own business, singing Kumbaya, and no one bothered us.
No, that’s not what happened. We saw that one jet was flying around over Sandy Shores. He didn’t make a move to attack us, so we had to bring the fight to him. My friend in the Hydra broke off and went to take him down. Just as this happened, we saw an orange crew with two jets heading for us from the Airport. We gained some altitude in the Hunters and moved forward to meet them. We took them down near Fort Zancudo, so we left one Hunter behind to spawn-kill them for a while so they couldn’t get into another jet. Meanwhile, a Deluxo shows up on the edge of the map, heading our way. As my pilot kept him busy with Homing Missiles, I took him out with the explosive cannon. We kept moving, not minding our own business, but griefing everyone in our path, picking a fight with anyone and everyone within range. The Deluxo guy then comes back with his Oppressor, and we swat him down in that, too. The poor guy kept trying each vehicle in turn, but it wasn’t working out for him. As this is happening, the orange crew apparently got back to their hangar and got another jet. Our jet guy got on top of them, and managed to take both out. Then he spent some time griefing them on the ground around the Airport, in order to keep them out of their hangar.
When the sale was completed, we all got our little $30k bonuses, and then we really went to work griefing our erstwhile attackers. Later, another one of us needed to sell his coke and meth, so we all joined his organization. By now, we had plenty of pissed-off enemies in the lobby, so these two sales were just as fun as the first. Or, almost as fun. One was in boats, so we could only be attacked by air, so that was a pretty low-key affair. But had there been no air-support, they would’ve been easy targets. Any solo griefer could’ve come along and easily taken out the entire shipment.
My point is, no cargo was lost over three sales in a full lobby, and we were not making any attempt to keep our heads down. This is because we had enough players to keep everyone too busy to get to the actual cargo, and it was a blast doing it! To my mind, this is a lot more fun than just driving from point A to point B. If this sounds like fun to you, too, then work on building up your friends list. Don’t be too picky at first. Just look for decent people who use their mics. As I say, over time, the best ones shake out, and you’ll have a crew of solid friends. Nothing makes it easier to make money in this game than to have a group of reliable players to draw upon. Then, take turns helping each other out. You’ll find it’s a lot more fun than playing with yourself.