With Grand Theft Auto V days away from release, players everywhere can't wait to dive back into the criminal world of Los Santos. Just make sure you save room for Grand Theft Auto Online when it launches a couple of weeks later. Here, you'll be able to team up with friends and take on rivals through a series of vehicular and ground-based contests to see which group is the best.
With the Online interface comes the return of the Social Club, where you not only put together a crew to work with you at every turn, but also assign a Hierarchy, letting everyone know just who's in charge.
This system is based upon feedback from the Social Club community, so Rockstar North, the developers of both GTA V and its supplementary Online mode, have a great idea of what to do with it.
Hierarchy ties in with the general Crew, which is broken down into five top tiers. At the very top sits the Leader, who leads this particular club and makes all the decisions when it comes to leveling out rankings and making sure each member does their job. This is probably the most crucial point of the Hierarchy, so you'll want to make sure that the right person is on deck. Put the wrong person in charge and the group could crumble under "no confidence."
Next up are the Commissioners, with two assigned. These people act as the most trusted members to the Leader and the members below them. They act as right-hand men – or women – who will manage and administrate each part of the Crew, working on behalf of the Leader. These members should also be highly trusted, as they'll have the ability to promote new members to the crew, as well as assign new ones. It's vital that you have the Leader and the Commissioners on the same page, or else there will be a falling out.
Below them are the Lieutenants, with space available for three players. These particular members will be "made" by either the Leader or the Commissioners. Their job is to keep other members of the crew, namely the Representatives and Muscle, in line, while also handing out promotions and demotions based on their performance. Though their role isn't as crucial as the Commissioners, it's important to have the right people for the job anyway. The last thing you want in a Crew is a mutinous uprising due to a falling out with a Lieutenant.
Representatives serve a highly regarded purpose with the Crew as well. These four players act as people that serve the Lieutenants and higher-ups, earning their place through peak performance in online battles or showing loyalty by wearing a Crew emblem for an extended period of time. Obviously, performance is the faster way to rank up, so you'll want to work on your shooting and fighting skills. These players will assist their fellow Crew members during recruitment efforts, finding new members that will help them out. That said, decisions for said recruitment are left to the Leader and Commissioners. Still, a role of advisement is better than no role at all.
Finally, there's the Muscle. Though the chart shows them on the lower end of the Crew, their role is extremely important. These eight players will be the ones sent on the most jobs, getting their hands dirty while proudly sporting Crew emblems. They work more on an intimidation level than through administration, but some people will feel perfectly fine with that role. In fact, the more threatening you become, the more likely the Leader could replace one of his or her higher-ups, depending if they're slacking in performance.
Outside of the general Crew cap, you can run your team however you see fit, keeping new recruits at bay or mixing things up with fresh blood. In the right position, you can pay a visit to the Crew Management page and see how your Hierarchy lines up. You'll also see color codings that indicate how long someone's been playing online or hanging with a certain Crew, which makes it easy to see if they're ready for promotion, or need to be moved down the bench. Keep in mind that only the Leader or his or her acting Commissioners can access this page for management reasons. Everyone else will just be able to see general stats within their Crew.
In addition, once you start a crew, you can modify your Emblem design at any time. If you think it's not threatening enough to intimidate rivals – or you're just looking for something that stands out – you can modify it and then show it to your fellow Crew mates. Again, it's reserved for the elite in the group – mainly the Leader – but it's a neat feature.
One other cool thing about this Hierarchy is the ability to connect your Social Club account with Twitter or Facebook. This allows you to see notifications even if you're not playing, such as being notified that a Crew has interest in you. For those who live and breathe on these social networks, this could be a dream feature – or a nightmare, depending how much it tears them away from school or work.
More features with Hierarchies and Crew abilities will be available as the game progresses, but it sounds like it'll be starting off on the right foot when Grand Theft Auto Online launches on October 1st. Do you think you're cool enough to hang with us? Guess we'll find out.
Grand Theft Auto V releases on September 17th for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.