Skill decreasing in GTA Online: Do player stats degrade over time?

GTA Online StatsRockstar Games

Questions about GTA Online’s stat degrading mechanics have popped up again after more players noticed a reminder on the loading screens. 

Ever since the title launched back in September 2013, there have been loading screens you’ll occasionally find a tip that mentions being outside of Los Santos for too long can cause your character’s stats to drain.

This message has been around since the beginning, but there’s still a lot of confusion about what it means. Players have reported seeing no stat changes after both spending time outside of the city and after being disconnected from GTA Online entirely.

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It’s not clear whether this was an early game mechanic that was scrapped. Or, if there is some legitimacy and it’s simply a bugged feature that doesn’t happen for everyone, but the community certainly can’t stop debating about it.

GTA Online stats warning

The full warning reads: “Don’t leave Los Santos for too long. Your character stats will degrade over time.”

GTA Online Stat degrade tipRockstar Games
The infamous stat degradation tip from that appears in some loading screens.

Do your character stats degrade over time?

While a feature like this aligns with older Grand Theft Auto titles, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on how this rule actually works.

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Several players in a recent Reddit thread believe that it’s nothing more than a myth, with one user saying: “I went nearly a year without playing and didn’t lose a thing.”

Another comment suggested that this feature was a part of the game at launch but has since been taken out: “Back in the first days of GTA Online this used to be a thing, players were annoyed by this mechanic (imagine having to level up strength more than once) and Rockstar removed it.”

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GTA Online Stat degrade/degrading/degradationRockstar Games
Players have never been able to come to an agreement on whether this mystery mechanic actually exists or is only a mistake left from an early version of the game

Though it would be easy to believe that an unpopular feature was pulled straight out of the game, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to back that up. In fact, you can find this same debate on the GTA Forums from back in 2013.

User EliteGamer says he had experienced some stat loss, stating it did not affect both of his characters equally: “There have been periods of 2 weeks where I haven’t used my 2nd character and his Shooting/Driving is still at 100, but his other skills have dropped by a lot. Also, I think I’ve periods of about 5 days where I haven’t played at all and I haven’t noticed my main character’s stats dropping.”

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A quick examination of other online spaces will yield the same result, players endlessly debating whether stat still exists in the game, or if it was ever in the game at all.

This is the kind of argument that likely won’t be settled by players anytime soon. It may require Rockstar to step in and clarify what’s actually happening.