Passive Mode is introduced to the player immediately upon their first death. A cutscene will be shown where Cris Formage describes online "death" and the passive feature used to prevent it. Passive Mode is similar to Red Dead Redemption's Friendly Free Roam, where the player cannot kill or be killed.
This feature can be activated through the Interaction Menu and is free to activate. Entering Passive Mode originally cost $100, but since Title Update 1.07 the fee was waived so that "players could have more options with friends".
Players in passive mode are marked on the Radar and map by a 🚫 icon and this also appears above their head. Passive mode prevents the player from using any weapons. It is impossible to shoot at a passive player. Weapons that deal area damage also cannot damage or kill them. Weapons with a lock-on ability, such as the Homing Launcher and various Vehicle-Mounted Missiles, cannot target Passive Players. Even if they managed to collide, they will fly through the player. As of update 1.10, any player who somehow kills a passive player who is not in a vehicle must now pay their hospital bills, and vice versa.
Classic Passive Mode
|This article (or section) refers to content in the Original version for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 release of Grand Theft Auto Online that may be absent from other versions.|
For a complete list of the features of the Original version for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version of Grand Theft Auto Online, please see here.
Classic Passive Mode will only be active while the player is on foot. Entering a vehicle disables passive mode immediately, since any vehicle can be used as a weapon to run over other players (and armed vehicles such as the Rhino, Buzzard, Annihilator and Lazer can be fired from the front by a passive driver), The Fire Truck also cannot use the water cannon, as it is capable of damaging and killing on foot players. While inside a vehicle, the player regains access to their weapon wheel and are able to shoot and get shot at and in the process, get killed. The player's vehicle is not immune to damage if they enter it in Passive Mode. Exiting a vehicle will immediately reactivate passive mode. Passive Mode ends if the passive player shoots at another player.
Conversely, a passive player on foot is also able to be killed by other players in vehicles by being run over or hit by aircraft (including helicopter blades). Medical expenses will be incurred by the vehicle driver in these circumstances.
Enhanced Passive Mode
|This article (or section) refers to content in the Enhanced version for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC release of Grand Theft Auto Online that may be absent from other versions.|
For a complete list of the features of the Enhanced version for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC version of Grand Theft Auto Online, please see here.
When a player is in passive mode, they will appear to all other players as a semi-transparent ghost and vice versa. Neither player will be able to harm one another. Players with passive mode enabled cannot be killed in a vehicle.
Upon entering a vehicle, a passive player will apply the ghost-mode to the vehicle. The same rules apply as for the on-foot passive mode: the passive driver will not be able to be targeted, will not suffer damage directly created by other players (explosions, bombs) and the vehicle will not collide with other players or players' vehicles. Sticky Bombs may stick on a vehicle driven by a passive player, although they will not be able to be detonated. However, if the player exits the vehicle at a later time and the rules for detonation still apply, they will be able to be detonated. If somehow said ghost-vehicle gets destroyed, either by the use of hacks or cheats or because the vehicle the passive player is about to drive has an ignition bomb installed, it will not harm the player in any way.
It is possible to kill a passive mode player using environmental hazards, such as parked cars that the passive player is standing near, as these cars are still "real" to both players. It is also possible to move a flying Deluxo over a passive player and then exit the vehicle, which will kill the passive player. A Cargobob with another hooked vehicle can also use the same strategy. However, beware that a Cargobob will be unable to attach a vehicle occupied by a passive player, though if attached beforehand, it will not be detached (unless the pilot does it manually).
Players with wanted level can shift the crossfire onto the passive player (moving to a point where the Cops' aim will intersect with the passive player) to kill them without getting the penalty; forcing an occupied police vehicle into the way of a driving passive player can give that player a wanted level. Similarly, enemies spawning from certain free mode missions, such as steal missions or heist preparations, will engage against other players, including passive ones.
Entering a weaponized vehicle, such as the Rhino Tank or the Insurgent Pick-Up, will disable passive mode after the usual 30-second delay (During which the player remains in passive mode) and cannot be re-enabled until they exit the vehicle. Similarly, during the delay, the player cannot use any of the vehicle's weapon. Certain vehicles, such as the Paragon R (Armored), are rare exceptions, as they do not have the capability matching that of the prohibited vehicles (despite the Ardent and the Blazer Aqua, which have similar weaponry, are unable to use Passive Mode). Some other vehicles, such as the Volatus and the Nimbus, behave in a similar fashion to weaponized vehicles, despite being unarmed. The Ramp Buggy and Phantom Wedge, while not actually armed, still fall under the "weaponized" category, likely due to the front being able to flip vehicles. Most vehicles do not force the player out of Passive Mode as long as they do not have any weapon modification installed (except for the Sea Sparrow). This also applies to the Cerberus, despite the mounted flamethrower. The Mobile Operations Center, the Avenger and the Terrorbyte can disable Passive Mode with no delay, only if they have a module that would render them "weaponized" (except for the Avenger, which, regardless if it has weapons or not, always disables Passive Mode).
Certain aircraft will disable Passive Mode instantly upon entry, despite being non-weaponized (and not having the option to add weapons). This includes the SuperVolito Carbon (including the one that spawns on higher-end models of the Galaxy Super Yacht), the Luxor Deluxe and the Swift Deluxe. Some aircraft, such as the Seabreeze, can be used in Passive Mode so long as weapons aren't installed.
Players in Passive Mode will not be able to take part on Freemode Events and Business Battles. Likewise, activating Passive Mode while participating in a Freemode Event will kick the player out of said event. Some events disallow the option to enter Passive Mode after it has begun, until the player is either knocked out through other means or the Event has finished. Passive Mode also cannot be enabled when one has registered as CEO/VIP/MC President, or is a member of an organization/MC.
Killing any player will cause Passive Mode to become unusable for the next 2 minutes, and a 5 minute cooldown is applied if one manually deactivates Passive Mode.
Additional rules in both Classic and Enhanced Passive Mode
- There is a 5-minute cool-down between exiting Passive Mode and being able to re-enter passive mode.
- Exiting Passive mode starts a 30 second countdown during which the player is no longer passive and able to be targeted but is unable to access their own weapons, presumably to attempt to prevent griefing.
- Passive Mode in enhanced version will go off after the countdown.
- Passive Mode cannot be activated while a bounty is active on the player's head. If a player is about to get a bounty on their head and decides to activate passive mode, the activation of the bounty will be put on hold until passive mode is disabled.
- Players cannot set bounties and call Lamar's mugger, Merryweather's mercenaries, and the strike team on a player that has Passive Mode activated.
- Although players in passive mode cannot engage in most freemode activities, a notable exception is Simeon's Export Requests, which can be undertaken while in passive, making this is good, and safe (notwithstanding a wanted level to deal with) money-making activity for new players (with the caveat that other players can use environmental hazards such as exploding nearby NPC vehicles, etc., against the player).
- Despite being a similar mission, Exotic Exports deliveries cannot be undertaken while in Passive Mode (if the mode is enabled after a target vehicle appears on the map, the vehicle is made unavailable).
- Rarely, in the enhanced version, entering a vehicle while in Passive Mode, then re-exiting it will cause the vehicle to stay in its ghost-like appearance, and will remain indestructible.
- In classic Passive Mode, players who exit their vehicles or activate Passive Mode with a nearby player will automatically disable Passive Mode. This is rarely a glitch.
- On the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, if a player tries to hit a Passive Mode player in a very specific way (i.e. hit them from a distance or by turning before hitting), they will get knocked over, but not receive any damage.
- Rarely, killing a Passive Mode player too many times or more will result as a bad sport without a warning.