After six days of GTA Online being live following a two-week delay, players are still encountering frustrating issues, one of which punishes those who are actually able to play.
Rockstar has added a warning to their support page alerting players of a widespread issue where characters and/or progress are being lost. While they aren't sure what is causing the loss of cloud save data, they are working on an update that will correct the issue.
The following notes were released:
Note: When exiting GTA Online, please pause the game and choose to return to Single Player. This will trigger a save and ensure that progress since the last auto-save is recorded. If you purchase items and immediately power the console off or exit through console system menus, those items may not be saved.
Note: Please do NOT use the “Retry” button after receiving the message “Rockstar Cloud Servers are unavailable” as this may result in loss of character data. If you are trying to access GTA Online and Rockstar Cloud Servers are unavailable, please exit to GTAV Story Mode and try entering GTA Online again through the Pause menu in Story Mode. We will be issuing a title update that will fix this issue as soon as possible.
GTA Online's v1.02 update released on Saturday which successfully corrected problems such as players being unable to get through the initial tutorial process. Rockstar is capable of eventually making GTA V's online experience stable, it'll take some time—maybe even a mass exodus.
After losing several characters and roughly an hour of work, I recommend avoiding GTA Online for the time being unless you're willing the take the risk of losing progress. It's unfortunate, but you're going to spend more time trying to play or catch up to previously made progress than actually enjoying the game.