HomeEditorialPayday 3 Ultimate Guide: Go Pro in No-Time | Cash, XP &...

Payday 3 Ultimate Guide: Go Pro in No-Time | Cash, XP & more

Loud or quiet - With or without a mask? It's always your choice. But it depends!

Whether you’re a newcomer or an advanced Payday 3 player, diving into Payday 3 can be overwhelming, daunting and raise questions. Our PD 3 Ultimate Guide will provide you with all the crucial tips, tricks, and strategies to go pro fast.


Payday 3 brings many different mechanisms and interactions to the table. Performing a heist is demanding. But with the right know-how, you can quickly handle the tricky, dirty business.


Twelve tips & tricks for Payday 3 (beginner & advanced alike)

In Payday 3, you must plan, be attentive, and adapt. If you keep calm and remember the following tips, your chances of surviving and succeeding in the heist will improve considerably. So, get a drink and lean back for the following guide.


12. How the Skill System in Payday 3 works

Let’s first look at the skill system in Payday 3, which differs slightly from the 2nd installment. There are no more skill trees and perk decks. Instead, you are dealing with skill lines consisting of base, upgrade, and mastery nodes. You will gain a skill point every two levels that you can spend on many game-changing advantages. But how does the system work in Payday 3?

Initially, you choose a base node to research, and as you play and complete actions, you gather XP and money. After researching a base node, you can unlock further skills in the line, starting with the base skill marked by a yellow triangle. Activating this first skill lets you earn XP for the entire sequence while playing. Finally, you’ll unlock the mastery node or ultimate skill on the right side, which is always accessible, even if the main skill isn’t active. However, you can only activate the skills in the middle when the first skill in a line is also active.

Ultimately, it just depends on your personal playstyle as to which skills you want to pursue. However, you should definitely start with essential Skills such as “Infiltrator” and “Quickfingers,” which let you pick locks quickly, “Secure Loop,” which allows you to hack cameras to loop them, and you should level up the “Hacker” skill line to unlock “Glitch Protocol” which enables you to get past guards unnoticed.

In our Payday 3 ultimate guide, we also go into the new skill system. Here you can see the different skill lines in the menu.
The skill system in Payday 3 (Source: Starbreeze Studios/Deep Silver)


11. What to invest your money in?

In Payday 3, you can spend your hard-earned cash on weapons, including heavier firearms, accessories, clothing, and masks. Offshore accounts like in Payday 2 are no longer available; instead, there are C Stacks in Payday 3.

C-Stacks are not a premium currency, meaning you cannot purchase it with real-world money. Instead, you can transform the loot obtained from heists into C-Stacks. On the main screen, you can buy packs of one, five, or ten C-stacks from the Currency Vendor Setaggi. After each purchase, the pack of the same size becomes more expensive. So, it may be worth buying another pack, depending on what you bought before. Be aware, though, that you can not turn it back into cash. If you need more loot, go for another heist.

While you can purchase most items using cash from heists, certain high-level items and cosmetic upgrades can only be acquired with C-Stacks.
Considering the limited options available in the game’s early stages, spending your money wisely is essential.

10. Different map areas

Payday 3 distinguishes between public, private, and secure areas. In public areas, you can move around without raising suspicion. In private places, guards will escort you back to a public area if they spot you. And in secure locations, guards will handcuff you, and the search mode will be activated.


9. How to earn cash the fast way

Dollar Dollar bills y’all. Let’s move on to a topic many people want to know, so we tackle it in our Payday 3 Ultimate Guide.: The quickest way to make money in Payday 3 is actually to complete the “Xiao’s Road Rage Heist,” which pays out up to 1 million cash in under 10 minutes. You can play it on Very Hard for around 800,000 or on Overkill for just over 1 million money per playthrough. Ideally, you should carry out this heist with a team to complete the challenge efficiently. Memorize the spawn locations of the transport roadblocks to clear them before blasting the transport with EMP. Once the transporter is under control, proceed carefully to secure the loot and complete the heist to earn a sizable cash reward.

The Road Rage heist on high difficulty earns you the most cash. Read more about it in our Payday 3 ultimate guide.
The Road Rage heist in Payday 3 (Source: Starbreeze Studios/Deep Silver)


8. How to quickly gain XP

To level up quickly in Payday 3, focus on completing challenges alongside regular gameplay. Choose challenges that are easy and offer significant IP rewards for minimal effort. Prioritize lower-level challenges first, as they provide better XP-to-effort ratios than higher-level ones. Take, for example, the challenge “Defeat a Dozer”. Just defeating him grants you 20 IP. In addition, watch for random in-game challenges like sliding a distance or dealing damage while sliding. Completing challenges also give you skill points you can further invest, so stay focused and continually work on challenges to level up as quickly as possible.


7.  How to level up weapons in Payday 3

This feature is known in many other games and is quickly explained. Like your character, each weapon has its own level, increasing as you use it. With Weapon XP, you unlock mods for your weapons, such as improved sights or magazines. You get XP after every round, like the XP of your character. Playing on quick, normal maps is the most efficient way to level them up.


6. Stay stealthy despite a mask

It may be tempting to immediately put on the mask, pull out the weapon, and cause chaos. But there is absolutely no need to be loud right away. Equipping a silenced weapon provides the advantage of discreetly eliminating cameras and dealing with guards while ensuring a smooth heist progression. With appropriate cover and the ability to stay hidden, you can navigate civilian zones even while masked. In team play, it’s advisable to have at least one team member remain unmasked to gather information from areas inaccessible to those wearing masks.

Advanced players know that you should be quiet despite the mask. Learn why in the Payday 3 Ultimate guide and more.
Stealth pays off in PD3 (Source: Starbreeze Studios/Deep Silver)


5. Put your knife back in your pocket

Payday 3 comes with a colorful variety of powerful firearms, and you should pay a lot more attention to them because when it comes to melee combat, Melee attacks are pretty weak and ineffective for taking down enemies. They are mostly useful for staggering opponents briefly.


4. Overkill weapons

During your heists, a silent approach is often more worthwhile. But if you’ve been exposed and the volume no longer matters…well, then it’s the perfect time to use Overkill Weapons to cause….real noise and damage. Starting with the grenade launcher, you can look forward to unlocking the mighty HET-5 Red Fox sniper after reaching Infamy Level 40.
Accomplishing objectives and eliminating foes will fill up your Overkill gauge, and once it reaches total capacity, you’ll receive a notification to deploy your weapon. When you activate the prompt, a package containing the Overkill weapon will be dispatched and placed somewhere around you.


3. Destroy Bulldozer faceplates

In Payday 3, the most formidable adversary is the Bulldozer, a heavily armored SWAT officer armed with a machine gun capable of swiftly eliminating an exposed player. He remains undeterred even when the entire team unloads their ammunition on him. We deliver the solution in this Payday 3 Ultimate Guide to save you from unnecessary breakdowns.

Experienced players from previous games understand that the Bulldozer’s weak point is his faceplate, requiring substantial firepower to breach, but once shattered, a single headshot can eliminate him.

Get the advanced tips to crack the Bulldozer in PD3. The player is being shot at by the special unit in the Road Rage heist.
Payday 3 has many special units like the Bulldozer (Source: Starbreeze Studios/Deep Silver)


2. No randomized level restart

Unlike Payday 2, restarting a heist in Payday 3 doesn’t randomize objectives, guard patrols, key card locations, or camera placements, including camera QR codes, phone locations, and civilian and guard positions. You can use this to your advantage by noting objective locations, restarting, and planning your stealth approach. Let’s hope this setting sticks around for a while so you can take advantage of it to complete your heists faster.


1. Turn off all cameras with this trick

In many heist locations, there’s a Security Room with a guard monitoring the cameras. Typically, you need a keycard from another guard to access it. However, if you infiltrate and eliminate the guard inside, the cameras won’t detect players for the remainder of the heist. If you clear the Security Room without damaging too many cameras, one player can operate the computer to observe the cameras independently, providing your team a valuable surveillance advantage.

The player has just gained access to a security room in a heist. It's a smart move to turn off the cameras in PD3.
Many heists have security rooms (Source: Starbreeze Studios/Deep Silver)


That’s it for now. Keep these tips handy, and your heists should become smoother over time. Nonetheless, don’t let the money drive you nuts.

Don’t own Payday 3 yet? You can purchase it for PC via Steam or for a discount via Kinguin (affiliate link).


Searching for more co-op games?

If you search for other exciting coop games, check out our Best PS5 Co-op games and Best PC Games 2023 rankings. Or maybe you enjoy Games like It Takes Two?


Did we miss a crucial tip in our Payday 3 guide? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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