Get a head start in Payday 3 with a handful of tips for new players. Learn what to expect from the game and what’s good to know when you’re just starting out with our simple guide.


Payday 3 is a co-op-oriented first-person shooter and stealth game focused on heists and robberies, just like the earlier games in the series. Although the core gameplay remains largely the same, Payday 3 introduces some important elements you should familiarize yourself with to remain as effective at carrying out the tasks as possible. To prepare you for the upcoming challenges, we’ve compiled a list of useful tips that will make your early Payday 3 experience much more enjoyable.

Here are the top 10 tips every Payday 3 newbie should know.

1. Adjust Game Settings

Before you jump into action, it’s worth taking a look at the game settings and making proper adjustments to match your PC specs as well as your personal preferences. If you’re an experienced gamer, take a look at the controls and see if there are changes that need to be made. Perhaps you’re used to a different control scheme, so rebind the keys to your liking to avoid unexpected behavior during play. Don’t forget to tweak mouse sensitivity as well.

If you feel like the game causes motion sickness or that there are too many distractive elements during play, you can adjust options such as motion blur, field of view, and effects, to your liking.

If the game seems to be running slow, consider lowering graphics settings, most notably foliage and shadows. Lowering texture and post-processing quality may also give you some FPS boost.

2. Co-Op is Encouraged

If you’re not used to playing with others, you’re afraid to play with strangers, or you don’t have friends who would be interested in playing the game with you, you may find yourself in a tough spot with Payday 3. Although the game allows people to play solo if that’s what they prefer, the game clearly favors online play in groups of up to 4 people.

However, there is more nuance to this. For example, if you like the stealth approach, playing solo may be actually more fun than playing with randoms who may not know what to do. Coordinating the actions of all team members may be tricky, but this only applies when the alternative to solo play is a team of random players that refuses to communicate – if you can get a proper party of people who know what they’re doing and are able to play as a team, stealth will be much more efficient and fun when played in a group.

But the nuance goes further: once you get to a more experienced environment, you will see much more competitive behavior mixed with toxicity. If that bothers you, you may want to stick to playing solo – which can effectively make part of the game content less fun – or play only with the people you know.

3. Pick the Right Tools for the Job

There is a multitude of weapons and gadgets in Payday 3 to choose from, and quite a lot of different perks to pick and utilize. The options available at the beginning are rather limited, but you will unlock new ones as you play.

You should familiarize yourself with all the available options to get a general idea of what’s possible in the game and then start thinking about how you want to play, so you can immediately start working towards unlocking the items and skills that will complement your favored playstyle.

It’s worth noting that some missions are designed to be easier when done in a specific fashion, so even if you have already found your favored approach, try to remain flexible and don’t be afraid of experimenting to find the best build for each heist.

4. Complete Challenges to Level Up Infamy Faster

Leveling up your Infamy is extremely important in Payday 3, as it allows you to pick more perks, making you more efficient at carrying out the tasks. Although you get experience by simply playing the game normally and completing heist missions, you can make leveling Infamy much quicker if you focus on completing the challenges. There are hundreds of them in the game and completing each one will grant you some experience, so keep an eye on what needs to be done next to get a juicy dose of extra EXP.

Defeat specified types of enemies, perform actions under specific conditions, or beat certain stages a set number of times – there are tons of different challenges to complete, providing a huge chunk of your actual experience gains.

5. Stealth is Usually More Profitable

Payday 3 gives players a huge amount of freedom when it comes to completing heist missions. You can craft your very own build tailored specifically for your own preferred playstyle to maximize the fun you have while playing. However, when it comes to the best reward-to-time-spent ratio, usually the stealth approach is favored.

There are, however, some caveats. Most notably, it’s a more difficult approach when compared to the simple smash and grab – it requires more planning and thinking, especially on higher difficulties, and you’ll probably have to repeat the heist over and over again until you find the best stealth strategy that works for you. Things will get even more difficult if you want to play online with random people – stealth requires close cooperation with other team members, and that’s something you don’t see too often in random parties.

As a beginner, you’ll probably have a better time if you start with a more direct approach and work from there.

6. Unlock New Skills

In Payday 3, you are not locked into a specific character class. Instead, you can pick various skills from different classes and combine them together to make your own character build.

As a new player, you’ll only have the first skill from each class available to pick. To get more skills to choose from, you will have to unlock them first. Unlocking is very simple, but may not be intuitive at first glance.

To unlock the next skill from a specific class, you simply have to invest at least one skill point in a skill from this particular class. As long as you play with that skill activated, you will gain experience towards the next skill in the chosen class, eventually unlocking it and making it available to pick.

7. Take Hostages

No matter if you prefer a more direct or stealthy approach, there’s always a possibility that something won’t go according to the plan. Thankfully, there’s usually a way to still save the run, and that’s hostages.

Taking hostages may be essential in certain scenarios and even though just using them alone won’t automatically turn a failed robbery into a success, it may tip the scales in your favor, giving you that tiny bit of extra push needed to complete the mission.

When the time comes to negotiate with the police, hostages can be exchanged for additional time before the assault phase begins, giving you the opportunity to set things up and prepare for the confrontation. Alternatively, in a life-and-death situation, you can turn hostages into living shields, causing the police officers to hesitate more before firing shots at you.

8. Know Your Enemy

Payday 3 may appear to be a realistic game but after a closer look, you’ll realize that it’s more about interesting gameplay rather than realism. As such, the game introduces some unique enemy types that will pose a serious threat and will require utilizing some tricks or special tactics to eliminate.

For example, there is the Bulldozer, a SWAT officer equipped with heavy armor. His job is to get close and personal with you – he’ll rush at you and, if you’re not careful, he’ll easily knock you out.

Familiarize yourself with the existing enemy types to know what to expect during play and how to counter them effectively.

9. Make Use of the Overkill Weapons

In Payday 3 you will be able to take with you not only a primary and a secondary weapon – there’s also the third one, referred to as the overkill weapon.

Overkill weapons are extremely potent but they can only be used after scoring enough kills. There’s a sniper rifle and a grenade launcher available – each has its own niche and is designed to deal with different kinds of issues.

The grenade launcher can take down a whole squad of cops with a single shot alone, giving you more room to breathe and making some space for your team to advance. The sniper rifle, which you will unlock a bit further in the game, is a perfect counter for the enemy snipers.

10. Failure is a Part of the Learning Experience

Payday 3 is not an easy game, so don’t expect to steamroll through all the heists like they’re nothing. It may be possible on lower difficulty levels to get away with some mistakes, but the real game – and money – begins when you start tackling the higher difficulties.

As a Payday 3 newbie, you should expect a lot of trial-and-error runs to find out what works and what doesn’t. Just because something worked on a lower difficulty doesn’t mean it will also work on higher ones.

Each heist mission has its own twists and only by replaying the scenario a number of times you will be able to prepare for what’s to come. Take your time and be patient – failure is a part of the fun.


Payday 3 can be a challenging game but it generously rewards those who are willing to put in a bit of effort to learn about the game mechanics and the available scenarios.

If you’re just starting out, it may be beneficial to do some quick research on what you should expect and what you should know about the game. Hopefully, with our Payday 3 newbie tips, the beginning of your journey will be a much smoother and more enjoyable experience.