Payday 2: The Beginner’s Guide


Any dead body or cuffed civilian will quickly catch the attention of guards and other civilians. You should try to kill troublesome npcs in areas where nobody can find them. If you have a Ghost he could pack the body into a body bag and hide it, in a dumpster for example. Tied down civilians will also cause a reaction, and the worst part is that you cannot move them around once they are tied down. Remember that when you tie somebody in the middle of a busy street.


With the exception of Four Stores, every heist that has a camera system will also have a camera room. The way cameras work is that if a camera sees something suspicious (gun shots, corpses, destroyed property or you) the information will be passed onto the person in the camera room, who will then call the authorities. You can render the whole camera system useless by killing the man operating it. After that the cameras should pose no problem to you. Usually you will have to drill your way into the security room but if you found a keycard you should be capable of getting inside far sooner (and more silently).


Every downed security guard will have a pager call. You will have to quickly answer this pager, otherwise the alarm will be sounded. You answer a pager by walking up to a highlighted guard and holding down F. An important thing to remember is that your ENTIRE crew can only answer two pagers. Trying to answer a third pager will always result in the alarm being sounded. The Mastermind’s Smooth Talker skill allows ONLY HIM to answer two more pagers maximum (it’s between one or two).

This is a clear problem, because most heists will have more than two or three guards. You can try forcing a guard to cuff himself but this will not always work (a mastermind might prove priceless here as well). You can either try to evade all the guards (not always possible) or try to force them to cuff themselves (very difficult).

Mobile Phones and Alarms

In this day and age it is unfortunate that absolutely everybody will have a mobile phone. If a civilian talking over the phone spots you (or anything similar) he will automatically call for help. You can use an ECM jammer to briefly stop any outgoing calls, thus giving you the time to quickly subdue anybody with a phone.

The other big problem are alarms. These are, thus far, present only on Bank Heist, and the male among the two cashiers tends to always jump for the alarm, even when you are screaming at him at the top of your voice. It might be better to kill both of them, since then only the security guards will be able to activate the alarm through their pagers.

Payday 2: Tactics and Heist Tips

During a Heist a number of events could happen, or you can organize your crew to quickly perform objectives, or to organize an effective way of moving loot around. Below are a few tips and tactics you could use in your own games.

The Loot Centipede – Some loot items are heavy, or there might be a lot of them. Moving there and back with single bags might take too long and might even be too dangerous. What do you do? The simplest answer is to form a line between the loot and the van/wherever you wish to transport it, and pass the bags from one person to the next. In some cases you could have more people passing the loot to a single person who will then load it onto a van. This is a possible case with Watchdogs when you have to throw coke into the truck, next to the crane. Instead of making the whole team move to higher ground three team members could throw their bags up to the fourth, who will then throw them down to the truck. The three crew members below will clear the local area so that the fourth can then join them. This calls for a bit of practice and some loot bags might be too heavy. Gold, Fusion Engines, money and guns are simply too heavy to be thrown around.

ALWAYS communicate – Payday 2 is not a game of individual bravado. You will usually fail by playing alone. Stay in contact with your crew, keep them informed of special cops, the situation on drills/hacking, etc. Plan who will take what equipment, who will carry the loot, what is the general plan. Of course this works better with friends, who will actually listen to you. Still you might have an opportunity to find some decent randomers who will have the need to communicate just like you.

Doors – There are different types of doors. In your safehouse you get to see some of the most common ones. Doors can normally be drilled open, lockpicked, detonated with C4 or sawn open. Some special doors need a keycard. There are a handful of doors that a person might not be familiar with. One such example are the metallic doors on Watchdogs, closer to the crane (not the orange ones, the rusty metal ones). While the game suggests they can be only C4ed or sawn open you can actually shoot the lock with your gun to force it open.

Plan Your Progression – As you gain levels you might begin to wonder just what exactly do you want to specialize in first. You may choose to focus on one class, or take a bit of every class, to have a more versatile layout. Even if you focused on a single class it will take a lot of time and money to gain all the skills you desire. Because of this you will have to sit down and think what to focus on in your coming levels. For example, as an avid fan of the Technician Class I have a decent choice in skills to improve my drill, C4 and turret. C4 is initially used as a mine, and I have to invest 12 levels worth of points (not counting bonus points for every 10 levels) to turn ordinary mines into door breachers (well, not counting all the skill points I have to spend to unlock the necessary Tier to buy said skill). If I choose to do that I will be unable to take all the skills associated with my drill (silence drill being the key dilemma here). If I choose to, in first order, focus on the drill and C4 then I might not have a turret, thus being stuck with just C4 for a very long time. Other classes have similar dilemmas so it boils down to your own choices and preferences. What about being a generalist? Having a few skills in each class? That works as well, but you might have a hard time unlocking some very good skills and perks that might not become available to you if you do not focus on the one class.  If you suddenly have a change of heart, or you want to try something different, you can reallocate your skill points, at a cost.

Sooth your nerves – Aside from possible bugs the game has, you might have a hard time finding a group to play with, especially when you lack friends who also bought the game. I was lucky, since the people I play with now are the same (and a few more) that I played with during the Beta. We work like clockwork, we communicate, we work together. You can imagine my frustration when I end up in a random group, and we fail in the simplest heists, on standard. Then you might find a half-decent group, but it turns out the host does not like you and kicks you out before the heist ends. All I can say is, stay calm, take a few deep breaths and try playing a few heists offline, or with at least one friend (if possible). While most heists need four people, there are a few where just two players and two bots are enough to make a difference.

Memorize your Heists – While Heists have certain random variables certain elements might be recurring. For example, it might be useful for two people to bring C4 to Four Stores in order to more quickly crack open safes. However on Watchdogs you might want to swap the C4 for Ammo/Medical Bags or Turrets. ECMs are the one item that can often be exchanged for something else, because it does not have any uses outside of stealthy heists until much later on. Saws and C4 are the two pieces of equipment you will often wish you had, since both can greatly speed up different objectives. The best example I can think of Ukrainian Job, where with the use of C4 you can finish the entire heist in less than a minute (normally it would take a couple of minutes).

Cooking Meth – Cooking Meth in Watchdogs seems easy enough. You listen to Bain’s instructions and add the correct component. In practice Bain might be uncertain of which component to add. If he keeps stuttering you might by mistake add the wrong ingredient, thus causing an explosion/fire. You have to listen to Bain until he says that “Add X to continue the cooking process” or “I am 100% it’s X”. You can take certain risks when Bain underlines you need to add acid, soda or a gas (you clearly have one bottle of acid and soda and hydrogen chloride for gas). While you only need three meth bags the more you produce the bigger your income at the end of the heist. Stealing the Meth back on day 2 is also an option, but it is very risky.

Security Guards vs Gangsters – Despite what you might think only security guards have Pagers. Gangsters do not have them, so on stealth missions against gangsters you do not have to worry about answering pagers (the bodies can still be detected however). However, when it comes to general combat, gangsters can take you out much, much quicker than security guards. Try to kill gangsters as soon as possible.

Don’t Kill the First Responders – First responders are the police officers who arrive in first order. Killing them at the start means: 1) The assault waves comes in sooner, and 2) They will be substituted by much tougher cops. If you want to make life easier on Overkill try to kill only those first responders that enter your defenses. In other words, don’t clear the streets until it is necessary. This also applies to extending assault waves. If you kill off an assault wave too quickly you might have to defend yourself from one or two more while you are still preparing the loot. You can influence when an assault ends, based on how many cops are still around, by not killing them as quickly. While the assault is still in progress but you know it is about to end is a good time to carry any loot to the van.

Hostages – Much like in the first Payday taking hostages is important when your crew members are in custody. Hostages have another important element to them though. The more hostages you have the less reluctant are the cops to send assault waves. You should cuff all the hostages you can. While this will not stop assault waves from happening you might have much more breathing space, when it is needed.

Bulldozers and C4 – Bulldozers are some of the deadliest enemies you will meet, but did you know they could die from a single C4? A bulldozer that trips on your C4 is as good as dead, regardless of whether it was already wounded or brand new. The problem is getting the bulldozer to land on your C4, especially if he arrived with an entire retinue of weaker cops who might trigger the C4 first. It does not hurt to try. You could try planting the C4 right in front of the bulldozer, then try to lure him to move forward.


While there is still more content under way (such as cloakers who have not been added yet) and some of this information is bound to change with upcoming updates this is all the information that I think you might find useful in Payday 2. A lot of your knowledge on weapons will come with time, and through asking other players. I would say, experiment. Do not buy the most expensive weapons available. Certain weapons, such as the Crosskill or Bronco remain as some of the best pistols in the game. Among rifles the situation is more complicated. Juggling between the different carbines, AKs and shotguns will leave a lot of doubt whether your current weapon is the one you will feel confident using.

I will try to write a general weapons guide, to help you decide in your purchases and upgrades. I can already tell you I have a few set faves, as well as a few pleasant surprises.

Alex “WriterX” Bielski


About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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