PAYDAY: The Heist – Basic Game Guide

PAYDAY: The Heist feels like Left 4 Dead, but with a more criminal view. You and your three companions set out on Heists to get ridiculously rich, while mowing through cops, taking hostages and completing your objectives. Each of the heists will have changeable variables, some of which you can influence through your actions, offering great replayability, especially if you want the Heist to to be completed flawlessly. The problem with PAYDAY: The Heist is a lack of tutorial, which could result in a lot of confusion for somebody who just started playing the game, or thinking about buying it. The game is not that complicated, and I hope to explain everything about it in this Guide. You will  up and robbing people in no time!

Looking for our Payday 2 Guide? It’s here.

PAYDAY: The Heist

They are most certainly not clowning around.

PAYDAY: The Heist – Basic Game Guide

Basic Controls

Like in any FPS, you used your WSAD buttons to move around, using your mouse to look, aim and shoot. Your F button has numerous uses. It can complete objectives (placing, restarting saws/drills, filling bags with money), intimidate hostages and cuff them, point out Special Law Enforcers, and call-out to team mates. You will have only three weapons at most (not counting Trip Mines and Turrets), all under the 1 (sidearm), 2 (primary weapon) and 3 (support weapon) buttons. You deploy specials using G. These could include Ammo or Medic Bags, and Turrets. You of course jump with Space and crouch with Control. You can hit enemies with your guns (as a form of melee) by pressing E, not the most effective way of dispatching them but perfect if you want to save Ammo. There are more controls, but for the purpose of this Guide this is all that you will need for now.

Preparing for the Heist

When you first start a game you will have no reputation. Reputation is gained by earning money, and you earn money for completing Challenges (Achievements), objectives and Heists (if successful). As you gain in Reputation you will unlock new upgrades or items for yourself. There is a catch however. Currently there are four different classes you can specialize in, Assault, Sharpshooter, Support and Technician (DLC added class). In the long-term you will unlock all of these classes fully, and have access to all of the unlockables, at any time. So for example you could take an M308 (Sharpshooter main weapon), Turrets (Technician Special), Mark-11 (Assault Support weapon) and the basic silenced pistol, as long as you have these weapons and specials unlocked. Before you get there though, you will have to steadily unlock all of these. You do not unlock them in rows, instead you pick a “Class” to unlock, and as you gain levels you will unlock the upgrades for that class. You can swap which Class to unlock even during a mission, so there is no problem swapping around how you upgrade. You select the Class to upgrade by holding down the Tab button and pressing either 1,2,3 or 4 (you will see the currently chosen class in the bottom left corner, together with the new upgrade for it). This only works while in the second stage of the lobby, where you pick your equipment, and in-game.

PAYDAY: The Heist

You choose your gear based on your style, and a bit on the map. When playing in a group it is a good idea to arrange who will carry what piece of extra gear, so that it can be best used or shared.

All of the weapons in PAYDAY: The Heist have their uses, and as you gain levels in a class your weapons will be improved. There are only two exceptions, the AMCAR-4 and B9-S. The upgrades for these weapons are present in all of the three classes. So, in order to have a fully upgraded AMCAR-4 and B9-S you need to almost fully upgrade all of the classes (except the Technician). Your Special equipment (Deployables) is also unlocked depending on class. Sharpshooters have Trip Mines, Assault will deploy Ammo Bags, Support – Medi Bags, and Technicians will have little buddy turrets. These will also be upgraded as you progress through a class. Lastly, there are also Player Upgrades and Crew Bonuses. Player Upgrades benefit you in some way. For example, you can have Thick Skin (more health) or more cuffing wire. Crew Bonuses apply to everybody on your team, except you. In order for you to gain a bonus somebody else must have a chosen Crew Bonus. If more than one person has the same Crew Bonus the effects will not stack, but everybody will benefit from it !

So, you got the hang of upgrading your Class, getting experience, and your equipment. When you choose a Heist with your friends or random players after the server loads you will have an option of picking your equipment, character and Mask Theme. Once you are set the game will immediately port you in-game for the Heist to begin.

Health and Armor

Let us briefly discuss your Health. You will have armor and health. Armor regenerates rapidly, but it can also drop quickly from incoming enemy fire. You will know how much armor you have by looking at your character’s portrait. The amount of armor you have left is represented by white lines around your character. If you continue to be hit when your armor is depleted you will start losing health. Health only regenerates when using a Medi Bag. When you are downed and revived you will get back most of your health. HOWEVER, if you get downed more than once during the mission the time for you to be captured by the Police will decrease, and the amount of health you get from getting revived will also decrease. If you level up during a mission you will get full health and ammo, and the “revive” timers will be reset.

On higher difficulty levels the opposite will be true. If you get downed, even when at full health, you could find yourself with just a fraction of your health remaining. You will have much less opportunities to get back up, and leveling does not regenerate your health, timers and ammo. Overkill is the most brutal difficulty in that respect.

Let’s start this show!

Now, a lot depends on the Heist you picked. Some Heists can be completed silently, or at least up to a certain point. During such missions it is good to stay in contact with your team so that everybody completes a specific portion of the objectives, guards the hostages, etc. A failed silent approach always has the Plan B, which involved a lot of shooting. Although it is not difficult to complete a Silent Heist with the Plan B it might be far tougher, especially on higher difficulty. There are the “Standard” heists, where you enter “normally” (such as during the Bank Heist) and you have the option of starting the Heist at any time. These Heists allow you and your team to get in position, then draw your guns. Useful when you want to control big numbers of hostages, or have a number of objectives spread over the map and you want to keep a tight schedule. Then there are the “Guns Blazing” heists, where you simply start out with your guns ready, and fight your way through to your objectives.

PAYDAY: The Heist

The First National Bank. One of the most popular maps, and it is fairly easy for a beginner. Here in pre-Heist mode, where I will be able to look for the Bank Manager without people shooting at me.

Objectives during a Heist vary. In general you will have a number of types of tasks. Firstly, “Waiting Tasks”. Why do I call them that? Because you end up planting a Saw and fighting off hordes of law enforcers for about three minutes. Or you might have to guard a computer while Bain is hacking it. “Waiting Tasks” involve one very common problem, something tends to clog up. The a fore mentioned saw can jam and a player will have to approach it and “restart” it. This does not ruin the timer, it simply halts progress. Once the saw is restarted it will continue buzzing from the point where it got jammed. Waiting tasks might involve you having to look for certain items, like fuel cans, or pushing a switch to turn the power back on. They can be extremely annoying, especially if the objective is in an exposed or dangerous area. Who said it will be easy though?


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.

3 Responses to PAYDAY: The Heist – Basic Game Guide

  1. Fearz says:

    Great guide, thank you.

  2. hi, great guide it was very helpfull. i like payday so much

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