PAYDAY: The Heist – Basic Game Guide

Then there are the baneful escort tasks. Forcing a prisoner or hostage to move from point A to point B. The problem is that they keep stopping, so you have to keep on following them and shouting at them. They halt any progress if a law enforcer is nearby, forcing you to deal with the local enemies before you can move on. This is extremely dangerous only for you, since the Prisoner/Hostage cannot die, and no, you cannot use him for cover.

PAYDAY: The Heist

You would think that Bain would get you some top-notch equipment for this Heist, but noooo! Stupid Drill…

Lastly, there is a handful of “recovery” tasks. These involve, for example, stuffing money into bags. In some cases you might have to pick up objects and carry them to another portion of the map. During No Mercy, for example, you have to take Blood Samples from a patient, carry them to a Blood Tester, and if they are positive, take them to a special storage spot. These are not difficult in themselves, and in a lot of cases an organised team can complete these objectives without any problem, because more than one player will be able to complete them. These objectives will never be deliberately hard, and in no case will there be (for example) more than four items to carry at a time. The only exception is No Mercy, because you will need to test multiple blood samples, and need only two good ones to complete the objective.

During a heist you will end up facing Police Assaults. These involve numerous SWAT and sometimes Special Units searching for you and your team, trying to take you out. Fighting in the open is usually suicide during an Assault, because you will most certainly be outgunned. If Bain warned you an Assault is coming you should find cover and prepare yourself. On most maps the Police can only approach you from a number of directions, so if you know the map, you know what to expect. Some Special Units, especially Cloakers, will use alternative routes in order to reach you. Pay attention to ventilation shafts! After you kill enough enemies the Assault will stop, but the game might send in a few smaller and weaker hostage rescue squads between assaults.

Hostages and Hostage Trading

Your objectives are sorted, your heist has started, what else do you need to know? Depending on the Heist it might be useful to get hostages. Hostages are only really useful during a Hostage Trade (more on this later), but in some cases certain objective targets will also be used as hostages (this means you need a wire to “capture” them). Civilians who are not bound, or who roam about, could call for help, press an alarm button, or escape, leaving you with less potential hostages.

PAYDAY: The Heist

A single Cloaker took out three of my AI companions before I could come and save them (I freed one, and one ended up in Custody, with the third still cuffed). These guys mean business, and you should too.

When your team mate has been taken out after some time the Police will agree to trade him for a hostage. A hostage will become highlighted, and by holding F next to him the team mate will teleport in place of the hostage. When is a player caught by the police? Firstly, he can be “killed”. If a player is down on the ground and not revived he will be taken into custody. This also applies if a character was tased, by either a Taser or Cloaker. In some few cases a character can be handcuffed by any police officer. After a period of time the player can be traded (you will be notified by Bain when that happens).

If you lack civilian hostages you can take Law Enforcers, Security Guards and Mercenaries hostage. This is not easy however. In order for either one of these to surrender you must wound them first, and make sure there is nobody else in the area. So, if you are facing a lone Security Guard you can try shooting him with your weakest weapon (like the silenced pistol) or hitting him with your gun, then spamming F to see if he gives up. If a Law Enforcer or Security Guard gives up they will then handcuff themselves, saving you the need for wires. Just make sure you tell them to! If you forget to do so they might flee, or attack again. Take note, tougher enemies will be very difficult to persuade to surrender. None of the Special Enemies will ever surrender, neither will Gangsters.

PAYDAY: The Heist

Hostage trade in action. Without hostages I would have to wait a couple more minutes for my companion to be released. Be careful with your “goods” though. The Police will send in rescue squads to get them out.

Security Cameras

Some maps will have Cameras, and taking them out is a Medium to High priority on your list, unlike Hostages who are purely optional. When the police are aware of your presence Security Cameras give them the heads-up of where you are located. If you manage to clear out all the Security Cameras on a level the enemy will send smaller groups of officers around the map, trying to find you. This puts much less pressure on you, and gives you time to rest and prepare for any Special Units.

Special Law Enforcers

Special Units are often your bane. They come in four forms, but each one of them is dangerous, in its own special way. Shields are just that. Armed and armored SWAT with an impressive metal shield, that will not let through any bullets. In tight corridors this is a real problem, but Trip Mines and explosives can take them out easily. Of course, if you can, flank them. One team mate forcing the shield to fire at him gives another player a chance to kill the Shield. There are Tasers, who are extremely dangerous if you meet them alone. Aside from their armor and gun they can also tase you at a short distance. If you are tased you will be unable to move, but you can try to fire at the Taser. If you fail to take out the Taser you will be knocked out, and if none of your team mates revives you, you will end up in custody.

PAYDAY: The Heist

Bulldozers are the stuff of nightmares, especially if you lack the gear to quickly dispatch them. Alone they might not be a problem, but with a group of other Special or ordinary cops they pose a very real threat.

Cloakers do not have much armor, but they are incredibly agile, quick and deadly. A Cloaker can take you out with a single punch, meaning that in a 1 vs 1 you have to make sure he does not come too close, which is difficult because they run far quicker than any of the other officers. The Bulldozer is the PAYDAY: The Heist’s “Tank”. His only weakness is his face shield, which can be broken with a few accurate shots, exposing his head. If you are unfortunate enough to be within range of the Bulldozer’s gun you will lose both armor and health very quickly. Any Bulldozer should be taken out as quickly as possible from a distance. This is not always easy, but with an M308 you can take them out mildly efficiently. Trip Mines will also take out a Bulldozer, with some luck. It’s hard making sure that the Bulldozer lands on the explosive however.

Any killed Law Enforcer, Security Guard, Merc or Criminal will drop a tiny amount of ammo for some of your guns. If you are short on rounds search around for small piles of ammo that each “corpse” drops. A captured law enforcer will also drop his ammo for you to pick up. The only quick way to get back all of your Ammo is to use an Ammo Bag, or to Level up (you restock fully then).

PAYDAY: The Heist

The smell of victory is in the air! As long as you manage to reach the extraction, with those cash-filled bags.


This short guide will hopefully help you in PAYDAY: The Heist. If you were looking to find out some details about the game before buying it, I hope you found enough to convince yourself to buy the game. There is a Demo available, so if you want to taste the life of a “criminal” L4D style, this is most certainly your place. The way you handle a Heist depends on your style, skill and cooperation with your team mates. As you are bound to find out, a poorly working team might seem chaotic, but an organised group will handle any Heist, without a hitch. If you want to find even more infor about the different classes, enemies, weapons, etc. head to the PAYDAY: The Heist Wiki, where absolutely everything is explained.

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.

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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