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5 Tips for Starting Payday 2

by Jonny Hercock on August 16, 2013


Depending on whether you’re in America or Europe, and whether you’re a console or PC gamer, you may have already been playing Payday 2 for two or three days, or it may be coming out for you today. Alternatively, you may not have bought it yet, to which I say; Why not?! Go and read Attack of the Fanboy’s review of Payday 2, now.

Anyway, hopefully this guide will either help you ease into the game if you’re new to it, or just hone your skills if you’ve played it a bit but don’t have any structure to your game.

Tip #1: Pick a class, stick to it

Now, I know all four skill trees look badass in their own right, and I know you’ll want to try everything out, but trust me; pick a class to spend your points on, and stick to it. You only unlock higher tiers from each skill tree by spending points in that specific skill tree. This means that if you want to get that OVE9000 saw (and believe me, you do) then you have to spend 30 skill points in the Enforcer tree. If you concentrate on this, you can get it by level 30, but if you waste 5 of your skill points early on in another class, then it’ll take significantly longer.

I’m not saying don’t respec your skill tree, especially if you get bored of your character and want something new. I’m just saying that heists become much easier when you have access to C4 (42 skill points needed in Technician), the OVE9000 (30 skill points in Enforcer), the aced Lockpicking Expert skill (42 points in Ghost) or Combat Doctor (24 points in Mastermind.)

Tip #2: Save your money

This may be difficult, especially as money can be hard to come by at the beginning, but that’s all the more reason to save it. Guns, attachments, masks, assets and even skills cost money. It’s really important to ask yourself whether that attachment is really worth $24,000 for a pistol that only cost you $2000. Equally, not matter how cool it looks, you don’t really need to customize your mask for now, and the $50,000 that it might cost you to do would be better spent on a skill or maybe a better weapon.

You will need over $1,000,000 to unlock some of the skills that I mentioned beforehand, and once you have them, heists are easier. Easier heists = more money. So spend your cash wisely at first, and eventually you’ll be able to fritter it away if you want.

Tip #3: Be a team player

If you’re not playing for the team, then you’re not of use to the team. Firstly, cash pickups are given to everyone in the squad. This means don’t rush to try and be the first to snag all the extra jewelry or empty all the registers, especially if someone else is already doing that. They will get the same amount of money that you do at the end.

Another important part of this tip is to communicate with your team. There’s no use running off by yourself to get another bag, if your three teammates are at the van waiting for you. Without anyone to cover your back, that bag may be the difference between a healthy payday and a mission failure.

Tip #4: Try  to be stealthy

Okay, this one may seem a bit obvious, but some people don’t quite grasp it. Yes, stealthing an entire mission is very difficult, especially when you and your team are low levels but that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from trying. You should at least attempt to not let anyone call the cops, and not let any cameras detect you for as long as possible, to make your job easier.

Even if you get half way through the mission and then a stray civilian calls the cops, you still saved yourself 5 minutes of wasting ammunition and time on killing cops rather than stealing the goods. You don’t have to aim to finish the entire mission in stealth, but if you try to be stealthy, you may find jobs become quicker and easier, especially when you do complete a heist without a single policeman showing up.

Tip #5: Build your team for the heist

This tip varies depending on who you play with, but there’s an underlying message for everyone. If you play with a group of friends that you know well, then firstly, show them this guide so they too can benefit from it, but more importantly; get them to take the same advice. If everyone picks a different skill tree and sticks to it, then you’ll have a kickass, well rounded team in no time, and you’ll be pulling off missions on overkill difficulty quicker than you can say “Down on the ground!”.

Now, if you don’t have a close-knit group of friends, and play with other people online, then my advice can still ring true for you, albeit in a slightly different manner. If you see that the lobby you’ve joined has 2 Ghosts already and that’s where you’ve spent all your hard earned points, maybe you should find another group to play with. Another alternative is that if you’re playing a mission where you know that you’re going to have to fight police (such as Watchdogs), then don’t bother bringing a silencer and leaving yourself without any armor. Try to fit your team, and your character around the mission at hand.

Happy Heisting

Well, there you have it, my 5 tips for starting Payday 2. Hopefully you’ve found them helpful, if so; please leave a comment to show your appreciation down below. If you disagree with any of my tips or think you have better ones, I still encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Update: Check out my ‘5 More Payday 2 Tips for the Middle Levels’ article, which aims to help between the levels of roughly 15 to 35, here.

Good luck, and happy heisting.

Say Something
  • Danny Vittore

    Sound advice.

  • Erik

    One little exception to tip 1 is that there are extremely useful skills at the very bottom of some tech trees that should be taken. Transporter, Sprinter, and in most cases Cable Guy as well are all so beneficial for the amount of skill points they require.

    • Jonny Hercock

      This is a good point, but to maximise your skills in the middle of the game, it’s best to save those until you can get money/exp quicker once you have the boss equipment.

      You’re right though, they do come in handy early in the game too.

    • Lennalf

      Couldn’t agree more!

      Also consider endurance, fast learner, die hard, pumping iron, and fast hands; these are all one-point wonders.

      • Jonny Hercock

        Stay tuned for a 5 More Tips article that I’m writing, I mention this stuff ;)

        (I’m going to update the foot of this page with a link when I’m done)

        EDIT: Done :)

    • Joseph

      I agree, spending 12 points to completely ace one skill, (4 points for owned, 8 points for aced) when infact you can use that 12 points to completely ace 3 small ones (1 point to own, 3 points to ace)

  • Chip

    I’ll keep these tips in mind if I ever receive my copy of this game haha

    • Jonny Hercock

      UK console gamer?

  • Jakilla23

    tip #1 applies directly to me, I love the price reductions, assets reductions, exp boost and the ability to control people(I feel like Gaige the Mechromancer again!!!) but technician is my forte, since i used mostly rifles, love working with the drills, tripmine for days and then there is the stationary sentry turret.. :(

    • Jonny Hercock

      Yeah, this is the problem. Every skill tree has some REALLY good skills, but it’s about building the best team possible. I played a bank heist yesterday where we had 4 Masterminds on Overkill difficulty.
      Yes, the doctor bags came in handy, but only two of us made it out, both with no ammunition in either weapon.

  • Leonel CuffyoChick Pierre

    thanks a lot

  • Pajper

    People tell me that if you play it with strangers, I will hate the game quickly, so I don’t know should I buy it or no.

    • Kool Breeze

      I play with strangers all the time and I love the game you can quickly make friends and add them for later game playing.

    • jackrules11

      I feel it it is still good to play solo as well as online people online can be noobs but alot of the time they are not. the community is good and you get alot of people to help even if the are level 60 and your level 2, they will help you.

  • Joseph

    Guys, everytime I play the Jewelery store, I get everyone on the ground, with a few tied up. No one will have the red exclaimation mark over their head. It will be fine for a while, no one does anything. After 5 minutes or so, someone somehow calls the police even though no notifcation came up saying I’ve been detected. anyone know why this is? Is it because I didn’t tie everyone up so they sneakly phoned the police?

    • the dude

      no it is because no 1 has seen any 1 come out for a while and some 1 got suspicious

  • mishawnuodo

    I hate to contradict you on your post, however, there are a few skill from every tree that every newb should get first (then pick one to focus on):
    1) Mastermind: Endurance- let’s you keep up with higher levels you may join (ace it to give them a boost as well)
    2) Mastermind: Fast Learner- Ace it to get nearly 50% extra XP per mission (not to mention unlocking the tier grants an additional 15% stamina- if you Aced Endurance, this means an extra 165% stam)
    3) Enforcer: Transporter- Ace it to move & throw bags farther (with this: learn how to throw bags from cover to cover)
    4) Technician: Rifleman (if you use rifles)- faster ADS & Ace for better Zoom
    5) Technician: Hardware Expert: Fix drills 25% faster (incredibly helpful for bank job)
    6) Ghost: Sprint: Ace to shorten time between sprint, (25% shorter wait, 25% shorter regen period) PLUS increase sprint speed AND dodge (while moving) not to mention unlocking the tier increases your dodge by 5%- a total of 30% better dodge
    7) Ghost: Fast Hands: Ace to pack & grab loot bags by 75% (not to mention unlocking this tier decreases the time it takes to switch weapons)
    I generally found that getting Endurance/Fast Learner Ace (since you have to get Endurance to get Fast Learner) as soon as possible is best, since it makes it easier to obtain all others. Remember, after you reach 100, you can respect the Mastermind tree and dump Fast Learner for something else.
    After this, I went for Transporter and Sprint/Fast Hands (since you have to get Sprint before you can get Fast Hands)
    After all, as a newb, your weapons and armour aren’t the best. You don’t want to be draining ammo bags that the higher levels need just so you can kill 1 or 2 cops, which means your of best use to the team as a support- pack the bags, move the bags.

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