Changes To Payday 3 Leveling - Is It Better Now



Payday 3 is plagued by a myriad of issues, but perhaps the most pressing one is the progression system. One of the biggest complaints from the players is that leveling up is tied directly to this challenge system. These challenges try to force the players's hands into doing things they may not actually like, and in turn, the game feels like completing a long and boring checklist just to level up; it's both incredibly grindy and it disrespects the player's time.

The latest payday 3 update tries to remedy this issue by changing up their leveling system. Today, I'm going to break down these changes and answer the question. Is the progression system better now? Is Payday 3 worth playing in its current state? Let's get started.

New ways to get exp

In this new leveling system, there are now three additional ways to gain exp, or infam points.


One is for completing a heist, the other is for completing a heist in stealth, and the last is completing a heist while securing all the loot. I did a bit of testing on what influences these exp bonuses and found a few things. First off, each bonus here is dependent on both the heist you play and the difficulty that you play it on.

For example, doing a dirty ice on normal rewarded only 15 exp, while doing a road rage on normal gave 35 exp. For an example where you can see the difference in exp for each bonus, here's one done on No Rest for the Wicked on Overkill difficulty in stealth, where I gained 110 exp for completion. 30 exp for completing in stealth and 40 exp for getting all the bags; meanwhile.


I did a golden shark on Overkill difficulty and in stealth, and I gained 110 exp for completion, 35 exp for doing in stealth, and 65 exp for getting all the bags, so each heist is going to give something a little different for each value, and the differing factors are also not calculated totally linearly; for example, completing dirty ice on normal only gave 15 exp, completing dirty ice on hard gave 20 exp, completing dirty ice on very hard gave 25 exp, and completing dirty ice on Overkill gave 35 exp.

Exp, so that's a snippet of the type of value that you can get as far as actually getting the bonuses from completion. You'll get that bonus anytime you complete a heist, no matter what. The same is true with the stealth bonus. If you complete a heist in stealth, you get the bonus for all bags. Unfortunately, this also follows that trend; it's only if you get all lootable bags on that heist that you can get the EXP; if you miss out on even one loot bag, you miss out entirely on all that bonus.

Exp, In summary, these are the only major changes to the leveling system in the patch. There's also something talking about adding level cap rewards. For whatever poor, deranged soul is out there, that is the maximum level in Payday 3. You can now get cosmetic rewards for each level you get past the level cap, which is 150. I believe the cosmetics are random, or so it said, but you know I can't really verify that in any case this applies to nearly no one, so I'm not really bothered to it out.

Recommended challenges

Recommended challenges

I can't believe I almost forgot when you first booted up the game.

No, we did not get a way to search for challenges; no, we didn't get better filters for filtering challenges, such as maybe separating combat interactable lootable or even the special challenges that can all show up within the same category; we didn't get a way to choose our own challenges to track; we also can't see this recommended challenges screen anywhere other than the main menu, which means it's not in game in the tab screen; it's not in the escape screen; and there's no popup when we complete a challenge.

Nothing, but funny enough, you know, a game that has challenges shows up while you're in the game; pay attention to the heist. Okay, electricity's back keeps on moving.

Thoughts on the changes

Thoughts on the changes

So that's the new leveling system. Objectively speaking, outside of that really sad and underwhelming recommended challenge screen, this leveling system is a positive change. It's good that we're finally getting the highest completion exp, and I also think that the stealth bonus was a good addition.

It's basically like the stealth increase modifier from Payday 2, but just given to you straight away, so the heist completion stealth and all bags XP isn't a whole lot, and it's usually worth roughly a low or mid-tier challenge depending on which heist you do and on what difficulty. Because of that, this update does make it clear that the focus of leveling up is still on the challenges themselves.


With that in consideration, there are some aspects of this where the new leveling system falls a bit short. Take, for instance, the stealth bonus. As nice as it is, the real underlying problem is that the challenge system itself still heavily favors playing loud by completing loud challenges such as using throwables, getting kills with weapons, and so on.

In Payday 2, you can argue that a lot of missions that hadow and stealth were much easier and quicker to do in stealth, but in Payday 3, at least for me, it feels like that gap is much closer than before, especially if you play alone, plus you also have to take into account that loud is still likely the preferred way that most players like to play.

On a loud mission, it's a lot easier to work on multiple challenges at the same time, and the quantity of them is also much higher. There's just such a big disparity here that I don't think that the stealth exp bonus can close the gap. Now moving on regarding the heest completion exp. This is probably the best edition.


I'm glad it seems like you get more than I expected, but at the same time, it can feel oddly small. But this is still considering that it takes maybe a good 20 or even 30 minutes to finish that heist. That's also not factoring in maybe playing it solo, taking the extra time to get extra bags, maybe possible failures, and whatnot.

I guess what I'm saying is that this can feel a little inconsistent at times. Like for Cookoff, I did an Overkill one, and it gave me 40 exp. And while I do concede it is a shorter heist, I still feel like it's plenty difficult at that difficulty, especially playing solo, and that makes a big difference.

Or even take no rest for the wicked versus the golden shark. I mean, I do understand that this is probably one of the hardest things to get balanced and right. I mean, just take a look at Payday 2, so you know I kind of give the developers a pass for this one. In any case, this part of the leveling system was handled better than I expected it to be, so I'm glad to have been wrong about the developers making the value too small.

Payday 3's newest update made changes to the progression and leveling system.
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