Payday 3: Six Months Later


I'm John from Rusty Chains, and today our chat is about Payday 3 once again. As is tradition, we're checking in at another 3-month interval from Payday 3's launch. It has been a tumultuous time since our last check-in. Payday 3 is now in the midst of Operation Medical Bag. This is the strike team's big plan to fix the game, which had poor reviews and an even worse player count.

To be completely honest, it still does. Aside from the last patch at the end of February, the game's player count average is in the 300s on PC. There are no hard numbers available on the console, but I can't imagine it doing much better over there. The OMB is the big plan to add several quality of life features over time, increasing the game to the state it should have launched in.

Content will be sprinkled throughout. The details of Operation Medical Bag were announced in February with the blog post, and we've had an additional blog post every Friday. But we've only had one patch since the last one of these articles I made, which was obviously 3 months ago. Now this patch has fixed several hundred bugs and improved game optimization heavily with Native Direct X12 support.


The patch was not well received, though people waited months for any update after a syntax error. When it finally arrived, the lack of any new playable content annoyed people. There was a charm added, but beyond that, the only player facing gameplay Edition was an inspect animation for the Mamba grenade launcher, and it doesn't actually work.

This agitated people, as it implied one of the very few visual things in this patch had not gone through sufficient testing or bug fixing. The biggest issue with the patch, though, was the masks. Unique and custom masks were added that resemble Alir and Elizabeth, exclusively available for use by them in their weekly stream dreams.

Players will be able to unlock them in a community event later this year, but for now, it's very frustrating that developers are the only ones to get anything new in the middle of a giant content trap. It was considered by many of myself to be a somewhat tasteless carrot on a stick; however, like I said, we have had the weekly operation medic bag blogs.

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Those contain a fair amount of new information. For example, we know there's a new skill line and overheal mechanic called adrenaline coming soon, as well as adaptive armors that fully regenerate the plate if not broken. For the purpose of this article, though, the juicy stuff coming soon doesn't count because it isn't here yet.

This is payday three months later, and that stuff didn't make it into the game in the first six months. Why didn't it make it into the game in the first 6 months? It took so long to get here because they needed to spend a month fixing the update pipeline. This was distressing to hear since all of October was spent working on the update pipeline last year.

At this point, I have very little faith in their ability to deliver updates since 2 months of payday and 3 months of life so far have been devoted to fixing issues in the update pipeline. That is a third of this game's life with no updates because they weren't able to release them. They have a new planned update.

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The possibility of hopefully releasing an update every 4 to 6 weeks, starting with the last patch at the end of February, in the perfect world, would mean One update a month, possibly one every two months, is an improvement, but this isn't great. Payday 3 is a live service game; to rate it as such, we should compare it to the other live service games out right now.

Fortnite, yeah, is still getting updates all the time, with new quests, game modes, modifiers, and weapons all popping up. Weekly, let's compare Payday to a game that actually has a very similar history. Suicide Squad killed the Justice League, released in early February. It had an all-time peak on Steam of 76, 000 players, only 7, 000 more than Payday 3's peak.

The current player numbers are rather similar, with Suicide Squad hovering around 700 on the average day compared to Payday 3's daily 300. Suicide Squad is another live-action game that was criticized, as the game was also plagued by issues and update delays. However, in just a month, Suicide Squad has had three patches compared to Payday's four in six months.

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Suicide Squad is also about to get its fourth update with the whole new season, meaning they're still patching faster and delivering content faster than payday. Suicide Squad was painted as the major live service failure of the year, and that's concerning about payday since it's almost a perfect parallel.

However, there is one live service that's been doing pretty well this year. So yeah, there's hell divers, too. I'm of the opinion that helldiving is possibly the worst thing that's ever happened to Payday 3. It's a four-player co-op hard shooter that also launched with debilitating server issues.

However, they ironed it out in a few weeks, as opposed to Payday, which still has hiccups from time to time. More so than that, though, is Hell Diver's update, Cadence. There's been new content dropping in frequently. New updates almost weekly contain either bug fixes or bug-killing content drops; in barely over a month, Hell Divers has had more weapons.

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Cosmetics and other content, and even more mission types added to Hell than payday has had in six months, the developers are transparent and communicative. From the start, they've kept it up. This is a STK contrast to Payday, where communication disappeared for weeks at a time and transparency never arrived until the game reached a critical situation.

Hell Diverse 2 is a live-service game firing on all cylinders, and, as a result, it is being showered with love by the gaming community. Payday 3 is a live service that is barely live and rarely provides a service. I'm not the first one to make this comparison either, on payday forums. On Reddit and Twitter, lots of people talk about just transitioning to Hell Divers; even another Starbur partner has talked about how Hell Divers is just better than payday.

We've reached the point where people on the payday Reddit are buying copies of Hell Diverse, so people don't have to play Payday anymore. That's just insane, and it's not like this is comparable to studio sizes. Either way, people have done the math and figured out that Arrowhead, who is behind Hell Diver, is like half the size of Starb.


Allow me to contextualize these time frames. The goal is four to six weeks between updates for payday 3. As we said, there is currently no ETA for the adaptive armor patch. Assuming it releases in the first week of April, that means that the absolute earliest Boys in Blue update, which is the next Heist update, is releasing in early May.

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