Payday 3: The Best Game You Can't Play

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I'm not much of a renter, so bear with me on this one. I love Payday 3. Since I made this article, which was outdated for under 24 hours. Gunfights. satisfying stealth innovates brilliantly on the old formula and the music and voice work is sensational, which is what makes this article all the more difficult to make payday.

3 is struggling, and I don't mean had a few bugs and launched a wobbles kind of struggle. I'm talking about the struggle to end all struggles. Branded the worst launch of the year, floundering, with around 30 positive reviews on Steam, and if my comments are to be believed, with a refund rate like no other and all of this coming after enormous Flawless pre-release period with an excellent and cautiously optimistic reception The Whiplash must have been immense for the past three days, including the launch day, yet the game matchmaking servers have been consistently down, preventing anyone from playing a heist.

The whole premise of the game is that, admittedly, now on day four of four releases, things are starting to look up: servers are online more than they're not, which is an improvement, but a certain amount of damage has already been done, and we can't simply walk away from this thinking that sometimes online mediocrity is okay for payday 3.

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This should instead be a catalyst for change. The developers simply don't deserve the fruits of their blood, sweat, and tears being dragged through the mud like this. The absolutely vile things I've seen online over the past few days have been beyond the pale. Some out there are directing their anger in completely the wrong direction, but the frustration and negative reviews, in truth, from a consumer perspective, make absolute sense even to me.

However, despite it all, Payday 3 is still the game I've always wanted to play. Yeah, after all this waiting, I can't, with any degree of confidence, expect things not to break when I try to because, to be frank, the game does not fundamentally work as intended in matchmaking. Completely shutting down a few times a day isn't good enough; even if it's up more than it isn't, it makes trying to play the game stressful.

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We gamble, and we don't play games to be stressed out; it's meant to be an escape. I, like many others, took time off work to play and create content for this game. Those precious holiday days for someone who works nine to five and spends them staring at nebular errors and matchmaking failures are simply not good enough.

There should have been safeguards in place to prevent this, to prevent employees from having to work overtime until 4 a.m., and to cope with the increased load induced by the Xbox game pass service inclusion that was likely highly profitable for the company. Technologically inept idiots like myself feared the worst from the servers on launch.

We were told it was player load that brought down the servers, yet we have the official Twitter account seeking feedback from the community, which seems to be complete, and utter confusion from inside Star Breeze, so it's not looking great. All of this didn't have to happen this way with the right business planning, but, let's be as fair as possible, these things can occur with big launches like these.

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It's not the first time an online game has had server difficulties on a larger than anticipated launch; they're complex with a lot of moving parts. The margin for error is tight, so I think most sane players give games a little leeway right at launch, which would be all well and good. But, outside of all the what-ifs and conscious understanding, the thing that truly irks me is that this all could have been avoided or at least largely mitigated by the addition of one simple and hugely requested feature.

Solo offline mode for payday 3. The community saw this coming from miles away, but the key decision makers at Starbury's have turned the blind eye to it, and now here we stand with a product gear in the making that, outside of a few finicky systems that will be developed in the future, has met all hopes and expectations, but somehow it's completely playable with a forced matchmaking system that wastes a minute of your time even when working as intended and has virtually no social features.

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Despite being an online co-op game while failing to even achieve what we had with Crime Net, this has also led to huge frustration, community-wide. With stealth players having their lobbies crash and vice versa, an offline mode would have remedied so many of these issues in a heartbeat. Let's play out the scenario.

Servers are struggling under player load; no worries. Matchmaking errors are annoying, but at least we get to play the game we've just purchased alongside Crew AI offline, just like its predecessor, and look, suddenly, the server load is now more manageable and the team can handle the demand problems for their new server-based system.

Everyone gets to play, issues are resolved more smoothly, and the game is reviewed for the quality of its content due to its woeful lack of function. Server issues end up being a footnote in the history of Payday 3. Not the bloody headline those. Steam Reviews will sting and hang over the game for years to come if the live service model gets a chance to play out as planned, so then the real question is, why not just release with this seemingly readily available offline mode?

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Could it just be hubris and overconfidence? that this would all work out smoothly. I truly hope so. I can forgive Almir for his rash comment about servers simply working on launch naive, but not at all malicious. What I fear is that always online was implemented for purely commercial reasons as opposed to anything related to the actual game, in essence acting as a safeguard for the property rights of future releases and, hell, even the impending microtransactions and premium currency, but more on that in a minute.

I can see why a commercial mind would want to protect their revenue streams from piracy and hackers, but that same commercial mind has to see that the financial damage this approach is having on the future of their IP is far worse than the alternative. Don't get me wrong; I'm not calling anyone a liar here from previous interviews.

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I truly believe there are developer advantages to having the game always online. I just think they're tremendously outweighed by the negatives and risks that come with the system's launch and have surely been living proof of this. That is why I'm calling much more desperately this time for some serious reconsideration at the very top of the company; their approach has to change.

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No Sponsors on this one. It didn't seem right. We're at a crossroads with Payday 3.
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