The Payday Situation


This is the spookiest Halloween article I could muster. Boo, happy Halloween! In all seriousness, I want to share some of my thoughts on the past month or so. What a roller coaster journey of emotions it has been, from the early access highs with functioning servers and all of that repetitive fatigue of grinding levels in a bathroom to Whiplash lows when the servers exploded and the game was unplayable all the way to where we are now and have been for the past few weeks with payday 3, stagnancy, and silence when adopting the live service.

Model Star Breze didn't half embrace it in premise, releasing a barebones experience in desperate need of updates, quality of life improvements, and new content, but with none of the follow-through, it's been a dead service. So to speak, with an initial major bug fixing update planned for October, the 5th turned into a split update with some console-specific fixes and then a delayed update, but don't worry, mid-October we would see something, or not a turbulent nightmare for everyone employed at the company, and let me tell you, for everyone who is even half as invested in this game as I was being completely candid with you, it's been crushing.


I've built up this game in my head over 8 years or so, and I had an initial taste of it earlier in the year where I felt like almost all expectations were being met, so seeing where we are now, it's difficult to put into words, and the comedown has been seismic. It's funny because I made a article on this channel with the exact same title just under 10 years ago.

It has less than 1, 000 views and is just an awful terrible creation with no direction and little purpose, consisting of essentially me whining about not really wanting to boot up and play Payday 2 about 3 months after launch, and here we are 10 years later, except this time I actually have the ability to create a script that is at least slightly more coherent.

To be clear, I still stand by my early impressions. I think Payday 3 has all the groundwork to be a great game. I know why it initially blew me away. The visuals, the game feel, and most of the new mechanics all did land for many of us. I'm not alone in still loving the gameplay loop at its core, but much like those initial impressions, these elements are all surface-level deep.


We never had the chance to test progression content; repetition didn't seem like a big deal in the moment, and we hadn't already solved the skill system. When we get into the core of Payday 3, it has lost a lot of its predecessor's charm. The heists are all in that 5 to 10 minute range; there are no epics like framing frame or big, and the stakes feel surprisingly low for the crew that have just been reduced to broken remnants after a major attack.

For the most part, it's bloody easy too, not helped by the many unintended interactions we can use to trivialize most situations; just see my Breaking Payday 3 article for reference. I'm also huge into the lore of payday, as many of you know, and whilst I generally enjoyed the story and its presentation, it's hardly even a prelude; it's just about ties the loose ends of payday 2's Lost Tapes, and again, compared to Payday 2, there is a much clearer narrative here, but I actually feel that that's working to the game's detriment.


Payday 2 was full of mystery: who was Hector, why were his jobs all so scuffed, what was the elephant's part in everything, and could he really be trusted? In Payday 3, the antagonists are clearly laid out from the start, and we even get to witness their behind-the-scenes meetings via the cutscenes.

This kills most of the intrigue. I mean, it's almost literally dead. They ran over a shark and shotgun in the head at the end. I know Mr. John Concord is now set up as a major character and villain, but he is so far removed from everything we've done before that it's tough to care at the moment.

Don't get me started on the missing details. Why the hell are Vlad and the butcher just back without any further context? For those of you unaware, Vlad is essentially a space Ukrainian with potentially supernatural powers. There's just no explanation as to where we stand on everything. Payday 2 related Bane is referenced and never mentioned again.

It's pretty telling that story skipped a few beats when it still isn't clear which payday to ending was actually Cannon, and then we have a number of credited characters like Gage and Satari who are just names in a menu at the moment without the charm of the admittedly low-budget web series to back everything up.


Payday 3's story still feels like it could be fanfiction and doesn't really hit the punch it really needed to when going for this more hands-on storytelling approach, so a really mixed bag there even for one of the largest Payday Law Advocates. Beyond that, the menus are rubbish and unclear, the UI needs an update, everything is poorly organized, and there's virtually no customization.

For all of this, internally, we were told to expect improvements to these systems right up until launch, so I was very reserved in my criticism of them, but those improvements seem to actually be tied to Quality of Life updates that are in the pipeline, which again adds to that feeling of Payday 3 being slightly undercooked.


On the RPG front, hidden away there are actually dozens of fun and interesting builds to play around with, with the endless frag build Immortal medic setup and even pseudo Dodge stun builds all possible, but only the most hardcore have ever bothered with them, as all you need is the core of a half decent grit Edge armor build, and you're already good to take on virtually any challenge the game has to offer.

Now that's just really getting to grips with the areas of the game that I think need improvement. It's not touching on the missing features, particularly in the quality of life department, that have been lost from Payday 2 to Payday 3. The stock excuse there is that Payday 3 was built from the ground up in a new engine and Payday 2 had 10 years to iterate in its concept, so you need to give the sequel some time, but that doesn't garner a whole lot of sympathy from me.

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You can't throw 10 years of constructive development in the trash and start fresh. The expectation is that those lessons are already learned when putting together a new game, so I don't think the community is being overly entitled when they say they're shocked and disappointed that Payday 3 just chose to ignore them in favor of the deja vu of the exact same iteration process throughout the years.

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