Payday 3 Guide – How to Gain XP, Level Up Infamy Quickly and Unlock Skills

Progression in Payday 3 requires earning weapon XP, Skill XP and Infamy Points. Here's how to get them and also unlock Skills.

Posted By | On 25th, Sep. 2023

Payday 3 Skills

Starbreeze Studios’ Payday 3 has been facing some issues over the past few days, but its gameplay is a solid step up from Payday 2. One thing that may irk some long-time players is the progression system. The development completely overhauled progression and Skill Trees, so things work differently. You have weapon XP, Skill XP and Infamy Points, which all serve different functions.

Weapon XP will level up weapons and unlock mods, ideally making them better. Skill XP will unlock new Skills in a tree for you to equip using Skill Points (though the overall process is a bit more complicated, as we’ll explain later). Finally, there are Infamy Points, which increase your Infamy level and unlock new weapons, cosmetics and Skill Points.

If you want some of the best weapons in the game, then the Infamy grind is key. How do you earn weapon and Skill XP quickly and level up? What’s the best way to gain Infamy Points? Let’s look at all the different methods.

How to Gain XP and Level Up Infamy

Play Stealthy

Going loud is always an option in heists, especially in the starting ones, but playing stealthily nets more XP. For example, Dirty Ice is pretty quick if you know what to do and awards about 442 XP for weapons and each Skill on Normal difficulty. However, play it stealthily, and you’ll earn 924 XP, more than double. It can be soloed quickly, but your best bet is to play with a team to accomplish all the tasks quicker. Keep running this mission, and you amass a decent amount of cash and XP.

Increase the Difficulty

There are four difficulties in Payday 3 – Normal, Hard, Very Hard and Overkill. If you want the highest XP gains, the higher difficulty settings are the way to go. Of course, with increased enemy accuracy and damage and some sections becoming more punishing, it’s easier said than done.

Choose the heists you’re most comfortable with and play with a team as much as possible. The lackluster communication options don’t help, and you can’t stay with any random players you just completed a heist with. If possible, try to find teammates and party up with them. Otherwise, if you can consistently complete a heist quickly at higher difficulties, keep farming it for XP regardless of your methods.

Complete Challenges

Infamy Levels are pretty important in Payday 3 because not only do they unlock new weapons, but also Skill Points. Since Skill Points are earned every three Infamy Levels and the max level cap is 150, amassing Infamy Points as quickly as possible is key. However, as you play through the same heists again and again, you’ll notice that they don’t award Infamy Points.

To earn them, you must complete Challenges like the Heist Challenges and Combat Challenges (viewable in your Challenge Book). The former consists of completing Challenges like finishing a heist 15 times on Normal or higher difficulties before the Assault begins (and another after). There are 639 Heist Challenges to complete, so keep finishing the same heists and checking back for other remaining Challenges.

Then there are Combat Challenges, which have varying degrees of tasks, from defeating 10 Dozers and 10 Snipers to killing a certain number of enemies with specific weapons. As such, it’s a good idea to use different weapons as soon as they’re unlocked, kill Elite enemies, slide around and more as much as possible to get these Challenges done.

Note: Some Challenges are locked and won’t gain any progress until they become available. If you’re running through a list of Challenges, ensure they’re unlocked before attempting to progress any.

How to Unlock Skills

The Skill Tree from Payday 2 is gone, replaced with new Skill Lines. These allow for more mixing and matching when deciding on your build. You also have Master Nodes, which provide minuscule benefits from that Skill Line, but once unlocked, they don’t require the starter Skill or any others to allocate.

So, how do you unlock Skills in Payday 3? First, you need to research a Skill Line, and once the starter Skill becomes unlocked, you can spend a Skill Point to use it. For example, if you research the Medic Skill Line and unlock the Medic starter Skill, you must assign a Skill Point to activate it. Once done, any Skill XP gained can unlock other Skills in the same line.

You can repeat this process with other Skill Lines, but that’s not the end. With each available starter Skill that you’ve assigned a Skill Point to, you accrue Skill XP for that line. It goes towards unlocking new Skills, and regardless of how many starter Skills you have, each line gets the same amount of Skill XP. Remember: You must have activated the starter Skill to gain XP in that Skill Tree, which requires spending a Skill Point.

Finally, even if you succeed in unlocking all of the Skills, it’s impossible to use them all simultaneously. There are only 21 Skill Points in the entire game, so you must make choices. The option to respec is free, so feel free to switch up your build as the situation dictates.

Payday 3 is available for Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC. Stay tuned for more details on it shortly.

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