The Risk Levels, also called Difficulty Settings, for most playable heists in both PAYDAY: The Heist and PAYDAY 2 can be adjusted by selecting one of the seven available modes, with each difficulty being progressively harder than the last one but also award more money and experience.
In the first PAYDAY, certain heists are playable on certain modes only and harder contracts in PAYDAY 2 costs more offshore money to buy than standard ones.
Choosing one of the many preset difficulty levels alters certain aspects of a heist's gameplay, with the most observable change being the enemy AI behavior improvements, spawn rate and number of hostiles engaging the crew at once.
In both games, the difficulty levels in order of increasing challenge are:
|PAYDAY: The Heist||PAYDAY 2|
|Overkill 145+||One Down|
As difficulty increases, the amount of enemies in police Assault Waves, the frequency of enemy spawn, their accuracy and damage will also increase. From some of the difficulties onward, stronger enemy types will replace weaker enemy types and become the standard spawn. The contract prices and the price of Assets (including Pre-Planning Assets) will also increase. (Note however, excluding Death Wish, the stealth portion of the heists in PAYDAY 2 will have very little changes as difficulty increases.)
The prices of loot and contract payouts (both EXP and cash) will both increase as the difficulty increases, making a more difficult heist much more profitable than easier heists.
Of the five preset modes, the fifth difficulty level in both games could be considered a "Special" difficulty, with unique mechanics exclusive to the setting. Both requires the player to be at a certain character level before hosting, though in PAYDAY 2, one can join a heist in progress regardless of mission difficulty and player reputation.
In both games, unique map changes or events can either happen exclusively on the hardest settings (Overkill 145+ or Mayhem and above) or may occur at lower difficulties at much lower frequencies. These changes can range from subtle ones such as removal of passageways (Watchdogs Day 1), to special map-specific spawns (the Big Diamond in Diamond Heist and Room 145 in Panic Room) or even rather drastic game-changing degrees like the increased chances of hack or equipment failure/success (Diamond Heist).
Beating a heist on certain difficulties under specific circumstances, often on Hard and above (PAYDAY: The Heist) or Overkill and above (PAYDAY 2), may sometimes yield an achievement, with the completion of any given level on Overkill 145+ or Mayhem and above always granting one.
Mayhem, Death Wish, and One Down (Payday 2)Edit
Death Wish is a difficulty introduced in Update #24 for PAYDAY 2 while Mayhem and One Down were introduced in Update #109. Death Wish mode is not available on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 versions of PAYDAY 2, but is available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as part of the PAYDAY 2 Crimewave Edition. Mayhem and One Down are PC exclusives.
All 3 generally only vary in enemy damage and health. Death Wish and One Down also have an additional level 80 lock for non-Infamous players. Additionally, heisters being helped up from an incapacitation have greatly reduced health (from 40% on other difficulties to 10%, and only 13% with Combat Medic Aced).
Two new enemy classes are featured on Mayhem and Death Wish modes -- the GenSec Elite SWAT Unit and the "Skulldozer", a Bulldozer wearing digital camouflage with a skull on its face plate and wielding the KSP Light Machine Gun. One Down introduces the Zeal Team consisting of several new models of generic units and specials.
These difficulty modes have a few unique map changes. However note that there are several maps such as White Xmas which do not have significant changes between Mayhem and lower difficulties.
Common changes include;
- Regular security cameras on most maps will be replaced with Titan-class cameras, an indestructible variant of the normal camera. Apart from their invulnerability, they do not function any differently from normal cameras. They do not appear on the following heists:
- All regular safes may be replaced with Titan safes that take longer to drill, and cannot be blown open with shaped charges or lockpicked.
- Increased minimum heist completion requirements.
- Increased number of patrolling enemies.
Easy is as its name implies, the simplest difficulty setting possible for the game. It offers a relatively challenge-free form of gameplay that is suitable for players who are new to the game, or FPS in general.
Some heists are not playable on this mode.
Normal is the second easiest difficulty in PAYDAY: The Heist.
Blue SWATs are the standard enemy spawns on this difficulty.
Hard is the intermediary difficulty in PAYDAY: The Heist, being the most balanced of the five and is suitable for newer players who have just mastered the lower modes.
From Hard onwards, Heavy SWAT will replace the Blue SWAT as the standard enemy spawn. Blue SWATs are usually only seen around the start of a heist.
Overkill is the second hardest difficulty in PAYDAY: The Heist.
The Overkill 145+ is a PAYDAY: The Heist-exclusive difficulty and the most difficult difficulty in Payday: The Heist.
In addition, individual heists will have Overkill 145+ exclusive changes that will make them even harder to complete.
In PAYDAY 2, the hardest difficulty is One Down, able to be hosted by players at and above Reputation level 80, or depending on jc levels for players with at least one Infamy level. However, all players on all levels can join a One Down game.
In PAYDAY 2, each difficulty level also corresponds to a "Risk Level", which appears as a heist asset showing some information on what to be expected in this difficulty.
Normal is the easiest difficulty in PAYDAY 2. This difficulty does not have any skull signs and corresponds to Risk Level 0.
In PAYDAY 2, there will be no XP bonus for this difficulty, making the amount of XP received unchanged. The price of the loot bags and loose items will not be modified. Aside from scripted events, the only special units to spawn on Normal difficulty are Shields and Snipers. There are no health multipliers.
Hard is the second easiest difficulty in PAYDAY 2 and corresponds to Risk Level 1.
In PAYDAY 2, the XP bonus for this difficulty is 2x base XP, making the total amount of XP received 3x compared to Normal. The price of the loot bags will increase to 2.0 times of their value in Normal, while the price of loose items will increase to 2 times of their value in Normal. Tasers will start appearing at this difficulty level. There are no health multiplier.
Very Hard Edit
The Very Hard difficulty is the median difficulty in PAYDAY 2 and corresponds to Risk Level 2.
In PAYDAY 2, the XP bonus for this difficulty is 5x base XP, making the total amount of XP received 6x compared to Normal. The price of the loot bags will increase to 2.6 times of their value in Normal, while the price of loose items will increase to 5 times of their value in Normal. Bulldozers will start appearing at this difficulty level. Health and headshot multiplier is multiplied both by 2 on this difficulty level.
Overkill is the fourth hardest in PAYDAY 2. It was the hardest difficulty before Death Wish / Mayhem / One Down were added. This difficulty setting corresponds to Risk Level 3.
In PAYDAY 2, the XP bonus for this difficulty is 10x base XP, making the total amount of XP received 11x compared to Normal. The price of the loot bags will increase to 4.2 times of their value in Normal, while the price of loose items will increase to 10 times of their value in Normal. At this difficuly level all specials will start appearing. Health and headshot multiplier is multiplied both by 3 on this difficulty level.
Mayhem is a PAYDAY 2-exclusive difficulty that was added on the first day of the Hoxton's Housewarming Update, along with One Down.
It corresponds to Risk Level 4, and is the third hardest difficulty in the game, added as a bridge between Overkill and Death Wish, and shares qualities of both.
In PAYDAY 2, GenSec Elite SWATs, mixed with Heavy Response Units and Maximum Force Responders will become the standard enemy spawn on this difficulty. In addition, the stealth portion of the heist is made harder with the introduction of Titan Cameras and Titan Safes. Loud heists become harder with the introduction of the "Skulldozer" and more specials.
On Mayhem, these units do less damage, and Skulldozers are rarer than usual. However, Death Wish map changes (such as there being two servers on Firestarter Day 2) are present.
In PAYDAY 2, the XP bonus for this difficulty is 11.5x base XP, making the total amount of XP received 12.5x compared to Normal. The price of the loot bags will increase to 7.2 times of their value in Normal, while the price of loose items will increase to 13 times of their value in Normal. Health is modified by 6 and headshot multiplier is multiplied by 1.5 on this difficulty level.
Death Wish Edit
Death Wish is a PAYDAY 2-exclusive difficulty that can be considered a corresponding difficulty of Overkill 145+.
The only difference between Mayhem and Death Wish is the amount of damage enemies inflict. Enemy health is modified by 6 and headshot multiplier is multiplied by 1.5 on this difficulty level.
In PAYDAY 2, the XP multiplier for this difficulty is 13x base, making the total amount of XP received 14x compared to Normal. Loot bags are worth 8.2x more than Normal value and loose items give out 13x more money when collected.
One Down Edit
One Down is a PAYDAY 2-exclusive difficulty, and the hardest of the bunch. On One Down, the player's bleedout limit is reduced to just one, meaning if left untreated they will be taken into custody the next time they are shot down. However, players bearing the Nine Lives skill aced will be permitted two downs before needing a doctor bag.
Being the hardest difficulty, it also comes with it's own unique set of enemies, the ZEAL Team courtesy of the Department of Homeland Surveillance to replace the GenSec Elites and the FBI SWAT as a last resort to take down the PAYDAY gang for good. Standard units, Shields, Bulldozers and Cloakers will be replaced with their ZEAL counterparts, sporting more advanced armor and harder-hitting weaponry. Most enemies will also receive a massive health and damage boost, however police officers and normal Security Guards will have their health values unchanged. Stealth is relatively unmodified, using Death Wish presets, although gangsters and Murkywater PMCs will be harder to silence upon being alerted due to their health boost. Enemy health is modified by 9 and headshot multiplier is multiplied by 1.5 on this difficulty level.
In PAYDAY 2, the XP multiplier for this difficulty is 14x base, making the total amount of XP received 15x compared to Normal. Loot bags are worth 9.2x more than Normal value and loose items give out 13x more money when collected.
- On the Death Wish announcement site, the poster advertising the GenSec Elite units was claimed to be found on a server and appears to be printed out, but clicking on it shows a version of the poster that appears to be ripped out of a magazine, complete with a page number in the corner.
- The images showcasing the GenSec units on the Death Wish announcement site show them in what appear to the warehouse Election Day Day 2 Plan A/B, but oddly set in daylight.
- Any Death Wish heist completion achievement unlocked prior to the Housewarming Party Event will automatically have their Mayhem mode equivalent granted automatically upon booting up the game.
- The overview image for Risk Level 5 shows a GenSec Elite rifleman standing next to a SWAT Shield officer, despite the latter being replaced all but entirely by his FBI counterpart on Death Wish.
|Heists|| Release: First World Bank • Heat Street • Panic Room • Green Bridge • Diamond Heist • Slaughterhouse|
DLC: Counterfeit • Undercover • No Mercy
|Weapons|| Primary: AMCAR-4 • Reinbeck • M308 • Brenner 21 • AK|
Secondary: Mark 11 • Locomotive 12G • Compact-5 • GL40
Pistols: B9-S • Crosskill .45 • Bronco .44 • STRYK
|Deployables||Ammo bag • Doctor bag • Trip mine • Sentry gun|
|Enemies|| Regular: Security guard • Cop • FBI • Gangster • Blue SWAT • Heavy SWAT • Murkywater|
Special: Bulldozer • Cloaker • Shield • Sniper • Taser
|Characters||Dallas • Hoxton • Wolf • Chains • Bain • Minor characters|
|Gameplay||Assault Waves • Cable Ties • Civilians • Drills • Environmental hazards • Police Custody • Reputation • Risk Level (Overkill 145+) • Shout • Stealth • Upgrades|
|Miscellaneous||Achievements • Challenges • Companies (GenSec • Murkywater) • DLC • FBI • Gangs & Mafias • Masks • Options • Overkill Software • Steam Trading Cards • Timeline • Update history|