#Why is there so much DLC for this game?!
So, I’ll open by saying I have no idea why there’s so much DLC; I honestly don’t. That said, other great games have tons of DLC (looking at you, Civilization), so I’m not beyond getting them if they’re either worth my while, or there’s a sale. At time of posting, basically everything PAYDAY 2 is 75% off (I totally bought them all), but that won’t always be the case; what’s worth and not worth having if things aren’t on sale or the budget doesn’t allow for purchasing it all?
I’m glad you asked
I’ve only been playing this game for a month, but I already have over 100 hours in it. Everyone’s play style is a bit different, and the meta now may not be what it was or will be, so this is a summation of all currently-available DLC for PAYDAY 2, ranked based on what I think would be worth your while.
There are 4 types of DLC: character packs, weapon and mod packs, heist packs, and soundtracks (the latter will be omitted from ranking and further discussion because it adds nothing to the gameplay experience; purchase them if you like the tunes in-game or don’t ;)).
These DLC add a new character for you to select from, which is purely cosmetic and affects how you look in game and the lines of dialogue you deliver. There are a number of characters included by default, but these offer you someone different to listen to while yelling at cops, taking hostages, shouting at teammates, answering pagers, and making various exclamations of pain and glee. They also include a new mask design (think TF2 hats).
Character Packs come with a new ranged and melee weapon as well, along with some new weapon mods specific to the included ranged weapon; these are in the vain of the character’s attitude and backstory (i.e., a katana melee and micro uzi secondary weapon that come with the character Jiro, a former Yakuza from Osaka). These weapons can be used on any character, not just the one with whom they come.
The final item these DLC include is a Perk Deck. These are used in collaboration with the skill trees to tweak your playstyle, and are arguably the most important part of the Character Packs as they have a much larger gameplay impact than any included weapon. Each deck will similarly follow the theme of the weapons in adhering to the personality of the included character; no two Perk Decks are identical, though some have similarities to one another (generally, the decks that come with Character Packs are much more different than the default Perk Decks included with the base game).
##Weapon and Mod Packs
I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory; Weapon and Mod Packs include weapons and mods. That said, these are new weapons and mods not otherwise available, some of which are a drastic departure from those included in the game by default. Some come with more mods and some with more weapons; some include throwable weapons (grenade slot items) or a wide variety of different guns, while others cater to a specific weapon class (i.e., shotguns). Not all weapons and mods are created equal, and they don’t all perform the same under all gameplay conditions or in every build, so having a variety to pick from is never a bad thing. They also almost all come with new masks, and many include additional mask patterns and materials.
Aside from the obvious inclusion of new heists, these packs come with additional masks along with new materials and patterns for your masks. Some of these come with the addition of a new weapon or two, but this is not always the case. Additionally, you are not required to have any specific Heist Pack to play that particular heist; players must own a specific Heist Pack if they wish to host that particular mission, but they can freely join another player’s game to participate in said heist for Steam achievements and such (there are over 100 at this point).
#Well, this is all well and good, but what do I buy?
I’m going to caveat everything I put below this as being strictly my opinion. I don’t doubt that others think more or less of any or all of these DLC’s than I do, and I encourage you to express those opinions if you’re so inclined. It should also be noted that none of these DLC are required in order to enjoy the game.
- Yakuza Character Pack
- Dragan Character Pack
- Sokol Character Pack
- Clover Character Pack
- Biker Character Pack
I chose to list Character Packs first because they bring a lot to the game in terms of customization (both cosmetic and gameplay); this doesn’t mean they’re the first or only thing you should buy, necessarily. They may not have as many different items in each of those two areas, but what they do have is potentially far more substantial than any single Weapon and Mod Pack or Heist Pack (and their price reflects this).
These are ranked mostly with regards to the usefulness of the included Perk Decks, but obviously if your dream is to run around like a biker voiced by Ron Pearlman (seriously, he’s also the character model), you wouldn’t put Biker at the bottom. The Clover and Biker packs are generally agreed to have the weakest Perk Decks, and since most of the included weapons in these packs aren’t going to revolutionize your gameplay or build, I paid very little attention to them when I ranked these DLC. That said, there are a number of completely-viable (often preferred) Perk Decks in the base game (a number of my builds and popular community builds don’t draw on DLC Perk Decks), so none of these are mandatory unless there’s something specific you want to achieve with them or you like one of the characters.
I should mention that there’s also an entire additional Character Pack that cannot be purchased; instead, it requires ownership of Hotline: Miami 2 in order to utilize anything included with it (it unlocks for free for owners). Additional details can be found here.
##Weapon and Mod Packs
By far, these two DLC’s offer the most generally-useful items for your money out of all PAYDAY 2 DLC, in my opinion. The former adds some amazingly-useful items like the Molotov Cocktail throwable, a flamethrower, and incendiary ammo for shotguns and grenade launchers (among other things); the latter adds 28 new weapon mods and the ability to tweak your reticle in most weapon sights, expanding on the customization and functionality of your preexisting weapon platforms. I and many of the people I have played with are using items from one or both of these packs more often than not.
Next come what I refer to as theme packs. These often include a variety of weapons (assorted primary, secondary, and melee) that are in keeping with some sort of theme. The masks, patterns, and materials follow suit. These usually come down to a question of “do you think the DLC’s theme is neat?” but there are a couple considerations I’ll discuss momentarily.
The either/or decision for the Chivalry and Western packs comes from the included bows they each contain. They can be a viable asset when completing stealth missions, but a silenced pistol or CAR can easily get the same job done. Of the two, most people prefer the superior damage of the English Longbow to the Plainsrider Bow, but both will one-shot basically any enemy you’re encountering on stealth missions, so it comes down to preference and your opinion regarding the other included goodies. If stealth missions aren’t your thing or you prefer guns over medieval weaponry (most people seem to, though I see a handful of bow-users every day), both of these packs should probably rank around between the current 3rd and 4th entry on the list.
The Gage Assault Pack is a decent spread of loud weapons, including a 40mm break-action grenade launcher, while The OVERKILL Pack only contains two weapons; fortunately, they’re a Minigun and Rocket Launcher (these are two of the highest DPS weapons in the game, but they aren’t without their drawbacks and are hardly a one-size-fits-all solution to doing loud missions, nevermind the complete lack of worth to stealth misisons). The last three contain some neat stuff, but most of it I rarely (if ever) make use of (save the Eagle Heavy Rifle in Gage Weapon Pack #01, which I’m starting to come around to as a solid assault rifle option).
Beyond all of the above, it really comes down to player preference for the final four:
Do you like the AK/CAR family of weapons, sniper rifles, light machine guns, or shotguns? Well, there you have it. I will say that the Gage Shotgun Pack provides a variety of ammunition options including buckshot, flechette, incendiary, and slug rounds that unlock for all shotguns, which can broaden your options if that’s a family of firearm you like (in addition to adding some new shotguns).; I placed it above the others as a result of this.
Gage Weapon Pack #02 only includes light machine guns; it is so named because it was one of the original DLC’s for PAYDAY 2 (before they had a more descriptive naming scheme), and represents the introduction of the LMG weapon class (one of which was included in the base game for free; you don’t have to own this DLC to use an LMG).
The AK/CAR Mod Pack is the least impressive (to me) because it only brings new mods in for those weapon families (in addition to mask stuff). That said, many people like those weapons, so if you’re in that camp, it could very well be worth your while.
* Free for anyone who owns the original Wolf Pack DLC for PAYDAY: The Heist
As I mentioned before, none these DLC’s are not required in order to play any given heist, only to be able to host said heist; this makes them, in my opinion, significantly-less important to own. However, the four I’ve listed here each have an included weapon that I find valuable.
By far The Point Break Heists has the most universally-useful weapon of all the Heist Packs: the Baby Deagle. Packing most of the punch of a full-size Desert Eagle with higher concealment, this pistol is quite nice. As an added bonus, you also get a Selfie-Stick melee weapon with this pack (among other things) which feels amazing to beat folks with.
Rounding out the list, The Biker Heist has an SMG I’m partial to, The Wolf Pack adds a different 40mm grenade launcher for your consideration, and The Golden Grin Casino Heist adds a melee weapon that stuns enemies more-easily than any other (although it does essentially no damage, so there’s a trade-off). Below are the remaining Heist Packs, in no particular order.
- The Goat Simulator Heist
- The Alesso Heist
- The Bomb Heists
- The Diamond Heist
- The Big Bank Heist
- Armored Transport
- Hotline Miami
The last Hotline Miami DLC contains some items that are locked behind a requirement to own Hotline: Miami on Steam. There is actually quite a healthy spread (more than some other Heist Packs) that aren’t, but one melee weapon and a handful of cosmetic whatnot require owning Hotline: Miami to utilize. I have no strong feelings one way or the other on any of these Heist Packs, and would encourage folks to look at them to see if the included weapons and/or mask swag are intriguing or not.
#Whew, made it!
I hope this is useful in some capacity to anyone out there considering buying into the game or looking to expanding their DLC library during a sale. There are a handful of bundles on Steam that lump various DLC together including a GOTY bundle, but in all honesty I wouldn’t bother with one unless you’re planning to own all the DLC; in my opinion, you’re better off picking through and snagging the ones you care most about for their gameplay or cosmetic aspects, or supporting the developers by buying them all during a sale. If you have any questions or differing opinions you wish to express, feel free to drop a comment