How to Win Every OVERKILL Heist in PAYDAY 3

The secret to consistent wins and much better survivability on the highest difficulties is a special strategy for each heist, PD:TH style. This guide contains the best heist strategies for losing less armour and guaranteeing success on Overkill.

Introduction and Universal Advice

This guide is tailored for teams of two or more players. These strategies are not suitable for solo players due to the high dependence on the concurrent completion of objectives, such as hostage trading at the same time as circle standing. Playing solo requires you to forgo hostage trading (if you’re not just waiting on something) and complete objectives much slower, which significantly changes the timings of when events happen relative to assault breaks (you will be making use of assault breaks very frequently, so differences in assault timings can really change the strategies).

There is some important advice that you should apply to every heist:

  • After an assault ends, the map clears itself quickly as all enemies run to spawn points to despawn themselves. This is a double-edged sword you need to be careful of: On one hand, this means that you can make a bee-line for objectives once a break starts without worrying about resistance. But on the other hand, when the assault starts again, enemies start spawning very hard and fast on you as there are no straddlers across the map filling the enemy spawn quota. If you’re kiting, you need to make sure you start an assault away from objectives and in a place you can easily escape from.
  • DON’T revive AI unless you’re absolutely certain that you won’t take a single hit of damage doing so. AI teammates deal extremely little damage and go down very quickly. Preserving even a bit of armour is worth so much more for you than keeping them going. In fact, it can even be beneficial to let them go down as if they do so very early in the assault, they return from custody just before the assault break, guaranteeing that they’ll be there to drop equipment for you.
  • The ingredients to a good camping spot are: No spawns inside, one point of entry and space/cover to fall back. Space to fall back is the most important as it allows you to respond to and make use of dynamics in enemy assault force, giving up ground when the enemies are fiercer and regaining that ground when they lighten up. Without space to fall back, you may find yourself taking a significant amount of damage if there’s a sudden influx of enemies you can’t respond to.

No Rest for the Wicked

The No Rest for the Wicked strategy focuses on two camping spots, the sprinkler box and the crates in the corner of the parking lot. The box is always in a very easy location to defend, and camping it allows you to instantly disable the sprinklers, keeping the thermite going with no interruptions. After the vault is opened and looted, the second camping spot is the stack of crates in the corner of the parking lot, between the bank and the alleyway. This area is important as it’s the closest place to the escape van that you can feasibly defend without haemorrhaging armour, as well as being so quick to move bags to that you can do so within a single assault break. The zipline bag is not used for this strategy as it takes way too long to move bags from the vault to the zipline.

Hostage skills are absolutely not necessary, as the assault begins the moment the thermite is started. Even without hostage skills, trading just half of the civilians in the public area will buy you more than enough time to reach this point. Your skill points are much better off going to the Infiltrator tree, so you can empty out the vault quicker.

Heist Plan

  • No degree of stealth is necessary. Mask up in the public lobby of the bank and blast the guards. One person ties and trades hostages, closing the window shutters if they feel inclined. Any extra players locate the sprinkler box (I think it only has two spots: in front of the IT room and in the parking lot entrance room) and prepare for the thermite drop. Trader only needs to trade hostages up to when it asks for 5 hostages: when the police ask for 7 hostages, stop trading.
  • Once the thermite drops, set and start it up, then camp on the sprinkler box, using it to turn off sprinklers the moment that sabotage squads set them off. During assault breaks, take the extra thermite drops and feed them into the fire or stash them with the sprinkler box. If you’re careful enough, you shouldn’t lose a single plate of armour before the thermite finishes.
  • The vault should be open sometime after the halfway point of an assault. Make your way into the vault and, once you’re in, get the dye packs defused as fast as possible. Once that’s done, one player defends the vault opening while everybody else bags and moves loot. First, throw all bags in the room immediately outside the vault door, so the player doesn’t need to keep defending the vault opening. Next, if possible without too much resistance, move all bags to the room that opens to the parking lot.
  • When the assault ends, run into the alleyway to trigger the escape van arrival and have one person take down the bollards (you have to be quick to get this done all before the next assault). Start moving all bags behind the crates in the corner of the parking lot and drop your resources there. Having a hostage there is optional: it can help, but getting gassed doesn’t completely force you out and environmental explosives can risk killing the hostage, so if you want to have one it’s best to bring Menacing and use police as quick-to-obtain, expendable hostages.
  • Wait out the assault guarding the bags behind the boxes. The escape van will arrive and you’ll have to take care of the bollards again later. Securing 4 bags will trigger a final charge and on Overkill, the minimum loot required is 7 bags. After the assault ends, one person secures three bags while someone else takes care of every bollard box except for the closest one to the van. Go back to the boxes and hold out another assault.
  • After the assault ends, move the rest of the loot to the van, secure it, deactivate the last bollard box and make your escape.

If you are using the Van Will Not Leave asset, follow the plan as usual until bagging the cash. You should be able to just push through the bank and move bags to the van during the assault, but if you’re meeting too much resistance you can do the secure 3 bags/wait assault/secure remainder strategy to lighten the threat. Stay in the bank while waiting for the van to move. Once it’s in position, everybody rushes to the highway to take care of bollard boxes to escape. You should be able to do this quick enough that the enemies can’t move in on you in time and escape smoothly. Overall, this asset is worth using if your team has high firepower but is less co-ordinated.

Road Rage

The strategy for Road Rage consists of three different phases: the stealth preparations, car escorting and loot securing. In stealth, you prepare the camping spot and the road ahead of the truck before arming the EMP, doing all of the heavy lifting before raising the alarm to ensure the loud section goes as smoothly as possible. During escorting, you make a formation of human shields that makes you and a buddy near-invincible during the truck’s journey, and looting involves using a camping spot to survive assaults without getting pummeled under the truck.

Now, there is an issue with this one. I try to avoid exploits with these strategies, but the southern helicopter overhang god spot is the only halfway-decent camping spot in the map, exploit or not, so you have little choice but to use it. A fix shouldn’t necessitate a change in a strategy, however, as it should be a strong camping spot even without the exploit.

Hostage skills are not necessary. At least one person should bring Infiltrator skills to take loot quickly.

Heist Plan

  • You have 1:30 to address the obstacles on the vehicle’s path, all of which are on the left or centre part of the bridge. You need to move the forklift, shut down the electric box to open a gate, cover the two road holes with two separate pairs of tracks and find and move the hacking device. Another person takes the closest left-side civilian hostage and brings him to the southern helicopter spawn (with two big, distant chimneys), putting an armour bag there. Do not arm the EMP until this is complete, as doing so will skip your 1:30 and immediately summon for the truck to arrive. Tie down as many civilians as you easily can – hostage rescue will arrive before you can return to the camping spot, so having civilians all over the map are good to distract them and keep them away.
  • When the truck arrives, put down the hacking device at its front-right wheel so you can start it as fast as possible. When the truck starts, stay between the truck and the nearest wall, as opposed to the open opposite side of the road. Now, for the journey you will need two players with human shields covering each other’s back. Unlike what you would expect from a janky video game, enemies will not shoot through one player’s human shield when targeting another player. What this means is, if you have two people with human shields back-to-back, they can cover themselves from every angle. This is very powerful on this escort objective in particular, as the movement penalty does not matter and the linear level design makes it very easy to reach full protection angle coverage. As long as you aren’t using some absolutely useless secondaries, this tech should be enough to take the truck to the ramp with little resistance.
  • Once the truck has stopped, start the drill on the bottom and run to the prepared camping spot. Wait out the assault. Once the assault ends, get the truck open, empty its contents onto the road and signal the helicopter. You can easily defend the bags from the camping spot. Wait out another assault, and once it ends, quickly move to secure the bags. You should have enough time to secure all bags during the break, but in case you don’t, it’s important to know that the minimum loot amount and final charge trigger point is all 6 rare element bags, so in a desperate situation, either focus on them and ditch the money bags or leave one for last and slowly secure all loot over extra assaults.
  • Armour up at the camping point. When the escape is activated, it’s a straightforward run to the opposite end of the bridge to escape. There should be little danger as long as you don’t dawdle.

If you have a quick crew, the Additional Secure Point asset allows you to plunder and secure all loot from the truck within the span of a single assault break, quickly triggering the escape and skipping an assault.

Rock the Cradle

Rock the Cradle can be made vastly easier by using stealth to quickly barge into the VIP room and capture as many civilians as possible, which can buy you enough time to complete most of the heist before the first assault even begins. From there, you move all bags spread across the VIP area to the backrooms between the vault and zipline elevator shaft, an area that’s easy enough to defend that you’re able to loot the vault and move bags to the zipline during an assault. After taking them up the zipline, securing the bags and escaping is straightforward.

Zipline bag is necessary. One person needs hostage trading skills. Bring stun mines.

Heist Plan

  • For the stealth section, the hostage trader stays at the front entrance while another player moves to the VIP entrance. Steal the keycard from the bouncer, unlock the door and run through, equipping your mask as you move down the stairs. Shout down all of the civilians, start hacking the box to re-enable the vault keypad and then start tying them – order is important for most efficient use of negotiation time. Once the alarm is raised, the hostage trader starts to tie and trade all hostages upstairs.
  • When the hack is started and civilians are tied downstairs, find and note the vault code. Then, all players in the VIP area work on moving bags from the far side (opposite the stairs and vault) and centre of the area to the backrooms between the vault and elevator shaft. The moment the cage parts are dropped, a player moves up from VIP to assemble the cage and bring down the zipline bag. When the zipline bag is deployed, continue to move bags to the backrooms. After the hostage trader trades all civilians in the main area, quickly move down and trade the hostages in VIP.
  • When the assault starts, empty out the vault and move bags to the base of the elevator shaft, then put them all on the zipline and follow them up. If you feel that you haven’t bagged enough outside loot before the assault, move backroom bags as usual but don’t send them up the zipline and hold out the assault. Then, take outside loot during the assault break.
  • Either way, once all bags have been sent up the zipline, guard the bags during the assault and throw them into the cage one at a time during the break, putting a stun mine on the loot cage. Trigger the mine whenever an enemy attempts to steal a loot bag. Repeat these steps until enough loot is secured, then continue to hold out where the bags were and rush out to the escape once it’s available.

Under the Surphaze

With just a little co-ordination, Under the Surphaze is an easy heist with a straightforward plan. Both top and bottom floor security panels can quickly be unlocked before the assault with a prepared hostage trader, and the design of the building lends itself well to kiting. However, the kiting route you should take isn’t the obvious one of just running circles around a floor, as the front side of both floors are very open and leave you exposed to significant fire. Instead, you run a circular loop through the backsides of both floors, looping up and down the two enclosed stairwells. The top floor part of the route is much longer and provides much more cover, as well as a strong alternative route if E4 is opened, so you should move slower on the top floor than on the bottom.

Aside from that, the room closest to the stair platform in the images above is a good place to camp and protect bags while waiting out the assault. Just be aware that camping in this room demands commitment – you need a good amount of firepower to keep yourself alive in there, and abandoning it during an assault may not be possible. You do not want to be on the roof during an assault for any extended period of time, as it’s impossible to defend and enemies reach it rapidly from anywhere.

One person needs hostage skills. Get Infiltrator skills if you can easily spare the points. Take stun mines to protect yourself if you’re using the camping spot.

Heist Plan

  • First, the hostage trader should wait at the waterfront gathering, ready to capture civilians when the alarm sounds. All other players hack both security panels, then unlock doors and collect QR codes. The easiest way to enter the building is by scaling the boxes and pipes at the back of the building. No degree of stealth is strictly necessary here, stealth for as long as you can bear to.
  • After both panels are done, open E1, bag the painting and light the flare as soon as possible. Start unlocking the server room, manager room and camping room and scour the building for QR codes. Some paintings on the top floor can be accessed without a code through vents on the roof.
  • Securing both blood-soaked paintings will trigger the spawning of heavy SWAT and using the USB will trigger the final charge, so you should have all of their rooms open and the spectrophotometer deployed before attempting to secure them.
  • When all loot is accessible, secure them during assault breaks. This can be done in a single break except if you’re playing solo, in which you should take both blood paintings in one break and the USB one in the next assault. Escape as normal.

Gold and Sharke

There are two parts to Gold and Sharke: the easy part and the hard part. The easy part is getting the vault open: quick stealth to open the gate and grab oxygen, trade hostages so you can get the drill started before the assault and protect it from the right camping spot. The difficult part is moving the bags to your escape: the sheer amount of loot makes it very slow to move through exposed areas and difficult to take the specific minimum amount. However, as long as you’ve completed the right preparations during assaults and move swiftly, it should be possible to move all bags through the most treacherous vault lobby within the span of a single assault break. Do not take the zipline bag: the bag-moving route with the zipline is entirely exposed. The only point of the zipline is that it might make moving drill parts slightly faster, but it’s not worth the time it would take to deploy.

One person needs hostage skills. Bring a motion sensor.

Heist Plan

  • First of all, take the red keycard and open the gate in stealth. This part is very easy with tricks to avoid intruding HR. There are three possible locations where the keycard could be, and you can tell by the presence of a civilian in the room. The first one you should check is the office outlooking the front of the bank. Before you even enter the building, just run to the right-side corner and try to find the civilian through the window. If he isn’t in there, check the next office in the open hallway, next to the break room. Put a motion sensor on the left side of the door near the corner. If it doesn’t detect the civ there, he’s in the office behind the tellers and you need 2 QR codes to reach him. It should be easy to find the keycard: if it’s in the paper stacks, there’ll be something red sticking out. Make sure that you look for the oxygen throughout, as it could be in any of the bathrooms or lockpickable rooms.
  • Once the gate is open, the hostage trader should stay at the bank entrance, ready to capture all civilians whenever the alarm may sound. You don’t need to stealth any longer, you can either go loud or try to continue quietly. Either way, complete objectives as usual until the vault room is opened and the drill is set up. Even if you went loud before opening the vault room, the hostage trader should buy you enough time to have the drill up and running before the assault. Make sure that you’ve taken oxygen. If there’s a hostage left over, put it in front of the camera room. If you have the camera room’s keycard, wait to unlock and take the guard hostage until later.
  • Guard the drill by standing on the right side of the vault room, in front of the camera room. This is the best camping spot that the drill is visible from as you’re only exposed to spawns from a single side, which the pillar can act as cover from. If you’ve got good firepower and solid control of the room, you can replace the oxygen as soon as it’s depleted, but if you’re struggling, don’t sacrifice your armour and leave it for an assault break.
  • Once the vault is opened, move into it and drop an armour bag behind the central loot table. Put the hostage there if you’ve got a civilian/camera room keycard. Bag all the loot in the room and throw it all into the middle of the horseshoe-shaped desk, you can easily do this from the vault during an assault. Once all loot is in the desk, wait out the assault. If you’re still moving loot when an assault break starts, just make sure that all bags are in the desk and prepare to wait the next assault. You need every second of the assault break for the next step!
  • Once all bags are in position and the assault ends, you’re going to get all bags from the desk to the roof stairwell (above where you camped, opposite the side with the vault stairs) through the broken glass guardrail. Take a bag, get a short run-up on the desk, jump and throw it through the broken glass to get it in front of the roof stairwell door without running all the way around with the vault stairs. This method allows you to get everything near the safe, defensible stairwell before the next assault can even begin. Make sure all bags are moved from the desk before moving them into the roof stairwell, as the latter can be done much easier once the assault starts. Do not open the red doors – you’ll open a route for the enemies, who can’t open the doors themselves!
  • When every bag is within the stairwell, one person should run to the roof to call the helicopter. Move the bags all the way to the top of the stairwell, just before the roof door. Put them in in the corner to the left of the door, and leave an armour bag on the right side of the door, where the door being busted by enemies should result in cover. Once all bags are in position, hold out and wait for an assault break.
  • Securing loot involves two different approaches in at least two assault breaks, as securing enough money to escape will result in a final charge. During the first break, secure loot until you’ve secured ~90% of what’s needed, including the server. Don’t move all bags all together, as you want anything that won’t get secured to stay in the stairwell, ready to hold out another assault. If you haven’t come close to securing that amount of loot repeat this until you do, but if not, secure the remainder during the next break. This time you do want to move them all at once, so you can have them secured as quickly as possible. If you can’t get it all done within the break, either ditch the extra loot or push through and escape.

99 Boxes

On 99 Boxes, pretty much every objective involves running from place to place and there are no good camping spots along the way. If you want to win on this heist, you have to kite. Kiting is when you bait enemies into following you around the map or herd them into an unimportant place, instead of directly engaging them and trying to penetrate their lines. This mechanic makes use of the low enemy spawn cap, as once the maximum amount of cops has been reached and they stop spawning, places on the map that would otherwise drop enemies right on top of you suddenly become very safe. The issue is, of course, that you need to know when to stop and let enemies reach your position and when to keep moving. As said before, you are never going to be near a good camping spot, so if you get pinned down in some random place it becomes a death sentence. You can minimise the chance of this happening with a good kiting route. Refer to the diagrams below:

Figure 1 shows the route looping around the warehouse. You always should start the route at a corner near the yard entrance, moving away from the yard. This is important as when an assault starts, enemies will spawn on you rapidly and you can’t shake them off until their numbers saturate the limit. If this happens in the yard, enemies will swarm you too quickly to get any objectives done. Run from corner to corner, stopping at each to let enemies catch up. Stopping is crucial here as if you run too fast, cops will take shortcuts through the warehouse. Having enemies in the warehouse in the middle of the map can seriously impede your run as from there, they can reach any part of map quickly, allowing them to reach objectives too fast or intercept you on your path, forcing you into a significant firefight. Waiting for them at the outside corners of the warehouse prevents them from entering as they’re kept on the edges of the map.

Figure 2 shows the route in the yard. This part is the most important as the yard entrance is a chokepoint that’s completely exposed to a large, open area, so if you don’t kite correctly you can either get stuck before crossing the entrance or have your armour shredded trying to run past enemies. However, as long as you’ve kited correctly around the warehouse, the yard should remain empty with enemies arriving predictably in a large group, so preparing them for your exit is feasible. To do this, after you’ve progressed the objective in the yard and the enemies are starting to meet you, make your way to the camping point at the far end of the yard. It’s important to be near the centre of the yard so enemies don’t arrive through your escape route, but not to the point where you’re exposed to the entrance. As you receive more enemy fire, creep towards the edge so the enemies start to move near the camping spot and out of sight from the entrance, then run along the edge and out of the yard entrance, which should be mostly clear. From there, continue the warehouse loop as usual to get them back out of the yard.

Every player should be kiting together. Enemies can fixate on a lone straddler.

At least one player needs hostage trading skills, Menacing greatly recommended. The plan involves a quick stealth section.

Heist Plan

  • For the stealth part, the hostage trader needs to prepare the truck and hack the computer, while another player prepares the zipline. Extra players assist hacking the computer. The easiest way to enter the warehouse is by lockpicking the left-side gate and entering through the cargo truck opening. Once these objectives are complete, don’t bother trying to maintain stealth and start rushing. Hostage trader stays in the warehouse to grab hostages while another player takes the zipline to approach a device container. If you haven’t triggered the alarm yet, do so now. Extra players take hostages around the map.
  • Make sure someone is ready to prepare the thermite as soon as it’s dropped. Don’t grab the spike strip during negotiations as you’ll risk getting too close to police. You can take the spikes while kiting during an assault. If trading goes well and your crew is quick, you should be able to get the first device opened and secured before the assault. If you aren’t certain you can do so, however, don’t risk it and make sure you’re at the kiting start point before the assault. Then, you can kite the enemies around and work on unlocking the device according to the kiting route, preparing for it to be secured during a break.
  • As for securing the next device, it’s impossible to construct a very precise plan you can tightly follow because the timing of objectives relative to assault breaks vary greatly depending on various factors, such as player count, time gained from hostage trading and the seemingly random time the final charge triggers (as early as after securing the first device). You’ll have to direct yourself with the kiting guide, but there is some extra advice that you should follow. First, whenever the assault ends, stop kiting and head directly for the objective. Otherwise, don’t abandon the kiting route to grab the thermite, loop around and grab it later. When handling the wi-fi circles during an assault, only complete one full circle (per player) before heading to the yard camping spot and continuing the kiting route. Enemies on Overkill move fast and this is all you have time for before you risk getting overwhelmed.
  • Once the second device is ready for the taking, you’re going to have to abandon the warehouse kiting plan for a final route. When you’ve grabbed the device, run into the warehouse through the long side, opposite the loot secure point. Be quick but always try to be behind cover. From there, you can secure the bag, close the truck and continue straight through to plant the spike strips. Run directly to the escape, using the open containers on the edge of the map as cover. If everybody is close together (as you should be if all is going to plan), you should escape before you risk taking too much damage.

Touch the Sky

The plan for Touch the Sky revolves around camping in the master bedroom as much as possible, only doing objectives during assault breaks. It’s very easy to defend as it holds no spawns inside (except an occasional cloaker from the bathroom), holds some objectives and acts as a loot secure point with the zipline bag (as in how it functions in practice, not talking about the exploit). The only objective outside the room that you need to defend is the SSD decryption. However, as long as nobody’s camping in the room, only the sabotage squad will enter, which we can handle entirely using sentries. Going for all loot holds little risk, and it’s best to do so. The Hidden Thermide asset allows for the heist to be completed one assault faster.

Before going into this heist, you need a zipline bag, one person bringing sentries and one with hostage trading skills (can be the same person). Skills to move hostages quicker are a nice-to-have but not strictly necessary.

Heist Plan

  • First, the person with hostage skills blasts the guard at the entry and barges in. Another player runs up the stairs to grab the zipline and run in. Hostage trader ties and trades all civilians EXCEPT for Mason (bald black guy with a black tuxedo), who another player grabs and takes to the master bedroom. Anybody who’s doing neither of those things focuses on wi-fi circles. Players who are doing the circle standing should focus on upstairs circles, so the hostage trader can get downstairs circles between trades, completing the objective faster. The two women standing between the kitchen and the closet are the only civilians that are not categorised as employees, trade them first. If no guards were intimidated into being hostages, make sure to open the security room for an extra hostage.
  • Once the bedroom is open, do objectives until Bile is called in with the thermite, bring Mason to the back of the master bedroom in front of the vault, and drop all of your resources there. Don’t forget to lay down the zipline. The thermite should be dropped before the assault begins, so get that started and return to the master bedroom to wait out the assault. If you don’t get the drop in time, just wait out the assault in the bedroom as usual and start the thermite during the break.
  • Once the thermite is finished, you need to be ready to move fast during the assault break. The instant the assault ends, one person grabs Mason and starts moving to the office, another runs to the keycard room to grab the keycard and anybody remaining clears the way for whoever’s holding Mason. Emphasis on doing this quick, the timing is tight here. Whoever’s holding Mason opens the office and has him unlock the vault as normal, while another player (NOT the sentry holder) runs back to or stays at the master bedroom, ready to open the vault and crack the safe. Trade Mason or forget about him. Sentry holder places the sentries inside the office, guarding the computer. Extra players help get the office vault open quicker and take loot from it to the bedroom. SSD carrier should be able to start the decryption just barely before the assault begins, so once it’s started return to the bedroom. If you’re too slow and the assault has started before you could start the decryption, wait it out and then start it.
  • Wait out the assault in the bedroom, the sentries should protect the SSD to completion. Once the assault ends, everyone runs to the office to take the SSD and extra loot to the bedroom, lighting the flare along the way. Back at the bedroom, start bagging the jewellery and dropping it on the floor.
  • Some time before the helicopter arrives, a final charge will begin. Hold on to the loot bags until Bile arrives, then just throw all the loot onto the zipline, as it will land right into the escape zone and secure itself. When everything is secured, take the zipline to the escape. Make sure everybody is synchronised to take the zipline at the same time – avoiding damage in the escape zone is near impossible, so if the escape isn’t quick you may find yourself downed at the very last second.

If you are using the Hidden Thermite asset, one player needs to get the thermite set up ASAP. Take Mason to the office instead of the bedroom. Once the office is opened, the rest of the plan continues as normal, skipping an assault.

Dirty Ice?

There is no strategy. The entire jewellery store is very easy to defend, and the most effective way to beat the heist is the most obvious and straightforward one: just camp the cleaner machine and if you have the helicopter asset, walk the bags straight through the store into the secure zone. If you don’t have the asset, just leave loot behind and get the minimum into the chopper for a quick escape. Just as easy and probably better for money-per-minute anyways. If you’re struggling and insist on all loot without the helicopter asset, wait until you have all bags in the room nearest to the helicopter spawn and then time the flare lighting so the helicopter arrives just in time for the assault break. Assaults last for 2:40 and the road chopper arrives 1:50 after lighting the flare, so light the flare 50s after the assault begins. I got these numbers from the internet and cannot attest to their veracity.

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