Payday 3 Removes Skill Trees for Skill Lines, Introduces C-Stacks and Master Nodes

Players can now choose the upgrades they want after unlocking a Base Skill or take Mastery Nodes to benefit other builds.

A new developer diary is available for Starbreeze Studios’ Payday 3, with the team discussing progression and skills. While Payday 2 had a Skill Tree for players to upgrade, the sequel does away with that, instead opting for Skill Lines.

As senior game designer Miodrag Kovačević explains, “Basically how they work is, we have a base node, you have upgrade nodes, and you have a Mastery Node. The upgrade nodes go from 3 to 5 depending on the skill, and then we have Mastery Nodes, which are weaker, but they don’t require you to equip any upgrades or base.”

Interestingly, you don’t need an upgrade to get the next in line. Players only need to unlock the Base Skill and can then choose the upgrades they want.

As for Crime Net Stacks or C-Stacks, they’re the secondary currency that players will use. You’ll still use cash for weapons and whatnot, but by converting them to C-Stacks, you can purchase special weapons, cosmetics and “high-end equipment.” They’re also essential to get the final upgrade for weapons.

It’s worth noting that the more cash is traded for C-Stacks, the more expensive the process becomes, but thankfully the cost resets weekly. Starbreeze clarifies that this isn’t a premium currency, and you can only earn C-Stacks by playing the game.

Payday 3 is out on September 21st for Xbox Series X/S, PS5 and PC.