Heavy Robs a Bank

Sokol as the Heavy
Sokol as the Heavy

So over the past summer, they released a big handful of DLC packs for Payday 2, including a pack with a minigun and a character that happens to be Russian.  Me being me, I had to put them together and be Heavy Weapons Heister.  And you can, too.  As the Heavy, you become a powerful tank that can slow the advance of the police forces, and possibly bring other utility on the side.

The only DLC you really need is the Overkill Pack, which gives you access to the minigun.  The Gage Courier and Shotgun packs can help customize your secondary, but aren’t absolutely needed.  Sokol himself (The aformentioned Russian guy) isn’t neccessary either, we aren’t using anything from his pack, and you can use whatever character you like.

The Vulcan Minigun, with aerial assault barrel.
The Vulcan Minigun, with aerial assault barrel.  GLHF indeed.

The crown jewel, the Vulcan Minigun.  In game, the minigun acts like an oversized, exaggerated LMG.  Like the other LMGs in the game, you cannot “aim down sights” with it, and while wielding it, you are slower.  Unlike the LMGs, the minigun carries further restrictions.  Ammo picked up from fallen police won’t replenish the ammo of your minigun, you must use deployed ammo bags, and the minigun’s speed penalty is double that of the LMGs, at 40% less.  It is also comically inaccurate and has the second slowest reload speed.

So what does the minigun offer?  It has the highest rate-of-fire possible in the game, and also the highest “threat” stat in the game.  What threat does is that whenever you shoot at enemies, the higher the threat stat is, the more likely those enemies will try to dodge, roll, or stick to cover rather than shoot at you or your buddies.  The minigun is therefore really good at suppressing fire, crowded areas, and shredding certain specials, such as bulldozers.

In terms of weapon mods, you can do two things with the minigun, you can make it bigger or you can make it smaller.  Making it smaller via the stump barrel and “half that” kit reduces the speed penalty of the gun, but cuts ammo in half and reduces the accuracy somehow further.  It also somehow makes the gun concealable, don’t ask.  Making it bigger, with the really long aerial assault barrel, gives more accuracy which extends the effective range of the gun just that much more.  It also adds a shroud over the ends of the barrels, much like heavy’s gun.  I prefer the accuracy of the longer barrel.

The Locomotive shotgun, with the extended magazine.
The Locomotive shotgun, with the extended magazine.

We will use the Locomotive as the secondary weapon, as its a pump action with no stock, like tf2’s shotgun.  Its actually a really decent gun, which is great because you’ll be using it just as much if not more than the minigun.  As you can’t pick up minigun ammo from fallen cops, and you spend ammo generously whenever you fire it, you need a good backup to fall on.  There’s also the fact that the minigun’s speed penalty only counts if you have it out.  So when you need to move almost anywhere distant or move bags around, have the shotgun out.  The Loco also has halfway decent ammo pickup, so using it often can mean having to use ammo bags much less often.

You can also mod the Locomotive with the extended mag and a stock, to give it that Family Business look.  It’ll even have a mag size of 8.

As for skills and perks, I recommend going down the Enforcer and Technician trees.  This gives you four things you need: more armor via improved combined and the bulletproof skill for some 250 armor, more ammo via extra ammo bags and more carrying capacity, shotgun skills to make your Locomotive that much better, and finally drill skills to add a bit of utility and make heists that much shorter and easier.  While a enforcer/tech build isn’t very unusual, it is the best way to tank in this game, and heavy is about tanking.

Two perk decks stand out for tanking, and from those I recommend the Muscle deck.  It actually gives you the 300+ hp heavy has, but also comes with additional cool stuff.  You get an ability called “Disturbing the Peace” that synergizes perfectly with the minigun.  Whenever you fire a certain set of weapons, there is a chance every shot of causing panic among enemies nearby, causing them to crouch and do nothing out of fear, further augmenting the minigun’s suppressing ability.  Furthermore, Muscle gives a small health regen that occurs every eight seconds or so.

Armorer, the other tanking deck, is also a consideration.  It buffs your armor up, to 314 armor and can improve the rate of armor regen of you and your team.  Whether armor that regens faster is worth more than more health that regens slowly is a debate for another time, nonetheless its worth mentioning.

A lot of gameplay with this loadout is about ammo management, minimizing the downtime of using the ammo bags and reloading that minigun painfully slowly.  You also should make sure your team gets a chance to use your ammo bags too, don’t hog them for yourself.  While this is less of a matter is shorter heists, longer heists like Big Bank, Alesso, or Golden Grin this can be more concerning.  Not only is the job longer, but you will be moving between different locations, leaving previously placed deployables behind.  While it is possible to conserve ammo the whole way, it takes a good bit of conservation and planning ahead.  Tazers become a big problem, forcing you to fire at random when they taze you, which will cost tons of minigun ammo.

Range can also be a concern.  While most of the game is close range indoors, eventually you need to go out into the open to that escape van or helicopter, and snipers are a threat.  You won’t be one shot by them, but you have no way to deal with them.  You need your team to handle them for you.

Overall the Heavy build is certainly a different way to play, and is effective at what it specializes in.  However, know your limits, as they are hard limits, and there are some heists this build just isn’t useful for.  Nonetheless, I had some fun in assembling it and experimenting in game with it.

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