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"Give 'em hell."
Bain upon the beginning of an assault wave.

In both games of the series, an Assault Wave is a period of time in which law enforcers deploy at a much higher rate and the AI behaviour is more aggressive than usual. Assault waves occurs periodically during the length of a heist after an alarm has been raised and are heralded by the change in music and a verbal warning by Bain. 



After an alarm has been sounded and law enforcements began deploying in force on the scene, an assault wave will inevitably occur, in which the AI spawn rate is significantly increased and their behaviour is much more aggressive, usually seeking to flank or overwhelm the crew in massive numbers. The length and downtime between assault waves varies depending on the chosen difficulty.

The ending of a wave can be noted by verbal responses from enemy units, their observable withdrawal and the change in music.

Negotiations for a teammate's release will not occur during an assault wave; however, players can still make a hostage trade if it was triggered before the assault, and below Hard difficulty, the release timer will continue to run, which means the teammates in custody will usually be released before other players can trade them.

There are five stages of an assault wave:

  1. Control: This is when first responders will come to the incident and check for civilians, hostages and criminals. First, they will try to arrest. If the criminal refuses, the police and/or security will open fire. After a few minutes, or some time, they will bring in SWAT Units.
  2. Anticipation: The starting point of the Assault wave. Music will become louder. In this point, SWAT Units are deployed, and regular police will start to retreat, unless spawned by on-site police cruisers. After some time, Build phase will start, and music will begin to ramp up with a Police Assault In Progress banner appearing at the top of the screen.
  3. Build: SWAT units will begin to move in, use flashbangs and smoke grenades, and take down the criminals at all costs.
  4. Sustain: SWAT is at full potential and will constantly respawn to attack the player(s).
  5. Fade: SWAT will stop spawning and begin to retreat once enough are killed. This stage was made shorter in Update #181.

PAYDAY: The Heist[]

The Assault wave indicator in PAYDAY: The Heist.

  • Bain will periodically warn the crew of an impending assault when 45, 30, 20, and 10 seconds remain before the assault starts. The playing soundtrack will also audibly change and the current enemy presence will be much greater in preparation for the wave.
  • Anticipation in PAYDAY: The Heist has three possible starting timers: 60% for 45 seconds, 30% for 35 seconds and 10% for 25 seconds.
  • The spawn rate of special units also increases briefly before and during an assault.
  • Law enforcers will not surrender during an assault no matter how many times they are shouted at.
  • The final objective of a heist will always entail a never-ending assault wave with an escape time limit, significantly bumping up the difficulty. the only exception to this is Diamond Heist.


PAYDAY 2's Assault wave indicator

  • Bain will only warn the crew of an assault mere moments before it starts. The in-game soundtrack ramp up and voice lines from both cops and player characters give significantly more warning however.
  • Hostages can be tied down with cable ties and held to delay a wave. As long as there is a hostage, the assault wave will be delayed by 30 seconds (10 on Mayhem and above), though any additional hostages do not affect this.
  • Law enforcers can be dissuaded from attacking the crew with by dominating them, and thus will surrender whether a wave is in progress or not.
  • Certain special units will spawn in increased numbers after a wave has ended, while most will still conform to the standard rule.
  • Only a handful of heists features unending assault waves, the mechanic has been revised into escape scenarios.
    • When Captain Winters is in the field, an assault cannot end until he's been defeated.
    • Some heists are scripted to either end an assault wave or keep it ongoing. For example, in Beneath the Mountain, an active assault wave will end upon moving to a new area and upon refueling the Blackhawk, a never-ending wave will commence.
  • The assault wave indicator now displays the level of difficulty (example, five skulls represents Death Wish).
  • If at least one mutator is active, the color of the assault wave will be in violet instead of yellow.


I ain't afraid no more.png I ain't afraid no more
Gain a level in the Assault tree during an assault.


  • When playing the Crimewave Edition of PAYDAY 2 on PlayStation 4, the light bar on the DualShock 4 controller will glow from red to blue when an assault is in progress.


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