XP, Rank, and Cash
Xp and Rank
Earning standard xp levels up your character rank, in the process unlocking everything from weapons to avatar accessories. Completing objectives, getting kills, and winning matches all earn you xp. The max rank you can achieve is 50, at which time you’ll be given the chance to become a legend (much like prestiging in Call of Duty). Doing so resets your cash, rank, and weapons. In return you get a new icon and title - but most importantly, you’ll earn a cash multiplier of 20%. Every time you become a legend (you can do so up to 10 times) that multiplier increases by another 20%.
Even if you’ve been grinding away to achieve an astronomical rank, you’ll still need to buy the stuff you’ve unlocked. That’s where cash comes in. Cash is earned by looting corpses, winning games, accomplishing objectives, and completing grinds. All cash earned during a particular match is tallied and displayed on the post-match screens.
Grinds, Vendettas, and Looting
You may recognize the concept of Grinds from the single player portion of Max Payne 3. In multiplayer, there are numerous grinds – some general, some specific to things such as weapons or game modes. The types of grinds are as follows: Training, action, item, weapon, burst, mode, kill, and hardcore. As you can see, there’s always something to aim for in every match.
Completion of any grind grants you xp and cash.
When a player kills you at least two times before you’ve killed them, the vendetta option appears on the kill screen. Once you place a vendetta on another player, that person is immediately notified. When the player in question next appears on your mini map, they will as a larger red dot with a black X through it. This icon will also appear above their heads when you get a line of sight on them.
Killing this enemy will grant you extra xp and adrenaline, while surviving the vendetta of another player will do the same (though to a slightly lesser degree). There’s no real downside to spamming vendettas unless the player who’s been killing you is notably more skilled, is likely to kill you again, or is winning the match. In those cases, there’s no reason to simply hand him/her over more xp and adrenaline.
Anytime a player dies (even if it was your teammate) you can loot their corpse by standing over it and holding the prompted button. Looting can get you extra adrenaline, cash, grenades, and even precious painkillers. Just be aware that you’ll be defenseless during the couple of seconds it takes to steal from the dead, so only loot when you’re fairly certain the coast is clear.
In the Payne Killer mode, looting Max or Passos’ body earns you at least $100. This is a great way to make some fast money!
Soft Lock vs Free Aim
You’ll likely understand the difference between these two terms if you’ve played the single player portion of Max Payne 3, but if not…
Soft Lock snaps your target reticule onto an enemy (usually their chest) when you press the left trigger and follows your opponent until you let go of left trigger or you lose line of sight. Free Aim offers no aim assist whatsoever. The playlists in each lobby are identical with the exception of the Hardcore Deathmatch, Hardcore Team Deathmatch, and Hardcore Gang Wars, which are only available in Free Aim mode. (Note that Hardcore matches offer more xp.)
If you’re a newcomer to multiplayer, or just prefer a more casual approach, Soft Lock is definitely the way to go. Max Payne 3 doesn’t quite feature a targeting system with the mechanical stability of seasoned shooting games like Call of Duty or Uncharted, so becoming decent in Free Aim mode requires practice. Thankfully, all your xp, weapons, unlocks, etc. are transferable, so you can switch between the modes at your leisure.