This guide aims to give players a breakdown of the basic money making schemes available to them at different criminal organization levels. It also will explain what advantages and disadvantages each faction has when running the schemes.
Standard Schemes Guide
What Types of Schemes Will Be Covered?
There are 4 basic schemes that repeat in any given region designed so you can make money and manage heat in the game. These will probably be the most common schemes you will run, over and over so you can have the funds necessary to build your ultimate lair. But some of these are better or worse than others depending on what you need and can afford at any given time.
These schemes can be broken down into 4 basic types:
These schemes generate a modest amount of funds quickly (3-5 minutes) They tend to need muscle minions to accomplish and are represented by an orange shield with a dollar sign on the world map. These missions are most useful for early game money and later on to sometimes burn a region out to max out heat for a lock down reset.
These schemes generate a large amount of funds over an extended period of time (30 - 135 minutes). They tend to need science minions to accomplish and are represented by a green triangle with a dollar sign on the world map. These missions are more of a get rich big rather than fast, and are usually much more heat, intel and minion efficient. Also, as you expand your influence over most if not all of the 23 regions in the game, you will generally be able to run many more of these schemes at once due to the slow speed of your helicopter, giving you a better overall cash flow rate.
Heat reduction (minion)
These schemes gradually reduce heat in a region by the region's heat cap (50-200 heat) and take anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes to complete using 3 deception minions. These schemes are represented by a round purple icon with an eye and a downward pointer. In my opinion, these are pretty much the worst missions to ever take. You are always better off running a partial money making scheme that generates cash until the region locks down for 5 minutes and then resets heat to zero.
Heat reduction (cash / Intel)
These schemes rapidly reduce heat in a region over 10 seconds by spending money and often intel. These schemes are also represented by a round purple icon with an eye and a downward pointer. These schemes aren't the best either, but can be occasionally useful during side objectives and main objectives that are messing with your base (annoying agent waves or gas clouds) and you need to perform another useful scheme quickly in that region to complete your tasks and end the pain. The rare other time this scheme may be useful is if it costs more intel to lock down the region than it takes to run this scheme.
At this point, unless you want to review the data for yourself, you may want to skip down to my final faction assessments section.
This guide will use charts for direct comparisons between each faction's schemes.
It will show Rewards, Time (in minutes), Number of Minions Used, Heat Generated, and Intel Used.
This guide will also use four simple efficiency values to show how good each scheme is compared to the resources expended to run these schemes. The higher the value, the better for each category.
- Cash Flow Efficiency: Reward / Time in minutes ($ /minute)
- Minion Efficiency: Reward / Number of minions used ($ / minions)
- Heat Efficiency: Reward / Heat Generated by scheme ($ / heat)
- Intel Efficiency: Reward / Intel Cost ($ / intel)
Fast Cash Schemes
Slow Cash Schemes
Heat Reduction Schemes
As I mentioned in the beginning, heat reduction schemes are generally not very effective, but I am still including them in this guide for the sake of completeness. I am not going to list these in spreadsheet form because there is very little to compare between them. The only faction that has different heat reduction schemes is ANVIL. ANVIL's heat schemes either run twice as fast, or require half the cash and intel as every other region. ANVIL's only exception to this is the Level 3 cash/intel scheme that costs just as much as every other faction. This was probably something the Devs missed upon release, but idk.
Level 1 Minion
- Standard: Heat -50, 3 Workers, 20 minutes
- ANVIL: Heat -50, 3 Workers, 10 minutes
Level 1 cash/intel
- Standard: Heat -50, $10,000, 10 seconds
- ANVIL: Heat -50, $5,000, 10 seconds
Level 2 Minion
- Standard: Heat -100, 3 Valets, 30 minutes
- ANVIL: Heat -100, 3 Valets, 15 minutes
Level 2 cash/intel
- Standard: Heat -100, $10,000, 20 intel, 10 seconds
- ANVIL: Heat -100, $5,000, 10 intel, 10 seconds
Level 3 Minion
- Standard: Heat -150, 3 Spin Doctors, 45 minutes
- ANVIL: Heat -150, 3 Spin Doctors, 22.5 minutes
Level 3 cash/intel
- Standard: Heat -150, $25,000, 25 intel, 10 seconds
- ANVIL: Heat -150, $25,000, 25 intel, 10 seconds
Level 4 Minion
- Standard: Heat -200, 3 Counter Agents, 60 minutes
- ANVIL: Heat -200, 3 Counter Agents, 30 minutes
Level 4 cash/intel
- Standard: Heat -200, $40,000, 30 intel, 10 seconds
- ANVIL: Heat -200, $25,000, 15 intel, 10 seconds
Each faction does have unique advantages and disadvantages in regards to their basic schemes. The best schemes to choose will depend on how your resources look moment to moment.
Best intel efficiency but its a meat grinder for modest to poor rewards
- Unless you want or need to conserve intel, PATRIOT is the worst faction to run fast cash schemes in.
- Slow cash schemes are a bit better, but still not great. All schemes above level 1 require 6 minions. The level 3 slow scheme is the worst of these.
- A slight mitigation is they require 3 minions of the criminal organization level, and 3 one level lower of the same type. Example: 3 Mercenaries & 3 Guards for the Level 3 fast cash scheme. This improves training recovery somewhat, but still pays the worst per minion of any faction.
Great slow cash rates that also require a lot of intel and science minions. Lackluster fast cash
- If you are looking for good steady income, SMASH territories are the place to be. The only caveats are the higher level slow cash schemes require more intel and require 6 science minions of the same level as the organization. This can lead to a brain drain at the lair. There is actually one Level 3 slow cash scheme that performs slightly better (SABRE's), but SMASH Level 3 slow is still very, very good.
- Fast Cash schemes tend to be lackluster but not as bad as PATRIOT. Fast Cash schemes at level 2 require 2 guards and one technician for a slightly better than average payout. Level 3 and 4 fast cash schemes require 4 muscle and 2 science minions of the organization's level.
Best fast cash rates that require a lot of intel and muscle. Poor slow cash but minion friendly.
- HAMMER is the best place to go if you need a quick boost in cash, but it comes at the cost of very expensive intel requirements and a full 6 muscle minions of the organization's level. These schemes are also very heat unfriendly. Slow cash has the worst cash flow rates, but has the advantage of only needing 3 science minions to accomplish with modest intel requirements.
Balanced teams make for cooler running operations that perform very well overall.
- SABRE territories are the only ones that require deception minions. All minions required are of the same level as the organization. Fast schemes require 3 muscle, 2 science, and 1 deception. Slow schemes require 3 science, 2 muscle, and 1 deception. The addition of the deception minion makes all SABRE cash schemes the most heat efficient in the world. Almost every scheme in SABRE territories also give the 2nd best cash flow rates except for the Level 3 slow cash schemes which actually give a slightly better cash rate per minute than its equivalent SMASH scheme at the cost of a bit worse intel rate. The 4th level slow cash rate is still 2nd best, and also has the 2nd best intel rate. Fast Cash schemes are almost as good as HAMMER's, and at Level 3 & 4, are actually slightly better in some metrics. However, these fast cash schemes are also very intel heavy.
Low rewards with low labor requirements. Poor intel efficiency. Best heat forgiveness schemes.
- The good news, no standard ANVIL scheme requires more than 3 minions of the organization's tier giving the faction the best minion efficiency rates.
- The bad news, Worst cash flow rates for both fast and slow cash schemes. Worst intel efficiency despite the moderate initial intel cost due to the rewards being substandard.
- The ugly news, Heat forgiveness schemes are usually not worth it even at half the price or time.