Helldivers 2 Dev Admits ‘Having Your Favorite Toy Nerfed Absolutely Sucks’, but Calls on Players to Give Changes a Chance
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Helldivers 2 Dev Admits ‘Having Your Favorite Toy Nerfed Absolutely Sucks’, but Calls on Players to Give Changes a Chance


As Helldivers 2 players digest the game’s first balance patch, developer Arrowhead has discussed the thinking behind changes to weapons and stratagems, calling on players to give them a chance.

Patch 01.000.100 nerfs the Breaker, Railgun, and Shield Generator Backpack, three items considered essential to higher difficulty play and Helldivers 2’s best loadouts. But it also buffs weaker weapons and stratagems, including the Flamethrower, Laser Cannon, Punisher, and the 380mm and 120mm Orbital Barrages.

It’s the nerfs to the Breaker, Railgun, and Shield Generator Backpack that are already causing the most discussion within the Helldivers 2 community, given their effectiveness and, thus, their popularity. On higher difficulties, Helldivers 2 throws an often overwhelming number of powerful enemies at you, many of which require hard-hitting weapons and stratagems to deal with.

The Breaker is (was?) an effective shotgun with long range and damaging shots. The Railgun was deemed essential for taking down the game’s most powerful enemies, such as the Terminid Bile Titan. And the Shield Generator Backpack was deemed required for survivability. These items were so effective that some Helldivers 2 players admitted to kicking randoms from their group if they didn’t have a loadout that included them.

In a post on the Helldivers 2 Discord, designer Alex K outlined Arrowhead’s approach to balancing in the game. Alex admitted “having your favorite toy nerfed absolutely sucks” because of the time invested by players to master those toys. “And then having that weapon weakened feels like a punishment for being too good at the game,” Alex continued.

However, Alex asked players to give the recently nerfed weapons and stratagems a chance. “I implore you not to compare a changed item with its older version, but to evaluate the existing one as it is and see if it still has a place in your heart,” Alex said.

Speaking generally on Arrowhead’s philosophy, Alex said today’s update is “the first round in a never-ending series of balance changes”.

“Our goal is to give you a wide range of weapon choices, where each gun has its purpose and none is strictly better than another,” Alex explained. “Sure, you will have your own favourite, but it should come from your personal preference, not from the universally agreed knowledge of which gun is the strongest. Generally, we balance each item according to its quirks, so if a weapon is very effective at what it does, it should come with significant disadvantages to balance its power.

“The AC-8 Autocannon is a good example of a well-balanced weapon: it packs a powerful punch, has a very good range, but requires you to carry an ammo backpack or have a friend assist you. The GL-21 Grenade Launcher is the opposite example. It’s a good general purpose weapon that gives you so much flexibility, it obviously can’t deal too much damage without becoming overpowered.

“But weapons that are both powerful and versatile become a no-brainer choiсe during the weapon selection phase. It robs you of your own agency, as stale ‘meta’ builds force you to make an unfair choice between a fun weapon and an effective one. In short: powerful weapons can’t be too versatile, versatile weapons can’t be too powerful.”

We strongly believe that the changes won’t ruin this build, but rather help the affected items find their place among the other options and stay effective in capable hands.

After analyzing player feedback and data, Arrowhead found the Breaker, Railgun, and Shield Generator Backpack were “three biggest offenders of that principle”, Alex revealed. “All three of those were quite strong with too little downsides, overshadowing all other options on higher difficulty levels. So with this patch, they’re getting significant downsides to balance their power. However, we strongly believe that the changes won’t ruin this build, but rather help the affected items find their place among the other options and stay effective in capable hands.”

There’s a lot happening in the world of Helldivers 2, including a recent new strategy that involves hugging. The galactic war continues, of course, as players await the arrival of mechs.

This week, IGN reported on how Helldivers 2 has become one of the surprise hits of 2024 since launching in February, topping the charts on Steam and reportedly selling around three million copies. According to at least one analyst, it’s still growing. Check out IGN’s Helldivers 2 review to find out why it’s going down so well, as well as the best loadouts.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].



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