The worst part of Helldivers II

I’m going to say this right away: I think Helldivers II is the best game I’ve played so far this year. Many people will agree with that statement. Arrowhead Game Studios’ satirical, engaging universe combined with excellent gameplay and visuals really bring the idea of war on a galactic scale to life. However, the multiplayer hit of our day has one glaring problem.

Popularity. No, I’m not talking about the server problems. Those problems are on their way to being solved, and personally I have never found them to be a nuisance. No, popularity has led to another problem, and that has largely to do with the player base.

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Helldivers II

Helldivers II players are usually awesome. Greet any person you match with, and they will protect you to your brutal end in the name of democracy. Beyond the vast majority, however, there are outliers, players who try to make the game into something it is not, whether that’s by trying to correlate the game’s universe with their real, strangely fascist beliefs, cheating in a PvE game, or just spamming the same mission over and over again to farm resources.
I’m not going to open Pandora’s box with the first option there, and will look at the other two instead. I am not a gatekeeper. The more souls, the more joy in any game, community, and so on, but that’s as long as you understand what the thing you’re playing or watching is about. Helldivers II is a chaotic multiplayer game designed to put you in the role of sci-fi jobber #19, a man who will survive minutes at most and probably be replaced more than a dozen times before the last recruit reaches the evac ship with a thousand-yard stare in their eyes.

By choosing to cheat, whether that’s by summoning 1000 orbital attacks at once or some other method, it invalidates the point of the game. It makes it pointless to play. There are none of the moments of pure fear and excitement you get when you are surrounded by what seems like a million bugs, or have a broken leg and are trying to escape from an infallible Automaton. Besides, as a cooperative experience, of course it can be fun when a mission is done for you by a cheater, but why not just play on an easier difficulty if you can’t handle it?

As I’ve played more Helldivers II, I’ve encountered more and more players like this. Less cheaters than boring peasants, though. They really take the crown, just choosing to play defense cards over and over again to grind XP, sitting in a corner and getting mad at you in chat when you try to do something other than let the turrets do all the work. It’s just boring, and although I left these lobbies, you will definitely encounter more of them at higher levels when you jump into random games. Yes, it’s something you can do in the game, and yes, there are other missions, but the fact that there is an abundance of players who choose to grind in a game that barely has one is baffling.

I can’t really blame these types of players for this, though. Everyone gets their own kicks out of games, and while it’s patently not the purpose of Helldivers II to farm XP (like what are you going to do with all your upgrades, get more turrets?), multiplayer games have been teaching people for years that they have to use the scummiest tactics to make their meters go up, And only when the numbers go up do they have fun. It’s an epidemic among multiplayer games that hopefully titles like Helldivers II can combat. Combat passes and their ilk have taught players that to get the temporary cosmetics, they must prioritize spending time over having fun.

Helldivers II

Helldivers II has a combat pass, and it is primarily a live-service title, but above all Arrowhead Game Studios has won people over by actually making a game that is fun to play, rather than a game where you have to keep playing to create a false sense of fun through cosmetic unlocks. Hopefully people can realize that in the near future, or those who try to grind pointlessly in a game that doesn’t need it can move on to the next time sink experience.

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