Helldivers artwork.
Image via Arrowhead.

Helldivers 2 community rallies for a new fight with the Automatons

You're in for it now.

Plenty of praise has been already directed at Arrowhead Studios’ latest flagship release, Helldivers 2, but the fact of the matter is that the game is only just kicking off. Notably, the cyborg Automaton faction has mounted its first full-fledged onslaught in Helldivers 2, and it’s a wildly different sort of battlefield.

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While Helldivers 2‘s Terminids are a swarm of angry, violent bugs (that can be harvested for fuel, coincidentally), the Automatons are a terrifying army of angry, violent Terminators. Well-organized and properly equipped, Automaton forces are now in the limelight, and the community is coming to terms with the new war front by formulating new tactics and, of course, sharing memes.

Helldivers 2’s Automaton faction is something else entirely

Broadly speaking, if you too are just moving on from fighting Terminids over to dealing with Automatons, you’ll find yourself wishing those mechs were in the game already. The official Helldivers 2 Twitter account has announced that the Automatons are now the primary threat that the player base will need to deal with, and the shift in applicable tactics and combat gameplay is fairly impressive indeed.

More specifically, whereas dealing with Terminids was an exercise in good kiting tactics and positioning, Automatons are technically a more conventional threat, firing high-power lasers and calling in dropships from afar. From the lightweight Terminator-looking, lightsaber-wielding scouts to powerful armored vehicles, Helldivers 2‘s cyborgs necessitate good use of cover and long-range encounters. Such a substantial shift in combat doctrine has done a number on newcomers to the Automaton front, as one would expect.

“With the rain this is quickly becoming Space Vietnam 2.0,” said Treetisi on Reddit, commenting on a propaganda-style poster created by rangertursi. Rangertursi’s delightful poster says “If it bleeds, we can kill it,” referencing Predator, but Redditor GadenKerensky aptly points out that “unfortunately, machines don’t bleed.”

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Much of this is, naturally, in jest. As they ramp up their efforts on the Automaton warfront, players will learn the ins and outs of dealing with the bots in much the same way as they did with Terminids. Yet, the atmosphere and sense of community that Arrowhead Games has managed to capture here is nothing short of impressive.

Of course, given how commercially successful Helldivers 2 has been from day one, none of this necessarily comes as a surprise. The surprising bit, perhaps, lies in Arrowhead Studios’ take on microtransactions and seasonal content. Instead of relying on pure FOMO and excessively priced cosmetics, all of Helldivers 2‘s battle passes (Warbonds) are permanent additions to the game’s roster, and can be earned simply by playing the game, as its premium currency can regularly be found on missions.

It’ll be interesting to keep track of Helldivers 2‘s progress as time marches on. The original Helldivers, too, featured a similar push for community from the developer, but it never quite got to the heights that its successor now enjoys. With a bit of luck, Sony and Arrowhead will leverage this curious new game-as-a-service to keep the players around for times to come.


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Filip Galekovic
A lifetime gamer and writer, Filip has successfully made a career out of combining the two just in time for the bot-driven AI revolution to come into its own.