It would appear that the studio behind Helldivers 2, Arrowhead, didn’t quite anticipate the massive surge in popularity the game received following its February 8 release date. With an all-time Steam peak of over 155,000 concurrent players, Helldivers 2‘s servers simply couldn’t keep up with the attention.
On top of the usual suite of errors Helldivers 2 throws out when there’s something amiss, something even worse cropped up last Sunday, February 11. Notably, Helldivers 2‘s servers straight-up died, and it didn’t take long for Arrowhead Studios to respond. On the game’s official Discord server, Arrowhead explained that there were too many players trying to join the galactic combat efforts at the same time.
Helldivers 2’s login issues should be resolved, for now
“To speak in technical terms,” said Arrowhead Studios CEO, Johan Pilestedt, “our services as well as our partner services have a rate limiter that denies connections beyond a volume per minute to prevent the entire system from failing.” There was such a glut of players hoping to duke it out with interstellar bugs and cyborgs on PC and PS5 that Helldivers 2 began throwing out server errors left and right. “We managed to increase the rate limit from 10,000/min to 20,000/min and the total capacity of concurrent players was increased from 250,000 total to 360,000 total.” On its own, this sounds like a promising (and substantial) server capacity increase, but Pilestedt explained that it wasn’t enough: “This was however still not enough as the player count jumped to 360K after 5 1/2 minutes.”
The sheer popularity of Helldivers 2 does not seem to have been anticipated at all. In a separate Reddit post, a member of Arrowhead Studios apologized for the onset of server issues and promised that the team is working hard on smoothing things out as much as possible. “We did the best we could to make launch a success, planning for years, and it just goes to show that you can’t plan everything,” they said.
“For those of you who have not refunded, we want to extend a huge thanks for believing in us. We promise to deliver this awesome game in all its glory. For those who have refunded, we understand, thank you for trying it and we hope you may be open to giving us another shot in the near future when we’ve democratized the bugs you are seeing today,” the comment concluded.
Certainly, it’s not hard to see why Helldivers 2 is this popular. Even though it is a true live-service offering with microtransactions, battle passes, and the like, Arrowhead Studios has handled most of these elements remarkably well so far. These elements, tied with Helldivers 2‘s surprisingly reactive and fun gameplay loop, as well as the community-wide meta-progression elements, make for a third-person shooter quite unlike most anything else on the market.