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Helldivers 2 developer might reduce communications following the reaction to the first update

Oh how the turntables...

Following its meteoric early success, it was only a matter of time before Helldivers 2 ran into its first non-technical speed bump. Being a live service game, Helldivers 2‘s health rests on the developer’s handling of gear outliers, and the first balance patch is a hot topic with the community.

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Broadly, there are two aspects of Helldivers 2‘s first major balancing update that the community has taken issue with. The first is the fact that Arrowhead Studios has neutered the game’s meta loadout in one fell swoop, and the second is that the long-anticipated armor fix is proving problematic, with players even more susceptible to damage than ever before. The community sentiment is currently fairly low, then, and it doesn’t help that some of the developers and adjacent employees from Arrowhead Studios have been getting into it with the player base.

Helldivers 2 patch adds AFK kick timer
Image via Arrowhead.

The Helldivers 2 community isn’t thrilled right now, and Arrowhead Studios may pull back its communications

Taking all of the above in mind, then, the problems that the Helldivers 2 community and Arrowhead Studios are facing are twofold: the first balance pass hasn’t been taken too kindly, and some of the people responsible for communicating these matters to players have been strangely hostile in their efforts.

“I’m feeding the rage a little for my own entertainment here, just so you know,” said Arrowhead Studios’ AHGS_Fredrik_E on the game’s biggest subreddit. “The game is only a couple of weeks old, so before we start making sweeping changes we want everything roughly where we intended from the start.” The message itself isn’t necessarily problematic, of course, but the way it’s being presented could certainly be taken that way.

Responding to the comment featured above, AHGS_Fredrik_E said “I’m sorry if people took offence to it, I’m not going to engage with the community anymore, since as many people have pointed out; we have a community team that should handle that. I figured I’d have a little fun with the players, but I realize being a dev I’m in an unfair position.”

On the official Helldivers 2 Discord server, Arrowhead-affiliated Evil-Bosse (who has since left the server) said “I think once the dust settles, the parts of the community that enjoyed dev interaction up to this point might be in for some disappointing times,” adding later that “[they are] not an invincible wall that can just soak up endless amounts of toxicity. So [their] professionalism forwards will be handled as most other game studios.” Before Evil-Bosse left the server, they said “And I am out of here, git gud, play easiest if you want to win, send in a ticket and complain and HR might have a meeting with me.”

Whether warranted or not, the messaging coming from certain Arrowhead Studios employees has been reverberating in the community, with players calling them out wherever possible. The situation had gotten so serious in a short amount of time that the Arrowhead CEO, Johan Pilestedt, had to respond: “We are aware of this and have taken action internally to educate our developers on how to represent the organization,” he said. “This is not a message that the studio stands behind. We are always working to make as an enjoyable experience and community that we can. We are taking your feedback and improving based on it.”

In a different Reddit thread, where Helldivers 2 players were specifically discussing the sudden “antagonization” coming from Arrowhead, Pilestedt chimed in as well: “Thank you for bringing this up, this is not the intention from the studio perspective. But since I am a heavy subscriber of a communicative studio it means that I encourage developers to engage with the community. However, this also exposes us to risks of miscommunication or heated arguments and it’s something that we actively discuss internally at the studio to improve on. While I understand that it reflects on the studio as a whole, it is not our intention that this should be the behavior from us. We want to ensure that you all have the best time possible in this game and in this community.”

As for the hotly contested balance patch, Pilestedt said that “[Arrowhead Studios employees] actively read as much as we possibly can and take what is said into consideration when we discuss things internally. Right now, the hot topic is your guys’ feedback and response to the balance adjustments and the feeling of the game experience at large.”

It’s a difficult topic, for sure, and it was perhaps only a matter of time before Arrowhead Studios did something unpopular with large sections of the Helldivers 2 community. With a bit of luck, Arrowhead and the players themselves will be able to correct course in this regard and bring the overall toxicity down a few notches in short order. Further, it is entirely possible that Arrowhead may end up reducing direct communications between the developers and the community to prevent such problems from rising up in the future.


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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.