automatons chasing helldiver in helldivers 2
Image via PlayStation's YouTube channel

The Automatons in Helldivers 2 are now running phishing scams to ruin managed democracy

Don't believe everything your 'Democracy Officer' tells you.

A recent in-game dispatch in Helldivers 2 informed players that the Automaton faction had advanced its war efforts to include malicious messages to players. While I’m sure this was meant a bit of a joke, players have ended up taking these sci-fi phishing efforts quite seriously.

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We’re used to seeing in-game messages about saving children or fighting for our procreation permits in Helldivers 2. With this latest tactic, the Automatons are attempting to breach Super Each security systems and, presumably, figure out where we’re being deployed next so they can flank us and take more galactic territory. The messages we’ve been given as examples are fun and mock the basic phishing scams of the early internet, but the thing is, they’re actually working in a weird way.

Helldivers are so paranoid about Automaton scams that they’re suspicious of everything

automaton scams helldivers 2
Screenshot by Destructoid

The examples we’ve been given of these Automaton messages are emails with subject lines like, “Check out this patriotic photo,” “Your citizenship has been upgraded,” and ” Dissident talk amongst your friends.” Any one of these is enough to boil the blood of a freedom-loving Helldiver and have them hammering the mouse or screen on their arm so they can access new patriotic benefits, see some true patriotism, or report their so-called “friends” to the nearest Democracy Officer.

I expected developer Arrowhead Game Studios to go somewhere with this in the future. Sending players a series of messages from a new in-ame character who ends up being an Automaton or a similar storyline told through dispatches over the course of weeks. It turns out that this simple in-game message caused at least one Helldiver to question everything about a recent Major Order without the developer doing anything.

On the Helldivers 2 subreddit, user ChingaderaRara wrote a colossal post about how a dispatch about defending Aesir Pass from the Automatons was, in fact, part of the enemy faction’s efforts to disrupt us using in-game messages just as we’d been previously warned.

Their reasoning is fair and understandable. They cite increasing and decreasing liberation rates and have a sound argument that moving all Helldivers to Aesir Pass would leave the route to the only planet we need to hold, X-45, vulnerable and unprotected.

However, ChingaderaRara later edited the post, explaining how they’d realized their theory was wrong after further research. “These are my last words as I deliver myself to the Democracy Officer. I was wrong. The attack on Aesir Pass was not an automaton trick and hack to distract us from defending X-45.”

What’s so interesting about this is how players can be so taken in by something as simple as a dispatch that the developer may never have intended to do anything more with. The Automatons were trying to breach Super Earth security, maybe steal some personal data, and figure out where Helldivers were being deployed.

What they achieved instead was dissent among the ranks, paranoia, and what I imagine could have led to choice paralysis for any Helldivers who had the same thoughts. After all, if you don’t know which planet you should really be defending, you can’t effectively defend any of them.

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Image of Jamie Moorcroft-Sharp
Jamie Moorcroft-Sharp
Jamie is a Staff Writer on Destructoid who has been playing video games for the better part of the last three decades. He adores indie titles with unique and interesting mechanics and stories, but is also a sucker for big name franchises, especially if they happen to lean into the horror genre.