As Helldivers 2 players debate the value of 2-Person Weapons, dev tells them that "it's fine if some mechanics are just there for lulz and roleplay"

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: Arrowhead)

A Helldivers 2 developer has explained that it's ok if some game mechanics only exist "for lulz and roleplay" and aren't viable at the game's highest difficulties.

In a recent exchange on the Helldivers 2 Discord server, senior game designer Alexus Kravchenko was discussing nerfs to the popular Slugger shotgun. In previous Discord comments, Kravchenko had said that the Slugger had to be nerfed, as, despite its pellet-spewing design, it had become the game's "best sniper rifle."

When players asked Kravchenko why the weapon's Stagger effect was removed instead of a reduction in any of the game's other stats, the developer states that "versatile weapons can't be too powerful, powerful weapon [sic] can't be too versatile." That sentiment, in turn, prompts another line of questioning, this time about Two-Person Weapons - those that require one character to aim and fire, and another to reload them via a dedicated backpack slot.

Players complained of a "laundry list" of downsides to these weapons, not least the fact that the assisting player has to give up their own strategems and weapons to help their ally reload. That's rarely an optimal approach, and it leads to the weapon carrier giving up their strategem slot to deal with their own reloading. Kravchenko acknowledges that while "assisted reload is in line with our design philosophy," the ammo spend isn't great - solving that issue seems likely to be tricky, but while there are "some ideas how to do that," it's not an urgent fix for Arrowhead. Kravchenko also notes, however, that not everything even needs a fix - "it's fine if some mechanics are just there for lulz and roleplay."

That's certainly how items like the Recoilless Rifle feel - there's something esoterically funny about standing still in the middle of a battlefield while your ally reloads you so you can blam some distant Bile Titan, and that feels in keeping with Helldivers 2's overall tone. However, that's not a part of the game that everyone connects with, which prompted another fan to ask Kravchenko about another issue with those two-person weapons - how can they ever be an optimal strategy at the game's highest difficulties?

Pointing out that these weapons don't only rob players of strategem slots, but also require them to be basically immobile while standing next to each other, making them vulnerable to all kinds of AoE abilities, one player said that they "just don't work at higher difficulties where you need to constantly move." Acknowledging that the mechanic feels cool, they say "I really almost never see it used because you basically make two people [be] priority target instead of one," despite the importance of "kiting and backpedaling" at difficulty levels 8 and 9.

Echoing their earlier sentiment, however, Kravchenko simply says that "it's ok if some mechanics aren't viable on higher difficulties." Helldivers players and developers alike have previously made clear their lack of desire for any kind of official meta, and I can't quite tell where this sits with that philosophy - on the one hand, if you shouldn't have to take specific weapons into a mission in order to have fun, you shouldn't have to avoid taking certain weapons either. But on the other hand, not everything works in every situation - I'm picky about which strategems I take into certain missions, for example. It seems as though Arrowhead has a few things it's still trying to work out, but broadly, it still seems happy with the idea that you take whatever you want with you into battle, and then it's up to you to deal with the consequences.

On the plus side, at least Helldivers 2 players just got a free Malevelon Creek cape just as a new Major Order to liberate all Automaton planets in Helldivers 2 came in.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.