Helldivers 2 escort missions are out of control, but we're in this together so the community's desperately trying to help their fellow recruits stay alive

Helldivers 2 progression system
(Image credit: Sony)

Helldivers, we have yet another problem. Despite their best efforts, some Helldivers 2 recruits – and I'm not just talking about new cadets, who get the benefit of the doubt – are really struggling with the escort missions currently dominating the Automaton warfront. I get it, they're hard. Arguably too hard on occasion, the occasion being, almost every single one on any remotely high difficulty. But the bugs and bots ain't going anywhere and neither are escort missions, so we're gonna have to get through this together. Luckily, the community's been hard at work sharing helpful tips for escorting civilians while keeping their insides inside at least 25% of the time. 

I was mightily impressed with this presentation from Reddit user Zarrusso, who's gone out of their way to help make sure "that you too can save those poor civilians and kick some metal butts in the process."

Tips for the Automatons Escort Missions from r/Helldivers

The key here, Zarrusso argues to the tune of 22,000 upvotes, is to treat escort missions differently and approach them sneakily. Don't drop into the hot zone; instead, land far away and approach carefully, with one squad breaking off to draw enemy fire while the others move in to escort the NPCs. The dedicated escort can even lean into the role with stealthy armor and should try to lay low, using discrete stratagems that won't set the sky falling. 

As some users have pointed out, these tips don't amount to much when Helldivers 2 inexplicably decides to drop multiple tank-class enemies right on your head like steel chairs in a cage match, but hey, it's something. You're also surely going to struggle coordinating a two-squad strategy like this in public lobbies, and even then some players have reported inexplicable offensive pushes from the bots despite the dedicated escort staying unseen. 

Granted, the fact that a cheesy workaround like this even feels necessary is pretty damning evidence that something is out of whack. The general vibe on escort missions is very much 'this is untenable,' with many players blaming seemingly bugged dropship spawns, but until the devs announce mission changes or fixes – which I'd wager they will given how imbalanced this stuff really can feel – we can only make the best of a bad situation. 

Fortunately, there are plenty more tips to go around, and I'm not just talking about 'do any other mission,' which is quickly becoming the crowd's anthem. Another player points out that you don't have to be precious with your civilians; it doesn't matter if 60 of them die as long as 30 of them get out. Have one or two players watch or rotate between the NPC spawn doors, let 'em rip as soon as they come up, and hope for the best. Or as one player so eloquently put it: "Besides, we only want the fastest and stealthiest 30 anyway."

Others have abandoned offense entirely in favor of raw defense and diversion. "You should always have smoke up, literally everyone who can take it should take a smoke," reckons Fit_Assistance. "Robots can't see shit in the smoke, and if you dodge into it you'll get a breather. If you smoke the civvies, almost all of them will survive." Just remember, when you smoke the civvies, do so with actual smoke, not a three-round artillery barrage. 

Here again, feeling forced to completely avoid combat in a chaotic co-op shooter seems to me like an indication of a combat imbalance, but I digress. Hopefully a more permanent solution turns up soon before players start escorting civilians into the afterlife in protest of overtuned missions.

Malevelon Creek, Helldivers 2's most infamous planet, has been lost to the robots - but players are already fighting to retake the world they've dubbed "space Vietnam."

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.