Helldivers 2 devs are secretly pushing players away from fighting Terminids

Carver Fisher

One of Helldivers 2’s biggest problems is that players vastly prefer fighting Terminids to Automatons, throwing off the balance of the galactic war. However, there’s good reason to believe the devs are stealthily doing as much as they can to try and restore that balance.

For those who pay attention to the ever-changing landscape of Helldivers 2’s galaxy, you’ll have no doubt noticed how many more players are fighting Terminids than Automatons at any given time. When there’s no Major Order live to influence the numbers, as many as 4-5 times more players are fighting Terminids in comparison to Automatons.

It’s abundantly clear that Terminids are the faction players prefer to fight, but having such a massive imbalance in the galaxy could cause a whole host of problems for designing events and tracking how they progress.

So, I’m convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Arrowhead are doing everything in their power to stealthily and gradually rebalance the game and create as many incentives as they can for players to start fighting the galactic war on other fronts without forcing them to stop playing content they enjoy.

Why are Helldivers 2 player preferences a problem?

On one hand, it’s easy to say that players should choose to fight the battles they want to. As long as people are enjoying the game the way they want to play it, what’s the harm, right?

This could be true when viewed through the lens of each player’s individual experience, but there’s one major problem: How do you balance players’ progress in the greater battle if there’s so much volatility?

With such a massive majority of players fighting on Terminid planets, the way progress is tuned between the two factions has to be drastically different. Automaton planets and missions are forced to be much easier to take because of how few players are tackling those missions, but any imbalance or sudden shift from players is almost impossible to predict.

If there’s an Automaton Major Order, how easy should you make it to get through? Should you expect players to abandon Terminid missions? Well, thanks to an Automaton Major Order that’s run recently, we’ve got our answer.

200k players are fighting for the Automatons Major Order, while just one Terminid sector has almost 100k players. And the other sectors aren’t empty, either. Even with a ton of medals being dangled in front of them, tons of players are actively choosing to fight Terminids as other Helldivers are struggling with the Automatons.

If it were a Terminid Major Order, things would likely be different and the ratio would be closer to 85-90% of players tackling the main objective in the galaxy. Not to mention that a vast majority of the Major Orders so far have been on Terminid planets, likely on purpose to keep the focus on content players enjoy.

But Helldivers 2’s big selling point as an ever-changing galaxy doesn’t have nearly as much impact if players spend most of their time fending off one faction.

However, the devs are working behind the scenes to shift the balance right under our noses and fix their biggest mistake on launch.

The Malevelon Creek incident

Those who were playing Helldivers 2 when it was initially exploding will know the tale of Malevelon Creek’s first Major Order, a blitz that saw new Helldivers getting tossed into the meat grinder. Some still haven’t let go of their vendetta against Malevelon Creek. There’s an argument to be made that Automatons are harder at all levels, but early game players have no chance against the bots.

Players trying their hardest only to fail the Major Order and fall to the Automatons was a negative experience for many, especially considering that weapons like the Railgun and Autocannon that are actually effective against the Automatons are level-gated. It’s hard to view the sheer lack of options players have to take down Automatons in the lower levels as anything but a design mistake.

So, the devs have made a number of changes to both make the Terminids harder for players and to make Automatons a bit easier over time.

There was a stealthy update that tuned the difficulty of Terminid missions, increasing the amount of Terminids that spawn and the chances of getting harder enemies, along with the addition of flying enemies to up the challenge. The latest content update also added weapons specifically tailored toward taking down some of the larger Automaton threats.

Rather than directly leading players away from fighting Terminids and forcing a solution, it’s likely the devs are tailoring every update around subtly pushing players more and more toward fighting bots over time.

Whether or not players will end up migrating to Automatons remains to be seen, but it’s practically impossible that this shift was an accident.