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Helldivers 2's controversial balancing changes look to have caused some unpleasant exchanges between its community and devs

Angry rants and unfortunate comments have replaced the nice roleplaying vibes.

Some players in a firefight in Helldivers 2.
Image credit: VG247/Arrowhead Game Studios

UPDATE(7 March, 3:00PM GMT): Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt has since addressed this issue via Reddit, writing: "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." He added: "As for the balance patch and the opinions surrounding it, we actively read as much as we possibly can and take what is said into consideration when we discuss things internally."

While Helldivers 2’s community has earned a lot of positive attention following the game’s release - mainly due to the fun folks have been having roleplaying as defenders of democracy. However, some of the balancing changes and nerfs deployed by Arrowhead yesterday seem to have brought out a side to some members of the game’s community that kinda sucks to see.

If you’re out of the loop, the arrival of yesterday’s patch - which also included the addition of new planetary hazards - came with some key changes designed to to help balance the game a little better. The main targets for tweaking were Extraction missions and weapons, with the latter including nerfs to three of the game’s most popular armaments, the Breaker, Railgun and Shield Generator Backpack.

Now, before we get into things, Arrowhead did a lot to try and explain the reasoning behind these changes to players who might be a bit miffed, with the studio’s head of product testing, Patrik Lasota having addressed balancing at length in a blog post, which came after another developer had discussed it in the game’s Discord server, as we covered yesterday.

“I believe players are scared of nerfs, because it will ruin the fantasy of a weapon, ruin their fun,” Lasota wrote in this post, “It is extra important to us to tread carefully so that we don’t ruin fantasy and fun when we do nerfs. We hope you, our players, will tell us when we cross that line inadvertently.”

Sadly, it seems some of the discussions being had on Reddit and Discord around the idea that, in the view of some players, this patch may well have crossed that line haven’t been handled too well by some people on both sides of the game’s community - players and what appear to be Arrowhead-affiliated folks. Alongside a mixture of posts openly ranting about the changes, others setting out more coherent arguments, and a fair few just bemoaning how toxic some of the reaction has been, you’ll find a couple featuring responses from what appear to be Arrowhead developers or community figures that don’t look to have helped de-escalate things.

A couple of these come from exchanges on the game’s Discord server with an apparent Arrowhead developer going by the handle Evil-Bosse - who seems to have since left the server - and a moderator that goes by Mellcor. Over the course of some tense exchanges with players expressing their unhappiness with the changes - in ways that you could argue are over the top - it seems that the first of the two has alluded to the idea of developer interaction with the community possibly being scaled back following this controversy, while the latter seems to have suggested they’re enjoying watching players complain about the changes.

Well fellas, this is probably the worst look imaginable.
by u/SaigaSlug in Helldivers

Another comment made on Reddit by someone that looks to be a senior animator at Arrowhead, which also alludes to the idea of drawing some joy from watching players rage about the game, has also drawn plenty of ire. That said, this remark does at least look to since have been apologised for by the poster, user AHGS_Fredrik_Eriksson.

"I'm sorry if people took offence to it," they wrote in this apology, "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."

Just to be sure, we at VG247 have reached out to Arrowhead in order to try and 100% verify that these three users are associated in some fashion with the studio, and not just trolls posing as such in order to create more aggro.

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