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Helldivers 2 Cutting Edge warbond is out, sparking fresh debate about the Illuminate faction

All the lightning guns, laser rifles and fancy armour you can eat

A Helldiver player firing an electrical gun
Image credit: PlayStation

Helldivers 2's Cutting Edge Premium warbond, aka DLC battle pass, is now available to buy in-game, and it is chock-full of oddball gadgetry such as lightning shotguns, burst-fire laser rifles and experimental armour. As with the Arc Thrower stratagem, the lightning shotgun fires arcs of electricity that conduct between players and enemies alike, but there's a fresh armour perk, Electrical Conduit, which reduces arc damage by 95%, allowing close-knit teams of Helldivers to roll around the battlefield frazzling themselves without much penalty.

Still, I think the real star pick here is surely the Localization Confusion booster, which extends the time between enemy spawns, allowing weirdo solo players such as myself to disentangle from a dragged-out gunfight a little more gracefully.

As detailed earlier this week by Sony, the pack costs 1000 Super Credits (technically, 700 Super Credits given that it includes a 300 Super Credit payout), which can be either earned or bought from the Acquisition Centre for $9.99/£7.99. You'll then need to earn the included goodies by spending medals from your victories, near-victories or honourable defeats. The passes aren't time-sensitive, so there's no rush to grind out the goods.

One question invited by the addition of the arc-resistant armour perk is whether it's preparation for the return of the Illuminate faction from the first Helldivers - the Illuminates being pretty big on Tesla weaponry, as The Loadout notes. Arrowhead are currently focussed on fleshing out the Terminid faction - there are now flying bugs in the game (despite Arrowhead's counter-propaganda), and new missions involving pesticide towers that will supposedly put paid to the bug menace for good. But in-game Super Earth broadcasts hint that the Illuminates are out there, and there are some alleged leaked images in the wilds as well.

Another question invited by the warbond is a familiar one: will players feel pressured to buy it so as to keep pace with the game's PvE meta? Hopefully not: back in February, Arrowhead's CEO Johan Pilestedt commented that the developers "really applied ourselves to not make it [pay-to-win]" as part of Arrowhead's broad objective to develop a "systems-first" game in which experimentation is rewarded (or at least, punished in an entertainingly bloody way).

Food for thought while waiting for the dropship! Don't think too hard, mind you - it's bad for your patriotism. Anyway, here's a trailer breakdown of the Warbond's contents.

Watch on YouTube

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