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Helldivers 2 devs apologise for trolly responses to player complaints about gun balancing

"I am extremely disappointed with the behavior," says Arrowhead CEO

The Railgun selected in the stratagems menu in Helldivers 2.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/PlayStation

Arrowhead's CEO Johan Pilestedt has apologised for some spicy developer responses to players complaining about Helldivers 2's first major balancing patch, which made certain Helldivers 2 guns and equipment pieces significantly less powerful alongside other adjustments to the new shooter's armor system, maps and missions.

Much of the player anger has to do with the softening of three particular favourites - the railgun, "Breaker" shotgun and portable shield generator. Arrowhead have commented and blogged at great length about the reasoning behind the tweaks. One designer commented yesterday that "we strongly believe that the changes won't ruin this build, but rather help the affected items find their place among the other options and stay effective in capable hands."

Some Helldivers 2 players agree with this justification and some do not, to put it mildly. Senior animator Fredrik Eriksson has been responding to the latter on Reddit, perhaps not in the most constructive fashion. "I'm feeding the rage a little for my own entertainment here, just so you know," he wrote in one thread. "We haven't nerfed anything into the ground, I just think it's a little too early to pretend like the game is figured out. We made two of the most brainless playstyles less viable, and brought the guns that are under/overperforming more into line with the rest.

"The game is only a couple of weeks old, so before we start making sweeping changes we want everything roughly where we intended from the start," Eriksson went on. "That doesn't mean we won't bring things up when we know more about how people play the game."

As is the way of fandoms scorned, Helldiver redditors have screencapped the "feeding the rage" and "brainless" quotes and shared them around. Now, Pilestedt has stepped in, apologising for Eriksson's cheeky remarks and commenting that Arrowhead are still learning how to communicate with the unexpectedly gigantic Helldivers 2 community.

"[S}ince I am a heavy subscriber of a communicative studio it means that I encourage developers to engage with the community," he wrote. "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. While I understand that it reflects on the studio as a whole, it is not our intention that this should be the behavior from us. We want to ensure that you all have the best time possible in this game and in this community.

"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. Right now, the hot topic is your guys' feedback and response to the balance adjustments and the feeling of the game experience at large."

Discussing Eriksson's comments in particular, Pilestedt wrote "yeah, this is a horrible statement and not representing or following the studio guidelines in how to communicate. It is emotionally driven and the critiques of the balance patch were taken as a personal attack. I am extremely disappointed with the behavior."

Eriksson, meanwhile, has apologised for being a provocateur in a separate thread. "I went a little far with the trolling, but what I said is said," he wrote. "I'm sorry if people took offence to it, 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. Maybe this isn't going to mend anything with you, but at least I feel I should own up to it and apologize. I'm sorry."

My impression of Arrowhead at the time of writing is that very few people there have had a good night's sleep since their Starship Bloop 'em up hit Steam. Helldivers 2 is probably the year's least expected mega hit after Palworld, and the developers have been openly struggling to keep up with its popularity. As such, I think they can be excused a few grumpy Reddit posts, though I will say that admitting to being a troll on Reddit is a lot like trying to stand on a Charger and take a selfie.

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