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Helldivers 2 is now auto-kicking AFK players to help ease server woes

The co-op shooter remains too popular for its own good

An orbital strike creates an enormous explosion in Helldivers 2.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/PlayStation

As Helldivers 2 continues to be struggling with its own success, suffering wildly overloaded servers that make it sometimes tricky to even log in, a new patch today has added a feature to help alleviate the pressure. Having previously capped the number of players to 450,000, developers Arrowhead have now added an auto-kick to stop people hogging those precious slots while not playing. After 15 minutes, AFK players will now get booted. It's clearly not the big fix needed but hopefully fresh duct tape will help hold the co-op shooter together until more permanent solutions arrive.

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Patch 1.000.11 launched this morning. The patch notes list fixes for a number of different crashes, fixes for several problems with the controversial GameGuard anti-cheat tech, and that it has "implemented a functionality that will kick players who remain idle for 15 minutes back to the title screen."

Having not Helldove yet myself, I thought 15 minutes sounded a weirdly long time for auto-kick. After chatting with the resident divers in the RPS treehouse, oh, the problem isn't people wandering away from their computers during matches, it's that the whole game is on fire and people are staying logged in to avoid login queues—meaning more queueing for people who want to actually play now.

Our James (who can tell you how to make Helldivers 2 playable on a Steam Deck) hopped on for me just now and didn't face login queues but did crash right as everyone readied up for a mission. Plus ça change and all that. The "known issues" section of the patch notes does list persisting problems Arrowhead are aware of, including crashes, disconnections, UI issues, missing rewards. I look forward to playing once it's not on fire.

"Impeccable action and clever details make this a rare breed of live service co-op shooter, where the focus lies squarely on laughter instead of racking up loot," Ed said in our glowing Helldivers 2 review. The game is good. People like playing Starship Troopers with heavy artillery and even more friendly fire. Which has made it really quite popular. Which has proved a problem.

While players are understandly upset about struggling to play a game they paid £35 for, Arrowhead were simply unprepared for this success. CEO Johan Pilestedt recently praised their backend engineers on Twitter, saying that the team of four were "5x-ing the max of what they designed for in one week, and are now looking to go beyond." He added, "I don't think you understand what a massive feat this is. It's like tuning a Vespa to compete in F1."

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