Helldivers (Magicka x Starship Troopers)

Ah, but it has the Predator “biceps handshake” emote, for us fans of the eighties action flick.

“I just play after work”

Today I learned that if two people have the emote and you position the squad carefully, you can turn it into the team version. Helldivers on three! One-two-three-HELLDIVERS!

But more importantly, can you group hug?

Game feels absolutely broken today. Landing on planets, can’t interact with stuff, eventually game fully desyncs. Very nice

Played for a couple of hours, not sure what we didn’t kill five of to be honest…

Did you try teammates?

It’s Hulks.

I currently have 330 games on my Steam account. I have completed all of the achievements for only three of them. The first was “There’s Poop in my Soup!” which is one of those $1-$2 games designed just for getting easy achievements. Next was “Counter-Strike 2” shortly after its conversion from CS:GO, because it has only one achievement (which is hidden for some reason) that you earn by simply finishing one match (even a practice game against bots counts). And now, about a week ago I managed this when I noticed I only had a few achievements left and those could be cheesed (like explosives don’t work anymore for getting the one to break all four limbs, but if you put on some Democracy Protects armor you can do it by dropping a supply canister on yourself, which will break all of your limbs at once if the 50/50 fatal damage survival chance keeps you alive):

AllHelldivers2SteamAchievements06-26-2024

Obviously I’m not an achievement chaser, but it is nice to see a game that doesn’t have a bunch that are wildly time-consuming or difficult.

Wow, congrats!

Well, some people will be happy: there are more things to unlock now

You would be surprising the amount of people that complained of not having ‘reason to play’, I saw a twitter thread the other day…

I’ve noticed a generational difference. I had my ship up to 23/24 upgrades (didn’t have Circuit Expansion, the level 4 upgrade that adds one more target jump to the Arc Thrower and Tesla Tower, not something I’d use much so didn’t feel like I was missing anything crucial). That made me feel like I’d reached the start of the endgame, same feeling as when I had enough gear in WoW to join groups working on the final raid dungeon of each patch.

But younger players were quitting left & right when there were no more rewards to chase. The ones I talked to said they felt like their motivation was gone, there was no more reason to play if there were no more rewards to earn, and so went to play other games. I guess they don’t play chess, or any other boardgame? I feel like I am getting a management lesson for handling younger workers.

It will be interesting to see if they come back to earn the new ship upgrades before leaving again. It is a lot. Doing some rough estimates, I figure it will take about 85 dives at level 7 difficulty with a decent team. ~1300 Orange samples is just so, so many.

It’s even more samples if you find a ton of rares and supers, dump 'em on the extract to do the last objective, and one of your teammates scoops them up (“LOOK WHAT I FOUND, SAMPLES!”) and then dies at the far end of the map while another very smart teammate activates the extraction and then hops in the boat, leaving with 0 samples while the other 3 people are left to fight robots until our last breath.

The other two people playing that were no where near the pad hard rage quit when the level 7 guy we were carrying called in the extraction and hopped in,

On the other hand, if that person is level 7, that’s new blood!

Oof, that is painful. The game simply fails to teach new players so many subtleties of play, or conventions that the community has invented like leaving valuable samples at the extraction point.

I’ve managed to put together a decent friends list, then a few weeks ago I was invited to try out for a private squadron of good, generally older players (there’s no rule, but the youngest person I have played with is 25). I had to show up on a Saturday and rotate through a few groups so that all of the leadership could get to know me a little, make sure I’m not a jackass, know which end of the weapon is the dangerous one, and that I can drop airstrikes and orbitals with minimal team kills. Not everyone is still active, but they have several hundred members, and run everything through an invite-only Discord server. Despite being in Pacific Time maybe 75% of my drops are with them now. Most members are level 60-80, but I’ve also never seen so many 150s, seems like there is at least one on every drop.

Despite Arrowhead’s best efforts to encourage team play, players are finding their own ways to avoid griefers and terrible players (and genuinely terrible players are rare, it mostly is just not knowing the stuff “Basic Training” fails teach you, all the stuff that comes with experience). I know this isn’t the only “secret” squadron/guild out there, and those are where many of the hardcore players are hiding. I still like to go find new players, but my personal rule for helping/mentoring new players now is to ask them to use voice comms. You’re going to need them later, so get used to using them now.

As I gain trust with this group, I can probably get invitations for the folks here who are still playing. Probably a week or two?

Do let me know how that group works out. I’m really mostly only playing with @fishpockets nowadays, after a few bad experiences with idiots kicking me for frustrating reasons (eg when the emergency shuttle left at the end of the 2 minutes they blamed me for getting on it). I also prefer voice comms but notice that no one ever uses them when it’s randos.

I think I could qualify for that group, based on the criteria you mentioned.

So my usual group jumped back on last night after a longer break than usual. We unlocked Helldive difficulty last time we played and thought… sod it, let’s go. Well, we did a full Automaton operation relatively comfortably, with only the last mission evac causing us to death spiral. We were totally overwhelmed (gunship yard nearby) with only two of us just managing to dive into the Pelican. The rest of the time it felt… fine? Chaotic (and awesome), as usual. Maybe we got lucky? Maybe the difficulty was tuned down? Maybe we finally got gud? It definitely felt a lot more manageable while still requiring teamwork.

Ugh, I know what you mean with voice comms (or lack thereof).

I’m a shy microphone user. But I’m not shy about dropping a 500 on my squad.

Some Helldives go smoothly like that, and some become complete chaos. Most seem like a tough but fair challenge for a good team. It may be that everyone is making or missing critical shots, or that patrols or enemy reinforcements contain higher or lower numbers of elite units, it is hard to say in all of the chaos. Then sometimes the game just says, “You know what? Fuck you people, you lose,” and unloads an impossibly strong wave of dropships or bug breaches on your squad at the last minute.

Then there’s the aptly-named Hellmire. All bets are off there, can we please have more Dark Fluid to destroy it?

I’m virtually certain that the game spawns in a ton of enemies very close to the extraction point when you are or should be on the shuttle, providing that feeling of Indiana Jones barely avoiding the death traps as he escapes after looting a long-lost tomb. But when the Fire Tornadoes say, “Why the big hurry, you should fight all of those things,” you’re going to get another reminder that Super Earth doesn’t really care if any of you extract, so long as you accomplished your primary mission. The ship has a freezer full of replacement bodies, SEAF can afford to leave those four on the surface.

Did you ever notice that EVERY helmet has a Matrix-like socket on the back? I have a ridiculous 43 different helmets now, and I checked - all of them have that socket (Edit: I was not remembering correctly, the two new Beret helmets don’t have sockets. The mystery of the Viper Commandos deepens!). Join the Helldivers, and get turned into a meat puppet for our experienced veterans to take over!

Democracy is tired.