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9 things Helldivers 2 doesn’t tell you that are actually pretty important

You can tell Helldivers 2 has some legs when over a week from launch we’re still trying to figure out many of its quirks. Between ramping difficulty tiers, under-explained stratagems, and curveballs thrown into the galactic war simulation, it’s clear Arrowhead Games is intentionally maintaining an air of secrecy around Helldivers 2.

In these early days it feels like anything is possible, and that our understanding of Helldivers 2’s inner workings can change in an instant. Like, did you know explosive gun variants only deal extra damage to certain enemies? Arrowhead CEO John Pilestedt left that detail out of in-game descriptions, and says other details like it have yet to be discovered by players.

As we continue to play Helldivers 2 daily and share our experiences, here are our best non-obvious but important tips that Helldivers 2 does not tell you.

You don’t have to survive to succeed

In keeping with Helldivers 2’s cynical world, it’s not that important that you extract from a mission. You do get a bonus for every helldiver that leaves via airship, but as long as the main objective is completed, you’ll get your full Medals payout either way. This is good to keep in mind on missions with short timers: it’s OK to take your time on objectives and not sweat the extraction part.

EMS strikes are important against Automatons

The first thing you’ll learn in a high-difficulty Automaton mission is that they have more armor than you have bullets in a magazine. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in Helldivers 2 when your guns feel even slightly underpowered, and explosive airstrikes aren’t the silver bullet they are against Terminids. Consider asking one squadmate to bring an EMS strike (or EMS mortar), an AoE stun field that stops bots in their tracks and gives your squad room to take a breath, reload, and flank bot weak points. Beware that you can get stunned by the blast too, but it’s not lethal.

You can get a similar effect with smoke strikes. Smoke will blind bots long enough to break line of sight, but at close range they tend to march straight through smoke and pick up where they left off. EMS and smoke have quick cooldowns and carry no risk of blowing yourself up.

The Supply Pack is the best stratagem in the game

As you start cranking up the difficulty in Helldivers, ammo becomes worth its weight in gold. You’ll really feel that two-minute Resupply cooldown on your third consecutive Bug Breach, and for that reason I often volunteer to bring a Supply Pack. The Supply Pack lets you carry up to four ammo boxes identical to the ones in resupply pods, effectively doubling your party’s ammo total at any given time. You can restock the pack with Resupply pods and, after a lengthy cooldown, even call down another for four free ammo boxes.

Planets have dark sides

Visibility is a major impediment on missions with Spore Towers or jungle fauna. But if you’re not paying attention, you might miss how Helldivers 2 indicates the time of day. When selecting a set of missions on your ship, the planetary view should show a 3D, rotatable model of the planet. This isn’t noted with any kind of text or icon, but if your mission area falls in the darkened area, expect to fight at night.

I’m not sure yet whether planets actually rotate in real time around their sun in Helldivers 2. In-mission, some weapons do have a flashlight that you can toggle on or off by holding R to open the fire select UI.

Grenade launchers are the best at clearing nests and spore towers

The grenade launcher support weapon is your best friend when you need to quickly clear nests and other side objectives. You only need one grenade to shut down each nest, and you can do it from a safe distance. It’s faster than an airstrike, more consistent, and much safer than getting close enough to toss your own grenades into nests. The same goes for those nasty spore towers that blanket whole chunks of the map in fog—launch a nade in from a mile away and clear it without issue.

Explosion damage is 100% more effective against Terminid weak points

This tip comes straight from the mouth of Arrowhead Games CEO John Pilestedt, who explained on Twitter how the explosive trait on some weapon variants work.

“The explosive trait means that the weapon will do 100% damage against enemies that have massive squishy parts. Other guns will only do 10% dmg against those parts.”

Two examples of massive squishy parts:

The orange glowing bit on the backs of ChargersThe bulbous bodies of Bile Spewers

That’s an important detail, because if you only compare listed stats, explosive guns are weaker than the default versions. Nowhere in the description of the AR-23E Liberator Explosive or the Breaker equivalent does it explain the 100% weak point boost, but there you go.

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Orbital strikes are fired at an angle

You might’ve noticed that you can look up and actually see where your offensive stratagems are coming from. Launch an eagle strike and you’ll see fighter jets strafe the battlefield. Call in a resupply and you can track its journey from your mothership. But did you know that Orbital type strikes always fire from your ship positioned at the center of the sky? That means it’s actually possible for your ship to miss.

It’s not likely to happen, but if you’re on a planet with steep hills, tall nest structures, and you’re on the edge of the map, a precision missile strike or gatling barrage can sometimes end up blasting the hill instead of your target.

Unlock the Orbital Laser ASAP

One of the strongest offensive stratagems in the game is the Orbital Laser strike, a superheated cylinder of death that evaporates all in its wake. It’s so powerful that it can only be used three times and has a whopping five minute cooldown. Use it when something big must die.

Prone protects against explosions

I spotted this one as a loading screen tooltip one time and then never saw it again. Going prone (or diving) will protect you against explosions to a degree. It’s not clearly exactly how much damage mitigation you get, but it’s enough to not immediately die if you’re in the splash zone of rockets, grenades, and smaller airstrikes. If you don’t think you can run away from an orbital strike before it lands, just hit the deck and hope for the best.


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