Helldivers 2 Proves That Gamers Can Be Non-Toxic and Friendly

In Short
  • Helldivers 2 is, without a doubt, the least toxic game I have ever played.
  • There are many reasons for this, but the primary one is a shared cause for players to fight together and die together.
  • Other reasons include the game's PvE combat system along with a promise that it will never be PvP.

(April 7th, 2024 | 21:33, somewhere in the middle of Durgen) As I and my fellow Helldivers pushed through the desert mainland of the planet, we found ourselves surrounded and outnumbered. Being on my last magazine with all of my stratagems exhausted, I ran for my life while heading toward the heavenly blue extraction beacon. However, it would be all for naught.

With my stamina low and the last of my resolve completely drained, I was just about to lie down and let the Berserkers take me. But then I heard him.

Durgen Helldivers 2

“Don’t worry! I got you! Just keep f****** running!” shouted Dunkin778 as he charged on the incoming horde and dropped an Eagle 500kg bomb right beside him. Not having the strength to turn back, I ran as a big cloud of smoke bellowed above my head with a loud thud sound that echoed throughout the map. As I boarded the extraction shuttle and saw my fellow Helldiver get left behind, I realized something. Games like Helldivers 2 are the reason we all became gamers.

Helldivers 2 Gives You Something to Die for

It’s a tale as old as time. Nothing brings humanity together like shared suffering. Whether it’s an economic crisis or the fate of your species hanging in the balance, pain resonates within us like nothing else. Interestingly enough, this concept applies to gamers, too. Give a bunch of gamers a common cause to sacrifice themselves for, and you will see cooperation akin to that of NAVY Seals.

For those unaware, Helldivers 2 revolves around our home planet called Super Earth. As a species surrounded by both sides from enemy factions called the Terminids and the Automatons, it is up to Helldivers, an elite force of soldiers, to eradicate them all and win.

From the very beginning, Arrowhead Game Studios recognized and tapped into this idea. Beginning with an overarching storyline inspired by StarShip Troopers, the company combined it with the modern approach of fast-paced gaming and had itself a winner. However, the studio has one key thing most of us know and love: Democracy.

“Whether it’s an economic crisis or the fate of your species hanging in the balance, pain resonates within us like nothing else.”

Even though heavily Americanized, the fight for democracy and freedom got my blood pumping immediately. Helldivers 2 sprinkles the same theme with a healthy dose of satire. From the Helldiver orientation video shown in the intro to the constant bombardment of announcements and tips, everything is based on Liber-Tea.

As Helldivers in this experience, gamers worldwide have unironically taken up this fight for freedom and wear it like a badge. My colleague and I have made it a point to wish each other morning through the diver salute, and we don’t plan on stopping. An effect like this compounds and now resonates with more than half a million players on the daily.

Camaraderie That Transcends Platforms

You would think this feeling of togetherness would only last inside a game. I thought so, too. Until I chanced upon this random Reddit post. Posted by the best friend of a Helldiver who passed away, he detailed how his late friend used to grind out the game daily whilst showing him the ropes. The best friend asked if his late friend’s data could be exported. I’m sure he expected a few likes and nothing else. Quite honestly, so did I because, in the world of the Internet, who cares, right? Oh, I was so wrong.

A trainful of tributes (Image Courtesy: Reddit)

Within 24 hours of sharing the story, the post racked up over 30,000 upvotes, with hundreds of comments posting the same thing — the iconic Helldiver salute. Scrolling as I did, I could not reach the end of it.

Somewhere along the line, I noticed my cheeks were wet. I had started crying without realizing it. Soon after, Arrowhead Game Studios’ Johan Pilestedt commented that the game would receive a memorial in the late Skull Admiral’s honor. Call it a little virtual shrine of glory or whatever you want. I call it a moment I’ll remember my entire life.

Toxicity in Helldivers 2? What Toxicity

I know it sounds absolutely impossible to believe, but hear me out. Besides the common cause our Helldivers have, a weird correlation or positive side effect I noticed recently was that the game had no toxicity whatsoever.

I am a humble Helldiver, having only played the game for a little over 30 hours. While that may seem too little, I must point out my playtime of 3,000 hours in Rainbox Six Siege.

Anyone who has played R6 Siege knows the toxicity begins as soon as you boot up the game. From being teamkilled for choosing someone’s operator to having the entire team wiped out by a friendly because of a missed call, it’s all over the place. This pattern has been ongoing since 2018 and does not seem to be stopping anytime soon.

At its core, Helldivers 2 gives players a worldful of opportunities to be toxic. The game has a no-holds-barred approach when it comes to friendly fire. Accidentally firing a shot at your teammate will take up half their health. Heck, even meleeing them throws them five feet away. With friendly cannons that can blow you away and shots that cripple, you would expect players in Helldivers 2 to be killing each other left, right, and center. Do they? No. Not even once.

Throughout my entire playthrough of ridding the Super-Earth of Automatons and Terminids, I encountered no griefing, no friendly fire, and no indication of any toxicity. Whenever faced with a tough situation, my squad and I pulled through insurmountable odds by putting our “lives” on the line for each other. Being handed the power to cause damage and still not doing it. Now, that’s something I never thought I would see gamers do.

Actively Engaged Devs That Want No PVP

A key difference between Helldivers 2 and R6 Siege is the PvE vs PvP element. If you don’t know, this translates to Player vs Enemy and Player vs Player. So, while one game places a band of misfits against a common foe together, another forces players to fight amongst themselves. As you would expect, this results in very different outcomes.

Besides players in R6 Siege blowing each other away at a moment’s notice, the same experience can be seen in the likes of Call of Duty, Apex Legends, and even CS2, where toxicity is bound to surface in intense moments. Thankfully, Arrowhead Game Studios have recognized just how poisonous PvP can be.

In the X post below, the CEO of Arrowhead Studios vows that Helldivers 2 will never have a PvP mode. Provided the devs stick to their word, Helldivers shall always find a safe haven amongst each other.

You Don’t Have to Fight for Rewards

“Fortuna Favet Fortibus” While I do believe that fortune favors the bold, and Helldivers 2 knows that full well, it doesn’t force you to participate. Yes, I know the lore progressively forwards the notion of fighting or being a deserter. Conversely, even non-participating Helldivers reap the rewards that come after struggles. These include most major order rewards and even the likes of the Malvelon Creek Cape.

While that isn’t the best way of earning those rewards, it’s good to see that Arrowhead makes it a point to feel every player included, which, in turn, pulls the community in even more tightly. On a personal note, I suggest not being a lazy Helldiver and giving your life away for democracy. What else is there!?

Look, I know. At the end of the day, Helldivers 2 is a co-op game focused on team adventure. However, like any good book or movie that makes me forget where I am, this game catapults me to a world and actually makes me care for it. This love and devotion begins as soon as my Hellpod drops from the sky. Combined with the game’s theme, I am ready to give my own life for freedom right then and there.

However, the fight has only begun, and players see some of their life’s best and worst moments at once in the game. Do we care? No. Ask any Helldiver around the clock, and they will tell you that dying for democracy in Helldivers is, without a doubt, the single most noble cause of their life. For all these reasons and more, Helldivers 2 proves that gamers are not toxic. We just need something to fight and, more importantly, die for.

How’s your experience with Helldivers 2 been? Let us know in the comments below!

Comments 1
  • lester says:

    my buddy asked if it triggered my ptsd, No if anything this game is healing it.
    being able to join others in a cause .

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