As Helldivers 2 Automatons tear through the galaxy, players get new Warbond and big Ship Module upgrades to even the odds

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: PlayStation Studios)

What you need to know

  • Earlier this week, Helldivers 2's Automaton faction returned to the Galactic War following what was thought to be their ultimate defeat over the weekend. A massive invasion fleet is currently tearing through the northwestern sectors of the galaxy, and so far, attempts to defend against it have gone poorly.
  • To help even the odds, developer Arrowhead has released new Ship Module upgrades alongside the Democratic Detonation Warbond that came out on Thursday morning.
  • The Level 4 Ship Modules make supplying support weapons with ammo easier, buff Eagle air support, give the Flamethrower a huge DPS increase, tighten the spread of orbital high-explosive barrages, and more.
  • Note that you'll need Super Samples to unlock these enhancements, which means you'll need to find and extract with them in Difficulty 7-9 missions to get the upgrades.

Earlier this week, Helldivers 2's Automaton menace — thought to have been destroyed for good over the weekend during a successful offensive — returned to the Galactic War en masse, invading Cyberstan and many other planets with a colossal invasion fleet. We've got a Major Order to slow its advance as much as we can by winning five planetary Defense campaigns, but it's not exactly going well; as I write this, there's about 20 hours before the operation expires, but we've only held the line on two worlds despite around-the-clock efforts from the community.

Indeed, this seems like a Major Order we might be supposed to lose, and I expect failure here will lead to whatever the next phase of the Automatons' "The Reclamation" counteroffensive is. There's a big silver lining, though, and that's that Super Earth has requisitioned some brand new Ship Module upgrades to go with the explosive Democratic Detonation Warbond that released on schedule earlier this morning.

I covered everything in the Democratic Detonation Warbond battle pass in this article last week, but the TL;DR is that it adds three armor sets and a number of different explosive and armor-piercing weapons that should, in theory, be quite useful against the bots. Personally, though, I'm most excited to grind for the new Level 4 Ship Modules that shipped alongside it. 

Like the Level 3 Ship Module upgrades that've been available since the launch of Helldivers 2 in February, these new ones require Super Samples, so you'll need to jump into missions on Difficulty 7-9 — AKA, Suicide Mission, Impossible, and Helldive — and hunt those down before you can unlock them. However, the upgrades are absolutely worth the effort, as I'm sure you'll agree once you read what each one does:

  • Superior Packing Methodology: Resupply boxes refill Support Weapons with the maximum number of carriable magazines. 
  • Atmospheric Monitoring: Orbital HE spread reduced by 15%.
  • XXL Weapons Bay: Eagle stratagems that drop multiple bombs will drop 1 additional bomb(s).
  • Enhanced Combustion: Fire damage from stratagems increased by 25%.
  • Circuit Expansion: Lightning arcs, fired from weapons and turrets, jump to one additional enemy.
  • Blast Absorption: Sentries take 50% less damage from explosions.

The effect of Circuit Expansion is pretty underwhelming, but every other new Ship Module enhancement has a huge impact. Superior Packing Methodology makes keeping machine gun and backpack-fed support weapons like the Autocannon topped up on ammo much easier, while Atmospheric Monitoring turns the 120mm and 380mm HE Barrage stratagems into even better base-killers than they already were. XXL Weapons Bay, meanwhile, improves the effectiveness of all your close air support call-ins, while Enhanced Combustion is about to single-handedly make the Flamethrower a meta pick against the bugs.

Blast Absorption is also notable for being an improvement that's exclusively meant to counter the Automatons, as the Terminids don't use explosives of any kind. Sentries getting blown up by rocket launcher-wielding bots like Devastators is one of the big reasons players typically don't bring them to Automaton missions unless it's one they can throw behind cover like the Mortar and EMS Mortar Sentry, so it's nice to see this upgrade address that weakness.

The war against the Automaton menace has taken a turn for the worse, but don't give up hope. (Image credit: PlayStation Studios)

Together with everything from Democratic Detonation, these Ship Modules should help to even the odds against the resurgent Automatons. I think it's too late for the tide of the current Major Order to turn, unfortunately, but future ones are sure to be a little easier to complete with the new ordnance and these enhancements.

Don't get cocky, though. The fight against the bot legions is never going to be an easy one, and don't forget that they recently deployed new toys of their own: Factory Strider "AT-AT" walkers and gunship swarms. The former seems to be very rare — I haven't even encountered one since they were added — but the gunships are far more common, and just as deadly. Keep those Quasar Cannons trained on the sky, space marines.

Helldivers 2 is available now for $39.99 on both PS5 and PC, and so far, it's one of the best PC games of the year. Notably, the game also supports cross-platform play between PS5 and PC.

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

Battle aliens, robots, and other beasts in humanity's quest to spread democracy through an unforgiving galaxy. It's 4-player co-op at its absolute best, and its most refined.

Also at: Amazon (PS5, Physical) | Walmart (PS5, Physical)

Super Citizen Edition: Amazon (PC, Digital) | GMG (Steam, PC, Digital)

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.