Big Helldivers 2 balance changes are on the way, so hopefully everyone can stop arguing about meta loadouts soon

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • In the weeks following Helldivers 2's launch, the game's "meta" — the best armor, weapons, and stratagems to use — has settled. Though you can use anything you want and be successful in the first five or six of Helldivers 2's difficulty tiers, things get more complicated in the higher ones.
  • Some players are kicking people who don't use meta loadouts from their games, sparking anger and arguments on social media sites like Reddit as well as in the game's Discord server.
  • Many are looking to Arrowhead to buff underperforming gear in a balance patch. Fortunately, the studio says that it's "working on that for an update."
  • We don't know when the update is coming or what changes it'll include specifically. Hopefully it comes sooner rather than later.

While pretty much any combination of armor, weapons, and stratagems is viable in the first five or six difficulty tiers in Helldivers 2, things start getting more complicated at the "Suicide Mission" tier and above. At that level of play, it can often feel like you're holding yourself or your team back by using what you find most enjoyable instead of all the best kit at the peak of the "meta."

That meta has largely settled on the best weapons and best stratagems like the SG-225 Breaker shotgun, the Railgun, and the Shield Generator Pack, along with big boss-killing call-ins like the Eagle 500kg Bomb, the Orbital Railcannon Strike, and the Orbital Laser. And in recent days, many players have begun kicking their fellow Super Earth patriots if they're not using these in their loadouts, sparking plenty of outrage and arguments on Reddit, the game's Discord server, and other sites.

As the drama unfolds, many are looking to developer Arrowhead Game Studios for a balance patch that buffs up Helldivers 2's underperforming gear so it can hang with the rest — and thankfully, the studio's community and social media manager Baskinator has confirmed that one is on the way. "We are working on that for an update, yes," she wrote in response to a player asking if buffs are coming.

You can use whatever you want in lower difficulties, but that's not really the case in higher ones. (Image credit: PlayStation Studios)

Baskinator didn't reveal when we should expect the balance changes to drop or what they'll be specifically, but honestly? I'm just glad we'll hopefully be able to move past all the meta debates soon. Co-op games like Helldivers 2 are more fun when you don't feel tied down to any one loadout or build, and with some sizable buffs, I expect lots of weapons and stratagems will become more reliable at higher difficulties.

Of course, players have always been able to simply "use the one you like the most" as Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt suggested in a post this morning (he also revealed each weapon has 46 hidden stats in addition to the four you can see, and, uh, wow). But if only a handful of items are strong enough to take into harder difficulties, that's what people are going to stick with.

I've tried playing through difficulty Tier 7 and 8 missions with what most would consider suboptimal loadouts, and it's just...not a good time. Yes, it's possible, but it's also so much harder, as pretty much nothing other than the Eagle Airstrike and Cluster Bomb stratagems give you the same level of efficient killing power.

Bile Titans are gigantic, heavily armored bugs you'll encounter frequently on Tier 7 difficulty and above. (Image credit: PlayStation Studios)

What Helldivers 2 doesn't need right now are nerfs of any kind, so I'm praying to Liberty that we won't see any included in this update whenever it hits. If any do come, I hope they're extremely minor, especially since the game's hardest content is still quite difficult even with the best loadout you can put together right now.

With any luck, the game's first balance patch will come sooner rather than later, as Arrowhead has begun "to focus on improvements" now that Helldivers 2's server issues have been taken care of. Perhaps it will be accompanied by the highly anticipated addition of the armored mechs that were teased in the "Report for Duty" trailer, which would certainly be a good way to guarantee a meta shake-up.

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)

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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.