"The bots have AT-ATs now": New Helldivers 2 update sneaks terrifying Automaton Factory Strider walkers and gunship swarms past the patch notes

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: u/Sideral_Lemon on Reddit)

What you need to know

  • Helldivers 2's latest patch has stealthily added two new Automaton units to the game: the Factory Strider and gunships.
  • The former is a colossal heavily armored six-legged walker with a heavy laser cannon, front-mounted laser miniguns, and the ability to periodically spawn Devastator shock troops.
  • Gunships, meanwhile, spawn from factories on the map and rain lasers and rockets down on players from above.
  • Both require good armor penetration to damage, though the Factory Strider is particularly tanky and demands the use of heavy weapons like rocket launchers. It doesn't have a weak spot, though gunships take more damage when hit in their engines like regular Automaton dropships do.
  • The patch that added these also included a wide variety of different fixes and balance changes. I've included the full patch notes at the bottom of this article.

Less than 24 hours after Helldivers 2 players started to spot huge cloaked warships orbiting over Automaton planets, the bot menace has begun calling in the cavalry. Following the release of a new patch early on Tuesday morning, Super Earth forces have started encountering two new stealthily added enemy types: heavily armed and armored walkers and lethal gunships that rain fire from the skies.

The former are massive four-legged walking fortresses called Factory Striders, and while the Helldivers 2 community is colloquially referring to them as "AT-ATs" from Star Wars, they're much closer to Republic AT-TEs from the prequel era. Like the Clone Wars tank, Factory Striders attack with a massive laser cannon up top as well as rapid-fire blasters in the front. Oh, and in case you're wondering where the "factory" part of their name comes from, they periodically deploy Devastator shock troops from their undercarriage. Sweet Liberty, save me.

Like Automaton Hulks and Annihilator Tanks, Factory Striders have extremely thick armor and can only reliably be damaged with heavy stratagems like the Eagle 500kg Bomb or anti-armor support weapons like rocket launchers and the newly added Quasar Cannon. According to initial reports like this one from u/CappedPluto, the walkers have "no easy to find vents" for weak point damage, though they're extremely susceptible to being flanked if you're able to use cover to get close. Still, with space marines like u/Dwokimmortalus saying they "killed one with two orbital lasers, but it took the full cycle of each," you can expect a tough battle whenever one of these stomps your way.

A clear look at the new gunships you might now run into during Automaton missions. (Image credit: u/Bigglettt on Reddit)

Then there are the gunships, which have now been deployed following a recent report from Super Earth High Command that the Automatons were broadcasting blueprints for the aircraft to a hidden location beyond the borders of the galaxy map. These close air support craft spam missiles and laser fire at Helldivers from above, though they can be reliably taken down with any support weapon capable of decent armor penetration. That means all the heavy duty stuff will get the job done no problem, as will more "medium" options like the Autocannon that have more ammo and uptime.

Gunships are like bug Shriekers and Stalkers in that their presence indicates there's a fabricator "nest" spawning them in a base somewhere nearby, with each individual factory able to deploy up to three of the craft into the air at any given time. These will continue to field gunships as you destroy them until you blow them up with a Hellbomb, so finding them should be your top priority.

The gunships are reportedly fairly mobile and move around frequently, though according to u/Bigglettt, "they hover in place for a few seconds" periodically, which should help you line up your shots. If you can, hit their engines, as they take extra damage here just like regular Automaton dropships do.

The bots have AT-ATs now! from r/Helldivers

Both new unit types seem pretty terrifying to fight against, though Patch 01.000.200 has included a few balance changes that help players out. Specifically, medium and heavy armor got some buffs that improve their overall protection by 5 and 10% respectively, and Automaton rockets were also indirectly nerfed thanks to a fix for a bug that was causing players to take damage from these explosives multiple times. Backpacks for anti-armor rocket launchers like the Recoilless Rifle and Spear also now get an extra rocket from resupply pickups, so keeping these fed with ammo should be easier than it was before.

A number of other weapons got adjustments — notably, the Slugger shotgun got a somewhat controversial nerf to stagger and damage — and the level cap got raised from 50 to 150, too (the official Helldivers 2 account on X joked that "Super Earth is now recruiting Skull Admirals"). For a full list of the patch notes, check the section below.

Helldivers 2 Update 01.000.200: Patch notes

Super Earth's finest space marines looking heroic, as they always do. (Image credit: PlayStation Studios)

Here are the full patch notes for the 01.000.200, taken directly from the Helldivers 2 news page on Steam. Comically, they don't include any mention of the new Factory Strider walkers or gunships.

Overview

This update includes:

  • Balance changes to missions, stratagems, weapons, enemies and Helldivers.
  • General fixes and stability improvements.
  • Increased Level Cap

Gameplay

Planetary Hazard additions

  • Blizzards
  • Sandstorms

Increased level cap

  • Level cap has been increased from 50 to 150

Balancing

Missions

  • Retrieve Essential Personnel
    • Moved the enemy spawn points further away from the objective to give players a fairer chance of defending the location.
    • There are fewer civilians required to complete the mission on higher difficulties.
  • Destroy Command Bunkers
    • Now has more objective locations, the mission was too easy before compared to other missions.
    • It can now appear in operations from difficulty 5.

Operation Modifiers

  • Halved the negative effect of operation modifiers that increase stratagem cooldowns or call in times.

Primary, Secondary, & Support Weapons

  • Arc Thrower: fixed charging inconsistencies; it will now always take 1s to charge a shot.
  • Arc Thrower: reduced distance from 50m to 35m.
  • Arc Thrower: increased stagger force.
  • Guard Dog: now restores full ammo from supply boxes.
  • Anti-Materiel Rifle: damage increased by 30%.
  • Breaker Incendiary: damage per bullet increased from 15 per bullet to 20 per bullet.
  • Fire damage per tick increased by 50% (from all sources).
  • Liberator Penetrator: now has a full auto mode.
  • Dominator: increased damage from 200 to 300.
  • Dominator: increased stagger.
  • Diligence Counter Sniper: increased armor penetration from light to medium.
  • Slugger: reduced stagger.
  • Slugger: reduced damage from 280 to 250.
  • Slugger: reduced demolition force.
  • Slugger: fixed armor penetration tag in the menu.
  • Slugger, Liberator Concussive, Senator: fixed incorrect armor penetration tags in the menu.
  • Recoilless Rifle: increased the number of rockets you restore from supply boxes from 2 to 3.
  • Spear: increased the number of missiles you restore from supply boxes from 1 to 2.
  • Heavy Machine Gun: the highest fire rate mode reduced from 1200 rpm to a more moderate 950.

Stratagems

  • Patriot Exosuit: rockets will now penetrate armor only on direct hit.

Enemies

Balancing adjustments have been made to:

  • Chargers normal melee attack now does less damage against Exosuits.
  • Bile Spewer and Nursing Spewer do less damage with their puke.
  • The Bile Titan can no longer be stunned.
  • Shriekers no longer create bug breaches.
  • Shriekers hitting you while they are dead now does significantly less damage.

Helldiver

Balancing adjustments have been made to:

  • Heavy and medium armor protects better and you now take about 10% less damage than before while wearing heavy and about 5% less when wearing medium armor. Fortified commando and light armor is unchanged.

Fixes

  • Fixed issue where save settings for PS5 would be reset when the game is rebooted, causing things such as loadout and hint settings to reset.
  • Enemies now properly target Exosuits. Previously, many enemies effectively ignored Exosuits if a helldiver on foot was available for them to target.
  • Fixed Exosuits being able to fire their weapons while opening the minimap.
  • The Helldiver and the Exosuit both had a bug that made them sometimes take explosion damage multiple times making things like automaton rockets be too deadly, this is now fixed.
  • Automaton enemy constellations that preferred to spawn more of certain Devastators types did not work and are now functioning as they should. This means that sometimes when playing against the Automatons you will face more Devastators instead of other enemy types.

We have improved the system that prevents hellpod steering close to large or important objects.

  • We have solved issues where the effective area around objects was a lot larger than intended.
  • We have reduced the number of objects that prevent hellpod steering.
    • Note: This system is intended to prevent softlocks where players can drop on important interaction points, or drop into unintended places. We will continue to monitor the state of the system after the update to see if additional tweaks are necessary.
  • Fixed cases where the ground under some assets could be bombed causing them to float.

Ballistic Shield changes

  • Collision mesh has been slightly increased in size for more forgiveness
  • Changed shield poses so that less of the helldiver is exposed
  • Addressed bug where parts of the helldiver would become vulnerable while using the shield in first person

Tutorial

  • Invisible collision partially blocking the doorway leading to the launch pad in the Tutorial

Known Issues

These are issues that were either introduced by this patch and are being worked on, or are from a previous version and have not yet been fixed.

  • Game might crash when picking up a snowball or throwing back a grenade

Various issues involving friend invites and cross-play

  • Cross-platform friend invites might not show up in the Friend Requests tab.
  • Players cannot unfriend other players befriended via friend code.
  • Players cannot unblock players that were not in their Friends list beforehand.
  • Players cannot befriend players with Steam names shorter than 3 characters
  • Explosive weapon stats include only direct hit damage but not explosive damage.
  • Explosions do not break your limbs (except for when you fly into a rock).
  • Planet liberation reaches 100% at the end of every Defend mission.
  • Drowning in deep water with a Vitality Booster equipped puts Helldiver in a broken state.
  • Stratagem beam might attach itself to an enemy but it will deploy to its original location.
  • Some player customizations (like title or body type) may reset after restarting the game.

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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.