Helldivers 2 patch nerfs the best guns as designer says the balancing process will be “never-ending”

Arrowhead have released a new Helldivers 2 update – patch 01.000.100 – which designer Alex K describes as “the first round in a never-ending series of balance changes”. The patch nerfs three of what were hitherto the best Helldivers 2 guns and gear pieces – the SG-225 Breaker shotgun, the RS-422 railgun, and the SH-32 shield generator backpack, all of which break Arrowhead’s pretty straightforward golden rule that “each gun has its purpose and none is strictly better than another”.

“Our goal is to give you a wide range of weapon choices, where each gun has its purpose and none is strictly better than another,” Alex K wrote in a Discord post. “Sure, you will have your own favorite, but it should come from your personal preference, not from the universally agreed knowledge of which gun is the strongest. Generally, we balance each item according to its quirks, so if a weapon is very effective at what it does, it should come with significant disadvantages to balance its power.

“The AC-8 Autocannon is a good example of a well-balanced weapon,” the post continues. “It packs a powerful punch, has a very good range, but requires you to carry an ammo backpack or have a friend assist you. The GL-21 Grenade Launcher is the opposite example. It’s a good general purpose weapon that gives you so much flexibility, it obviously can’t deal too much damage without becoming overpowered.

“But weapons that are both powerful and versatile become a no-brainer choiсe during the weapon selection phase. It robs you of your own agency, as stale ‘meta’ builds force you to make an unfair choice between a fun weapon and an effective one. In short: Powerful weapons can’t be too versatile, versatile weapons can’t be too powerful.”

Of the aforementioned railgun, shotgun and shield generator, Alex K added that “all three of those were quite strong with too little downsides, overshadowing all other options on higher difficulty levels. So with this patch, they’re getting significant downsides to balance their power. However, we strongly believe that the changes won’t ruin this build, but rather help the affected items find their place among the other options and stay effective in capable hands.”

Regarding the railgun, Arrowhead have tweaked it so that the weapon’s safe mode – which stops it overheating and melting the user if you charge it up for too long – can no longer penetrate heavier armour. The unsafe overcharged mode is still able to do this, but the weapon now does less damage to massive body parts, pressuring you to aim for weakpoints. The Breaker shotgun now has a smaller magazine and higher recoil, while the shield generator has a longer recharging delay. It’s worth noting that the railgun and shield generator are particularly popular in the Helldivers 2 soloing scene.

All of this will be familiar reading for anybody who’s spent any length of time playing an online shooter. Arrowhead commenting that this is Helldivers 2’s first in an “endless” run of adjustments makes me feel very old, especially in the context of a story about a forever-war between bugs, robots and humans. I am already flashing forward to the game’s community in, say, five years’ time, when the original Breaker shotgun tuning has become an object of myth, whispered of whenever older Helldivers gather for a round of Stratagem Hero. Perhaps Super Earth’s government will host war memorials that double as anniversary events featuring the launch year balancing.

Still, newcomers to the art of gun-twiddling who’ve been making headway with any of the nerfed weapons may simply feel as though they’re being punished for enjoying themselves, as Alex K goes onto acknowledge. “On a more personal note, I know that having your favorite toy nerfed absolutely sucks,” he wrote, while calling on players to see the nerfs as change for the better overall.

Here are the latest Helldivers 2 patch notes in full. Tweaked weaponry aside, it introduces random terrain events such as meteor showers, and the possibility of bursting into flame if you stand too close to a launching ICBM. Time for another round of Helldivers 2 Crazy Moments videos!

Major Updates

Planetary Hazards active

Many planets now have additional environmental challenges that will appear at random while you are deployed, from fire tornadoes to meteor showers and many more.


Eradicate missions now require more kills and enemies spawn more often. The time to complete the mission was previously shorter than intended and should now usually take twice as long to complete.

Primary, Secondary, & Support Weapons

Breaker: Decreased magazine capacity from 16 to 13, increased recoil from 30 to 55

Railgun: Decreased armor penetration, decreased damage against durable enemy parts

Flamethrower: Increased damage per second by 50%

Laser Cannon: Increased damage against durable enemy parts, increased armor penetration, improved ergonomics

Punisher: Increased total ammo capacity from 40 to 60, increased stagger force, increased damage from 40 per bullet to 45 per bullet

Breaker Spray & Pray: Increased armor penetration, increased fire rate from 300 to 330, increased number of pellets from 12 to 16 per shot, decreased magazine size from to 32 to 26


Energy Shield Backpack: Increased delay before recharging

380mm and 120mm Orbital Barrages: Increased duration of the bombardment, decreased spread


Fixed armor rating values not reducing damage as intended.

Fixed certain Bug Holes (including Stalker Nests) that were unnecessarily hard to destroy.

Fixed anti-aliasing toggle not working on PS5.

Balanced lighting across all planets to solve cases where the game was too dark.

Improved flashlight efficacy.

Increased visibility during “sand rain” weather on Erata Prime.

Updated tutorial materials and lighting.

Improved cases where some materials could look blurry if “Lighting” graphic setting was set to “Low”.

Fixed timing issues that could occur in the “Extract E-710” primary objective.

Changed button interaction behavior for buttons in bunker POIs. Helldivers will now let go of the button after holding it for a few seconds.

Fixed some cases of large assets floating if the ground beneath them was blown up.

Helldivers standing next to ICBMs during launch will get properly toasty with a chance of not-so-spontaneous combustion.

Fixed unthrowable snowballs after ragdolling.

Fixed being able to use grenades after drowning.

Camera no longer locked on the player’s own corpse and blocking spectator mode.

Helldivers now take damage from fire, gas etc. generated by other players.

Armor no longer stretches when dismembered.

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 may crash after dropping several high power stratagems in succession.

Picking up items from caches may cause characters to freeze in place for an extended period of time.

Picking up items from bunkers and caches in quick succession may render one of the items unpickable.

Players cannot unfriend other players befriended via friend code.

Players may be unable to select loadout or return to ship when joining a multiplayer game session via PS5 Activity Card.

Mission objective HUD displays different numbers for client and host during some missions.

Default armor is always shown while viewing the warbond, regardless of the armor that player has equipped.

Text chat box display is obstructed by the cinematic letterboxing during extraction.

Some text in the HUD/UI is missing or not displaying correctly.

Players may experience issues when many players attempt to login and/or play at the same time:

Login rate limiting

Players may become disconnected during play

Various UI issues may appear when the game interacts with servers

Some games may not be joinable by others for a short period of time

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