Helldivers 2 patch sneaks out the revelation that when we killed 2 billion bugs in a day, that was actually a bug

A giant bile titan, a towering insect from Helldivers 2, lets out a vicious scream as it stomps over the landscape.
(Image credit: Arrowhead Games)

A new day for democracy, a new Helldivers 2 patch. Though this one is perhaps arriving to a more muted reception than usual, as both Arrowhead Game Studios and the game's players lick their wounds following last week's big controversy over Sony account linkage. A throwdown which ended in a gigantic u-turn, bodies in the road, and a reverse review-bombing.

Such is the drama, you'd be forgiven for forgetting there's still a galactic war going on, and Arrowhead's latest patch addresses a few annoyances that have cropped up along the way: as well as including one quiet revelation.

Remember how the Helldivers collectively annihilated two billion bugs in less than 24 hours? What a great day for democracy though, even at the time, some wondered if game master Joel had put his thumb on the scale to help out with this major order. Turns out that, appropriately enough, there was a bug in the system:

"Major orders with the 'Kill task' now track score correctly. Previously it counted the entire squad’s kills once for each player, meaning it would multiply the score by the number of people on the mission; this is now amended."

Well well well. So the game was multiplying the total squad kills by the number of players in a given mission, artificially inflating the bug kill count by up to three times. Killing half a billion Terminids just doesn't seem quite so impressive, but at least next time we'll know we did it properly.

Elsewhere the Eruptor's had the shrapnel effect removed and replaced with explosive damage, following widespread reports of Helldivers rather too consistently blowing themselves and teammates up in a wide radius. Another unintended weapon effect, the Punisher plasma rifle bouncing off your own energy shield, was amusing but has also been fixed.

For reasons known only to Arrowhead, Shriekers have got a buff to their sight and hearing range, despite already spotting you from considerable distance. And there are some considerable nerfs squirrelled-away that I'm none-too-happy about, mainly that "Helldivers can no longer land on tall rocks in the 'Horde Defend Missions'" and "Helldivers can no longer land on top of bug pillars" in the Deactivate Terminid Control System missions. Landing on the high ground and blowing enemies away from relative safety is a totally valid tactic!

This patch did introduce its own problems, which are now fixed. The short version is that the patch arrived yesterday and fixed a whole range of crashes, including one that I kept getting when trying to shut down the game. It fixed so many crash instances, in fact, that it managed to introduce a bunch of new ones, and players found their client much less stable than pre-patch. Arrowhead today issued a hotfix that seems to have stopped most of these crashes: I've just booted the game up and it's running fine. 

As well as the above there are a bunch of tweaks to how friends show up, the social menu, a fix for an issue that let non-hosts kick players, and a list of known issues that are being worked on. Among these, I must admit that "Helldiver may be unable to stand up from crouching when surrounded by enemies" felt like a feature, as the beatdowns can really be quite brutal, though it remains annoying that enemies that bleed out "do not progress Personal Orders and Eradicate missions." Oh, and currently "explosions do not break your limbs (except for when you fly into a rock)"—so get ready for everyone to start moaning about grenades in a few weeks.

Until the misstep over Sony accounts, Helldivers 2's launch had been overwhelmingly successful, and thanks to the simultaneous PC launch it's already PlayStation's 7th highest grossing game in history in the US. The game's next warbond lands tomorrow, and makes slowdown effects a thing of the past with "motivational shocks", while in the wider galactic war there is one question bothering me and others: Why is an entire planet turning green?

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."