Helldivers 2's new mission type is the glorious Helm's Deep holdout defense that I've dreamed of for months

helldivers 2
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Helldivers 2 is, generally, a game about taking the fight to the enemy by destroying nests, factories, and launching ICBMs. On the rare occasion that Super Earth is put on defense, it hasn't always gone over well with players. During the first Automaton invasion in February, players quickly got tired of special escort missions that required protecting fragile civilians while they ran across a battlefield. The next defense assignment came with Termicide towers that had to be protected from bugs who'd relentlessly charge toward them.

Those missions were a lot more fun, but they weren't what I had in mind. A simple, straight-laced wave defense mode seemed like a natural fit in Helldivers 2. Turns out I just had to wait a little longer. Today's surprise re-invasion of Cyberstan by the Automatons brought another special defense assignment: "Evacuate High-Value Assets" by guarding a missile silo from concentrated waves of robots. You'll recognize the mission type by their shield insignia.

The mission briefing reads:

"The enemy is closing in on a cache of high-value assets that have been sequestered since the First Galactic War. We cannot allow them to be captured. The enemy will be alerted to your position as soon as the evacuation process is initiated. Defend the site until all assets have been safely transported off-planet."

The brief buries the lede. Yes we're protecting more Super Earth property, but these facilities are built like Helm's Deep: high walls surround the silos, and all bots have to funnel in through one narrow chokepoint. That singular path is segmented by a series of walls with player-controlled gates that can briefly keep the bots at bay (but they will eventually bust through). The bot drops come in waves and you have to hold out long enough to launch eight rockets. It took my squad 15-20 minutes to complete one run at difficulty seven.

These missions are glorious. Peak Helldivers defense happening here, and it couldn't be simpler. There are no console minigames, SSSDs to carry, or squishy humans to escort—just pure, unmitigated liberty dispersal in a very small area. Defensive stratagems shine like never before—Tesla towers, gatling sentries, and even the oft-ignored shield dome come in clutch when the threats are this centralized.

helldivers 2

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

I rarely get the right opportunity to bring one of my favorite stratagems, the HMG emplacement gun, on a typical mission, but here they're perfect for laying down heavy fire from an elevated position on the walls.

During early waves, it was almost too easy to shoot down every dropship with Quasar Cannons before most bots could touch the ground. Our confidence didn't last. We lost our first wall within minutes, and slowly shed defenses as we got pushed all the way back to the silo itself. We were killing bots only slightly slower then they were being reinforced, then managed to extract a minute or two before we would've been overrun.

The new "Evacuate high-value assets" mission type is fun as hell and is exactly what a defense mission should be from r/Helldivers

I'm not the only one enthusiastic about the new mission type. A top-upvoted post on the Helldivers subreddit at the moment is singing Arrowhead's praises for nailing the fantasy of a layered defensive holdout.

"Holding back wave after wave of bots as we slowly lose ground and get pushed deeper into our lines, being forced to tactically fall back after realizing that holding a specific layer is no longer viable is just so incredibly fun," wrote user KrillitzK. "It would be amazing if we could get more layered defense type missions or a bug equivalent to this because it is just that good."

"PLEASE MORE STUFF LIKE THIS!!!" added ChingaderaRara, who won one High-Value Asset mission and lost another on difficulty level nine.

Several commenters also noted that, while fun, the new missions might be slightly too easy. I agree that they're easier than other missions, so far at least, but I think that may come down to the huge high ground advantage the players get—unlike every other mission in Helldivers 2, you only have to cover one direction. That doesn't make the missions any less thrilling in my book, but you do always have the option to crank the difficulty up a few more notches than you're used to.

User Cavesloth13 added that, actually, the opposite of this mission type could be pretty fun too.

"Now what we need is the opposite of this mission, where you have to push through their multilayered defenses," they wrote. "It'll give a reason to bring that 380 [barrage] in LOL."

Now that's an idea. And it's nice knowing that it's entirely possible. So far, Arrowhead has added a special new mission type every month, so why not flip the tables and make us divers crack through layers of security one day?

For once, we already know what Helldivers 2's next big content add will be. On Thursday, another premium warbond releases with a handful of new guns and suits for unlocking.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.