Helldivers 2 devs say no, farmers aren't handing planets to the Automatons on a silver platter—they just aren't helping

An image of an automaton from Helldivers 2 comically stealing a baby away from its mother in a little jog.
(Image credit: Arrowhead Games / PlayStation)

Helldivers 2 has a great metagame layered over all the bug- and bot-blasting: The Galactic War, which sees players defending and liberating planets in a dev-controlled campaign. The whole thing has this fun air of mystique to it at the moment—can you actually cut off supply lines? Are the devs making it hard on purpose? Are the bots secretly being controlled by Hatsune Miku? Okay, I made that last one up.

One theory has been particularly thorny—the insistence that farmers are ruining everything. For the uninitiated, a popular way to grind medals has emerged during the Helldivers' current war against the automatons. Step one: Find an "Eradicate Automaton Forces" mission. Step two: Blitz your way through it. Step three: Grab your medals and bounce. We don't recommend that last part ourselves, but it hasn't stopped people from taking the warpath of least resistance.

So what's the problem? Well, the current major order requires unlucky helldivers to defend eight planets, and every single operation (a collection of missions) will have at least one civilian evacuation mission. These are a lot harder than your regular doses of liber-tea even after nerfs, so players tend to skip them by abandoning the op.

The anti-farmer campaign started to really spin its wheels when a player on the official Helldivers 2 discord server asked if operation-abandoning was helping the automatons win. "Yes," wrote Arrowhead developer Evil-Bosse. "Quitting after only half the [operation] counts as a loss for super earth."

(Image credit: Evil-Bosse on the Helldivers 2 Discord.)

In a thread that hit the subreddit touting this as proof "straight from the dev's mouth", Misty from Arrowhead's community & support team replied in a comment that wasn't the case. "I can confirm that abandoning an operation does not progress the enemy's percentage, so people who leave operations do not negatively affect a planet. Unfortunately Evil-Bosse got it wrong, but we all make mistakes!" Bosse also commented, apologising for "accidentally spreading misinformation."

Misty elaborated on the Helldivers 2 Discord, writing: "I just got confirmation that abandoning an operation does not progress the enemy's percentage, so people who leave operations do not negatively affect a planet. But they do not positively affect it either."

(Image credit: Misty on the Helldivers 2 Discord.)

So what causes the automaton's progress to rise while Super Earth's pretty blue bar dwindles? Turns out that's likely just a timer. In a separate reply, Misty continues: "The enemy fights back, it goes down naturally, you have to slow their advance." 

So there you have it. Medal farmers aren't, in fact, actively harming the war effort—they're just not really helping. While I've been in the bot trenches hugging my Recoilless Rifle like it's a stuffed animal, I can't say I ever really blamed farmers for any of it. Maybe it's just because I've played one too many MMOs, but trying to stop people from optimising a grind is just impossible—it's better to take stock of your rewards system and work around the flow of that particular river.

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Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.