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Helldivers beginner's guide

beginners guide

As elite soldiers fighting for Super-Earth, it is your duty to stop any foes that threaten humanity, be it the insectoid Terminids or the mechanical Cyborg armies. Helldivers 2 puts great emphasis on teamwork, as friendly fire is a constant hazard, and only a full squad of fellow Helldivers can bring a complete loadout to complete some of the harder missions in the game. Death is very common in Helldivers 2, whether by the hand of the Terminids, Cyborgs, or the negligence of your team, it takes some getting used to when fighting in the frontlines. This guide will help new players learn the ropes and etiquette that will enhance their experience in Helldivers 2.

Calling Down Stratagems

Stratagems are the core part of your game plan in any mission for Helldivers 2. These commands can range from orbital strikes, artillery barrages, airstrikes, weapon drops, resupplies, and, soon, mechs. Coordinating with your team is vital to maximizing your Stratagem usage, as effective use of ordinance will take down even the most armored enemies in the game. To call in a Stratagem, you must use the D-Pad for Playstation or the arrow keys for PC and input the right button sequence displayed on the Stratagem menu. The game will not pause while you input a code, so learning them by heart and making it muscle memory will make you more.

Be careful where you mark your artillery targets, as explosions can’t tell between friendly or hostile. A poorly placed artillery barrage will wipe out your entire squad and cost you the mission. Communicate with your team to prevent any accidental friendly fire and make sure to time and place them right for maximum efficient bombing. If you’re holding the line for an objective or extraction, there are plenty of defensive Stratagems that you can call to lay down suppressive fire for you and cover your flanks. From basic minigun sentries, electrical arc towers, minefields, and barriers, these will greatly aid you on the frontlines. Despite their nature as emplacements, standing underneath a drop pod will still kill you, so watch where you’re standing and stand clear of the drop zone.

Call Down The Cavalry

Respawning works differently in Helldivers 2. Instead of automatically respawning after a timer, teammates must manually input the command to reinforce the squad. Even after getting the code right, you still need to throw the respawn beacon in a safe area, as your teammate is vulnerable while emerging from the drop pod. With the friendly fire-prone nature of Helldivers 2, you better learn the Reinforcement command by heart (Up, Down, Right, Left, Up) to get them back to the fight faster. Your team starts with 20 Reinforcement Stratagems by default, but once you run out, you will need to wait around a minute to get another Reinforcement charge, so play your lives well.

Armored Assailants Requires Anti-Armor Armaments

On lower difficulties, there will be plenty of unarmored enemies that will swarm you, which can be easily dispatched by your standard guns. However, more armored enemies like the Bile Titan or the Cyborg mechs will appear when approaching higher difficulties. Your regular guns won’t cut it when fighting against them, which means you’ll have to call in the big guns.

Heavy weapons like the Recoilless Rifle, Anti Material Rifle, Flamethrower, Anti Tank Rocket Launcher, etc., can only be obtained by calling down their Stratagem and cannot be equipped on the loadout screen before the mission. Weapons like the anti-tank rocket require two people to operate, one to shoot it and one to load it quickly, which again ties into the overall theme of teamwork.

There are also offensive Stratagems that you can use to deal significant damage to an armored enemy but at the risk of blowing yourself and your squad up. These can range from strafing bomb runs, orbital lasers, railcannon strikes, or just a good old-fashioned artillery barrage. These require some forward thinking as there is a delay in marking coordinates and firing them, while enemies will often try to leave the marked area, so predicting where the enemy will go makes for effective Strategem calls.

Just Point and Shoot

Helldivers 2 has tank-like accuracy, as shots don’t always go where your crosshair points. This is indicated by the hollow circle that lags behind your main crosshair, which is where your shots will actually go. Recoil is also a major aspect of Helldivers 2, and learning to compensate your shots is important to stay on target all the time, as that circle will climb when you hold down the trigger. Take measured bursts when fighting at longer ranges, and only go full auto when you’re swarmed by insects. Different Terminids and Cyborgs will have weakspots on certain areas, which is indicated by a red glow for Cyborgs and a fleshy layer for the Terminids, so be accurate and don’t just blaze away.

This type of aiming is also a leading cause of many friendly fire-related deaths, as players may unwittingly shoot while waiting for the barrel to align towards their intended target. Always be mindful of where your teammates are, and make sure that your sights are clear. Conversely, be careful not to run towards your ally’s base of fire as they may not be aware of your positioning.

Dont Be A Hero, Practice Discretion

There are many situations where running away from an untenable position is ideal. If everyone in your team is dead, that’s it for the mission, but as long as a single person survives, that person can call reinforcements, and you can come back from a difficult situation. It may seem cool to hold the line and take as many bugs with you, but falling back to a better position will win you missions and get you on track for Stratagem and weapon upgrades. Stratagems are not limited and instead work on cooldown, so be more generous with your artillery strikes, turrets, and other tactical tools if the circumstances are dire.

Likewise, you don’t have to kill everything on the map to complete a mission, so don’t go attracting enemy patrols to your position if you can help it. Don’t worry about action, as the game will still throw some your way when you’re doing objectives and in generous amounts. You need to save ammo for the fights that matter, not for the patrols that do not matter to the mission. On harder difficulties, patrols will get even tougher with armored units thrown into the mix, which is why picking your fights is vital to surviving hard missions. You can spot patrols through your radar, which is not shown on your HUD at the start and must be manually pulled out to check for objectives and enemy locations. This is to make map navigation more deliberate and methodical.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

There are many loadouts and Stratagems to choose from on the game’s release, and many more will arrive as free content drops. Terminids and Cyborgs come in all shapes and sizes, so diversify your loadouts to make certain missions easier. It may take a while to find a build that works for you, so experiment with them, you’ll never know until you find a niche that suits your playstyle. 

Sometimes, a mission calls for multiple defensive turrets and minefields to keep enemies out. Sometimes, you will have to assassinate a heavily armored high-priority target, which requires some serious bombardment to take down. Many times, it can be both at the same time. This is why coordinating with your team on the arsenal you will bring can go a long way in getting in, finishing the job, and extracting fast with far fewer casualties than what would be expected.

What You’re Working Towards

As you progress through the ranks in Helldivers 2, you will gain Requisition points, which can be spent to purchase new weapons, Stratagems, and other upgrades to your arsenal. Gear unlocked at higher levels does not mean that they’re better but that they provide a different tactical function. Cosmetics and new weapons called Warbonds are available for players and function as Helldivers 2’s battle pass system. These can be purchased through a premium currency called Super Credits, which can be purchased for cash. However, Super Credits can also be earned through playing the game by finding them on missions, so with enough time spent on the game, you can earn all the Warbonds in the game. Warbonds will remain evergreen throughout the game’s lifecycle, so there is no need to rush through them.

Helldivers 2 comes out on February 8, 2024, and will be available for the Playstation 5 and PC platforms on launch. Hope to see you on the frontlines, fighting for Super Earth!

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