Helldivers 2 boss says devs may make a critically important Galactic War mechanic easier to understand: "We are talking about making this more clear"

 Helldivers 2.
Helldivers 2.

What you need to know

  • Arrowhead Game Studios' co-op PvE shooter Helldivers 2 has a Galactic War metagame in which players are tasked with attacking or defending specific planets by Major Orders.

  • The game doesn't explain this, but you can only fight on a world if it's near one players control. This is called the supply lines mechanic, but you wouldn't know about it unless you were on social media or used third-party tools to track the war effort.

  • As a result, many players think planets relevant to Major Orders that are behind enemy lines are "bugged," and go off to fight elsewhere without realizing they need to clear a path to those worlds first.

  • Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt has confirmed that the developer is "talking about making this [supply lines] more clear" so that more players realize the system exists. Many have suggested in-game visualizations or tooltips, which may be added in the future.

While the Major Orders that direct Helldivers 2 players to planets they need to attack or defend in the co-op shooter's Galactic War metagame started out fairly simple in February, they've been getting increasingly complex since mid-March. Previously, worlds Super Earth forces were ordered to take were always ones that were already available to deploy on at the time. Lately, though, developer Arrowhead has been designating planets behind enemy lines as liberation targets, forcing the community to capture and hold other nearby worlds before trying to take control of these ones.

What's at work here is Helldivers 2's supply lines system, which stops players from fighting on enemy-controlled planets if they're not directly next to one held by Super Earth at the time. The mechanic is fairly simple, though one big problem with it is that right now, there's not an in-game way to tell that it exists. The supply lines that connect different worlds aren't visible on the galaxy map, so unless you're on social media or using community-made tools like this Helldivers 2 Galactic War live map, you'd have no way of knowing about them.

Undoubtedly, this has contributed to recent Major Order failures like the one to liberate Tibit; I've seen fans unaware of supply lines conclude that some objective planets are "bugged" and go complete missions on the other side of the galaxy. Clearly, there's a lack of understanding here that Arrowhead needs to address with in-game tooltips or UI elements — and luckily, according to the studio's CEO Johan Pilestedt, it sounds like something like that may come soon.

"It is surprisingly close to what we had in the game before. But we wanted to visualize all of the supply lines and it got way too cluttered," wrote Pilestedt, responding to a player who asked him if Arrowhead would consider adding something similar to a fan-made mockup of visible supply lines. "We are talking about making this more clear internally at the studio."

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I definitely understand not wanting to clog up the user interface with confusing arrows or icons — after all, an overcomplicated UI can lead to a game feeling overwhelming, especially for new players. But even so, it's obvious there's a problem here, and I'm glad the developers are exploring ways to solve it.

Notably, some Helldivers have replied to Pilestedt with some excellent suggestions, such as the idea to only make supply lines connected to a planet visible when you hover over it. Others have proposed highlighting supply lines relevant to the current Major Order, or simply adding a toggle so players can turn supply line visualizations off if they want to. All of these sound like great solutions to me, and since Arrowhead  has been open to implementing fan ideas in the past, I wouldn't be surprised if it did in this case.

Helldivers 2
Helldivers 2

In other news from the Galactic War, Helldivers recently managed to capture the iconic "Space Vietnam" planet Malevelon Creek for the first time, though the Automatons have already begun a counterattack to retake it, Ubanea, and Draupnir. Helldivers 2's latest Major Order directs players to defend these worlds until Thursday morning; if they succeed, they'll earn 40 Warbond Medals and stop the resurgent robots in their tracks.

Notably, these planets and a few others in the Severin Sector are the only ones the Automatons still have a presence on. If Liberty's finest can hold the ground they've taken while liberating the worlds that remain, the bots may be temporarily eliminated from the war. That would be quite the victory for Super Earth...though some are convinced that mysterious blue laser beams precede the arrival of an even greater enemy.

Helldivers 2 is available now for $39.99 on both PS5 and PC, and so far, it's one of the best PC games of the year. Notably, the game also supports cross-platform play between PS5 and PC.

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

Battle aliens, robots, and other beasts in humanity's quest to spread democracy through an unforgiving galaxy. It's 4-player co-op at its absolute best, and its most refined.

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