Helldivers 2 Serves As Vital Reminder That Live Service Is Not All Bad

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Live Service Can Be Incredible When Done Right!

Story Highlights
  • Live-service games are usually hated and disliked by the gaming community.
  • Helldivers 2 takes a different approach compared to most live-service games.
  • It stands out from almost every other game in the genre, showing how far AA releases can go.

The gaming community’s strong sense of dislike towards live service models is no secret. The idea of base items necessary for gameplay being locked behind a paywall or grinding is extremely unpleasant.

Things have become so bad that fans are often quick to reject live service games without a second thought. With recent failures like Suicide Squad and Skull and Bones, it is easy to see why this sentiment is so popular, but 2024 has been a year of many surprises.

In an era where every live-service game is being buried in the ground, Helldivers 2 goes against the odds by being one of the most fun multiplayer releases, selling around 8 million copies.

Because of its similar position, Helldivers 2 makes me question if most publishers are approaching the live-service model incorrectly.

Why it matters: With publishers still adamant about exploring this genre in the future, they need to learn how to make a good game, and Helldivers 2 can be the perfect title to use for inspiration.

Helldivers 2
Helldivers 2 Puts Gameplay Above All Else

Helldivers 2 Stands Apart From The Crowd

While many live-service releases are quick cash grabs, Helldivers 2 focuses more on the player experience rather than the profits. Of course, every game’s goal is to generate loads of revenue, but Arrowhead doesn’t prioritize that aspect over others like core gameplay.

A very big example of this is the starting price point. While many broken and self-proclaimed AAA games will cost you around $70 today, Helldivers 2 is priced at a fraction of that at $39.99.

Furthermore, the game tries its best to make a friendly community, with the developers even refusing to add a PVP mode to avoid toxicity, and frankly, that’s what sets this title apart from most others.

I found the Battle Pass system in the game to be incredibly free-to-play friendly. For an online game that I expected to be crowded with a ton of microtransactions, Helldivers 2 is a breath of fresh air, and honestly speaking, you don’t have to buy things from the shops unless you really want to.

Aside from a revolver, players can get almost every base item via the free Battle Pass or ‘Warbond.’ A paid Warbound that can be purchased with Super Credits(premium buyable currency) exists, but players can find Super Credits littered throughout the game and also earn them through the basic Warbound.

Helldivers 2
Arrowhead’s Microtransactions Are Never Too Intrusive

This leads to a progression loop that rarely demands any spending from the player. The game also makes the genius move of keeping all Warbounds instead of the traditional tactic of rotating through Battle Passes.

This practically eliminates the artificial FOMO trap that so many live service titles fall into. Thanks to this system, I could comfortably take things at my own pace, prioritizing my favorite gear and weapon sets one by one.

Perhaps the biggest asset to Arrowhead’s live-service model is the lack of PVP. By removing competitive elements, the team further diminishes the value of any potential pay-to-win items since players who frequently spend money will ultimately help squads clear objectives instead of using an unfair advantage against them.

Overall, Helldivers 2 succeeds at making the experience feel like less of a second job or commitment and more of a leisurely hobby, which helps cultivate a healthy community.

The team is also using its live-service focus to constantly stay in touch with the fans, using the feedback for future patches, updates, and new additions. Following this incredible display, I can see why many upgraded to more expensive Helldivers 2 versions.

Helldivers 2
Helldivers 2 Is Recommended With A Squad But Can Also Be Enjoyed Solo

Live Service Games Are A Gamble

Even Warner Bros, the publisher behind Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, admitted that live-service games are usually a gamble and don’t always cash out, so you don’t know which game will be the next sensation.

The same goes for the players. Investing major money and time into a game that can even shut down in the future is a cause for concern. All the hours and money spent on the title can disappear if it ends up a failure, leaving you with nothing.

Anthem and Marvel’s Avengers are huge examples of this phenomenon, and I would even go as far as to say that these games are the reason why the live service model is so hated.

This is why Helldivers 2 focuses on the community more than anything. I will admit that it suffered from a rough launch, but the team’s commitment to its fanbase ensured that making a comeback was no difficult feat.

Arrowhead even told fans to avoid purchasing Helldivers 2 if they couldn’t afford it. How often do you see these types of statements from a developer?

Arrowhead has not fixed all the game’s issues, but these problems are easy to gloss over when everything else about the studio screams genuine passion and admiration for the player base.

Helldivers 2 is, after all, an AA game, and with the sudden success, I am excited to see where it goes next. Truth be told, I feel like this release has the staying power to remain relevant for years to come.

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