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Helldivers 2 D&D-inspired meta narrative is exactly what a live service game should be



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 1 month ago '23        #1
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Typewriter 
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Props total: 8771 8 K  Slaps total: 5945 5 K
Helldivers 2 D&D-inspired meta narrative is exactly what a live service game should be
 

 
Robot Vietnam has fallen. Helldivers have failed their Major Order to defend against the Automatons, and now the Termanids are one step closer to humanity’s homeworld.

This collection of defeats amounts to a sad moment for Helldivers 2 fans. But it's an event that will only embolden it. It’s difficult to think of any game in recent memory that has united a player base quite like Helldivers 2 has. The fight to push back alien frontlines has captured people’s imagination in such a way that it’s generated memes, camaraderie, and – most importantly – loyalty. A loyalty that has spread, bringing in new troops for the war effort day after day. But what’s the secret behind this cultural phenomenon? Well, aside from just being a bloody good game, it’s the Dungeons & Dragons of it all. Developer Arrowhead has made a galactic-scale RPG and everyone wants a seat at the table.


At first glance, it’s easy to compare Helldivers 2’s dynamically shifting frontlines to those seen in PlanetSide 2, Sony’s cult 2012 shooter. There certainly are broad similarities; the actions of Helldivers players contributes to the liberation percentage of planets across the galaxy. If the community successfully completes enough missions on a given planet it falls under the control of Super Earth. Liberate every planet in a sector and the galaxy’s frontline can be reshaped. This overall goal, to push back the eastern and western fronts plagued by the robot Automatons and insectoid Termanids respectively, is made surprisingly engaging by the way your contributions help push forward day-to-day changes to the big picture.

The small, dynamic shifts within this sure-to-be-long-waging war creates a sense of authenticity. Just days ago, the planet of Malevelon Creek – best known as “Robot Vietnam” – fell to the Automatons. Arrowhead made it inaccessible, essentially turning off Helldivers 2’s fan-favourite map for multiple hours in the name of storytelling. It comes alongside the recently failed Major Order that formed the first significant piece of narrative; the Automatons made a two-week long push towards Super Earth, and stalwart defense was required. Unfortunately not enough players successfully contributed to the war effort, and just six of the required eight planets were successfully defended. But while the community failed, the event certainly created an authentic sense of urgency that could be felt across social media.

The fact that it did this is sort of remarkable; the reward for completing the Major Order was just 12500 Requisition Slips – something that can easily be earned in a few hours of regular play. It’s a sum that’s barely worth the effort. And yet, thousands were dedicated to the cause. And so it’s clear: people don’t care because of the reward, they care because they have completely bought into the Helldivers fantasy. In short: they’re roleplaying.


That’s not a side-effect of Helldivers’ gameplay and lore. It’s intentional. Arrowhead may not have foreseen the colossal success that Helldivers 2 has turned out to be, but it always intended to craft Dungeons & Dragons-influenced unfolding storylines – so much so that it literally employs a full-time dungeon master.

Talking to PC Gamer, Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt revealed that a man named Joel is in charge of managing Helldivers’ meta narrative. "We have a lot of systems built into the game where the Game Master has a lot of control over the play experience. It's something that we're continuously evolving based on what's happening in the game," he said. "And as part of the roadmap, there are things that we want to keep secret because we want to surprise and delight."

Of course, roleplaying games like D&D are designed for just a handful of players. But Pilestedt explained that the ideas that power tabletop games can be scaled up to galactic proportions. "It's the same format when you build that for millions of players, it's just that you can't get as personal with every individual,” he said. “But you can still do the same twists and turns."

Like in the world of tabletop RPGs, the story takes on a life of its own outside of the game. But where in D&D that manifests as in-jokes shared between the friends that play together, with Helldivers it has become a wide-reaching online phenomenon. Social media has been flooded by memes that mourn the loss of planets and riff on the ‘PTSD’ experienced by players ‘serving’ on the Automaton planets. On TikTok, a channel called Super Earth Broadcast does daily war updates in the guise of propaganda videos. This Starship Troopers-like format has been copied by a number of other creators, while others provide more casual (yet still enthusiastic) analysis of the shifting fronts. This is all evidence of just how much players have committed to the bit.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the fantastic shooter that lies beneath the galactic war. The RPG of it all may be the secret sauce, but that condiment is reliant on the main dish being a satisfying meal. Helldivers 2’s fundamentals keep things consistently fun – there’s no arduous grind to get the best gear, with new stratagems coming as part of a steady progression system. Multiple difficulty settings allow each mission to be tailored to taste; will today be a casual bug hunt or a death-defying drop into Terminator territory? And, on the ground, the actual mechanics of being a Helldiver are great. This is a genuinely terrific co-op shooter. But it’s the Galactic War meta story that elevates it beyond its mechanical brilliance. Everyone is unified against the enemies of Super Earth. Who knew that roleplaying meat for the imperial grinder could be so much fun?
+5   



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28 comments

 1 month ago '04        #2
ghengis 
Props total: 29089 29 K  Slaps total: 782 782
I fu#kin' love this game. Can't wait to see how it grows. sh1t is gonna be epic.
+4   

 1 month ago '23        #3
Typewriter  OP
Props total: 8771 8 K  Slaps total: 5945 5 K
 ghengis said 🔗
I fu#kin' love this game. Can't wait to see how it grows. sh1t is gonna be epic.
That's what I think highlights how special the game is, realistically we're more or less in an early access stage, they have tons of content to give us and it's already this engaging.
+2   

 1 month ago '18        #4
VIMAN  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
Props total: 6861 6 K  Slaps total: 520 520
Bruh it's captivating how this small studio upstaged 3x studios.
Studio of year frfr

PvP is so fkin toxic, this is a breath of fresh air. There isn't any pressure to be number one. Just be gang n finish the mission.
+8   

 1 month ago '20        #5
DrDisrespect 
Props total: 9849 9 K  Slaps total: 4855 4 K
Mane,Whats wrong with y'all. This the Bazillion Thread about Helldivers. We get it,It's cool.

Yall do this for every PS Exclusive Game. Yall be calling it GOTY and Doing all types of d1ckriding like it's the Alpha and Omega Of Gaming.

Like Bro,It's a Game. What haven't we seen before

I get home,Play 2-3 Hours and Dip. Like damn,I get on here expecting to see gaming News and all we get is Druggies like @🔗 making a million threads about 1 Game for 2 weeks straight.

Like damn,Can't yall talk about something other than 1 Game?

Gaming PCs,Gaming Deals,Etc.

I think Ronnie needs to just make a Playstation Section, Xbox Section and PC Gaming Section.

 1 month ago '20        #6
DrDisrespect 
Props total: 9849 9 K  Slaps total: 4855 4 K
This reminds me when Spiderman 2 was about to drop.

THREAD AFTER THREAD AFTER THREAD talking about 1 Game for a whole Semester.
+2   

 1 month ago '17        #7
SPdaGOAT  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x7
Props total: 124624 124 K  Slaps total: 48367 48 K
 DrDisrespect said 🔗
Mane,Whats wrong with y'all. This the Bazillion Thread about Helldivers. We get it,It's cool.

Yall do this for every PS Exclusive Game. Yall be calling it GOTY and Doing all types of d1ckriding like it's the Alpha and Omega Of Gaming.

Like Bro,It's a Game. What haven't we seen before

I get home,Play 2-3 Hours and Dip. Like damn,I get on here expecting to see gaming News and all we get is Druggies like @🔗 making a million threads about 1 Game for 2 weeks straight.

Like damn,Can't yall talk about something other than 1 Game?

Gaming PCs,Gaming Deals,Etc.

I think Ronnie needs to just make a Playstation Section, Xbox Section and PC Gaming Section.
n1ggas mad we like games and talk about them again lmfao

 1 month ago '23        #8
Typewriter  OP
Props total: 8771 8 K  Slaps total: 5945 5 K
 DrDisrespect said 🔗
Mane,Whats wrong with y'all. This the Bazillion Thread about Helldivers. We get it,It's cool.

Yall do this for every PS Exclusive Game. Yall be calling it GOTY and Doing all types of d1ckriding like it's the Alpha and Omega Of Gaming.

Like Bro,It's a Game. What haven't we seen before

I get home,Play 2-3 Hours and Dip. Like damn,I get on here expecting to see gaming News and all we get is Druggies like @🔗 making a million threads about 1 Game for 2 weeks straight.

Like damn,Can't yall talk about something other than 1 Game?

Gaming PCs,Gaming Deals,Etc.

I think Ronnie needs to just make a Playstation Section, Xbox Section and PC Gaming Section.



Last edited by Typewriter; 03-02-2024 at 05:35 AM..
+2   

 1 month ago '23        #9
HimKenobi 
Props total: 1945 1 K  Slaps total: 2038 2 K
 DrDisrespect said 🔗
Mane,Whats wrong with y'all. This the Bazillion Thread about Helldivers. We get it,It's cool.

Yall do this for every PS Exclusive Game. Yall be calling it GOTY and Doing all types of d1ckriding like it's the Alpha and Omega Of Gaming.

Like Bro,It's a Game. What haven't we seen before

I get home,Play 2-3 Hours and Dip. Like damn,I get on here expecting to see gaming News and all we get is Druggies like @🔗 making a million threads about 1 Game for 2 weeks straight.

Like damn,Can't yall talk about something other than 1 Game?

Gaming PCs,Gaming Deals,Etc.

I think Ronnie needs to just make a Playstation Section, Xbox Section and PC Gaming Section.
It’s been typewriter starting all the threads lol. He wants to make sure we remember that Sony got a win.

 1 month ago '17        #10
SPdaGOAT  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x7
Props total: 124624 124 K  Slaps total: 48367 48 K
 Typewriter said 🔗

Perfect reply
emoji

 1 month ago '20        #11
DrDisrespect 
Props total: 9849 9 K  Slaps total: 4855 4 K
 SPdaGOAT said 🔗
n1ggas mad we like games and talk about them again lmfao
Yall love acting like PlayStation Games are the start and end of Gaming.

Talk about other sh1t bro. Something at least instead of circlejerking the same thread a million times
+1   

 1 month ago '17        #12
SPdaGOAT  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x7
Props total: 124624 124 K  Slaps total: 48367 48 K
 DrDisrespect said 🔗
Yall love acting like PlayStation Games are the start and end of Gaming.

Talk about other sh1t bro. Something at least instead of circlejerking the same thread a million times
I be talking about other sh1t bro, but I understand you're generalizing Sony fans as a whole.

But I mean damn n1ggas like the game. They can't say that?

sh1t came out on PC, Sony fans have been agreeing with Xbox fans that it would be cool for Xbox to have it. I honestly don't care this is an "exclusive" it's just fun as fu#k. I prefer playing this on PC over PS
-1   

 1 month ago '20        #13
DrDisrespect 
Props total: 9849 9 K  Slaps total: 4855 4 K
 HimKenobi said 🔗
It’s been typewriter starting all the threads lol. He wants to make sure we remember that Sony got a win.
And He be the same dude that be saying the Gaming section is gone to the pits.

Moved on from Spiderman with the Quixkn3ss

 1 month ago '23        #14
HimKenobi 
Props total: 1945 1 K  Slaps total: 2038 2 K
 DrDisrespect said 🔗
And He be the same dude that be saying the Gaming section is gone to the pits.

Moved on from Spiderman with the Quixkn3ss
Dude reported me for bullying him after he was talking sh1t and got me banned lol. Cornball a$s n1gga. Apparently him and sp know each other in real life so it makes sense.

 1 month ago '17        #15
SPdaGOAT  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x7
Props total: 124624 124 K  Slaps total: 48367 48 K
 HimKenobi said 🔗
Apparently him and sp know each other in real life so it makes sense.
You don't get tired of all this fan fiction you write about me?

 1 month ago '23        #16
HimKenobi 
Props total: 1945 1 K  Slaps total: 2038 2 K
 SPdaGOAT said 🔗
You don't get tired of all this fan fiction you write about me?
So yall didn’t fight and he didn’t whoop your ass?

 1 month ago '17        #17
SPdaGOAT  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x7
Props total: 124624 124 K  Slaps total: 48367 48 K
 HimKenobi said 🔗
So yall didn’t fight and he didn’t whoop your ass?
No. I never seen Typewriter in my life lmfao.

Get over me you fu#king homo
+2   

 1 month ago '23        #18
Typewriter  OP
Props total: 8771 8 K  Slaps total: 5945 5 K
 SPdaGOAT said 🔗
You don't get tired of all this fan fiction you write about me?
The only thing this dude ever does on boxden is talk about me or you lmao

emoji


All because I called Krazie a loser

He stays quoting me and begging for my attention despite the fact that I’ve made it clear I don’t think he’s worth the time or effort to respond to.
+1   

 1 month ago '17        #19
SPdaGOAT  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x7
Props total: 124624 124 K  Slaps total: 48367 48 K
 Typewriter said 🔗
The only thing this dude ever does on boxden is talk about me or you lmao

emoji


All because I called Krazie a loser
Your bubble boy remark was so spot on
emoji

 1 month ago '23        #20
Typewriter  OP
Props total: 8771 8 K  Slaps total: 5945 5 K
 SPdaGOAT said 🔗
Your bubble boy remark was so spot on
emoji
That’s his queen bro. Nobody talks bad about his queen.
+1   

 1 month ago '23        #21
HimKenobi 
Props total: 1945 1 K  Slaps total: 2038 2 K
 SPdaGOAT said 🔗
No. I never seen Typewriter in my life lmfao.

Get over me you fu#king homo
So typewriter isn’t banner? Who you confirmed in a thread that you fought and lost too?

 1 month ago '17        #22
SPdaGOAT  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x7
Props total: 124624 124 K  Slaps total: 48367 48 K
 HimKenobi said 🔗
So typewriter isn’t banner? Who you confirmed in a thread that you fought and lost too?
The man himself is confirming this.

Get help n1gga
+1   

 1 month ago '04        #23
SpyDa  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x17
Props total: 20991 20 K  Slaps total: 2609 2 K
 Typewriter said 🔗
Robot Vietnam has fallen. Helldivers have failed their Major Order to defend against the Automatons, and now the Termanids are one step closer to humanity’s homeworld.

This collection of defeats amounts to a sad moment for Helldivers 2 fans. But it's an event that will only embolden it. It’s difficult to think of any game in recent memory that has united a player base quite like Helldivers 2 has. The fight to push back alien frontlines has captured people’s imagination in such a way that it’s generated memes, camaraderie, and – most importantly – loyalty. A loyalty that has spread, bringing in new troops for the war effort day after day. But what’s the secret behind this cultural phenomenon? Well, aside from just being a bloody good game, it’s the Dungeons & Dragons of it all. Developer Arrowhead has made a galactic-scale RPG and everyone wants a seat at the table.

↪🔗

At first glance, it’s easy to compare Helldivers 2’s dynamically shifting frontlines to those seen in PlanetSide 2, Sony’s cult 2012 shooter. There certainly are broad similarities; the actions of Helldivers players contributes to the liberation percentage of planets across the galaxy. If the community successfully completes enough missions on a given planet it falls under the control of Super Earth. Liberate every planet in a sector and the galaxy’s frontline can be reshaped. This overall goal, to push back the eastern and western fronts plagued by the robot Automatons and insectoid Termanids respectively, is made surprisingly engaging by the way your contributions help push forward day-to-day changes to the big picture.

The small, dynamic shifts within this sure-to-be-long-waging war creates a sense of authenticity. Just days ago, the planet of Malevelon Creek – best known as “Robot Vietnam” – fell to the Automatons. Arrowhead made it inaccessible, essentially turning off Helldivers 2’s fan-favourite map for multiple hours in the name of storytelling. It comes alongside the recently failed Major Order that formed the first significant piece of narrative; the Automatons made a two-week long push towards Super Earth, and stalwart defense was required. Unfortunately not enough players successfully contributed to the war effort, and just six of the required eight planets were successfully defended. But while the community failed, the event certainly created an authentic sense of urgency that could be felt across social media.

The fact that it did this is sort of remarkable; the reward for completing the Major Order was just 12500 Requisition Slips – something that can easily be earned in a few hours of regular play. It’s a sum that’s barely worth the effort. And yet, thousands were dedicated to the cause. And so it’s clear: people don’t care because of the reward, they care because they have completely bought into the Helldivers fantasy. In short: they’re roleplaying.

↪🔗

That’s not a side-effect of Helldivers’ gameplay and lore. It’s intentional. Arrowhead may not have foreseen the colossal success that Helldivers 2 has turned out to be, but it always intended to craft Dungeons & Dragons-influenced unfolding storylines – so much so that it literally employs a full-time dungeon master.

Talking to PC Gamer, Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt revealed that a man named Joel is in charge of managing Helldivers’ meta narrative. "We have a lot of systems built into the game where the Game Master has a lot of control over the play experience. It's something that we're continuously evolving based on what's happening in the game," he said. "And as part of the roadmap, there are things that we want to keep secret because we want to surprise and delight."

Of course, roleplaying games like D&D are designed for just a handful of players. But Pilestedt explained that the ideas that power tabletop games can be scaled up to galactic proportions. "It's the same format when you build that for millions of players, it's just that you can't get as personal with every individual,” he said. “But you can still do the same twists and turns."

Like in the world of tabletop RPGs, the story takes on a life of its own outside of the game. But where in D&D that manifests as in-jokes shared between the friends that play together, with Helldivers it has become a wide-reaching online phenomenon. Social media has been flooded by memes that mourn the loss of planets and riff on the ‘PTSD’ experienced by players ‘serving’ on the Automaton planets. On TikTok, a channel called Super Earth Broadcast does daily war updates in the guise of propaganda videos. This Starship Troopers-like format has been copied by a number of other creators, while others provide more casual (yet still enthusiastic) analysis of the shifting fronts. This is all evidence of just how much players have committed to the bit.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the fantastic shooter that lies beneath the galactic war. The RPG of it all may be the secret sauce, but that condiment is reliant on the main dish being a satisfying meal. Helldivers 2’s fundamentals keep things consistently fun – there’s no arduous grind to get the best gear, with new stratagems coming as part of a steady progression system. Multiple difficulty settings allow each mission to be tailored to taste; will today be a casual bug hunt or a death-defying drop into Terminator territory? And, on the ground, the actual mechanics of being a Helldiver are great. This is a genuinely terrific co-op shooter. But it’s the Galactic War meta story that elevates it beyond its mechanical brilliance. Everyone is unified against the enemies of Super Earth. Who knew that roleplaying meat for the imperial grinder could be so much fun?

Bro this game still growing it seems.





 1 month ago '15        #24
T Town84 
Props total: 13861 13 K  Slaps total: 527 527
I've got 60 plus hrs into this game.. At work wanting to play, talking to my girl on the phone wanting to get off and go play.

emoji



I gotta get my life together Mayn
emoji
.. On another note I just finished A few missions with some randoms on Challenging Dope chemistry outside of someone yelling and talking in Japanese on the mic.. I literally faced the Automotons about 3-4 times no exaggeration prior to today and yo! Their So different from the bugs.. Feel like you have to think on the go a bit more, and look for cover a bit more too.. Them things don't let you breath! I can only imagine it on the harder levels. I gotta fight them more, and establish a decent load out against them first tho.
-1   

 1 month ago '04        #25
SpyDa  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x17
Props total: 20991 20 K  Slaps total: 2609 2 K
 T Town84 said 🔗
I've got 60 plus hrs into this game.. At work wanting to play, talking to my girl on the phone wanting to get off and go play.

emoji



I gotta get my life together Mayn
emoji
.. On another note I just finished A few missions with some randoms on Challenging Dope chemistry outside of someone yelling and talking in Japanese on the mic.. I literally faced the Automotons about 3-4 times no exaggeration prior to today and yo! Their So different from the bugs.. Feel like you have to think on the go a bit more, and look for cover a bit more too.. Them things don't let you breath! I can only imagine it on the harder levels. I gotta fight them more, and establish a decent load out against them first tho.
That's crazy I'm still waiting on my physical disc to ship. Says I'll get it March 11th.
emoji
+1   

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