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Helldivers 2 creative director argues games should 'earn the right to monetize', says its only pay-to-win item is a revolver that'll get you gold in a 'cool gun competition'

 A heroic-looking Helldiver from Helldivers 2 stands proud in front of a flag, while a fellow soldier unloads a gun in stylish slow-mo in the background.
A heroic-looking Helldiver from Helldivers 2 stands proud in front of a flag, while a fellow soldier unloads a gun in stylish slow-mo in the background.

Helldivers 2 has been suffering from success—a whirlwind launch that's now PlayStation's biggest PC success led to a swarm of server issues bugs, and not the kind you can shoot dead with a beam rifle.

Regardless, ambushed developer Arrowhead seems to be taking things in stride and, as PC Gamer's own Fraser Brown notes: it's already in better shape. From what I've seen and heard, Arrowhead owes its win to Helldivers 2 being a great bit of co-op shooter fun. Also (according to the game's director and Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt) it aims to avoid the live-service pitfalls we've all come to loathe.

"We really applied ourselves to not make it p2w even though items are functionally different. The only item that's p2w is the revolver—which will win you any 'cool gun' competition," Pilestedt wrote in a tweet yesterday.

That's in response to a video from a player who notes you can get supercredits—a premium currency you can use to buy a 'Steeled Veterans Warbond' battle pass—by playing the game. Players can snag these by picking them up in missions, or by progressing the free Warbond. Spending cash (around $10's worth) will get you access to it faster, though.

Pilestedt later responded to another player, writing: "'You have to earn the right to monetize'—I truly believe that. If people want to support this title they have an option, but we are never forcing anyone to do so."

You could make the argument that pay-to-win games rarely ever force anybody to do much of anything—instead incentivising them through long, arduous grinds. But in an era of fully-priced games with wallet-melting cosmetics, I think a handful of side-grade weapons you can get for free in a reasonable amount of time is pretty harmless. Not to mention, there's no FOMO here. That's according to a developer blog for Helldivers 2 posted last month:

"This is important to us: the Warbonds are NOT a pay-to-win, FOMO-driven system. Instead, the gear in the Warbonds just keeps accumulating. We will not retire earlier Warbonds as new ones are released—you can pick them up and complete them at any time," says Helldivers 2's deputy game director Sagar Beroshi. As it stands? It seems like Pilestedt's team has put its supercredits where its slobbering alien maw is.