Helldivers 2 showed me how badly live service gamification has broken my brain

I didn’t realize how badly live services had altered my enjoyment of games until I really sat down with Helldivers 2. It hit me when I noticed neither the basic assault rifle or SMG had a progression bar attached to them. How would I be able to show off my dedication to my favourite gun without it? Wait a minute, when did I become so dependent on shiny lights and ticky boxes?

On paper, Helldivers 2 is everything I’ve wanted from a multiplayer shooter for years! It’s stripped out all the unnecessary BS that you see spread around in live service games these days. No needy progression trackers, no lengthy grind to unlock all the weapons and equipment I want. No crafting – thank god. There are battle passes, but they don’t expire. Helldivers 2 has no artificial FOMO, which is ironic, as literally thousands of people are suffering from good ol’ fashioned organic FOMO thanks to oversaturated servers.

Sure, you can log in everyday and complete a daily task, but all you get is a big chunk of XP and some currency you can earn through regular gameplay. It’s like someone dug up Helldivers 2 from a 2010s time capsule, but without the drab brown and grey colour scheme that would entail. Compare that to another game I play daily: Honkai Star Rail. Now look, I’m as big a fan of anime slot machines as the next guy, and Star Rail is one of the best. But with the current story content finished, I’m logging into Star Rail to wrap up dailies, use up my resources, and fill up a battle pass. On the other hand, I’m sat in the Helldivers 2 queue every time because Super Earth needs me to fight off Automatons, y’know?

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