Balancing guns in video games is a delicate art that can make or break the gameplay experience for players. One recent example of this is the cheery co-op shooter Helldivers 2, which came under fire for its gun balancing issues. Arrowhead CEO Johan Pilestedt acknowledged that they may have gone too far in some areas, leading to a discussion about the importance of balancing weapons effectively in a game.

Pilestedt mentioned in a Xitter thread that they have been focusing too much on tweaking damage numbers and not enough on other measures such as recoil, reload speeds, accuracy, projectile speeds, and equip speeds. This shows that balancing guns in a video game is not simply about adjusting damage output but also taking into consideration various other factors that can affect gameplay.

One specific example mentioned by Pilestedt was the heavy machinegun in Helldivers 2, which he felt needed a more substantial rework. He suggested adding a tripod with an ammo box to enhance team play mechanics. This shows that sometimes a minor adjustment is not enough, and a more significant change is needed to make the weapon more balanced and enjoyable for players.

Patrik Lasota, head of product testing at Arrowhead, addressed the issue of “nerfing” guns in response to player feedback. He explained that while players often advocate for only buffing weapons and not nerfing them, this may not always be the best approach. Balancing weapons is essential for maintaining the core fantasy and fun of using a particular weapon, even if it means making adjustments that some players may not initially appreciate.

Pilestedt actively engages with players on forums and social media to gather feedback and suggestions for improving Helldivers 2. He entertains ideas such as customizing the Pelican dropship with various guns, rocket pods, and loudspeakers, showcasing a willingness to listen to the community and implement new features based on their input. This demonstrates the importance of involving players in the balancing process to ensure a more enjoyable gaming experience.

The fallout from Sony’s controversial decision regarding PSN account requirements for Steam players serves as a cautionary tale for game developers. It highlights the importance of considering the implications of security measures on the player base and the community as a whole. Developers must be mindful of how their decisions impact players and be open to revising them based on feedback and backlash.

Balancing guns in video games is a challenging task that requires a careful balance between making weapons fun and exciting to use while maintaining fair and balanced gameplay for all players. The discussions surrounding Helldivers 2 and the insights shared by Johan Pilestedt and Patrik Lasota offer valuable lessons for game developers on the importance of listening to player feedback, considering various factors beyond just damage numbers, and treading carefully when making adjustments to weapons in a game. By taking a holistic approach to gun balancing, developers can create a more engaging and enjoyable gaming experience for players.


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