Seized by the spirit of democracy, Helldivers 2 CEO holds an impromptu workshop on how to improve the game’s host-based kick system: ‘there’s always a better solution’

Helldivers 2’s systems aren’t perfect—and while I’ve not had this problem often myself, enough players have complained about receiving unjust boots from their games that there might be room for improvement.

In case you’re unaware, the game’s current system for dealing with problem players is to give the host unilateral control over who stays and who gets sent to their nearest democratic officer for re-education. Which has its ups and downs.

When it comes to positives, this system lets folks quickly and efficiently deal with troublemakers—the slow process of a vote kick can take a while, during which a team-killing menace could set your whole crew on the backfoot, or lock in an extraction before your squad’s ready to depart. 

On the negative side, this system lets draconic dictators punt folks who don’t deserve it, moments before extraction. It also lets the host play judge, jury, and executioner, kicking their fellow helldivers based on arbitrary nonsense like meta stratagems and weapons. CEO Johan Pilestedt says as much, retweeting a pettily-kicked victim late last week (thanks, GamesRadar).

(Image credit: @Pilestedt on Twitter/X.)

“This is so shitty,” writes Pilestedt. “Also very hard to solve—we have some ideas but no conclusion.” In a move that would make me question his allegiance with the bugs, were I not assured of his patriotism by this point, Pilestedt then calls upon the “hive mind … do you have a design suggestion for how to improve this experience?”

Here’s a few suggestions by players which got the nod of approval from the man himself:

Having a match preference set to either hardcore or “we ball” styles of play.Highlighting the player who just kicked you in the “recent teammates” screen.Filters for matchmaking based on playstyle.Penalties for rapid-fire kicks.Making kicks boot players to a different ‘instance’ of the same match.A ‘conditional’ instant-kick based on recent team kills.Giving partial rewards to kicked players.

All in all, a lot of very tasty spaghetti is being thrown at the wall, here.

Still, Pilestedt does acknowledge that the current system has its perks. When speaking to a player voicing their concern over teams of trolling players, who would be naturally immune to a vote kick system with a two-person majority, Pilested notes: “that’s why we have the system we have. The host is the owner of the game. It’s their operation and they decide. Kinda like coming over to someone’s house.”

I personally don’t see much of a problem with the system as-is, but I think plenty of these suggestions could be layered on top of it. In particular, highlighting a player who recently kicked you and partial rewards could be added to the current system, augmenting the “my house, my rules” approach. 

Matchmaking filters, meanwhile, are a great idea on paper, but they tend to split the player pool in ways that can ramp up queue times—not something Helldivers 2 needs to worry about right now, of course, but it’s good to keep an eye on the future.

Pilestedt ended the impromptu town hall by thanking everyone who chipped in: “This is a pretty cool thing, the entire community coming together to discuss a hard to solve problem. Even though vote kick is the easiest, it has some downsides and there is always a better solution.”

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