Helldivers 2 devs confirm rockets aren't ricocheting, though the Eruptor's shrapnel backfire has been headshotting patriots: 'we're looking to completely remove the shrapnel effect'

 The Super Earth Spokesperson in Helldivers 2 looks very confused as a massive explosion rocks the earth behind him.
The Super Earth Spokesperson in Helldivers 2 looks very confused as a massive explosion rocks the earth behind him.

Helldivers 2's latest patch introduced a new wrinkle into your average diver's shoot loop—deadlier ricochets. As the patch notes read: "Shots that ricochet from heavy armored enemies will now properly hit the Helldiver who fired them. Trigger discipline is highly recommended."

In essence, ricochet shots didn't used to harm you—now they do. This has, naturally, led to a lot of tinfoil helmet speculation about what actually is and isn't a death by ricochet.

While some players report only one or two deaths to their own bullets over the course of thousands of fired shots, there's one common denominator featured in nearly every clip of a soldier blowing their own head off: The Eruptor.

This beastly explosive rifle debuted in the latest Warbond, and it's a bit of a monster. Its shells explode in a wide blast that not only has a concussive detonation—it spits out a ton of shrapnel, as well. Which is what's happening in clips like these.

As investigative redditor Zenbast points out in a thread: "The shrapnels probably travels way too far and it needs to be reduced, but people need to understand that's an issue with the Eruptor specifically, because of a side effect of making people vulnerable to their own rounds."

In fairness, it's not as if the ricochet changes are perfect. While it's not 100% clear if they're related, there is currently a bug with the Punisher Plasma where it'll make your head pop like a watermelon if you fire it with a shield active, as seen below. It'd stand to reason that the shield was causing the Punisher Plasma to ricochet upon firing before—but because your own ricochets weren't hurting you, it wasn't a problem.

However, this might not be entirely related to the ricochet changes. In a message on the game's Discord, senior game designer Alexus Kravchenko writes: "The plasma projectile now has a proper hitbox. Coincidentally, that's the reason it overlaps with the shield gen backpack now." So it could be that, or a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B. Game development is messy.

Reports of rockets ricocheting, however, turned out to be a perception issue. Helldivers 2 is a game that has a lot of explosions and random, out-of-left-field deaths. As showcased in this thorough debunking by Reddit user Shard1697, folks have been led astray by a few repeat instances of bad luck and the power of hearsay:

Here are some other examples that display death by self-ricochets being pretty uncommon, even when unloading full clips into heavily-armoured enemies.

Arrowhead responds

Later in the day, Arrowhead Games community manager Spitz posted an announcement to the Helldivers Discord, which mops up a few points of speculation for the community: "we looked into the possibility of rockets and other explosives being affected by ricochets. This has since been debunked by the community, but nonetheless, our Ministry of Defense team also ran a number of tests today and confirmed that rockets and explosives are not ricocheting."

It does, however, seem as though there were plenty grains of truth to the whole Eruptor controversy, as Spitz explains: "we have noticed another issue through these posts and community feedback that has identified the possibility for shots from the R-36 Eruptor to explode and rebound shrapnel at the shooter, which has a high enough damage value to instantly kill the player."

A message that reads:
A message that reads:

Emergency measures are being made to the weapon, which include scrapping the shrapnel component entirely, though Arrowhead "will be increasing its hit damage as a result. This should make it less lethal to the operator but just as powerful against enemies. It should maintain its destructive power, and as it is still classed as explosive, it will not lose the ability to break objects, close holes, destroy fabricators, etc. This will, overall, be a buff to the weapon as shrapnel played an almost negligible part in the damage and power it dealt.

"We apologise for this misunderstanding and thank you all for investigating these new changes so diligently, and for passing on your feedback to us. Hopefully this makes sense and these changes should help everyone survive better!"

So there you have it. If you are using the Eruptor, though, just make sure that anything you're trying to delete is in a different postcode. Or maybe swap out your loadout for a minute while Arrowhead fiddles with its blast—either works.