All Helldivers 2 difficulty settings and how to unlock them

All Helldivers 2 difficulty settings and how to unlock them
Antony Terence Updated on by

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Want to learn about Helldivers 2 difficulty settings? As more players enter the operations of the co-operative shooter from Arrowhead Games, you might want to know about the game’s difficulty settings. These let you tackle harder foes for better rewards.

For more on the game, check out the best stratagems in Helldivers 2 and if it has cheats.

A man drenched in alien blood in the middle of a field in Helldivers 2. Image captured by VideoGamer.
A man drenched in alien blood in the middle of a field in Helldivers 2. Image captured by VideoGamer.

How to unlock difficulty settings in Helldivers 2

Helldivers 2 has nine difficulty settings that can be changed in the Galactic War console. Use the filter underneath the Quickplay option to adjust it. You can find this in the Destroyer’s War Room. Note that most missions require you to finish them in 40 minutes.

Here are all the difficulties in Helldivers 2 and how to unlock them.

  • Trivial: Default setting
  • Easy: Finish a mission on Trivial difficulty
  • Medium: Finish a mission on Easy difficulty
  • Challenging: Finish a mission on Medium difficulty
  • Hard: Finish a mission on Challenging difficulty
  • Extreme: Finish a mission on Hard difficulty
  • Suicide Mission: Finish a mission on Extreme difficulty
  • Impossible: Finish a mission on Suicide Mission difficulty
  • Helldive: Finish a mission on Impossible difficulty

How to change difficulty settings in Helldivers 2

Press the Q or E keys on PC to cycle between difficulty settings in the Galactic War console before a Helldivers 2 operation. On PlayStation, use the L1 and R1 buttons. Note that you need to have finished a mission on a lower difficulty to unlock the next one. And no, you cannot change difficulty options mid-game in Helldivers 2.

Does difficulty scale with the number of players in Helldivers 2

Based on our time with Helldivers 2, the difficulty does not scale with the number of players. This means that you’ll face the same kinds and number of Terminid and Automaton forces regardless of whether you play solo or in a team. This is what makes playing solo a challenge, especially at higher difficulties. Try to play with friends to tackle higher difficulties as the enemy density gets crazy at high difficulties. If you’re playing solo, consider using the right stratagems for the job. Sure, you die and can respawn, but that takes time from a ticking clock. The Resupply stratagem is particularly useful as you’ll need explosives to take out nests and other objectives. 

Difficulty not unlocking bug in Helldivers 2 and how to fix it

Some players report being unable to progress to the next difficulty even after clearing a mission at the previous difficulty. While Arrowhead Game Studios is updating the game with frequent patches, here’s what you can try in the meantime.

Host games at the right difficulty

While you should normally be able to unlock difficulties regardless of who hosts the game, this method might fix the error that’s holding your progress back. You can either choose to play solo or invite other randoms or friends into your game.

Update the game and verify integrity of game files

Keeping your game on the latest version should minimize the chances of this error occurring. To verify integrity of game files on Steam, right-click the game and head to ‘Properties.’ Here, under ‘Installed Files,’ you’ll find the option to verify the integrity of your game files.

Recheck your internet connection and VPN

A poor internet connection and an iffy VPN can slow down your progress. Recheck if your connection is stable.

Why should you pick higher difficulty options in Helldivers 2

Picking a higher difficulty gives you similar mission types but on different parts of the planet. These tougher missions offer better rewards and more Medals that can be used to unlock gear in the game. Complete as many missions as you can on easier difficulty before dialing things up.

That covers all the difficulty settings in Helldivers 2. To team up with friends, check out our Helldivers 2 multiplayer guide. And if you want to tough it out solo, here’s a single-player guide.

Helldivers 2 difficulty FAQs

How many difficulty settings are there in Helldivers 2?

There are nine difficulty settings to pick from in the game.

Is Helldivers 2 easier with more players?

Yes, playing with friends or random teammates makes the game easier compared to a solo run.