Helldivers 2 players decry broken ricochet changes, then realise it’s probably just shrapnel from the now-deadly Eruptor

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.

Ricochet is BS from r/Helldivers

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.

The Punisher Plasma will explode in your face if you have a shield backpack equipped. (Patch 1.000.300/12552) from r/Helldivers

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, appear to be either cases of horrendously bad luck or—politely—an issue of perception. 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, if it is indeed a bug, it’s tremendously hard to replicate. 

No, automaton shields do NOT “reflect missiles”. from r/Helldivers

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

The ricochet system is fine (seriously) from r/Helldivers

Why are people making up so much BS around the ricochet changes? from r/Helldivers

Like a lot of these turbulent community discussions, the ricochet situation is complicated—but the short version appears to be as-follows: Arrowhead made death by self-ricochet possible, and that’s had some unintended impacts on weapons like the Eruptor and (probably) Punisher Plasma. It is, however, likely being overblown.

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.