How to defend planets in Helldivers 2 to win Defense Campaigns

Helldivers 2 Defense Campaign on multiple planets
(Image credit: Sony)

Helldivers 2 Defense campaigns or Major Orders that task players with "succeeding in the Defence" of several planets require you to complete missions and crush the enemy before they can take over. Defense Campaigns look quite different to the standard Helldivers 2 Liberation Campaigns, but they function fairly similarly, with a few core differences. If any of Super Earth's worlds across the galaxy come under threat from the enemy, here's what you need to do to help in any Helldivers 2 Defense Campaign and successfully defend planets.

Helldivers 2 Defense Campaigns explained

Helldivers 2 defend campaign

(Image credit: Sony)

Defense Campaigns in Helldivers 2 are massive community undertakings that see players fighting to prevent a Super Earth planet from falling into enemy hands. In-game, this is represented by two colored bars under a planet that needs defending – one red, which shows the enemy Helldivers 2 faction's progress, and one blue, which shows the Helldivers' progress. The goal is to fill the blue bar before the enemy fills their bar and before the time limit expires. Defense Campaigns have a time limit that's usually only 24 hours, so speed is key!

When it comes to increasing that blue bar, players need to complete Operations on relevant planets. Instead of the usual Peacekeeping Operations on planets that need liberating, these planets have Defend Planet Operations, which feature special mission types and commonly feature shorter, Blitz-style missions with 12 to 20-minute timers. These missions include Helldivers 2 evacuate civilians missions where you need to retrieve essential personnel, Eradication missions to wipe out enemy forces, or even the Helldivers 2 evacuate high-value assets mission type.

At the end of one of these Operations, players are shown their squad's impact on the defense efforts represented by that blue bar. Your squad's impact will be greater if more players are in your squad and if you're playing on a higher difficulty, though playing the hardest Operations isn't necessarily the most efficient way to contribute to the Defense Campaign.

How to succeed in the Defense of planets in Helldivers 2 for Major Orders

Helldivers 2 Defense Campaign Major Order succeed in defending at least five planets

(Image credit: Sony)

Some Helldivers 2 Major Orders will command Helldivers to "succeed in the Defense of at least X planets", which means the community needs to win at least X number of Defense Campaigns as described above. This doesn't mean you must personally contribute to at least X Defense Campaigns, as this is a team effort. You'll get the rewards so long as you put in some effort, but don't need to go on a galactic tour of every planet in need.

Quite often, there won't be enough Defense Campaigns active at a time to even complete Major Orders like this, but as some campaigns expire or succeed, new ones will become available. That means these orders can only be completed over the course of several days and can be very difficult to complete on time to get their promised rewards.

Best ways to successfully defend planets in Helldivers 2

Helldivers 2 Gatling Sentry Stratagem shooting at Terminids

(Image credit: Sony)

It's important to understand that just playing Helldivers 2 and completing those Defend Planet Operations is enough to contribute to the war effort. But since time limits are tight during Defense Campaigns and Major Orders, there are few key tips to bear in mind when helping to defend a planet in Helldivers 2:

  • Play in a squad: The more defense-oriented nature of these missions means completing them alone can be very tricky, essentially requiring you to be in multiple places at once. Having as close to a full four-player team as possible will make each mission so much easier than playing Helldivers 2 solo, even as you up the difficulty – though they can still be very tough.
  • Focus on the easy wins: It may be undemocratic to say this, but you can't win a Defence Campaign Major Order without breaking a few eggs (or planets, in this case). Look at the time limit on the Defense Campaign, the player count, and the enemy's red bar for each planet to judge how likely it is the Helldivers are going to successfully defend it. Planets with little time remaining, a massive lead for the enemy, or barely any active players should be considered lost causes and instead focus on the ones where you can make a meaningful difference.
  • Change your gear to match the mission: Missions and objectives in the Defend Planet Operations play quite differently to normal missions, relying far more on protective gear, emplacements, and turrets. Since you'll be running around a lot less, heavy armor is some of the best Helldivers 2 armor for these missions. Static and emplaced Stratagems, like sentry turrets, can also up there as the best Helldivers 2 Stratagems for these missions, though make sure you place them away from civilians.

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Will Sawyer
Guides Writer

Will Sawyer is a guides writer at GamesRadar+ who works with the rest of the guides team to give readers great information and advice on the best items, how to complete a particular challenge, or where to go in some of the biggest video games. Will joined the GameRadar+ team in August 2021 and has written about service titles, including Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Warzone, as well as some of the biggest releases like Halo Infinite, Elden Ring, and God of War Ragnarok.

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