Helldivers 2 got so big that its virtual D&D master Joel needed "emergency" assistance: "He's only one guy, and he was just not sleeping ... sending me messages at 4am"

Helldivers 2 super earth spokesperson intro cutscene
(Image credit: Sony)

Helldivers 2's dynamic warfront is being conducted almost exclusively by a single D&D-style game master named Joel, but the co-op shooter's explosive launch has gotten so big that Joel needed "emergency" reinforcements of his own within developer Arrowhead Game Studios.

Arrowhead community manager Baskinator shed some light on Joel's position in a recent Discord exchange. On March 1, one player reasoned that the GM's job "sounds incredibly daunting when you have to juggle the expectations set by the roadmap/dev studio vs what the 500K+ active players want and do," expressing hopes that Joel "gets at least a handful of other employees to manage it actively when the war spreads to the other sectors."

"Yes, absolutely," Baskinator responded. "That's why we have done an emergency expansion to the GM's team. He's only one guy, and he was just not sleeping. I remember over the launch weekend, he was sending me messages at 4am because we were the only ones still awake."

Another player chimed in to ask about applying to become a GM consultant. Baskinator added: "Our GM definitely has a team and a lot of advisors. He would not want to work in a vacuum. And I do take your feedback to him." 

Another Discord user wondered if we'll ever get more details on how this Joel-run GM system works. Baskinator assured them that "it's on my list to do some deep dives into the GM systems and let him address the community in some sort of blog from us. But we have to free up some time for him to be able to write about it."

"Unfortunately, our scope was much narrower at launch," she said in a separate response. "We expected fewer players and easier means and methods of communication."

As amusing as it's been to see Joel become the boogeyman of this community, it must be a seriously tough job. It sounds like the warmaster is buried in player expectations like Helldivers 2 players are buried in bugs. Arrowhead thankfully seems to be doing all it can to support the guy, and it sounds like we may one day get a blog post from Joel himself, which is sure to be an interesting read. I can see it now: 'Hello, this is how I have been getting you all killed these past few months.' 

350,000-strong Helldivers 2 contingent curses now-infamous galactic D&D master Joel as their next big campaign after Malevelon Creek takes a turn for the worst

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.