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A group of Helldivers 2 Super Destroyers move towards a planetary horizon.
Image via Arrowhead Studios

Helldivers 2 players are wondering: Where did Joel and his free Strategems go?

The galactic void feels much colder with Joel's absence.

Joel, Helldivers 2‘s benevolent God, has been missing from his heavenly observatory above the frontlines and took with him the free Strategems he used to give out. And now the masterless Helldivers are wondering: Where did he go?

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“Whatever happened to Joel giving us free stratagems to use,” asked Reddit user TheQuixotic6 in a thread published on May 17. They detailed the freebies Joel used to hand out to Helldivers participating in the game’s initial Major Orders, such as four 500Kg bombs per run, a fifth Strategem slot, or unique Support Weapons to help Helldivers push through the trenches. However, they also pointed out how Joel seems to have ceased doing that and has slowed down his benevolence, which some say has to do with “balance.”

The Machine Gun Sentry in the Trailer for Helldivers 2.
During the game’s first days, Joel was much more active. Screenshot by Dot Esports

One player replying to the thread mockingly said how “J.O.E.L. got balanced,” implying Arrowhead slowed him down on purpose as part of their recent hard push to balance the game as much as possible. These balance changes caused some controversy and backlash from the community, prompting Arrowhead’s chief executive Johan Pilestedt to personally step in to help handle the situation. Joel’s powers in Helldivers 2 indeed might have been limited, though he likely still continues to handle the usual workload, such as managing spawn rates and planetary difficulties.

Another player wished Arrowhead would introduce weekly Startegem rotations to give weaker or less popular Strategems a chance. This could fill in the void left by Joel’s absence and prop up those Strategems that may have been overlooked by meta-minded Helldivers. Hell, it could even serve as a “testing ground” for balance tweaks, as weekly Strategems could be made slightly different than those available in the armory.

Joel used to be heavily active during the game’s first month or two, frequently manipulating live matches by spawning special weapons, Walker units, more enemies, and so on. Recently, however, he has been quite dormant, and Arrowhead is yet to give a concrete explanation as to what is going on.

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Image of Andrej Barovic
Andrej Barovic
Strategic Content Writer, English Major. Been in writing for 3 years. Focused mostly on the world of gaming as a whole, with particular interest in RPGs, MOBAs, FPS, and Grand Strategies. Favorite titles include Counter-Strike, The Witcher 3, Bloodborne, Sekrio, and Kenshi. Cormac McCarthy apologetic.