Helldivers 2 players are staying logged in overnight to dodge queue times and clog servers, Arrowhead's CEO agrees that an AFK time-out is due

An image of a citizen of Super Earth giving a PSA, holding his hands out in a calming manner while the word: INVASION is stamped in block-type over a screaming man crying for sweet liberty.
(Image credit: Arrowhead Games)
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February 22, 2024: Arrowhead Games has added an AFK timer as promised, which will boot your diver after 15 minutes of activity. Here's the full patch notes run-down. Original story follows.

Helldivers 2 is good—like, really good. But that comes with a cost. With hundreds of thousands of players piling into the unexpected co-op shooter darling, servers have been buckling under the sheer weight of a mass deployment.

While I've been able to play myself, I haven't been able to matchmake publically for around four days—I've played with friends instead, or used the game's discord server to group up with randos via the in-game friends list. In the evenings, signing-on has been completely touch-and-go.

Now (as noted on the game's subreddit) it looks like players are staying logged in to dodge the queues, taking advantage of a lack of an AFK bouncer to show them the door. This, as you might imagine, will only make things worse in a game with locked server capacity

I decided to flick through the Discord myself—and sure enough, there's plenty of people admitting to clogging the drain and ramping up their energy bills. Though this being the internet, I wouldn't be surprised if a good portion of said heels aren't just trolling a bug-starved playerbase for kicks.

Fortunately, a fix could already be on the way. Responding to an upset player on Twitter (thanks, GamesRadar) developer Arrowhead's CEO Johan Pilestedt says he's mentioned it to the team. Servers are complicated machines, though—so it's probably not a case of Arrowhead flipping a big cartoon "timeout limit on" switch somewhere.

(Image credit: @Pilestedt on Twitter/X.)

Pilestedt later remarked with plenty of sarcasm to a fan telling him to "stop tweeting and fix" the wait times, writing: "Yes! Good idea, I will sit behind the engineers and ask them 'are we there yet?' Or... I could let the engineers work independently, towards our common goal without me as the CEO pestering them at every moment. I wonder which one will work best?" 

I do understand the frustration of not getting to play a game you paid for, as much as I understand the frustration of being told to do something about it when you actively are. Even if these server squatters are being jerks, players are going to exploit a queue-dodge as surely as electricity follows the path of least resistance. I'm reminded of Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker's launch, which was so hotcake-successful that Square Enix not only had to add an AFK timer, it had to stop people buying the game at all.

However, the assumption that Arrowhead is simply resting on its laurels is downright silly, especially given the open channel of communication so far. It would be nice if an AFK timer was worked in at launch, but that also would've been some considerable development time devoted to a feature that's only worth it if you know your game's going to sell gangbusters. Hindsight is, after all, 20/20.


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Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.