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Gameplay Update – Lancer and Gnasher Tuning

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With the release of Operation 3, we introduced new movement and weapon tuning as part of the Gameplay and Combat Roadmap.

While some of the changes were well received, we’ve also heard the feedback around updated tuning of the Gnasher and Lancer. As such, we’re rolling out immediate and incremental changes to accomplish the following:

  • Reduce the power of the Lancer: Increase Accuracy bloom (reduced accuracy per-shot) to 28% to match the classic Lancer (Gears 3 and 4). Note: It takes 0.84 seconds to reach maximum inaccuracy with sustained fire under normal circumstance (active reload increases the rate of fire).
  • Improve the ‘feel’ of the Gnasher: Bullet magnetism range reverted to TU4.2 at 8m of effectiveness (was 6m).
  • Addressing Gnasher gib range: Temporarily disabled the new gib-range calculation system due to a newly discovered bug, which should bring the gib range down to intended levels.

These changes will be live from ~`11am PT today. See below for a detailed description of the changes.

Lancer Tuning

Traditionally, the Lancer was a large-clipped, decently-damaging support weapon that was used to punish people caught out in the open and, if you landed most of your shots consistently, with the ability to finish off the down in the same clip. This was balanced by the fact the Lancer had an ‘area’ of accuracy, known as accuracy bloom, that ensured not every shot in the clip was actually hitting at mid-long range with sustained fire.

In Gears 5, we adopted a recoil-based model for almost all weapons which changed the dynamics of the Lancer resulting in a much more accurate Lancer (irrespective of aim assist). As a result of this increased accuracy, we reduced the magazine size from prior games. The downside of this reduction was that players are no longer cleaning up their downs as consistently.

In Operation 3, we increased the size of the Lancer clip to address an issue. However, the combination of the removal of Flashbangs (in loadouts) and the new global loadout active reload timing – this change unfortunately spiked the Lancer’s potency more than we expected.

This is part of our intention is to evolve the Lancer from the assault-rifle level capabilities introduced in Gears 5 back to the more traditional Lancer-as-a-support-weapon capabilities.

The end result should be a Lancer that’s slightly less potent, easier to fight against and more consistent to use for all types of players. Better players will still be able to eek out a slightly higher DPS by feathering the trigger and aiming for the head – just like in past Gears games.

We’ll be closely monitoring the impact of these changes and your feedback to determine if more steps need to be taken to achieve this goal.

Change

Accuracy bloom (reduced accuracy per-shot) increased 28% to match classic Lancer (Gears 3 and 4).
Note: It takes 0.84 seconds to reach maximum inaccuracy with sustained fire

Gnasher

The Gnasher changes introduced in Operation 3 improved Gnasher ranged calculation consistency, but two changes had unintended consequences that require addressing.

In terms of feel, the reduction in the Gnasher’s hipfire magnetism range is making the weapon feel inconsistent to the previous version. We know this is something the community wanted us to try, but based on the feedback, reducing the magnetism hurts the feel of the Gnasher too much for us to keep. As a result, we are reverting the magnetism back to its pre-Op 3 range of 8m.

With regards to the gib range, prior to Operation 3, we reduced the gib range from 250 unreal units (uus) to 230 unreal units – the intended current gib range in Gears 5.

In Operation 3, we added a new calculation method that determines gib range based on the same origin point on the model, rather than the closest pellet impact point. This has been a problem in Gears since its inception, and the end result were those frustrating moments where it appeared someone was in range and didn’t gib, or appeared to get gibbed at a distance they shouldn’t have.

Our new system calculates all pellet hits on an enemy against the same origin point on the model, creating a much more consistent range calculation and removing a lot of these experiences. When comparing the two methods, the new calculation averaged to 20uu ahead, making the gib range feel further away. So we upped the gib range to 250 uus in order to make it feel like 230 uus (ie. parity with pre-Op 3 gib range).

Unfortunately, there’s a bug in the system that didn’t become apparent until the game was being played at scale.

Essentially, the system right now is calculating that range with some time accounted for latency – 2 frames to be exact – based on server predictions using your momentum at the time of the shot. This means that, if you are hit while inputting any movement towards the player, you can step into gib range based on this prediction without actually having stepped into gib range. This is extending the potential gib range of the Gnasher and making it feel like a major increase when it’s not.

Until we can resolve this bug in a Title Update, we are disabling the feature to restore the traditional method of calculations rather than waiting for a full fix. This should bring the feeling of the gib range closer to its intended range in the interim.

Change

  • Bullet magnetism range reverted to TU4.2 state at 8m of effectiveness (6m -> 8m).
  • Temporarily disabled the new gib-range calculation system due to a newly discovered bug, which should bring the gib range down to intended levels.

We want to emphasize is that, with any tuning update we make, there’s always a chance we don’t land something correctly – especially with the reality of more limited testing capabilities due to COVID-19.

As a team, we’re listening, reacting and delivering on our intentions. If something doesn’t feel right, let us know why. Tuning is an open conversation for us, one that we don’t shy away from nor intend to pull any sleights of hand with, and one we’ll continue beyond today as we have before. We believe these changes will be a step forward, but if more changes are needed, we’ll make them.

If you’re interested in learning or asking more about weapon tuning, don’t miss our Gears Developer Stream tomorrow at 3pm PT as we talk to Jamie Mactaggart (Lead Gameplay Designer for Gears 5) about these changes and a lot more.

Let us know what you think on our Forums, tweeting us @GearsofWar or posting on /r/GearsofWar.