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This Week in Gears 5 – Operation 3

Cole, Clayton and Baird extract in Escape

Get ready for the arrival of Operation 3: Gridiron tomorrow, March 31st! Missed out on all the details? Give these blogs a read!

We’re shifting the arrival time of Operation 3 to an earlier than usual deployment time as we avoid deploying during peak times in Europe to help keep bandwidth impact to a minimum during self-isolation.

Operation 3’s TU5 will arrive at ~4am PT on March 31st. The majority of Operation 3’s content will not appear until our live deployment, scheduled for ~7am PT.

Operation 3 Character Challenges And Bundle

Operation 3 - Augustus Cole

Operation 3 drops four Characters into the Gears 5 roster with the arrival of Cole, Clayton, Myrrah and the Theron Guard. We know you’re keen to get earning these long-time favorites, so we’ve got the details on each of their Totem challenges below.

BUT FIRST! You may recall earlier this year that we reduced the time it takes to complete Totem XP challenges to earn your Characters through gameplay.

We often hear your references to the leveling up based system of Gears 3 and we’ve taken stock in your feedback about why that felt good. Well, we’ve listened. In Operation 3, each Character only has the XP-based Totem challenge for Character unlocks – no other challenge requirements like do X in Y mode.

Additionally, all Character XP Totem Challenges are now set to 30,000 XP – a 50% reduction from the previous requirement of 60,000 XP. We hope that you’ll now enjoy the experience of unlocking Characters much more with the launch of a new Operation as well as earning them at a faster rate.

As a note, previous Operation Characters will not be updated to this new Totem approach out of fairness to those who previously earned or purchased them – though they’ll obviously still benefit from our Global XP Rate increases in the latter half of Operation 2.

Operation 3 Bundle

For those who prefer to pick up their Characters in one go, we’re kicking off Op 3 with another new Operation bundle!

The Operation 3: Gridiron Bundle includes all four new Characters, the complete Hot Rod weapon skin set, 1000 Iron and 30 days of Boost for $19.99.

Of course, all Heroes and Villains can either be individually earned by playing or purchased via the in-game store for 500 Iron.

Operation 3 – New Achievements

Clayton, COG Gear and Fahz duke it out in FFA

Operation 3 includes 32 new achievements to earn offering up a grand total of 290 Gamescore.

Versus

Sampler (5) – Complete a Match of Free For All, Arcade Blitz and Gridiron

Shutout (10G) – Win a match of Gridiron and keep your opponents scoreless

Paydirt (5G) – Score a Touchdown with the Flag in Gridiron

Planned and Executed (5G) – Execute both members of the enemy team within a round of 2v2 Gnashers

Dynamic Duo (10G) – Win 10 Ranked Matches of 2v2 Gnashers

Close Call (10G) – Win a Match of Arcade Blitz where the opposition team is within 25 points of winning

Ring Leader (10G) – Win a Match of Arcade Blitz with the most Points earned in a Ring

Optimal Armaments (5G) – Complete a Match of Arcade Blitz as a Hero or Villain from Operation 2 or Operation 3

Resourceful (10G) – Defeat an opponent with every Pickup Weapon in a single Free For All Match

Line Them Up (10G) – Defeat 10 different opponents in a Free For All Match

Victory Seized (10G) – Place first in a Match of Free For All

Come From Behind (10G) – Be 10 kills behind the leader of a Free For All round, then come back to win

Lay of the Land (5G) – Complete a Versus Match on Allfathers Arena, Lift, Mid, Boxes, Nethercutt, Pit & Core

All of Allfathers (10G) – Win a Versus round on every customized map piece in Allfathers Arena (9)

PVE

A Very Particular Set of Skills (10G) – Acquire 30 Skill Cards of Level 3 or above

Proficiency (10G) – Master an Operation 2 Escape Hive and Horde Map

Highly Capable (10G) – Master an Operation 3 Escape Hive and Horde Map

HordeBusters (10G) – Complete 50 Waves of Horde with Mac, Keegan and Lahni in your squad

These New Recruits Got Grit (15G) – Complete 50 Consecutive Waves of Horde with Lizzie Carmine, Clayton Carmine, Baird or Cole

Hi-Ho, Silverback (5G) – Kill 200 enemies using the Silverback in Horde

Expanded Expertise (10G) – Reach Character Level 15 with COG Soldier, Lizzie Carmine, Clayton Carmine, Baird or Cole

Fresh Lineup (5G) – Escape a Hive with a team of COG Soldier, Lizzie Carmine, Clayton Carmine, Baird or Cole

New Hivebusters (5G) – Escape a Hive with Lizzie Carmine, Clayton Carmine, Baird or Cole

Destroy From Within (15G) – Escape all Operation 2 Hives on Experienced Difficulty or Higher

Stop ‘Em Cold (5G) – Defeat the Matriarch in Escape using the Relic Dropshot

Hives: Busted (15G) – Escape all Operation 3 Hives on Experienced Difficulty or Higher

Buying Time (5G) – Use the Scrubber Room to slow down the Venom in Escape

Other

In the Name of.. (5G) – Acquire any 3 Hero & Villain Totems

The Path To Victory (5G) – Re-up 5 Times

Go, Hunt In Packs (10G) -Re-up 10 Times

Destroy Them, My Children (15G) – Re-up 20 Times

Be Aggressive, Devious (20G) – Re-up 30 Times

A Note on Our Operation 3 Achievements

We know that some of these achievements, and the final Gamerscore value of 290, are not necessarily in the right place. Due to some transitioning within the team and adapting to our new work processes, the updated achievement plan did not make the cut in time for launch. If you are an achievement hunter, we apologize for some of the missteps here and we plan to do so something about it.

We will be applying for an achievement change exception with the Xbox Team for the Come From Behind achievement, in order to dramatically reduce the comeback number. We’ll keep you apprised of that change and if it is approved.

For Re-Ups, along with improving their rewards, our plan is improve the Re-Up leveling curve to reduce the hockey stick effect from Re-Up 20 onwards. In time, we expect the Re-Up 30 achievement to be much more achievable and enjoyable to chase.

Finally, we’ll be addressing the odd total Gamerscore in our next achievement drop and making sure we get our achievements right.

Operation 3 Escape Hives

Mac pulls a lever to activate a venom fan as Lahni and Keegan look towards the incoming venom

There’s still plenty to come for Escape with six brand new Hives launching throughout Operation 3, featuring the brand-new Barracks tile set!

In the debut Hive launching with Operation 3, aptly named The Barracks, you’ll be in a split path venom race of death. Using the brand new Venom Fan rooms to buy you time from the impending doom of the venom, you can make it to the second act featuring the first ever appearance of the new Barracks tiles! Your reward is better weapons, COG tags and playing in some sweet new combat spaces!

If you can’t outrun the Venom, you’ll be pushed into the other path for your second act, featuring no new tiles, no COG tags and less resources. Guess which way we’re headed?

Operation 3 – Ranked Playlist Changes

A Hunter stands over an Imago aiming a Boltok at him

With the release of Operation 3, we’re making some updates to our Ranked Playlists in order to deliver experiences that offer a good time-to-match and an ability to provide balanced skill matches within the mode.

Find out more on these changes in our updated Future of Ranked blog here.

Operation 3 – TU5 Update Notes

Gameplay

  • Extensive Versus Tuning update. Full details here.
  • Ranked: Users now need to be level 30 or above to play in Ranked unless joining as part of a Level 30+ player’s squad
  • Ranked: Split-screen users can no longer play in Ranked, except for 2v2 Gnashers
  • Bot behavior improvements across every difficulty
    • Bots will less frequently follow the same path/clump together in packs
    • Bots will less frequently use long-range weapons in situations where short range weapons are appropriate (and vice versa)
    • Bots will now make use of cover more frequently
    • Beginner bots will now roadie-run when appropriate
  • Bots will no longer backfill for players in TDM Quickplay
  • Round timeouts will no longer cause King of the Hill matches to end on the first round
  • Meatshields should now more consistently protect the user from explosive damage
  • Improved consistency of finishing off DBNO opponents with melee when holding a meatshield
  • Addressed an issue where pulling back on the analog stick at certain angles could sometimes cause cover slides to not be cancelled
  • Addressed an issue that could cause cover slip animations to sometimes not replicate smoothly between clients, making them appear like they are moving at much higher speeds
  • Players can no longer be chainsawed mid-roll
  • Players will no longer receive a prolonged stagger if hit with melee by a player slightly above them.
  • Players can no longer end up in an unarmed state by trading and dropping weapons at the same time
  • Fixed an issue that allowed a player to ignore being into a DBNO state by being grenade tagged by a Smoke or Flashbang by entering the slide animation
  • Fixed an issue where a player grenade tagged in the back could no longer take cover
  • Fixed an issue that could cause severe server corrections if a player initiates a swat turn or roll immediately after having a cover move blocked by a player
  • Fixed an issue that could cause a Retro Lancer charge to cancel instantly if performed shortly after cancelling/finishing the initial one
  • Resolved an issue where, sometimes, players could teleport if staggered while wall-bouncing
  • Fixed an issue that allowed sidearms to be traded after dropping both primary weapons, which could also cause the player to end up in an unarmed state
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Lancer GL to be stuck in grenade firing mode with no laser if the user pauses while holding the grenade firing button

Characters

  • Characters received extensive tuning in Operation 3. Get all the details here in our Horde tuning update post.
  • Lizzie entering or exiting a Silverback should now be correctly visually replicated for other players
  • Jack no longer jitters when carrying the Fabricator
  • Kat’s Decoy ability will now run through barriers

Horde and Escape

  • Extensive Horde Tuning update. Full details here.
  • Horde Frenzy: Added all maps to matchmaking
  • Escape specific weapon tuning updates (on top of the additional changes listed in Horde Weapon Tuning)
    • Longshot: Increased headshot damage
    • EMBAR: Increased headshot damage
    • Boltok: Increased starting magazine size from 1 to 2
    • Snub: Increased starting magazine size from 1 to 3
    • Talon: Increased stating magazine size from 1 to 3
  • Jackbot now has HUD indications for when he is flash banged
  • Jackbot can now be more reliably revived when near a boss
  • Reduced Imago enforcer damage per bullet to 15 (was 20) to reduce instances of players being instantly downed with 5 modifiers enabled and up
  • Fixed an issue where the Dropshot may break or be unable to fire when Hijacking a Dropshot Scion
  • Fixed an exploit that allowed players to drop grenades and have Keegan pick them up to gain 7 with the Grenade Pouch card
  • Horde Frenzy: Fixed an issue that could cause the last boss wave to sometimes only have 2 mini bosses on Exhibit
  • The Detour: Leeches will no longer sometimes die immediately after spawning in the last wave of reinforcements
  • The Trap: Players can no longer get stuck in the top of the door if they are in the doorway when it closes
  • Players will now see the outline of a Flock update in real time when marked but not visible to the player (ie. seen through a wall)
  • Players that die will their Ultimate is active will no longer have their Ultimate fully recharged after being revived
  • Crawlers will no longer initiate self destruction after spawning in as reinforcement in Escape
  • Sires will no longer initiate a Sire Grab when a player is on a different elevation

Maps and Tiles

  • Icebound: The mantle cover on top of the slides have returned for Horde only. This will provide a more comfortable defensive position in the towers for players
  • Icebound: The side windows in the trading post are now always blocked off except for Horde. These changes are to reduce rifle suppression towards the spawn areas and allow more traversal across the map
  • Icebound: The blizzard is now denser and lasts for 30 seconds rather than 15. This change is to allow more opportunities to traverse across the map. In Horde, the timing remains the same but the blizzard will also be denser.
  • Icebound: The blizzard still triggers every 2 minutes for all PVP modes except for Gridiron. In Gridiron, the blizzard triggers at the 1-minute mark and will only trigger that one time per round
  • Allfather’s Arena: Fixed an issue where users could end up on top of cover
  • Vasgar: Spectator camera will no longer shake when players are moving against certain high cover pieces
  • The Pit: Fixed an issue where rolling onto a slide could cause sporadic movement
  • Tiles: Fixed an issue that could cause a Pouncer’s tail to get caught and stretch
  • Tiles: General improvements to some tiles to improve cover, reduce clipping or address camera issues
  • Tiles: Fixed an issue that could cause a player to fall through the map when tagged with a flash grenade while in a struggle with a Sire

PC

  • Keyboard and Mouse: Returning to the previous menu via back/thumb button on the mutator selection screen for matchmaking now responds consistently to input
  • Split-Screen: Setting dynamic shadows to ultra will no longer add a layer of fog/atmosphere over player two’s screen
  • Fixed an issue causing Escape Map The Hive’s ambient lights to be too dark, causing players to be unable to see properly

Other

  • Accessibility: Numerous improvements and bug fixes for the Narrator feature
  • Accessibility: Toggle Aim will now reset to off when putting accessibility options to default
  • Audio: Reduced volume of Escape Snatcher intro
  • Audio: Team announcer will now announce when pistols are placed in loadout
  • Audio: Fixed an audio starvation issue when multiple Trishots are being fired
  • UI: Fixed an issue causing players to see a black screen instead of an Omen on death if they are killed before transitioning to the end of the match
  • UI: Free For All weapon icons are now more accurately aligned to their in-game location on the overhead
  • UI: Player column on the right no longer cuts into the overhead map
  • UI: Fortification health and ammo bars will no longer extend beyond the limit
  • UI: Completing a match with Tac-Com open will no longer cause the MVP screen to appeari n Tac-Com
  • Campaign: Fixed an issue that could cause Del to fall out of world in an Act 2 cinematic under very specific conditions, blocking progression
  • Campaign: Fixed an issue where suiciding as the player kills the Act 2 boss will cause cinematic audio to play when the checkpoint is restarted
  • Co-Op Campaign: Fixed an issue that could cause the game to enter a broken state if a user loaded in while reloading the checkpoint during the first combat encounter
  • Co-Op Campaign: Fixed an issue that could cause Jack’s abilities and components to be missing / unusable when players stop playing as Jack
  • Campaign Lobby: Host can now select Customization when opening the menu from the Campaign Lobby while a second controller is signed in locally
  • Split Screen: Split screen players can now see each other’s Gears Allies card.
  • Players can no longer force a Swarm model on COG team and vice versa
  • Fixed severe clipping when grenade tagging a meatshield
  • Fixed an issue that allowed other weapons to Chainsaw if a player dropped a Lancer while chainsawing
  • Explosions in water will now produce splash VFX on Multiplayer Maps

That’s it for our This Week in Gears Operation Launch special! Lots of info to cover today.

Tomorrow, it’s time for a new Operation, a new Tour full of content to earn and a brand new mode to play. We cannot wait to be in matches of Gridiron with all of you. We hope you love it as much as we do.

See you then,

TC