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What’s Up – July 30

Welcome to What’s Up! our weekly blog where we recap everything big in the world of Gears. In What’s Up this week:

  • Ranked Update
  • Details on the next developer playlist

Ranked Update

We’ve got some exciting updates for Ranked that we believe will improve certain modes.

  • King of the Hill scoring – We’re updating KoTH scoring so now eliminations are worth 1 GP (down from 2). We are keeping the 80 GP eliminations maximum. This will help the top performing players better stand out. This change will be live on Tuesday, August 4.
  • 8 player Free for All – We’re going from 14 to 8 players to allow us to increase the number of available maps and address the longer matchmaking times in select regions. The following 5v5 maps will initially be playable in FFA:
    • Asylum
    • Canals
    • District
    • Foundation
    • Harbour
    • Lift
    • Reactor
    • Training Grounds
    • Vasgar

Note: 8 player FFA will also be the new mode in Quickplay. These changes will be live on Tuesday, August 4.

  • Team Deathmatch – TDM is making its return to Ranked at the start of the official season. We’re updating this mode to be 4v4 and we’re going to limit matchmaking in this playlist to solo & duos.

Due to the significance of these changes, we’re extending the Ranked preseason until August 18 to give us more time to monitor the impact of these updates and make the necessary client changes for TDM.

Developer Playlist

One of the best things about Gear is the way you play is a reflection of your skill, style and individuality. In some ways, we feel this has been missing in Gears 5; so, next Thursday, August 6, we’re rolling out the latest Developer’s Playlist. The goal of this playlist is to add more depth to combat by balancing the viability of each individual playstyle (wall bouncing, strafing, roadie strafing, or a mix of all).

To be very clear, these changes are going make Gears 5 harder and more demanding on the player. In fact, we’re sure it will initially be quite jarring to the user but, due to the deeply connected nature of weapons and movement, we felt this wholistic tuning approach is the best way to help the game to evolve.

In short, we’re raising the skill ceiling in a BIG and ambitious test. It will take time to iterate these tunings based on data and your feedback but we believe it will be worth it.

Gnasher:

  1. Adjustments to Bullet Magnetism on both the Hipfire and ADS

A certain level of bullet magnetism has been one the foundations to making the Gnasher “feel” consistent in every Gears game (and all modern consoles shooters).

While this mechanic gives you a sense of consistency, it can impact your ability to dodge shots, e.g. it reduces the effectiveness of the strafing at close ranges.

In this playlist, we have reduced the Hipfire and ADS values to push the consistency of aim onto the player’s ability to land a shot.

  • Hipfire Magnetism (current game): 100% strength from 0 – 4.5m and then linearly dropping to 0% strength at 8m.
  • Hipfire Magnetism (dev playlist): 100% strength at 0m, dropping to 75% at 4m and then dropping to 0% at 6m.
  • ADS Magnetism (current game): 100% strength up to 4.5m and linearly dropping to 0% at 10m.
  • ADS Magnetism (dev playlist): 50% strength up to 3.25m and linearly dropping to 0% at 5m.

Note: ADS values are different to Hipfire because ADS distance values are measured from the camera as opposed to barrel which is the case when hipfiring. The ADS will feel a lot like the competitive tuning but will still be a viable option at very close range.

We’ve kept some assistance within chunk range to maintain a level of consistency across ADS and Hipfire.

ADS Before:

Developer version of Gears 5 showing hit markers

ADS After:

Developer version of Gears 5 showing hit markers

Note that the red/green crosses indicated the spread of the Gnasher (Red = Hits, Green = Misses)      

Hipfire Before:

Developer version of Gears 5 showing hit markers

Hipfire After:

Developer version of Gears 5 showing hit markers

Note: Grey line indicates the trajectory of the muzzle.

2. Removed the randomness on certain shots

There are some legacy mechanics that have existed in every Gears game since Gears of War 2 which continue to cause a level of inconsistencies with the Gnasher.

The goal is to make the same action achieve the same result so you are always in full control and understand where your shots will land so we have adjusted these mechanics.

At some ranges, bullet magnetism would kick in and cover up the level of randomness. Since we have reduced those values, we need to make the gun itself as consistent as possible so the responsibility can fall more onto you the player.

  • Blindfires from cover will now hit the same location every time.
  • Hipfire shots immediately fired after canceling a slide will now hit the same location every time if the player repeats the exact same action/timing.
  • Performing a Back A from cover will now hit the same location with the same action/timing.

3. Adjusted the Gnasher spread to provide more intuitive ideal shots

Based on all the changes above, we know that landing ADS shots will naturally be harder; so we slightly tightened the spread to help players land more pellets on average with well-placed shots.

  • ADS spread modifier: 0.5 to 0.45

We are balancing this out by rewarding players that can land high accuracy shots so they will deal more consistent damage at further ranges (Approximately 8m+).

4. Movement does not increase the size of the hipfire spread

This means any movement action a player does; strafe (walk), bounce or roadie run will keep the spread at a consistent size.

This will increase the number of pellets a user can hit from slightly further ranges but it also increases a player’s ability to dodge stray pellets that may have only landed because of a wider spread. (Previously the range affected would be different depending on the type of movement action the player is doing)

5. The Gnasher no longer causes camera shake (Flinch)

Previously, players that landed a Gnasher shot first were rewarded by disrupting the other player’s aim.

As we’ve made landing shots more skillful, players will now have control throughout the fight. Basically, if you are shot by a Gnasher it will no longer throw your aim off resulting in a genuine Aim vs Aim battle.

Note: Other weapons will still cause camera shake, this change will only affect Gnasher vs Gnasher combat.

Movement:

We know that weapon balance and movement go hand in hand – it’s what makes tuning Gears so tricky.

With these proposed movement changes, we want to make all movement styles viable in combat.

  1. Slide speed set to 600 (Same as previous Beta Tuning)

We believe the slower slide speed correlates with the goals above and other changes listed.

The slower slide speed leads to smoother and more readable movement. With the changes to acceleration (Increased by 50%) and the slide speed being increased from launch heading into Op2 (630 > 650), some players have found it hard to react efficiently to the faster movement.

Remember, the goal is to make all playstyles a viable way to outplay and make your opponent miss more effectively. The slide will always be the fastest movement option in the game, we are trying to find a balance between it being a choice rather than a necessity at the highest level.

We understand that some of you may interpret this as a nerf to wall bouncing but we don’t believe it is. When combined with the other proposed changes, players will need to be more accurate to land shots; so we still believe that wall bouncing is a viable option to close the distance on/out maneuver your opponent.

2. Speed boost lowered from 650 lasting 1.5s down to 600 lasting 1s

The intention is to keep the transition from Roadie Running to Slide to Cover Slip to Roadie Run as smooth as possible without the feeling of seeing players quickly accelerating out of a cover slip or players feeling like they hit a wall (if it was completely removed).

This mechanic is key to making navigating the map feel as smooth as possible, but we also want to maintain balanced gameplay within close-range engagements.

Lancer:

By slowing the game down, we feel it’s critical to slightly lower the damage output of the Lancer. We’re also improving the consistency of damage at close ranges to make the gun more intuitive to the user.

  • Damage decreased from 55 > 50 per bullet (players have 600 max health) resulting in 12 shot downs
  • Headshot multiplier decreased from 1.35x > 1.25x
  • Damage drop off at close range (20%) has been removed.
  • Damage drop off at longer ranges has been adjusted to keep the 14-bullet down: 0.8x > 0.9x.

The removal of the damage drop off at closer ranges means players can now follow up already established Lancer damage confidently knowing how much damage they will be dealing.

General:

  1. Health Regenerates while bouncing

The responsibility should fall on the shooter to stop their opponent regenerating health and we believe this change better correlates with all the changes listed above.

 2. Players do not lose bullet magnetism when cancelling a slide

This equalizes the assistance given to players coming out of a slide.

With the reductions in those mechanics (Bullet mag and slide speed) we believe this is a suitable change going forward that will increase consistency within chunk range.

This also benefits all weapons when cancelling out of a slide, but the Gnasher will be affected the most by these changes.

Future Plans:

  1. Explore the chunk range of the Gnasher once some of underlying inconsistencies are fixed.
  2. Reevaluate the amount of Bullet Magnetism given to precision weapons in Versus.
  3. Melee balance.
  4. Adjust the weapon swap speed so weapon selection is more vital and punishable.

That’s it from us! Make sure to join us today on our Developer Stream where Jonathan Taylor, Lead Gameplay Designer, will join us to talk about the Ranked changes and the developer playlist.

-TC

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