What’s Up – October 29th 2019

A Sire reaches out with a Juvie Pumpkin Head

Welcome to What’s Up, your weekly update on all the latest news, game updates and more in Gears 5 and beyond.

Here’s What’s Up in Gears this week:

  • Mad Man’s Monsters Halloween Horde!
  • Lancer and Aim Adhesion Tuning Changes
  • Title Update 2 Preview
  • Matchmaking Update and Studio Priorities
  • Weekly Hive: Forever
  • Weekly Supply Drop and Store Content

Halloween Continues

A Sire reaches out with a Juvie Pumpkin Head, with 3 Jack O Lantern weapon skins shown

The Gears 5 Halloween festivities continue with the arrival of the Mad Man’s Monsters!

This special 20 wave Horde event pits COG Heroes against Swarm only enemies sporting Juvie Pumpkin Heads, with Frankenstein’s Imago and jump-scaring Sires added to the mix.

Complete 60 waves of The Mad Man’s Monsters event to earn 13 Jack-O-Lantern weapon skins before the event ends on November 4th. Pumpkin Ball and the earnable Frankenstein’s Imago are also available until November 4th.

Tuning Changes

As we mentioned in our blog on Friday, we are continuing to work on tuning changes to Gears 5 as we work to continually refine the balance of the game based on data and feedback.

In the near future, we’ll be deploying new tuning for both the Lancer and the Aim Adhesion systems within the game. We sat down with Jamie Mactaggart, Gameplay Design Lead, to walk us through the new changes.

Jamie Mactaggart:

Striking a balance between the Lancer and Gnasher is critical. When one falls even slightly out of line, the effects are felt keenly. Right now, the Lancer is tipping that balance, primarily in Ranked play. We have determined that there are two key areas where the weapon is over-performing: Active bonus and long range damage.

When the Lancer is active, it currently receives a 20% bonus to its rate-of-fire. At medium and long ranges, this bonus is pushing the time-to-kill slightly too low. The net effect is that players are staying back longer, causing risky, more aggressive movement plays to happen less then desired as players look to avoid being caught out in situations where the TTK leaves them unable to react. This isn’t healthy for a starting weapon, particularly at long ranges.

The intention is to allow the Lancer to punish poor movement plays where players are caught out of position, especially with an active magazine. But downs shouldn’t be happening quite as consistently, especially past the weapons most effective medium range. We are seeing single Lancer shooters locking down entire lanes too effectively – this is a task intended to be much more reliably done with secondary weapon pick-ups like the Retro, Markza or Longshot.

Here is what is changing for the Lancer to address these issues:

Lancer Tuning

  • Active reload rate of fire increase reduced by 50% (was 20%, now 10%)
  •  Long range damage reduced by 20% (damage done beyond 30m)

These changes mean that players within short to medium range will now live an extra tenth of a second longer when caught out in the open against an active Lancer – a change of 1.1 to 1.2 seconds or so.

At ranges greater than 30 meters, victims can last up to 4 tenths of a second longer, with a time-to-kill hovering around 1.5 seconds. Accurate consistent headshots will reduce this, but in general players should now have much more time to react.

Beyond the Lancer, we have also taken the time to assess the global level of adhesion we are applying to all long-range weapons. Adhesion is one of 3 aim assist tools used in Gears that helps the shooter stay on target when actively tracking moving enemies. This exists in almost any modern console shooter today to create a consistent experience when aiming with thumbsticks.

This assist only occurs when camera motion (right stick input) coincides with the target’s movement direction.  However, based on our play experience and your feedback, we feel this is currently too strong across the board: players can track mid-to-long range targets more easily then intended, which is causing more shots to hit than expected at those ranges. We are making a straight forward change here:

Global Weapon Tuning

  • Aim assist (adhesion) effect strength reduced for all weapons by 25% at all ranges up to 30m (beyond which there is no adhesion)

This change simply means that players will have to work a bit harder to track moving targets with more precise stick input, especially at mid-to-long ranges.

As always, we’ll be monitoring the impact of these changes to determine their success. Thank you for all your feedback so far and we hope you find these tweaks as impactful as our playtests have found them to be!

Title Update 2

Our next major Title Update is coming next week for Gears 5.

While we haven’t quite entered Certification yet (a process to verify the Update is working as intended and doesn’t have any last minute surprises!), we wanted to give you a quick snapshot preview of some of the key fixes we expect to be present in the Update. Again, caveat here is, this is barring any last minute surprises!

  • Improvements to the Boomshot, including bug fixes, to improve consistency
  • Flashbangs hitting players through cover
  • Full fix for the drop weapon exploit, allowing us to re-enable weapon drops
  • Fix for the forever-flashed Flashbang issue
  • Fix for the Weapon’s Locker ‘eating’ weapons

We’ll post full Update notes next week in What’s Up.

Gears 4 Maps in Matchmaking

Following the successful test of Foundation being added to matchmaking, we have added Reclaimed and Dam to our matchmaking map pool!

Studio Priorities

On Friday last week, we posted a rundown of our top priorities as a studio to continually improve Gears 5’s online experience. Our top priorities are:

  • Service Stability – Very High
  • Ranking Points Not Awarding Correctly – Very High
  • Matchmaking Quality – High
  • Versus Gameplay Tuning – High
  • In-Game Network Corrections – Medium
  • Campaign Progression Catchup – Medium

Many of these priorities are being worked on in tandem, with gameplay tuning for the Lancer and Adhesion coming this week (as detailed above) and a new update for Matchmaking coming today.

Improving Matchmaking

Over the next few weeks, we are undertaking a three-phased approach that should improve ping, wait times and match balance in Quickplay and Ranked matches.

In phase 1, which is being deployed today, we have refined our QoS matchmaking system so players will find matches quicker and connect to servers with a higher quality ping. These changes should be noticeable immediately as soon as the update is live. We will monitor the matchmaking data for the performance of the update and inform the community on their effectiveness. As with all matchmaking changes, the results aren’t always predictable but we hope this to have a significant positive impact.

We’re confident that most of our player population will benefit from this update. However, there may be some players in remote regions (like Brazil) that may not see any dramatic improvement in this initial phase – but we believe all players will have a much better experience at the end of these updates. 

Let us know about what you think of these changes, but remember to give it a few days to allow the impact of the change to be fully measurable. If you aren’t seeing any improvements by Friday, we’d love to hear your feedback on what you’re seeing online – and make sure to include your gamertag, mode and exact time of match to allow us to better assess any potential root cause of your experience.

We plan on deploying Phase 2 next week, which we will talk about after we see the results of Phase 1.

Stay Up To Date

We are consistently updating Gears5.com/Status with any developments on these priorities for the studio, as well as posting on @CoalitionGears, Reddit, Discord and our forums. Please keep an eye on your channel of choice to keep up to date with any developments as they happen.

Weekly Escape Hive

A heated pipeline in an underground mine

This week’s Escape Hive is known simply as Forever.

In this Hive, you’ll face a constantly changing assortment of enemies that cloak when they get close. Hold your nerve and battle your way through an ever-changing Hive.

Supply Content Drop

Supply Drops are another way to earn rewards in Gears 5, dropping you content from the Supply Pool every time you fill your Supply meter just by playing the game!

Here’s this week’s drop of Supply content:

Weapon Skin: Relaxed (Talon)

Expression: Yes (Global)

Bloodspray: Dropshot

Mark: Clover

Mark: Butterfly

Banner: Foundation

Banner: Reclaimed

Weekly Store Items

Weekly Store Rotation

This week’s Weekly Store Items is all about style for your weapon skins and a new way to beat down your opponents.

  • Dark Wave Full Weapon Skin Set – 1500 Iron
  • Pink Camo Lancer – 100 Iron
  • Pink Camo Gnasher – 100 Iron
  • Gut Kick Execution – 500 Iron
  • X Bloodspray – 200 Iron

Last week’s Halloween content is also still available in the Event Tab of the Store until November 4th.

Don’t forget, next Tuesday will see a brand-new collection of content available in the store while this week’s collection goes away.

Signing Off

That’s it for this week’s What’s Up. Next week, we’ll have some news on our Gears Anniversary events and continued updates on our work to improve Gears 5.

See you online,

TC