What’s Up – November 11th 2019

Kait executes a Swarm Drone

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:

  • Melee Tuning Update coming this week
  • Ranked and Matchmaking Updates
  • Versus Playlist: Arcade Legacy
  • Escape Hive: The Trap
  • Boost Weekend: Double Class XP for Escape
  • Weekly Supply and Store Updates

Melee Tuning Update

In response to community feedback, this week will see the release of new Melee Tuning to address the current meta in Gears 5. We caught up with Jamie MacTaggart, Gameplay Design Lead, to walk us through these new changes:

One of our gameplay goals with Gears 5 was to improve the baseline melee combat to the point where it becomes a relevant, reliable tool in the players arsenal regardless of the mode being played or weapon being used.

Clearly each game mode demands different interpretations of what ‘reliable’ means. For PVP, we kept it very straight forward and stripped away the new PVE combo systems to allow for a single, powerful attack seen in almost every other previous Gears. We then focused on the consistency of connecting with a target within a certain range.

There is no denying that we have successfully achieved our goal in making melee a tool that players willingly engage in – but unsurprisingly, there are some balance changes we have identified to help bring a higher degree of risk/reward back into the equation.

The bulk of the tuning focuses on two areas of the attack: The lunge targeting area and the post-attack cooldown.

The Lunge

The ‘lunge’ is enabled by a small area in-front of each player. When a valid enemy is within this space and the melee input is pressed, the attacker will quickly close the remaining distance up until the hit while staying oriented to the target. The hit timing is the same as it has always been in Gears: 0.26 seconds.

We shipped the game with a tuning that put this range just outside of the Gnasher ‘gib’ distance (that line where the Gnasher becomes a 1-shot gib rather than a 2-shot down that all Gears since 2 have had). This meant that when attacking a Gnasher player with melee meant that you wouldn’t necessarily be out-right killed since the attacker hadn’t yet crossed that ‘line’ when the attack was initiated. It was intended to put both players in a relatively similar position where the next shot or melee attack would respectively kill.

This has had an unintended effect on the larger risk/reward ratio of the melee, however. Simply put, it’s too easy to land a melee hit at the moment. So we have reduced this area:

  • Lunge target range reduced by 30%
  • Lunge target angle reduced by 35%
  • Lunge attack rotation speed reduced by 30%

The result is a shorter and narrower target area. This puts the valid target area to well within Gnasher ‘gib’ range and also forces the attacker to have to be more accurate with their facing when the initiate melee.

The lunge attack rotation speed decrease means that attacking players moving quickly perpendicular to you (roadie run, cover slip or evading) will result in less connections at furthest lunge distances.

Melee PSA– if a victim evades or slides into cover after a melee attack has been started against them, then the connection is immediately broken and the lunge stops. They can still be hit by the natural knife swing if close enough, however!

The Cooldown

A players ability to re-activate melee after a hit or a miss was slightly reduced compared to previous Gears. This was done to support the Gnasher 1v1 described above, allowing a similar recovery time for both shotgun and melee attack. We have increased this cooldown:

  • Post melee attack cooldown increased by 25%

This puts the recovery time squarely back to what is was: 1.25 seconds. This means that the victim of a non-lethal melee attack has all of the advantages when responding now. The attacker cannot do a lethal action, ranged or melee, until that time is up.

Conclusion

We acknowledge that there is other feedback around melee that the fans want us to address – specifically about how quickly a player can melee attack after firing a ranged weapon. We are looking into this, but any changes here are much more involved and will take longer, should we decide to act. For now, the tuning described above will put the core PVP melee into a healthier place.

Ranked and Matchmaking Updates

As mentioned last week, our Ranked Reset and improvements will now be releasing on Wednesday, November 13th to allow us a bit more time to ensure this change is as impactful as possible. You can read more about it here.

In the near future – targeting this week – we’ll also roll out the second phase of our three phase Matchmaking Improvements following the success of Phase 1 for most users. Stay tuned for updates on Gears5.com/Status or @CoalitionGears on Twitter.

Versus Playlist: Arcade Legacy

This week’s Featured Playlist is Arcade Legacy!

Arriving on Wednesday, Arcade Legacy is the Arcade you know and love but exclusively on the 5 maps from Gears of War 4 available in Gears 5. Try out a new favorite on some old ones!

Escape

This week’s Escape Hive is The Trap.

We hope you don’t mind being split up, because in this Hive, certain doors will close after a player passes through it. Prepare for some major OG Gears campaign vibes as you fight on different paths in an effort to regroup, including a new ‘Big Recoil’ modifier to handle.

To help get those characters leveled up for your next Escape Challenge, we’ll be enabling a Boost Escape Double Character XP this weekend beginning on Friday!

Weekly Store Items

This week’s Weekly Store Items are packed up and ready to go! No really, this week’s theme is filled with Cardboard goodness.

Weekly Store Rotation

  • Cardboard Shepard Character Skin – 800 Iron
  • Cardboard Loadout Weapon Skins Pack – 600 Iron
  • Animated Windflare Gnasher Weapon Skin – 400 Iorn
  • HUH?! Mark – 50 Iron

Moving forward, we have discontinued the Daily Item slot and will only have Weekly Content available in the store.

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. Stay tuned for more news on the Ranked and Matchmaking improvements later this week.

Until then,

TC out.