To be clear I do not believe anyone is being “victimized” here — it’s a game folks. I’ve seen some very disturbing responses directed towards Epic around the net in regards to a change that hasn’t been properly tested. I know, I know everyone hates change. Facebook changes – people yell and scream. Twitter changes – people yell…you get the picture. With this article, I am simply presenting information and my opinions on how this rule will affect gameplay. I am approaching this new rule with an open mind and hope that everyone else does the same — give it an opportunity.
There has been quite a bit of speculation the last week or so as to how the new stalemate rule will affect the outcome of the Execution and Warzone gametypes on Gears of War 3. This past weekend @skyzyn and I discussed some of pros and cons of the new stalemate rule going into effect on Gears of War 3. For those unfamiliar with the “Man Up” rule:
The team with more remaining players on the team, at the end of a round, is declared the winner.
- Team A (5 Players on the team)
- Team B (3 Players on the team)
- Team A is winner when time expires at the end of the round.
In both Part 1 and Part 2 of our dual commentary, we provide our thoughts on how it would affect Public/Ranked and Private match players. Part 1 (featured video above) focuses a bit more on some of the factors that play into competitive play while Part 2 is more for the Public/Ranked players.
Who is Most Affected?
Without question, I think the players that play Ranked and Public Execution/Warzone, specifically those that play by themselves, will be the most affected by the new stalemate rule. Execution and Warzone, by nature, require players to be cautious with their life every round. Thus players that enter the game with a full party are going to expose this new stalemate rule from the get-go. The nature of the gametypes inadvertently create a “defensive” mindset before entering an Execution or Warzone playlist. The primary objective, at least in my opinion, is to stay alive and kill opponents while @skyzyn feels that the objective is attaining power weapons. Combining our theories, we believe that organized players will grab power weapons, pull off one kill and then play defensively for the duration of the round. We believe that the team with a “Man up” will not have an incentive to push the other team because they will not be able to grab a power weapon, severely limiting their options to even the score before the round ends.
The pace and flow of gameplay from Gears of War 1 to Gears of War 2 was crippled, largely due in part to the change in Power Weapon Respawning system. The weapons respawning offered an incentive for players to move around the map. Whether that incentive be to “even” the score, win the round or pull off a sick headshot with the sniper, it kept players mobile on the map. In Gears of War 3 Ranked and Public matches, the weapon respawn system is not set on a respawn timer until after the last round of ammo is used in the weapon (the same system as Gears of War 2). Ultimately, we believe there will not be an incentive for a team with more players on their team to move, especially if they have control of the power weapon(s) on the map.
Example (Checkout with a Party of 3 – 5 players on Team A):
- Team A kills 1 player of Team B with Digger/Sniper
- Team A defensively plays on the Digger/Sniper side
- Team B defensively plays on the market side
What I am actually expecting to see in Ranked and Public Execution and Warzone matches are more players working together because the gametype will force a larger emphasis on controlling Power Weapons. Either way, the rule will greatly affect Ranked and Public fans of the Execution and Warzone Gametypes. Lastly folks, let’s not forget that Rod Fergusson stated in his Q&A interview on July 15th (around the 9:00 mark) that Epic has the ability to tweak changes to these new features of the game. I can only hope that they also INCLUDE LAN UPDATES with any of those server side changes that plagued Gears of War 2.
The Implications for Competitive Gears Players
@Skyzyn and I focused quite a bit on the competitive community in Part 1 of our commentary video and I don’t want to focus too much on it for this early assessment article, but I do believe the competitive community is overreacting without much merit. There are a handful of players that have actually played Gears of War 2 with the Man Up rule so they understand how the system actually works. The only thing I really want to mention is that according to Jim Brown, Epic’s Lead Level Designer, Power Weapons will be set on a Respawn Timer for Private Matches. That means that teams with a “man up” would potentially forfeit their control of power weapons if they decide to camp.
I think the one concern and it’s a valid one, is in scenarios where teams that have control of a Power Weapon decide to “camp” or defensively set up around power weapons on a respawn timer. This scenario does cause some minor concerns, but I would hope that the players involved with creating weapon swaps aim to make the weapon swaps as balanced as possible on each map. Although it’s not 100% certain, I have also heard that the ability to toggle the stalemate system is available in Private matches. If so, that would be great, if not I’m equally cool with the situation. As long as respawning weapons is available, it will make all the difference to me. Without respawning weapons, it’s going to be a rough road when it’s time to determine competitive settings. I would however, like to remind the competitive community that weapons like the Digger were implemented into the game to FORCE players to move from certain locations, effectively eliminating camping. I believe its inclusion in competitive settings will be vital to the flow of each game. I’m pumped to test the new rule!
Serious Suggestions to Epic
Hey Epic, we mentioned it in Part 2 of our dual commentary, how about a real objective gametype for once? Execution and Warzone doesn’t have an objective; I know it and I know you guys realize it, why else would this new rule come into effect? How about creating a bomb gametype of some sort and put some meaning behind the 1-life gametypes that defined the game for the past 5 years. Creating this new stalemate rule doesn’t solve the problem behind 1-life gametypes being a snore fest at times. There’s no incentive to “win” and forcing players to move is only going to turn off more people than it’s worth. I wouldn’t mind taking Cole Train to an Emergence hole and blowing that b*tch up while the Locust attempt to stop me. I just feel like this rule could have been avoided all together if there was an objective gametype like Search and Destroy.
My other suggestion is to create a Mercenary playlist that allows players without parties to enjoy the game without getting gang-banged by groups of friends. It would definitely benefit the guys looking to hop online without worrying about communicating, the vast majority don’t communicate anyway, but hey at least this might give them a place to go. To everyone out there complaining about the rule, man up and give it a chance!
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