This is still very early in the testing phase and represents some of the thoughts I have about Default weapon swaps, each map’s design, and the general lethality/balance of the weapons in the game, based on Ranked gameplay and 4 vs. 4 scrimmages. Some things to consider when reading this are:
- Competitive Gears of War Players traditionally used Lancer/Gnasher (GoW1 & GoW2)
- Gears of War’s original Power Weapon respawn system used a 30 second & 1 minute after pickup timer
- Gears of War 2 introduced a 30 second “After Use” Power Weapon respawn system
- The alternating weapon swaps was not used during Gears of War 1 and was disabled during competitive settings for Gears of War 2
- Competitive scrimmages utilize the “After Pickup” weapon setting in Gears of War 3
- Execution was the only gametype used in competitive settings for Gears of War and Gears of War 2
Current “After Pickup” Weapon Respawn Times
- Smoke Grenades
- Torque Bow
- Frag Grenades
- Ink Grenades
- Incendiary Grenades
- Digger Launcher
Weapons on Map
- Gorgon Pistol/Boltok Pistol
- Frag Grenades
- Ink Grenades/Incendiary Grenades
- Digger Launcher/Longshot Sniper
Most teams have already ruled out Team Deathmatch because the map is relatively easy to spawn trap and power weapon allocation dictates emphasis on one side of the map — generally towards the Platform side (checkout). These two factors together mean that once a team has been wiped, the opposing team can “set up” on Platform with a Hammerburst (ideal) or Lancer with one player working the power weapon and the two other players playing the corridors to keep a spawn trap going. In the event that there isn’t quite a full wipe, but one team has established control over Platform, the other team resorts to smoking grenades and attempting to grab frag grenades and flushing the other team out.
If both teams have established “sides,” the heavy power weapon serves little purpose in retaking the lead. The only time I have witnessed the weapon being used is by keeping teams at bay during a spawn trap. The only viable tactic typically involves smoke rushing the platform on a respawn wave and trying to overtake the Platform from the other team. Additionally, during Digger rounds, the Digger Launcher can be used to funnel advancing enemies away from the platform. All-in-all the the gameplay becomes a little monotonous, but the tempo is slightly faster because of the urgency to secure one area of the map.
Video Coming Soon
Like Team Deathmatch, Execution seems to have a centralized area of action near the platform and Digger/Sniper locations. Each team typically runs a 3-man or 4-man rush with lots of smokes and clustered pushes. If teams are running a 3-1 (3 towards platform, 1 towards grenades), the lone player that grabs grenades will typically blind toss grenades towards platform in hopes of killing the opposing team. Usually the action happens so quickly that the flank player is typically one of the last players alive because it takes longer to wrap around, so the opposing team is reverted to matching a team that is running 4 Platform strategies.
Ideally, I would prefer to see the Sniper or Digger replace the Mulcher to de-emphasize the centralized fighting in the Platform area. The gameplay might be a bit slower, but I think there would be more instances of teams running more in depth strategies than what is currently offered with Default weapon swaps. It is also worth noting that the Digger should receive a respawn time adjustment — it is definitely not in the same lethality tier as the Boomshot — three minutes is much too long.
Video Coming Soon
King of the Hill
We definitely have a winner in King of the Hill. It’s not perfect, but with Default Weapon Swaps, I think that Checkout plays out a tad better (literally a tiny fraction) than Execution. King of the Hill has inherently has it’s own issues which I will cover in depth later in the article, but it is enjoyable and can be competitive on Checkout. As it stands, I have the following issues with Checkout King.
- I dislike players spawning on top of me while I’m capping a nearby Hill.
- I don’t completely understand the Respawn System
This ties into my second point because I don’t truly understand the Respawn system. It is loosely tied to the proximity of where your teammates are located in correlation to the respawn area they are nearest to, but in instances of a full team wipe it seems to split teammates in pairs of two. I’ve made that observation on maps with two or more player spawn locations, but I need to thoroughly play the gametype for awhile before properly standing by any solid player respawn declarations. In any case, players have the opportunity to respawn facing a hill on the “electronics” side of the map with a higher percentage of looking at a hill than the other locations. If you’ve played King as much as I have, you may have also noticed that on rare occurrences the opposing team will actually spawn on top of a hill. I believe this happens as a hill is switching and the player respawns at the exact time that a hill is moving to a location.
Video Coming Soon
The most frequent complaint from my team and other teams that have played on Checkout is that they feel teams are constantly spawning at Checkout or Electronics as opposed to the other areas on the map. The complaint becomes slightly amplified because the percentage of Hill spawns allocated to that side of the map is higher, so there is a greater chance that you’ll spawn facing a hill as opposed to the other areas on the map. On other maps, such as Mercy, teams complain about spawning on top of each other (Mercy), but I would prefer that happening versus teams spawning on top of, or facing hills. The kicker? Despite some of the issues, King of the Hill on Checkout plays out pretty well in comparison to some of the other maps.
Weapon Allocation and Map Analysis
As a testament to the way this map is played at a competitive level both in Ranked matches and in Scrimmages, the Mulcher (as are most Heavy Weapons) serves little-to-no purpose on the map in Team Deathmatch, Execution/Warzone, and King of the Hill. Players that grab the weapon are tactically vulnerable during Sniper rounds and picking it up during Digger rounds is equally ineffective. This in turn forces the action on one side of the map, limiting the “full” use of the map and leaves teams the option of running a limited number of opening rush strategies to secure a Power weapon and victory during a round. Rounds are faster due to the action being centralized at the Digger/Sniper area, but it’s often chaotic and smoke infested.
I like Checkout in Ranked and competitive play, despite the over-emphasis on one side of the map. The design of the map is exceptional, but I would like to see a few minor tweaks to King of the Hill with the aforementioned weapon swaps for the Mulcher that would help Team Deathmatch and Execution.
- New King of the Hill Gameplay and Commentary (Part 1 of 2)
- Gears of War 3 Beta: Dual Commentary with Skyllus and arCtiC
- Gears 3 Map-by-Map Competitive Analysis: Drydock