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
- Ink Grenade
- Incendiary Grenade / Frag Grenade
- Boltok Pistol / Gorgon Pistol
- Longshot Sniper / Torqure
- One Shot / Mortar
Drydock is probably my favorite map from a design standpoint, but the Default weapon swaps absolutely kill the map for Ranked and competitive play in Execution. Like Checkout, the default swaps dictate action on one side of the map towards the Anchor (Sniper/Torque). The Banner side (One Shot / Mortar) is seldom visited in the opening rush of competitive play, however in Ranked gameplay players will occasionally run to that side with a higher rate of frequency.
AmazYn vs. Get Bronco
The match above is of a recent scrimmage against Get Bronco. Both teams have a pretty focused emphasis on Anchor, although GetB runs a few different strategies (still heavily centered around Torque). You can see in the latter portion of Round 2, Phobos actually grabs the Mortar to attempt to flush out players from GetB and he fails miserably. Despite not working, the weapon wasn’t utilized the entire duration of the scrimmage and that occurs in 95% of every competitive match. It would be interesting to statistically compare, at least in Ranked Rooms, the winning percentage of teams that control the Banner side (Mortar/One Shot) of the map versus the team that controls the Anchor side (Torque/Sniper) of the map.
Ranked Execution Video Coming Soon
This is perhaps, the worst map for Team Deathmatch, largely due in part to Spawn Trapping. I wish for just one weekend that TDM used King of the Hill spawns, just so maps like this would not ruin the TDM experience. Setting up a Spawn Trap on Drydock is best explained in the video below:
Weapon swaps also play a factor in Team Deathmatch, but I think securing positions to rifle enemy players and cleaning them up with Power Weapons makes this an easy target for Spawn Trapping. The team that maintains control of the Power Weapons at the beginning of the game has an exponentially easier time establishing and keeping a Spawn Trap going. Let’s not forget about the wide open areas that players must pass through in order to reach one of the raised platforms. The ideal scenario for breaking a Spawn Trap would be to smoke the middle section just outside of each spawn and moving all members of your team to one ramp and smoke pushing up the ramp. It’s rather difficult to successfully accomplish without a coordinated bunch of players.
It should be noted that teams are not playing this map at a competitive level because of Spawn Trapping.
King of the Hill
My teammates and I feel that King of the Hill plays out exceptionally well on Drydock in comparison to some of the other maps, largely due in part to the placement of the Hill Spawns. There also seems to be less scenarios where players respawn behind the opposing team, so I think the combination of the map design, hill locations, and player spawns create an improved experience on the map. There are no glaring issues with King of the Hill on Drydock and I think it could be a mainstay in competitive gameplay.
Weapon Allocation and Map Analysis
Drydock is played in a strange manner in Ranked matches on Team Deathmatch, but it plays very similar to competitive gameplay in Execution. In Team Deathmatch it seems as if players try to secure both sides of the ship, sending 2-3 players towards either Anchor or Banner. I can honestly say that I haven’t really seen any Ranked players rush all of their team towards the Anchor. I think the mindset of having “multiple” lives creates a sense of security which in turn makes players spread out a bit more in Team Deathmatch with less of an emphasis on securing the initial Power Weapon. Obviously more organized players will always go for Power Weapons that pose a higher chance of successfully killing opponents, so two parties facing off against each other usually means there is a lot of action at Anchor.
In Ranked Execution, it plays out exactly the same as competitive teams have been playing with Default Weapon swaps. The Anchor becomes a smoke fest with players rushing to grab the Torque or Sniper while the other side of the map is rarely used. Even at the competitive level when teams run a 2-2 the players at Banner aren’t fighting for control over the One Shot or Mortar, they are fighting for Middle Bridge control. In the rare scenario where a team rushes through Banner to Middle Bridge, they are typically looking to provide support fire at teams running towards the Torque.
Aside from the obvious lack of balance with Power Weapon allocation, there is also an issue where one side (Pier) receives an Ink Grenade while the other side (Cargo) receives a Scorcher. Issue number one is that an Ink Grenade has a significantly higher chance of securing a kill than a Scorcher. Stunning players and then Lancering them down is a tactic that should be available to both sides. This brings me to issue number two. Even if there was an Ink at the Scorcher, the team that spawned at Cargo would be able to secure the Anchor power weapon much easier than the team that spawns at Pier because the Inks are not placed proportionately on either side. Cargo team would ALWAYS get an Ink to Anchor faster than Pier can could get their Ink to the same area of the map. In fact it’s so slow that in competitive play teams are forfeiting grabbing the Ink Grenade at Pier because taking the time to grab the Ink is detrimental to securing the Power Weapon.
Like Checkout, there is an overemphasis on one side of the map because the Heavy Power weapons are not very effective to use and provide no real tactical advantage to players. I would say using the Heavy Weapons is counter productive to actually securing a win on the map. The Mortar is too slow to reload and consistently fire and the One Shot takes too long to load and will leave players susceptible to headshots by the Torque Bow and/or Sniper. The issue on Drydock is that I don’t actually have the answers for what would create the best scenario on Drydock. Obviously the Heavy Weapons are ineffective and the Scorcher/Ink swaps are equally not as good. I would definitely like to see a Power Weapon in place of the grenades to shift the focus and make players utilize angles a bit more on the map, maybe switching the lone Ink or Frag/Incendiary grenades in place of the Heavy Weapon.