I wanted to start by mentioning this is my first time posting on this forum. I’ve followed and read topics on this forum for a long time but never felt the need to post anything because even in its worst state, pvp in GOW4 and GOW5 has been the most enjoyable multiplayer experience for me compared to other games existing concurrently. Even though I’ve had major gripes like the rest of you, gameplay wise I was able to adapt, and cosmetics are not a major concern for me as long as they’re adequate. However, the current state of the pvp experience in terms of the ranking system, ranked modes, and matchmaking is the worst it has ever been in a TC gears game in my opinion, so I felt an exigency to discuss this matter.
To outline my concerns:
The ranking system is no longer a measure of skill.
A. In the lower ranks, it is simply a reflection of who plays the most. This is partly because it takes a lot of matches and time to get out of bronze and silver even if you win and mvp every single game. More importantly, this is because pretty much everyone on each team receives a very similar amount of GP in each game because of the arbitrary cap on GP. This is especially true for long KOTH matches as most competent players will hit 40 elims and 10 caps. Therefore, because the skilled/productive player with far more kills, assists, etc. earns a very similar amount of GP as the player on the same team who was carried, the awarded GP does not distinguish between who is more skilled on each team but rather who won the match. It should be mentioned that removing the cap on GP would not easily resolve this issue because of the oversimplification of the GP scoring system. It is quite easy to abuse the GP awarded for elims since tickling someone with a lancer/snub before they are taken out counts the same in terms of GP as a gnasher gib. The previous scoring system within a match (which I imagine was a massive contributor to rank) accrued points awarded for elims based on amount of damage inflicted which was far more reasonable. I’m fairly certain it used to be so nuanced that in the background you were getting a different rank boost for even killing with different weapons, such as more points for longshot headshots, but this is impossible to confirm.
B. In the higher ranks, all of that still holds true, but ranks also become a reflection of who plays in stacks versus who is solo queuing. This is because the entry cost of GP makes winning even more important for rank. Therefore, players in stacks will have a way easier time ranking up because it is much harder to lose when playing in a stack in this game. This creates two problems. First, this makes solo queuing a massive disadvantage in terms of ranking up because you are risking more in each match (since you have a higher chance of losing than if you were in a stack). Second, because it is so much easier to rank up in a stack even the worst players can rank up to diamond or even masters if they get on a winning team. Previously you would never see an unskilled or new player in masters, but now it is far too easy if you have a squad of good teammates and you will see it happen.
The transparency of the new ranking system is not a positive: this is farcical. The most obvious issue this creates is that people are incentivized and even encouraged to grind ranks within a match instead of focusing on winning, when the two are most certainly not one and the same. One very simple example is waiting to cap a dead hill for GP instead of rotating in KOTH, and that is just scratching the surface. Even though winning is the number one determinant for rank, everyone knows that most players are still obsessing over small additions to GP over helping the team win in order to get mvp, The second issue the transparency of the new ranking system created is an oversimplification of how a player ranks up which I touched on earlier.
There is no variety in terms of 5v5 ranked playlists. Gridiron and KOTH are simply not enough for players like me who enjoy playing a variety of game modes with friends. The immediate counterargument for this would be to go play TDM and guardian in social but there is zero challenge in playing social with a squad of veteran players which makes for an extremely boring experience. The second counterargument would be that the playerbase is too small to support more ranked modes, which is somewhat true. However, the fact of the matter is that if you think of the timing, most ranked modes were removed to support gridiron because it is TC’s invention (harsh reality). I’m sure if guardian and exe were kept gridiron would have been dead quite fast. One has to believe that TDM and esca were removed for the same reason. Also, I understand TC’s intention is to restore TDM once certain “gameplay improvements” have been made, but they could just as easily cop out and claim a positive community response to its removal or that it was unpopulated in social, so it has to be included as part of the problem here.
I didn’t think it was possible, but matchmaking has gotten even worse. First off, matchmaking should not be solely based on the individual in the party with the highest rank because this leads to scenarios where a stack of golds match against a stack with one gold and four bronze players. The counterargument here is that now players with distant ranks do not match up against each other, but in fact they still do if they are in a party with a higher rank individual. The issue of players with distant ranks not matching up together can easily be resolved without this element of matchmaking where you are matched up based on the rank of the individual with the highest rank in the party. Furthermore, as I outlined in the last three points ranks mean next to nothing now so there is terrible match quality. Usually one team will dominate because it so unbalanced, and this is boring for both teams. To be perfectly honest, I’m not very concerned about my personal rank but the terrible match quality (a byproduct of ranks being meaningless) actively discourages me from wanting to play.
The combination of all these factors greatly reduces the enjoyability of pvp, and makes ranking up feel like a grind and meaningless chore akin to the Tour of Duty.
A major reason why I felt the need to make this post is that to my bewilderment, there appears to be a somewhat positive response to the new ranking system. I presume many of these people who like it are those who were clamoring for more transparency in the ranking system because they were struggling to rank up. The truth is that it was always fairly transparent how to rank up, but now it has simply become oversimplified, easy to abuse, and unrepresentative of skill. I also wanted to touch on the fact that based on the massive gameplay improvements which have been steadily made since Gears 5 dropped, it appears that TC is currently listening to a lot of feedback from content creators and professional players instead of so-called “casuals.” From what I gather, a lot of professional players barely even play ranked and most didn’t even care that esca was removed, so I don’t think their input is the most valuable in this scenario. I presume a lot of content creators like the current state of ranked because it rewards playing a ton and playing in stacks, which most of them do. However, in this specific case I think that TC should be listening to the average ranked player, as they are most of the playerbase, and like me, are probably discontented at the lack of variety in terms of ranked playlists and the lack of incentive to strive for higher ranks because they are no longer reflective of skill. In this regard, to provide perspective and out of fear of being discredited as a “casual” because I don’t play GOW to make montages or earn money (not that there’s anything wrong with being a casual, creating content, or playing professionally), I wanted to mention that I hit masters in every ranked mode as a console player last operation and have played through every GOW game when they came out, including pvp since GOW4 dropped. Sorry if that comes across as a boast or high-falutin, but too often the response or even assumption to criticism is that the concerned individual must be new or bad at the game, so I wanted to somewhat dispel that outcome.
I wanted to conclude by saying that I fully understand this is only a ranked “preseason” and improvements are coming, but for me this is no excuse for the current state of ranked because this update took many steps backward instead of forward. An improved ranking system would have simply focused on reducing inexplicable results such as when 0 points are awarded for a match, improving matchmaking so that groups of solo queue players do not match up against stacks as often, and so that masters/diamond players do not play with or against new bronze players which has been the central issue since the first TC-designed ranking system in GOW4.
However, hopefully feedback like this does not go unnoticed as I imagine TC is planning on utilizing constructive feedback like this (one can hope) in order to develop and launch an improved ranked experience when the “preseason” is over. I’m curious how others who peruse the forum feel about these points so feel free to criticize or discuss.
TL;DR: Not a fan of the current ranked experience, how do y’all feel?