Horde 4.0 suggestions and ideas (detailed, long read)

Hi all. I’ve been toying with a few gameplay ideas I thought could be interesting for Horde 4.0 and wanted to share them with the community. But before I jump into the breakdown, I wanted to review the practical possibilities TC has for Gears 5 in regards to horde.

  1. They could eliminate it from MP. Highly unlikely given its popularity.

  2. Revert to a simpler style ala Horde 1.0 (Gears 2). I know there are advocates for this version, and while fun and definitely a challenge, it wouldn’t likely maintain the re-playability of the subsequent Horde versions. The leveling up, almost RPG element of Horde 2.0 and 3.0 diversifies the play style available to players, and keeps people returning to get stronger skills, seek increased challenges, etc. Plus this fits right in with TC’s MT/pack model.

  3. Stay the same as Horde 3.0. While the easiest to implement and already shown to draw generally favorable reviews, keeping everything the same for Horde 4.0 might be considered a letdown to those expecting a continued evolution of this game mode. Additionally, to those players that dumped loads of time, credits, so much scrap… -patience, and even real money into Horde 3.0 in order to max their levels and skills, having to start over from ground zero for the exact Horde model might be infuriating. If all class and skill levels transferred from Gears 4 to Gears 5, not only would M$ likely lose out on quite a bit of revenue, but there would be no challenge for players starting at the top.

  4. They could completely revamp the way horde works, which would see a variety of character types and classes, special skills, and include abilities outside of the typical Gears universe. Almost like a D&D type game. Not that it wouldn’t be cool to see what would be possible, but it probably wouldn’t feel like canon material, and more like another 1st/3rd person pseudo-RPG.

My suggestions will fall between the 3rd and 4th categories, borrowing heavily from Horde 3.0 but mixing things up enough to hopefully seem fresh while maintaining the Gears feel, with a few new skills sprinkled in.

To start, I propose introducing new classes that are more of an reorganization of the existing skills, and eliminating the Scout role. If the current model of Fabricator/Power based building, etc. will remain, I believe the Scout’s collection skills and passive ability should be dispersed among the other classes or equivocated in different ways. Why? Because while the Scout can definitely be manic fun to play, we all have had dozens or hundreds of games ruined by a leaver/afk Scout, selfish Scout, new Scout on Insane difficulty, etc. And, even if with an experienced, solid Scout, you will spend at least 25 minutes (on 50 waves) plus the time for “last enemy” waiting for the Scout to grab all the energy. This adds up on an already lengthy game mode. (Speed runs arguments aside here people, I don’t want to get side-tracked). I’ve been playing Horde Mania lately and it is a really nice change of pace. It is challenging and fun, but I haven’t completely sided either way on whether or not that should be the way the standard mode plays. Regardless, committing at least one person to this role of “run around and grab energy or we all lose” should stop with Gears 4.

To continue to use the energy model however, would require that the other classes can still gather a reasonable amount of energy for a builder class to utilize effectively, especially on harder difficulties. For this, I will include a energy-related ability with each class described. I’m leaning towards putting it as a passive ability, but can also see reasoning behind making it a card type skill.

I will now breakdown the classes and skills for each, including new skills with explanations, or renamed skills for more appropriate fit to class, etc. It should be fairly easy to follow.

Fundamentalist: (Soldier/Sniper/Scout) -The fundamentalist would focus on using core Gears skills such as active reloads, using cover, spotting enemies, and Gnasher skills.

Loadout- Lancer, Gnasher, Snub,

Passive Ability: Deathmark (energy skill)- any enemy that dies while marked by a Fundamentalist will drop X% more energy

Common skills: Active Reload Boost, Assault Rifle Damage, Cover Boost, Mark Boost, Radar Ping, Shotgun Damage

Rare skills: Assault Rifle Accuracy, Assault Rifle Magazine and Capacity (combine with Assault Rifle Capacity), Called Shot, Dodge, Shotgun Capacity and Magazine(combine with Shotgun Magazine)

Epic skills: Run Up! (any enemy the Fundamentalist kills with a hip-fire/blind-fire shotgun will heal X% of damage *25, 40, 55, 70, 85, 100)

Demolitionist : (Heavy/Soldier)- the Demolitionist focuses on large scale, area of effect damage with explosive weapons and grenades

Loadout- Retro Lancer, Torque Bow, Snub, Flame Grenades

Passive ability: Two Birds (energy skill)- any time an Demolitionist kills two or more enemies with a single shell/grenade the enemy will drop X% more energy

Common skills: Explosive Launcher Capacity, Explosive Launcher Damage, Grenade Damage

Rare skills: Grenade Capacity and Plants(combine with Grenade Plants), Thick Skin

Epic skills: Mortar Strike, Resupply, Siphon (Siphon will instead have an X% to drop an ammo box when an enemy is killed by a planted grenade) Shock and Awe (this skill will increase the damage and radius of the next shot by X% for any explosive launcher shot that killed two or more enemies)

Assassin: (Sniper)- The Assassin deals high damage output towards one enemy at a time with precision rifles and pistols

Loadout- Hammerburst, Markza, Boltok

Passive ability: Pay Day (energy skill)- when the Assassin makes a headshot kill, the enemy drops X% more money

Common skills: Headshot Damage, Marked Damage, Precision Rifle Capacity

Rare skills: Precision Rifle Damage

Epic skills: Cloak, Explosive Headshot, Magic Bullet, Pistol Expert, Sniper Strike, Steady Hand, Dances With Death (when the Assassin meatshields an enemy, they gain the X-Ray skill and pistol damage increases by X% amount)

Tank: (Scout/Heavy)-the Tank utilizes heavy weapons and soaks up damage

Loadout- Retro Lancer, Gnasher, Snub

Passive ability: Pickup Distance (some standard amount so that energy that drops on walls, etc. is still collectable), Hard Target (energy skill)- Any enemies that die while attacking/targeting a Tank will drop X% more energy.

Common skills: Brawler, Health Boost, Heavy Weapon Damage

Rare skills: Energize, Health Regeneration Boost, Turret Damage

Epic skills: Berserker, Last Stand, Rage (absorbs a % of damage dealt with heavy weapons and melee), Bully (if the Tank does X amount of damage to an enemy, the enemy will target the Tank, Montana (after the Tank stands in one place out of cover etc. for X amount of seconds, the Tank will begin take reduced damage and any absorb bullet ammunition fired on them, refilling any weapon that uses bullet ammo, including heavy weapons *this skill will not protect from or absorb ammo from melee attacks, explosives, EMBAR rounds, Buzzsaw rounds, grenades.

Construction: (Engineer)- the Construction class builds and maintains fortifications

Loadout- Enforcer, Gnasher, Repair Tool

Passive ability: Carry Speed

Common skills: Barrier Cost, Barrier Health, Build Cost, Decoy Cost, Decoy Health, Fortification Health, Repair Boost, Turret Cost, Turret Health, Weapons Locker Cost

Rare skills: Salvage, Sentry Capacity, Sentry Cost Sentry Speed, Turret Capacity

Epic skills: Flow, Hammer of Dawn Strike, Overclock

General Skills: available to all classes

Common skills:

Rare skills: Team Revive, Reload Speed (increases reload speed by X%, includes Precision Rifle Reload and Explosive Launcher Reload), Speed Boost

Epic skills: Speed Loader

Obviously the skills would have to be balanced in regards to the “X” amount of damage per level, but without being able to test anything, I didn’t want to arbitrarily assign values and thus left it as a variable for the most part. So that about sums it up. I also like to suggest a map vote for horde in lobby, possibly a JIP option or some sort of quit match vote so the a majority of players have to agree to back out of a match. All that has been heavily discussed/requested already though so I won’t go into it. Alright, see you in there!


Some nice suggestions, but there are some issues I see. I’ll also list some of the suggestions that I originally posted over a year ago when Rise of the Horde came out.

  1. Going back to a Horde 1.0 style would be a disaster. Most people forget how long it took to beat a 1-50 on a map without any fortifications (even with Boomshields), Even doing School of '08 in a non-speed run manner will take significantly longer than if you used fortifications, making an already lengthy game mode even longer. I realize you said this wasn’t likely to happen, but for anyone advocating that TC move this way I strongly suggest you go and replay a 1-50 on Gears 2 again and experience it again before commenting that this way is the best. It’s fine if you want to restrict yourself or your team to this playstyle, but it’s wrong to limit the entire community to this singular playstyle.
  2. I completely agree with your assessment of the Scout. It feels like someone took the worst mutator from Horde 2.0 (Piñata which changed the format from players automatically gaining ‘money’ from kills to spend on fortifications to enemies dropping tokens on the field with a very limited time to run out and grab otherwise you’d get nothing) and forced everyone to play with it in the new form of ‘energy’. We could do without this. Horde 2.0 allowed players to share their ‘money’ with people, so players could still pool their energy or just automatically deposit it for the team.
  3. I’m interested in some of your class ideas, though I’d make several tweaks. For instance, I’d want the Engineer to have an Epic skill card that stacked with his Repair Boost that would be a Fabricator Option for him to repair everything with just 1 click. Perhaps it would have a radius that extended based on card level, or number of fortifications affected based on card level, or it would repair everything for a given amount of health/ammo over a set period of time (as opposed to instantaneously) that decreased based on card level (e.g. level 1 for 50% health over 10 sec and level 6 for 100% health over 2 seconds).
  4. I still feel as if the Soldier is severely underpowered. I suggested back when Rise of the Horde came out that the Assault Rifle Damage should have been on par with the Shotgun Damage card and TC eventually raised the Assault Rifle Damage card from a Level 6 of 60% to a Level 6 100% damage (vice 120% for the Scout’s Shotgun Damage card). This was a welcome improvement, but not as good as it could have been. Some will likely argue that the Reload Damage card makes up for this but I couldn’t disagree more. While the Reload Damage is great since it can be used for any weapon that can be reloaded, the bonus is only temporary and often you will find that your Active Reload has expired by the time you want to use it. A simple solution would be to allow the player to reload similar to Versus where the player can attempt a reload an infinite number of times with a full magazine, but has a cooldown on how often they can attempt it.
  5. The Heavy’s Thick Skin card also isn’t very useful. TC’s last update to the Berserker and Last Stand cards feel like they’re trying to turn the Heavy into a Tank class. that’s fine, but then Thick Skin should apply as a general Damage Reduction card instead of only applying for Explosive Damage. The Heavy may be able to tank Salvos on Inconceivable with Thick Skin, but 2 seconds of a Tri-Shot and that Heavy is going down. I’d also keep the initial loadout with a Boomshot because it tends to be easier for most people to use (casuals), plus once you start charging a Torque Bow you can’t stop (i.e. the enemy dies or you need to rapidly change targets or evade) so you may waste ammo.
  6. I most agree with your Sniper, but I’d keep the Longshot as a starting weapon. I do agree that the Sniper should start with a Boltok though, because in a Sniper’s hand the Boltok is a perfect close to medium range hand cannon.
  7. Give us an option to create our own ‘class’. You could put limits on it, such as only 1 or 2 cards from any given permanent class, but it would allow players to customize their playstyles even more.
  8. I like the Horde Skill Card reward that was introduced to combat quitters, but it needs to be tweaked. It’s very offputting to finish a 1-50 Insane or Inconceivable and get 3 Common (Green) cards for reward. I think it would be much better if the level of rarity were permanent and tied to either the difficulty or the wave level (or both). For instance, beating Insane runs guarantee Rare (Blue) or better cards with a chance of Epics (Purples) while Inconceivable guarantees Epics. Or Wave 30 nets you a Common, Wave 40 a Rare, and Wave 50 an Epic card (or perhaps a combo so Inconceivable Wave 50 guarantees an Epic reward).
  9. Ironman payout is way too small. A measly 5% bonus XP is all the reward for Ironman mode is all you stand to gain against the penalty of ending the game for failing. Granted most of us play with a goal of not failing any waves, but the penalty for failure is the end of the game. Once the achievements are earn for this mode there doesn’t really seem to be an incentive to play this mode any longer as the risk isn’t worth the reward. 5% is nothing. On an Insane bounty you’ll net only 3,750 extra XP compared to the 75,000 XP bounty (not including how much extra XP you’d earn during the game because that would vary based on individual ribbons earned). A lot of players may think that really isn’t worth the risk. A way to make this at least worth considering is a significant XP and credit bonus. You’ve got to include both. Make it an additional 25% credit and XP bonus and it will at least make people consider using it after earning the achievements, otherwise the risk just isn’t worth it.

Ok, that’s all I have for now. I might remember some more later and add it. Hope this gets seen because I think it’s fairly constructive and might make for a more enjoyable Horde experience in the next iteration.


Thanks for your addition, AlphaKnight. I do like those ideas regarding the mass repair skill for Engi, Thick Skin being upgrading to reduce all damage (maybe it could just reduce other damage types by a little less), and general functionality of the mode. As far as the loadout weapons, I can see how it might Boom and Long shot would be preferable to Torque and Markza, I instead listed the latter two because players would have to work and/or scavenge to upgrade their weapon, but you’re right, that doesn’t consider the skill level of casual players. Soldier could stand to do more damage, which is why I advocated for a “Fundamentalist” to have the soldier Assualt Rifle skills, Active Reload, and Called Shot/Marking Skills. I think between the 3, they would be able to put out high damage, even on tougher difficulties. That does bring up an interesting point regarding the reolad system, as you mentioned. I was initially not a fan of the vs. mode reload/new reload system because it didn’t seem realistic. However, having gotten used to it, I do see it’s appeal is vs. And I can see how it would make things easier for the soldier, or any class really. I could go either way on this. As far as card rewards, I agree, TC definitely needs to buff the % of Rare of Higher cards given, and give better XP for Iron man. Well hopefully by putting things out there, someone at TC will see them and pick up some of these ideas/improvements. Thanks for contributing!

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We really need the below changes in Horde Mode badly

  1. Round Ends, instead of 30 seconds, 60 seconds is needed desperately.

  2. Engineer needs to be the only one that can purchase/build item’s, other than guns.

  3. Engineer’s should earn more XP buy doing their job, not based on kills. Same for Scout’s.

  4. It would work better if everyone could have 6 card slots, instead of the current 5.

  5. Every character class needs to have their responsibilities listed when chosen, what they do in game noticed better, so new players know what their specific rolls are.

  6. Needs the same system in place, that is now in Vs. mode to determine skill levels, so experienced players are not matched with beginners.

  7. We should be able to vote on 3 maps that everyone would like to play on, just like in Vs. mode to give more options for enjoyable game play.

  8. We need a new class made, MEDIC so they can shoot out medical healing darts from a distance to players that are down. The way it is now, running out in open cross gun fire, you end up just dying yourself, trying to save your teammates life.

  9. The Scout should be the only one allowed to pickup energy, until the last 3 seconds remaining, should they miss some or needed help collecting energy.

  10. Our weapons should also be allowed to do more damage after reaching higher levels, matched exactly with the Fabricator levels 1-4, I’ve noticed for a long while now that our weapons do not have enough power to inflict damage on the enemies & are useless towards them after reaching level 30. Especially on Insane mode. It would be nice to upgrade our current weapons throughout game play by using the Fabricator, this way the levels would remain even, as it stands now, the enemies have the upper hand. The Turrets have always been the main GO TO weapon to take all enemies out, exactly because of this reason.

  11. We also need 3 different playlist for Horde Mode, meaning if you only want to play to levels 10, 20 or 50, we should be able to choose that in game option. Many, many times over people quit playing after level 10 or 20 because that is the Bounty Card they’ve chosen. It isn’t right to those who have a Bounty Card selected to go to level 50 when everyone else just up an quits playing after they have already completed their Bounty. As is, currently causes to much unneeded frustration & also waste peoples time. That isn’t right, this must be dealt with.

Thank you very much for your time on these very important issues. I know many other players just like myself would like to see these & other various improvements made throughout HORDE MODE. The time has come for some new & upcoming improvements. Please help us in getting this done.

Your fan!

Hey Maniac19, there are definitely some solid points you bring up that I hope TC will implement in Gears 5 Horde. The map vote is a must, and the ability to back out of a lobby. Some sort of division based on skill level would probably help reduce quitters too. Maybe if every player’s level was displayed in the lobby, or class level even, that would help the team decide what roles they should pick. Also the edition of a Horde tutorial or at least MOTD featuring a “how to” for Horde beginners could help players better understand the role of their class. As far as different modes for differing max levels, I like how TC made 25 level games, its a good addition and hopefully players going for those 10 and 20 level bounties join those instead of a full 50 level game. These are all great functional/set up additions that TC really needs to consider, and that hasn’t even begun to discuss actual gameplay.

I like your idea, #10 I think, about a way to upgrade weapon damage. So like, a limited purchasable fabricator ability that increases weapon damage, with higher upgrades available as the fab levels up? That would be cool, and helpful without feeling OP.

Thanks for checking out this thread, I hope TC looks at and considers these suggestions!

Why not give players a choice - classic horde or the new model of horde.
Personally what made horde fun was the increasingly difficult waves with only the weapons on your back and a shield in your hand or (planted). The introduction of bosses was a great idea. What I didn’t like was the noob friendly approach Horde 3.0 delivered like mass sentry spam and strike spam. It ruined the games at times and made the engineer class superior to most. Just my thoughts, I understand certain players like the new interpretation but I do feel we should have a choice in public play. I really think they should bring back mutators as this is a must too.

I see quite a few people prefer the Horde 1.0 model without fortifications, skills, etc. So TC might want to consider putting it in Gears 5 as a playable mode. The Mutators of Gears 3 were pretty cool, though I imagine they’d have to decide between mutators or skills, otherwise it could be too much going on in a single game. I also wondered why they couldn’t include an arcade campaign mode that allowed use of horde skills, aside from building skills, just for fun similar to the use of mutators in Gears 3 campaign. Either way, there are a lot of options and I hope TC really puts some deep thought into where they take Horde from here. Thanks for checking out this thread!

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Class skills need to have a gameplay reason to be included. I would rather for example blindfire my weapon when the situation demands it, not because of some arbitrary skill card that grants bonus blindfire damage. And how often are you going to be in a situation where blindfiring is your most effctive option, that it warrants taking up a skill card slot, assuming skill card slots still exist in the next game? The game mode needs balance, it’s hard to implement skill cards without throwing that off.

I think you might be making assumptions there. My perception is that the changes to Horde haven’t been received ‘generally favourably’ as you state. Overall it’s a team game, and it’s about how 5 Gears work together to beat the map, not necessarily about diversifying individual play styles.

The class that most needs to be eliminated is engineer. The scout sprinting everywhere tanking all the hard hits is just absurd however and doesn’t feel like it belongs in Gears.

That shouldn’t be happening often if you are timing your reloads correctly. Wait until you need the damage boost to reload.

So as you say, skills should have a purpose. And in your example the blindfire skill being arbitrary, what I called “Run Up!” would heal a % of damage when a player kills an enemy with a hipfire or blindfire. This ould be s a skill for a “Fundamentalist,” a class that uses core skills/play styles. If you’re not familiar with VS, Gnasher hipfire battles are a huge portion of regular VS play. So, just to carry some of that over to Horde, it could be useful or just a different way to play. If it’s not your cup of team, don’t use it. I for one have never used the Scout’s Cloak skill, but that doesn’t mean I think it should be removed from the game. Maybe some people utilize it, I just choose to not include it in my rollout.

Secondly, arguing that Horde 3.0 is not well received, really? So TC supported an “unpopular” mode with frequent events, rewards, variations, and achievements just for kicks? Horde is far from perfect, but people still play it, a lot. It’s built upon itself since its first iteration, gaining complexity and with it, popularity and players.

I do agree something needs to be done about the Scout role, I am leaning towards an elimination of it. Booting engineer as well is also an interesting perspective. Though then fortifications would need to take a new direction. And the probably the collecting power aspect as well. What would be a workable alternative for the existing system?

Thanks for taking a read of this thread.

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