First off, I’m a huge fan of the series. I’ve played every installment of Gears of War and I am excited to see what Gears of War 5 has in store for us. But most of my time spent playing Gears has been in the Horde mode. I especially enjoyed Gears of War Judgements’ Survival Mode, to me that was a massive improvement to the Horde formula from previous games and was a little disappointed when Gears of War 4 returned to the old formula. What I liked about Gears 4’s Horde Mode was the introduction of Skills and Classes (partly taken from Judgment) and the Fabricator/Power dynamic. But there are major glaring grievances that kill the fun and at times make me question why I play the game.
I have over 200 hours of gameplay time in Horde (edit: this is just horde in Gears 4 alone, I have over 1000 when combined with all other Gears games.) Below is a list of grievances, in no particular order, of what I feel could improve upon the experience if implemented. However, if these areas are not addressed in Gears 5, I see no reason to continue my Horde experience as it will feel all too familiar, mundane, problematic and I won’t be purchasing Gears of War 5.
- Stop doing 50 waves.
The main problem with 50 waves is that it’s a time commitment. When the mode lasts 2 hours on average to do 50 waves, people almost always quit halfway through. I mean, why wouldn’t they? 2 hours is a LONG time to commit to one game. People have stuff to do. Especially if you let them choose a bounty that only lasts 20 waves. I can’t count the number of times people quit at wave 20 because they reached their bounty. 2 out of 5 people leave, and only 3 are left. You’re going to expect the rest of us to stick around and hash through the remaining more difficult 30 waves with only 3 people? Not a chance. Everyone else ends up quitting too. 25 waves is plenty for horde. Better yet, make it 10 waves that last for longer, with each one increasing in difficulty. Also, with 50 waves if you actually calculate the amount of time spent between the time a wave ends, to the time you’re fighting the next enemy, its like a good 45 seconds man. In a 50 wave match that’s 37.5 minutes of just downtime alone. It’s like jeeeezus does this drag on. Take a hint from Gears Judgement.
- No more 2x health, then 2x accuracy, then 2x damage, then 2.5 everything.
This not only takes longer for reasons mentioned above but giving enemies 2x health after wave 10 doesn’t make enemies more difficult, it just makes them bullet sponges. It’s not fun. It just takes longer. How about instead the enemies gain new skills like now they dodge and charge at you, or they move faster. Make them noticeably more interesting. Accuracy does very little to increase difficulty. I mean how much more accurate is a tracker? It just gets close and blows up. Double damage is good, but then again, you have to get to wave 30 to experience that, but everyone’s quit by then and you’ve just wasted 45 min to get there.
- Classes are good, and having mix and match skills are good, so long as the skills are actually useful
A lot of the skills in Gears 4 are good on paper but poor in execution. Example: In the soldier there is a skill called Resupply. Every # of seconds you get a free grenade, and that number decreases as you upgrade the skill. Sounds good right? Well, it would be good if you didn’t need 3 other skills to make it somewhat useful. See, the problem with grenades are they are by themselves, not very effective. You can tell because almost nobody uses them. They take too long to detonate meaning you’ll miss your target most of the time, you have to actually switch out your weapon to use it first meaning you can’t use it quickly, and grenade planting sometimes works if the enemy isn’t moving fast enough but most often then not you’re taking out just a tracker or juvie. So grenades suck, but what if you could make them better? The soldier has 4 other cards to make grenades better. One skill allows you to plant 8 grenades at a time, but like I said its usually a tracker or juvie that sets it off. Theres a skill that allows you to carry up to 8 grenades at a time, but unless youre planting, you’re not getting that many kills, and its just trackers/juvies. Grenade damage is better, but not a lot better cause you still miss with it. Combine all those skills together and you’re a tracker/juvie killing machine, except you’re not when your lancer can still do better. It makes you ask, why take 4 skills JUST FOR GRENADES, when I can be more effective with just the assault rifle damage skill and the active reload bonus skill.
My point is, this causes a lack of diversity among the classes. By only selecting the few skills that are useful, you are only effective one way. Anyone that’s played this game any length of time knows this. And it’s not just the soldier. It’s the same with the sniper, the scout, the engineer, and the heavy. Every time I mix it up with different skills, I’m reminded why I shouldn’t. It’s monotonous.
- There needs to be a barrier of entry for more difficult modes.
If you’re just starting out in Horde, you should not have the option to play Hardcore or Insane until you’ve at least unlocked some skills first. It’s not fair to the rest who want to play more difficult modes, but we end up babysitting 2 people on our team that haven’t even reached the 1st prestige and are getting their ■■■■■ handed to them. We might as well be playing with just 3 people. It’s actually worse because their running around picking up power when they’re not a scout because they haven’t learned that’s the scouts job, or they’re buying useless crap from the fabricator which is wasting the precious power, or they’re getting downed constantly causing us to stop what we’re doing to pick them up. So what happens as a result? People quit. I honestly would like to play more Insane, but I know the chances of getting through all 50 waves without someone quitting, are very slim. Matter of fact, the only time I’ve ever done that is when I’ve gathered up enough friends who happen to be online and hosted a private match.
- Enough with the predictable enemy waves.
It’s so completely boring to know exactly what enemy type is going to be present at every wave. I know that on wave 4 the sentinels come out. I know that on wave 5 the first drones appear. I know that wave 7 is when the Grinders come out. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Honestly, the first 4 waves are lame because it’s nothing but slow-moving robots. No challenge really, just a time sink.
Nothing to do once you’re Level 10 with all Classes.
It took a while but once I attained Level 10 with all Classes, now what? At that point I had leveled up all the Green Skills and most of the Blue Skills. Purple skills were not even close. Sooooo now all I do is grind out Horde matches for hours to gain enough scrap to create a single Purple Card? Maybe offer a “Prestige” mode for the classes that resets the Class back to Level 1 but you gain an additional Skill slot, which allows you to now have 6 Skills active. This opens up new possibilities and skill combinations (Builds) and then extends the life of the game.
Provide incentives for players to play as their Class and bonus rewards to finishing a match
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve played with a Scout on my team who DOES NOT pick up power. There needs to be an incentive or reward for playing as your class properly that is too good to ignore. Maybe provide bonus xp/gold coins for performing actions that suit your class. Snipers should get rewarded for Headshots and Spotting. Heavies should get rewarded for damaging Bosses and the larger enemies. Scouts get rewarded for picking up Power/Deposit etc. As for finishing a match, there should be bonus rewards for every player still in the match when the game is finished. This will incentivize players to stay in the game until the end because there is a bigger reward for finishing with a full team. Take note from Payday 2, when the team completes a heist, there is a larger cash bonus when everyone makes it out and “survives”. This results in the team working together, and of all the heists I’ve done in Payday 2, I’ve never had anyone quit.
That’s it for now. I do have more to say but these are the main issues I have that if addressed would make Gears of War 5’s Horde Mode phenomenal. Thanks for reading my post.