I’ve been reading this thread for a few months now, and I’ve been somewhat hesitant to post. I figure this will all fall on deaf ears, but I’m reaching a breaking point with this game. I realize this post is long, but I tried to be as detailed as I could. If you can manage to read all of this, you’ll see just a glimpse of the frustration I’ve been dealing with.
Before season 4, I was mostly a Horde player. I can hold my own in Versus just fine. But, in my experience, from getting my placement ranks in season 0 to this current season, I am almost always being put on a team and the game expects me to carry.
I got mostly Bronze ranks and a couple Silver ranks for Seriously 4.0 in season 0 (before TC changed it to one rank in Core and one in Competitive). The experience was…not fun. Outside of the occasional Versus event like OSOK last year, Pumpkinball, Thanksgibbing (never got my Cluckshot skin, for some reason), Gearsmas and the handful of times we had to play Ranked Escalation for Phantom skins…I’ve mostly left Versus alone. I play with the bots once a day to give my fingers a warm-up and get my daily credit bonus, and then I usually turn the game off.
When the Ruby Scion challenge was added to the game last season, I convinced a friend of mine to play Ranked Versus for the season weapon skins. I’ve been playing Gears of War since Gears 2 ten years ago, but he only started playing last year. Despite the short time, he picked up on things pretty quickly. We mostly ran 1-50 games on Insane, until the quitting got too bad and the noobs got too bold and hardheaded.
When the weapon skin challenges were tied to Escalation, he and I played together to make the experience a little less painful overall. What I quickly discovered was that in almost every game WE were the team. He and I would run our two-man strategy to cap hills and win rounds. Usually, if either of us died, the rounds would quickly end in a Domination for the other team. At the time, I chalked it up to us being Bronze stuck with Bronze teammates (because we hadn’t really played Ranked at all).
I now realize that the rank system in this game is disgustingly atrocious. During season 4, we tried our hand at Team Deathmatch and Dodgeball to test the time period and frequency of ranking up. “I wonder how hard it is to rank up to Diamond?” I thought to myself. I’ve seen more than a few players in Horde with Diamond skins and they’ve all been…surprisingly terrible. “Maybe we can get to Onyx,” I randomly said back in July.
And so the grind started. After our first five games, the system put me and my friend at Bronze 2. “Okay…we’re just starting out. We’ll get some progress in no time.” After a month of playing on and off we hit Silver 2. By the end of the season, I stopped at Gold 1 in TDM and Silver 3 in Dodgeball. My friend was Gold 1 in TDM and Gold 2 in Dodgeball. I also got Silver 2 in KOTH and Bronze 2 in Execution, but I didn’t play them as much.
No matter how hard we played, the game kept giving us bad teammates. We played a Dodgeball game on Old Town with a Bronze 2 player who did nothing but run around with a chainsaw…THE ENTIRE MATCH. He kept dying and had no kills for most of the game, until the match ended with him at 3-13. My team BARELY won that match (which put us against three Onyx 3’s and two Gold 2’s for some reason). One guy even quit on that enemy team and my rando teammates were all lost and confused. “Fair and balanced.” Yeah, okay.
In almost every Versus game I played in season 4, the enemy team was usually made up of Onyx and Gold players, while my team was usually Bronze and Silver with maybe one other Gold player. Every so often, we would get an Onyx teammate and it was a disappointment. Either he was a Rambo tryhard that never spotted enemies or gave cover fire OR he was some person playing like a deer lost in headlights. Out of about 100+ matches total, I can probably count on one hand the number of matches that felt “balanced.”
Now I have to get to the ugly side of the matches I’ve endured: being matched up with high Onyx/Diamond enemy players. Something about the Ranked system CLEARLY doesn’t like me. My rank barely goes up when I win, barely goes up when I MVP but immediately dips when I lose. Hell, I couldn’t get above Gold 1 last season, despite outscoring the Gold 2/3’s and the occasional Onyx 1/2 on the team. My current website K/D is 0.89 (down from 0.94 last season) and win percentage is 51% (down from 52%). Below I have five scoreboard screenshots I would like to show you guys for reference.
The first pic is from September in Season 4 before I hit Gold 1 in TDM.
You’ll notice that one guy on my team is Onyx 2, one guy is Gold 2 and everyone else is Silver 3. The other team…that’s a 5-stack. The game put me and my friend up against a 5-man squad with a Diamond 1 player (my friend is the tag below mine at the bottom of the list). Okay…
You’ll also notice that the pings are a little higher for that enemy team. Can you guess how the game played out? The enemy team basically slaughtered my 2-man squad when we tried to push Dropshot at the beginning of round 1. The Onyx guy was pretty much Rambo the entire game, not spotting enemies or trying to wait to push with anyone else on the team. That Gold player got slaughtered just as bad, and the enemy team basically had all the power weapons for two rounds. Imagine getting spawn-camped on either side with one guy at Boltok, his cover fire at the side stairs going up to Longshot, their team sniper covering mid-map from the top and the other two players “in position” on the other side.
That game was probably the worst experience I had ever had with Gears MP at the time. But, yes, the experiences got worse…and YES I lost about 3% on my rank after a four or five game win streak with a static percentage (two games in which I got MVP against higher ranked enemies).
The next two screenshots are from last Wednesday (5 days ago from this post). And YES these games were back-to-back.
I decided to play solo for a change to see if I could rank up a little. I’m currently at Silver 1 in TDM. So I got loaded up into this wonderful scenario: a Diamond 3 player with two Onyx 3’s (who both had Diamond weapons skins and were clearly just trying to rank back up from last season) along with two Gold 3’s. What did the game give me? Two Silver players and two Gold 2’s. And, yes, the other Gold 2 player quit before round 1 ended. Lovely!
So during the game, I managed to get a few kills but one of the Onyx players playing as Classic Dom sponged ALL of my shots (two active Gnasher shots point-blank resulted in no damage dealt). In the screenshot you’ll see that I had the lowest ping in the lobby, and I probably had to work the hardest. I managed to kill the D3 player a few times but couldn’t get much momentum. The top guy on my team got a few Torque Bow kills but the rest of them were clearly out of their element. I was the only player spotting enemies and the enemy team picked up on that pretty quickly.
After dealing with that loss, I took a few minutes to process, loaded up another TDM game and got matched up in this dumpster fire:
Two games in a row with a Diamond enemy player. Wonderful! Now if you’re looking at the scoreboard and thinking “Well, you finally have Gold and Onyx teammates” you might have missed that my ping is also the lowest…and I’m the only Silver player in the entire lobby. Again, this was SOLO QUEUE. My friend was offline at the time anyway and he’s only Silver 3 right now.
Next you might be thinking “Well, maybe you were in that lobby because the game thinks you can handle tougher opponents.” I mean, YES I can hold my own against higher ranked players just fine, but I’m clearly playing a game with a full lobby of players from Latin America. And if you’re looking at the ranks thinking the game was “balanced”…oh, no, far from it.
The match started and I pushed frags (like I usually do). None of my teammates were with me. One guy on the enemy team was already there and one of his laggy teammates shot me with a Gnasher from behind in seconds. By the time I respawned, I realized that my teammates were CLEARLY above their skill level. I was the only person spotting enemies and all four of them refused to leave the spawn area. So, yeah, if you’re ready to point out that terrible 2-7 K/D, the horrible hit detection and the lack of aggressive teammates is why.
And, like the previous match, the two O3 players were decked out in Diamond weapons skins, clearly just trying to rank back up from last season. I see this crap over and over and over. The enemy team has their act together and my teammates play like they don’t know which button does what on the controller. When they manage to get kills, it is in spite of constant incompetence, not because of “skill.” And, yes, I lost rank percentage on both of those Diamond games…of course.
The next game is from last Thursday (a day after the mess above)
My friend got the top spot on the team and the two of us basically carried the entire match. We lost the game because of lag and the lack of spotting. The one round we won was a 3v1 and the guy on our team just flat out didn’t spot the last guy he was clearly shooting at on the other side of the map. Had he gotten killed, it’s possible that the enemy player could have flanked us before we got a chance to find him.
My last screenshot is from last night.
So…on one of the Dev streams, Ryan Cleven discussed the rank system and claimed that the system isn’t supposed to pit Bronzes against Diamond players, when he was giving an example on how matchmaking works. Well, someone tell me what to make of THAT scenario in my screenshot. My friend and I are the only two Silver players on a team with three Bronze players.
But, wait…there’s more. THREE people on that enemy team are Onyx 3, the one unranked Guy has almost 1800 Ranked wins, according to his Xbox profile. So he’s probably high Onyx or past Diamond 1 in other playlists and just never played TDM all this time. The last person is Diamond 4. He’s also an MLG player for Lucent Gaming.
Hmmmm…what is the matchmaking doing giving me three Bronze teammates against an MLG-level team? How is that REMOTELY “fair and balanced?” It didn’t help that the entire match was laggy as hell. One of them downed me with a Snub, firing it like it was a Lancer. I was stuttering in place, trying to crawl away to be revived. Between the perfectly thrown smokes, the sponging Gnasher shots and the frustrating vibe of being on the receiving end of some throwaway scrim match, it was a completely miserable experience. Yes, and of course, I lost rank percentage.
Something needs to be done about the Ranked matchmaking. I don’t care about “low player population” or any other excuse. Tweak the game to either find me SUITABLE matches or let me wait 10-15 minutes (or longer). I don’t care about wait times. I DO care about having to deal with incompetent teammates and being punished with bad lag because I play on a decent internet connection.
And before anyone asks, I haven’t bothered wasting my time with LFG. I tried LFG for Horde and, at best, it was a mixed bag of experiences…mostly bad ones. Every MP post I see is just people only wanting Onyx players. Oh, well. TC FIX YOUR BROKEN GAME! You can start by GIVING ME THE OPTION to join a mismatch game and freezing my rank when I inevitably lose.
I don’t care about the focus being on Gears 5. Ask Microsoft for a little more manpower to keep Gears of War 4 tolerable for another year. This is a multi-million dollar franchise. Gears of War is a flagship of the Xbox brand for crying out loud! Microsoft just had Rod Fergusson at XO18 in Mexico!! You’re telling me they can’t budget more money to continue supporting Gears of War 4?
If things continue like this into the next game, I can assure you the online for Gears 5 will be dead in a year. Players are fed up. I’m fed up. If you guys need a reason to convince MS for money to fix 4…there it is. Fix Gears of War 4 now or no one will care enough about 5 next year. Or, rather, the player population will be dead by 2020, if not after launch.
The Gears of War franchise was one of the main reasons I bought an Xbox 360 ten years ago. And I have put countless hours into Gears of War 4 these last two years. I like the game; I want the franchise to do well. My friend and I even went to the Esports event in New Orleans in July. I’ve never gone to anything like that before and it was a fun, surreal experience seeing all the teams and players in-person.
I want to continue playing and supporting this game. But, in its current state, that’s hard to do. After that Avalanche game last night, my friend said that he’s not even going to bother with the MP in Gears 5 if the matchmaking isn’t fixed. “I’ll play the campaign, and I’ll go to an Esports event and watch but I’m done with this MP if they don’t fix it.”
I’m one of the last few people still playing this game on my friends list. A lot of games are out now. Red Dead Redemption 2 says hi, among others. People have options. You guys don’t have a year with the game in its current state. These issues need to fixed BEFORE Gears 5 releases. I fear the health of the online in this game and the next will die out if the lag and mismatching continue to be an issue.