People keep praising Gears 3's unlock system but

So I’m cutting and pasting a comment that I just put on reddit in a discussion about Gears 5’s unlock system. The entire thread is comparing the new CoD system to Gears, and the comment I replied to praised Gears 3’s unlock system and I was like…wtf even was Gears 3’s system? So I made this comment, and I think it’s important to look back at the thing people seem to love in hindsight but remember what it really was. Flame me, that’s fine, but I think if you actually read what I say objectively, you’ll see that I’m right.

Anyway, here’s the comment. Sorry for the wall. I’m pretty wordy, brevity is not my strongsuit.

"People constantly praise Gears 3’s unlock system but like…does anyone even remember what it was? First of all, ON LAUNCH DAY they revealed that you could only direct purchase the vast majority of the weapon skins. You could buy a set (which IIRC was only load out weapons, picks ups never had anything at all) individually or pay $45 real money (USD) for everything in the game, NOT COUNTING the season pass which was separate. To be fair the season pass had some absolutely awesome DLC in it, but it did not have weapon skins.

ALSO, they had store specific pre orders. I don’t remember what you got from each store but it was something like Com Dom from GameStop, Mechanic Baird from Walmart, and…well who cares what else, it was separate and as a community we absolutely hated it.

And talk about grinding? I know Seriously 3.0 is an achievement and not a piece of content but seriously that was the WORST. But I remember things like Golden Miner and Golden Hunter…again it was a long time ago so I don’t remember exactly what it took to unlock them but I know one of them had a prohibitively long grind that took me months if daily play to get.

And on top of all of that…there wasn’t even that much to unlock that required a huge unlock “system” because that wasn’t the prevailing way to make money post launch in the industry yet.

So again…people put the Gears 3 unlock system on a pedestal but what even was it? What was so great about it? It seems like people have forgotten what it was really like. You got Myrrah for beating the campaign, maybe a skin or two for beating chapters? Are we really going to revere a system that only had a handful of content items unlocked through play?

It all speaks volumes to the thing I always say about the Gears community, especially the forums…we view the past games through rose colored glasses. People HATED Gears 2 when it first came out for no better reason than it wasn’t Gears 1. It was slow, laggy, blah blah blah. That was the entire commentary. People hated Gears 3 because of the sawed off and retro and because that was when rifles mattered and all of a sudden rifle combat meant it’s not a Gears game. Now those two games are often regarded as the pinnacle of the series. Judgment doesn’t count. Then 4 came out and it was all I hate this game, it doesn’t feel like gears, what’s with color blast skins, the swarm have no content and they suck compared to the locust, etc etc etc, not to mention the fact that of all the post release maps to come out I think only six were truly new? I’d have to go back and count but it was woefully short. And Gears 4 had BY FAR the worst unlock system of any Gears game ever, and maybe he worst unlock system for a game not made by EA or Activision. But now that Gears 5 is out people talk about 4 like it was amazing. Which…it was. But at least I’m consistent in my love for it. Not that any of you know who I am but I always liked GoW4, just take my word for it.

And then…what’s really so bad about Gears 5’s system? Don’t we WANT some stuff to grind? Remember when Gears 3 came out and everybody got their wings super fast? We hated that. We want some things to take a long time. And really until the last store update which FINALLY had good content, all the best content has been for free in the Tour of Duty anyway. CHILL set, team metal, desert JD and Kait, OG swarm skins for drone and grenadier, team rock. Obv not every piece of content but I think objectively those content items are the best to come out so far. AND it’s all getting updated quarterly?! People, that’s amazing. And with the totems we can grind through gameplay or unlock through money…ITS LITERALLY EXACTLY WHAT WE ASKED FOR!!! And RNG loot boxes are 100% gone…again, exactly what we asked for.

So I mean…people can like what they like, but let’s not change the past in order to make our arguments, and let’s not overlook inconvenient details about the present, either. /rant"


Well the difference is that people actually played gears3 until the servers died. So the grind to unlock characters was acceptable to me. Like mvp Cole train and my personal favourite golden hunter. Am probably a bit bias because its my favourite game of all time. Maps to guns and sawed offs were annoying but u learned to wall bounce and destroy them at the end. Gears5 feels like a beta and thats why people left and maybe for good


People liked the Gears 3 unlock system because the majority of the characters aside from a select few were from leveling up and doing things naturally with gameplay ignoring the obvious paid weapon skins (which were cheaper for what you got for starters). There’s nothing wrong with grind and a lot of people including myself aren’t talking about grinding being bad. But there’s also a better way to do it and make it not seem like a chore.

I’m gonna start by saying I love the totem unlock system in 5. I think it’s a good way to get these characters, HOWEVER, the objectives in doing them are awful and gives the incentive of “just buy them lol”. If it was maybe two at most objectives for a character that would be a start. Having the literal exact same objectives go across the board with all characters aside from one is obnoxious. Also having it all be tied to one character at a time is also annoying.

Getting the Locust Sniper wasn’t annoying to unlock in 3 because he didn’t have 5 meaningless objectives that forced to play and do other things you didn’t like and keep you locked into getting him until it’s done so you can move on to the Kantus to repeat the exact same thing.

There was no doubt grind characters. Not denying this. But out of all the characters to unlock in the game and there only being 3 maybe 4 “grindy” guys? That’s a better outcome to me as opposed to all 4 unbearably grindy unlockable characters with more to come in 5.


I dunno a majority of the characters and weapon skins unlocked through the medals in Gears 3 were super grindy. I don’t think I would have ever unlocked Golden Hunter/Miner or any of the Onyx skins besides gnasher or lancer if I didn’t grind through private AI matches.

Not to say Gears 5 is much better, but I can naturally play all the game modes without going too far out of my way to grind.


The reason no one complained about the grind for weapon skins or characters is because the vast majority of characters were unlockable by normal means, while the rest were unlockable via medals which were actually acceptable and worthwhile grinds. You could also unlock a fair bit of weapon skins too, which is why no one complained about the MTX weapon skins. So all in all, people are complaining because there’s little to no content to earn in Gears 5 at launch while they shove MTX skins down our throats with a $8-$10 price tag, which is 2x the price of the weapon skin set that they sold in Gears 3. Let’s not forget that a single weapon skin in Gears 5 is $4 or more from what I can tell, so we’re also paying more for a single weapon skin when we’d receive 5 weapon skins (Lancer, HB, Retro, Gnasher, SO) for a fraction of the price, while also having the ability to unlock weapon skins outright.

Gears 3 isn’t perfect, but it isn’t nostalgia that’s clouding our judgement when it comes to the unlockables. The fun gameplay combined with the enjoyable challenges that didn’t feel like a chore every time I turned the game on (Gears 5) is what made Gears 3 amazing, and let’s not forget that the cosmetics that you received from the various medals were actually worth the grind. Long live Gears 3! Hopefully Gears 5 can turn their sh*t around, because it’s far from being a worthy Gears game in my book, especially after they decided to exclude Delta squad and the Carmine’s at launch when they’re staple characters of the series, which is absolutely unacceptable. Drip-feeding is all TC knows at this point.


There’s actually a lot of content to unlock in Gears 5 though, with more on the way. In Gears 3, I paid the $45 to unlock weapon skins right away so I honestly don’t even remember what it took to unlock them after that. But your point is that you could unlock content through “normal means” or “acceptable grinds.” What exactly is an acceptable grind to you, and how is that different from the totems? And do you or do you not agree that the community literally said that we would like to have content that we can unlock through grinding, or pay for outright if we didn’t feel like grinding? Cuz…that happened.

Honestly it sounds like your issue isn’t the system of Gears 5, rather the quality of the content coupled with the prices in the marketplace. That’s fine. Those are legitimate complaints. Personally I think a lot of the Gears 5 content has been good. Or at least…on par with Gears 4 and Gears 3. Which isn’t to say there isn’t plenty of filler garbage, I have no use for banners or blood sprays, but the content that’s GOOD…is good. If that makes sense? Anyway, that’s subjective of course, but that’s my opinion. But if we are talking strictly system, where we get content that we can purchase directly, or grind for, or both, and all without the spectre of RNG, then the system is good. Great, even. And realistically speaking, I don’t know that we can expect anything better in 2019 since post-launch customization content is a HUGE money maker for companies in an industry where their product, the games themselves, have not increased in price one bit in about 20 years.


I wish I could see the game like you see it, because when I look at it I don’t see anything to unlock, or anything worthwhile. The only worthy unlockable is Warden, and he’s locked behind a grind that’s not deserving of my time, especially on a game that feels like a chore whenever I boot it up, which is the complete opposite of what a game should feel like. The grind isn’t particularly hard (Unless you have no boost, like myself), but it’s repetitive in the fact that you can only unlock one character at a time, while in Gears 3 your progress counted towards every character at the same time. So, if I wanted to unlock all four totem characters, I’d have to do 200 waves of Horde, which is a mode that I find repetitive for the most part. Let’s also add the 240,000 XP that you’ll need for them, which is an absolute pain when you have no boost. As of right now, if I get MVP in a ranked match I only receive 400-500 XP each match. I’m sure you can see how repetitive and disheartening that can get to players unfortunate enough to have boost.

Like I said, Gears 3 isn’t perfect, but it was definitely better than what we have now. An acceptable grind to me would be something that’s tied to a single mode, and not multiple at the same time (Like Savage Theron Guard being tied to Beast mode, and ONLY Beast Mode). An acceptable grind would also be a grind that’s doable throughout all modes, or even a grind that’s tied to their lore (Like Kantus being tied to revives and Locust Sniper being tied to headshots, which is lore-based and can be done within every mode). Gears 3 let you play the game how you wanted to play it, and you received characters regardless due to the progression system. Gears 5 doesn’t give you anything, so that’s why people complain. We start off with a lackluster roster at launch, and then they expect us to pay for them, or earn them from playing modes that we don’t even want to play, while also only being able to unlock one at a time. Sure, they’re free, but the 30+ characters that you unlocked by just playing the game in Gears 3 were free as well, and that’s why people prefer Gears 3’s system over Gears 5’s system. When we asked for a system like Gears 3, I don’t remember anyone saying “Yo, TC! Let us get a battlepass like Fortnite!”. That’s the last thing that we wanted, because it deters players from playing the modes that they want, which makes the game feel like a chore.

If you like Gears 5, then good on you. I’m glad you can find enjoyment out of the game, but it’s just not as fun as previous titles. That, ontop of the lack of characters/weapon skins, sh*tty cosmetics (Bloodsprays, Banners), the botched battlepass that deters you from playing your preferred mode(s), campaign characters being locked behind a time-gated grind (They should be unlockable indefinitely), and much more. If they can improve upon the game in the future, then maybe I’ll grow to like it, but if the gameplay isn’t good right now, I doubt it’ll be better down the line.


Well…again your issue seems less about the system and more about something else. In this case it seems like you just don’t like Gears 5. Which is fine, I can’t tell you you’re wrong for your opinion, that’s not my place. But it seems more like your opinion on the unlocks is completely subjective (again, fine) but I’d ask you why is it not ok to have to play X waves of horde to unlock the warden, but it’s ok to have to play X rounds of Beast to unlock savage Theron? It sounds like you just don’t like horde and don’t want to do it, which is a knock on your take on the game and not on the system.

I’d also say that the system you just described where unlocks are tied to certain modes is exactly what the long term (non-daily) part of ToD is. Content tied to certain modes and you know what you’re doing to unlock what. Like you get winter Kait for a certain section, unmasked swarm hunter for killing enemy types or whatever it is…that’s literally exactly what you said you wanted for an unlock system. I would agree that the content could be better, like I don’t necessarily care to do six challenges to unlock an executioner, but again…it’s more specific, free to play, (mostly) non prohibitive grinds for aesthetic content. Even within the ToD the only tab that feels inaccessible to me (as in requires specific targeting very long term grinding) is the Heroes tab. I personally don’t play enough horde to do those things. Which is fine there’s plenty of content available for what I do play.

Honestly it just sounds like you don’t like Gears 5 and don’t want to put in the grind for the content because you aren’t entertained by the game. Which, as usual, is fine, but doesn’t mean that the system is bad. From where I sit it seems like the system you praised Gears 3 for having is still available to you in Gears 5, but you won’t get it because you don’t want to play it as much.


I guess that’s one way to put it. I don’t really like the game itself, and it’s not very fun to me. If it took more skill, then maybe I’d enjoy it more.

Also, the ToD isn’t what I described. The ToD is challenges that are tedious and are tied to every mode individually. While in Gears 3 I could play Versus all day and not worry about playing anything else because I’d unlock characters regardless. When I say certain modes, I mean that in a different way. STG was unlockable by only playing Beast, but he was tied to a single challenge and not multiple. He also wasn’t time-gated, so I could play Versus mode for a whole year and I’d still have the chance to unlock him when I played Beast mode. I never felt rushed, and I could spend my time on Gears 3 how I wanted to. That’s not what the ToD is, and it deters players from playing what they want by giving them “Kill X amount of Drone Elites” or “Clear X Escape Hives”. If you enjoy that, then good on ya’, but it’s not what we asked for at all. The difference between the mode specific challenges in GoW3 and GoW5 is that GoW3’s weren’t time-gated, and we could do them on our own time at any time.

Also, the totem system is quite flawed, with the main issue being that you can only unlock one character at a time. The second issue is that 4 out of the 5 challenges for each character are exactly the same. So why is it not okay to play the X amount of waves to unlock Warden? Because it’s the same exact challenge for each character. If it was specific to him then I’m sure no one would complain about the totem system altogether, but it’s explicitly the same for each character, which is unacceptable and lazy. The fact that all four characters have 4 out of 5 challenges that are exactly the same is brainless, and it’s even worse when we can’t even do each totem at the same time. If we could do them all at the same time, then there’s definitely be less complaining. Hell, the characters lose all credibility to be worthy when they’re also offered with a price tag. They don’t feel unique because you can purchase them outright, while in Gears 3 you can unlock characters and feel accomplished because a 12 year old can’t just buy it with their mom’s credit card. THAT’S what made Gears 3’s cosmetics and characters special.

Just like you said though, I’m not entertained by the game in the slightest. A game that attempts to deter me from playing my preferred mode just to get a SMIDGEN closer to that character/weapon skin just isn’t worth my time. If others are into playing game modes that they dislike in order to gradually get closer to that time-gated unlock, then good for them, but that’s not a video game that I’d like to support. Especially when they can’t even give me my OG curb stomp at launch, that’s a definite no-no. A $60 game that’s trying to resemble a F2P model is abysmal, and shouldn’t have even been considered for Gears 5. I’ll be on Gears 4 curb-stompin’ fools until TC peaks my interest with something that’s worthy of my time (GoW2/3 Ultimate Edition?), but I hope that they can turn Gears 5 around.

Happy OUT.

Edit: Also, the Gears 3 DLC did come with weapon skins.


Can’t speak for other people, but I never hated Gears 3. It’s always been my favorite by a mile.

The paid weapon skins were dumb, but I didn’t care about weapon skins, so that was moot. You could still earn the best ones, in my opinion: gold, team metal and flaming. I got all those in-game and I was good. (Plus a pink Sawed Off for trolling purposes.) But for the weapon skins themselves, while at the time they seemed pricey, the current model is BY FAR pricier. That’s not nostalgia talking. That’s math.

Gears 3 had a far more varied roster of characters before even unlocking anything, and most characters were simply unlocked by leveling up, which was a natural thing that happens in the game without any forced mode choice or time limit. You just played what you wanted and unlocked with progress, for the most part. It had more maps at launch in 2011, making Gears 5’s launch map selection in 2019 even more inexcusable, and while the DLC gated people in multiplayer-- a negative trait of old “map pack” style DLC-- they put most of the maps into the rotation for free after making them available to Season Pass holders first in Horde. It was acceptable.

But in general retrospect I think people have come to appreciate Gears 3 because it simply wasn’t a “games as a service” model that was constantly selling you something, constantly trying to make you play it. Yes, Onyx medals were a horrible grind and if Seriously 3.0 was important to you, it sucked, but I find very few other things to critique about the game. They fixed the Retro, they took Overpass out of the Versus rotation, Horde didn’t rely on classes that got overpowered over time. And for some reason it was the only game to introduce an Arcade Mode into the campaign to make playing the campaign again worth your time, and I still don’t understand why they didn’t keep it in Gears 4/5.


Gears 3 also didn’t have pop ups in game telling you what’s new to buy in the store and have it constantly updated while the game still heavily suffered from bugs.

…just saying.


gears 3 season pass had weapon skins, it was liquid metal

Talking bad about Gears Of War 3 is just blasphemy my friend :rofl::rofl::rofl:

The best BETA ever made, best maps, best multiplayer, best campaign, best everything and Yes! all that was on that game,

I didn’t care about buying weapon skins as it was optional.

back then nobody care about cosmetics as they do now.

Yeah! there was microtransactions but we didn’t care because the game was EPIC.

Whoever dares to talk ill about Gears Of War 3 needs to be banned lmao!

Gears 4 and 5 can compete with the job made by EPIC.

In what way exactly?


Me personally I like both GOW 5 and GOW 3 unlock system as I mean me personally when I played GOW 3 I didn´t really know what to do and didn´t even have Xbox Live until later in the end so I was used to having bare bones items and whatever I got I dealt with so thats why I have no complaints is just because Im semi used to this but I mean I liked GOW 3 for new characters every few levels and RE UP gave me a full set etc.

GOW 5 has got me with the Medals for items like GOW 3 character achievements and such and instead of a full set per Re Up I get an individual weapon skin in the set and while some see that as bad I see it as a way to keep me playing

Overall both systems are really good in their own way and the MTX is all up to choice and me personally GOW 3 I didnt purchase anything and same with every GOW after but I mean 5 has got me with the rainbow swirl XD.

1 Like

Myrrah was already unlocked from the beginning. Are you thinking of Gears 2 with Skorge and Flame Grenadier? You unlocked unarmored Marcus from completing the campaign but that was it for campaign character skins in 3.

Here’s what you did get though : at various levels between 3 - 75, you unlocked 20 different characters. There were 11 others you could unlock through completing certain tiers of certain medals, such as level one of the “Headshot” medal for Locust Sniper. For those of you who are willfully ignorant, this is what people meant when they said they wanted to earn characters through gameplay. It is not as if the Gears community asked for TC’s horrible iteration of unlocking content and suddenly changed their mind about how they want to earn things. Just because it can be unlocked through gameplay, does not mean it is fun!

I don’t know why people here are so vehement about defending the totem challenges. No one can tell me that running through The Surge 24 times is enjoyable. I imagine everyone defending this will be humming a different tune once the boost runs dry.


By toning it the ■■■■ down. Launch Retro was absurdly accurate for its power, too long of range and had far too much stopping power. All of those qualities were toned down and by the end it served its purpose as a deterrent to Gnasher rushing, while kind of sucking as a long-range rifle.

IMO by the end of the game the Hammerburst was a bigger problem than the Retro.

Firstly, I didn’t read all the replies in this thread so I don’t know if anyones clarified things for you OP.

But the majority of Gears 3’s content was fairly easy to unlock, almost half the Characters and weapon skins were unlocked during your first Re-Up via Level Unlocks. The only grind was for the medals which granted you “Elitist” weapon skins (Onyx) and a few other Characters and there was no time dependant variable, you could just play and make progress for the medals in your own time. Every other piece of content was from DLC that you could get on the season pass (£40), which gave you maps, server access, campaign DLC, Characters and Weapons Skins - it was worth it!

Now like you said Gears 3 had MT for weapon skins, either individual skins or a pack that gave you everything for £40. Comparing that to Gears 5, you can maybe get 8 skins for your £40, or maybe more depending on the skin packs that get released.

As for your argument about pre-order exclusives… what do you think the Rockstar, tomorrow Anya, Superstar Cole, Terminator etc skins were for UE, Gears 4 and Gears 5?? It’s negligible anyway as all those exclusives, including variations of the Gears 3 exlusives (except rockstar) were put into the game. The only true exclusives among all Gears games have been Beta testing rewards.

Also every Gears has a grindy Seriously achievement, what’s your point? Lol.

So yes, Gears 3 had an amazing unlock system that offered something at all stages of your play time (early, mid and end). The most grindy unlocks were challenges meant only for the most dedicated players. What was the unlocks for Gears 4/5…? Wings re-up skins that looked like every other gold skin in Gears 4 (:poop:) and Gears 5 decided to go with a 3 month cycle of content. There is no “End Game-Elitist Reward” in Gears 5.

Now having said that, I do think Gears 5’s progression system is pretty good. But it puts a lot of stress on the player to unlock everything within the 3 months, some of us just don’t have the time or the desire, especially with the state the game is in right now. Rather than allowing players to relax and unlock content in their own time - the totem system is good because of this. But the challenges are all the same except for 1… and you can only make progress on one of them at a time. -That is an annoying and boring system, just like the majority of the Tour of Duty Star Challenges.


“There were microtransactions but we didn’t care because the game was EPIC”


I went back to Gears 3 not too long ago and realized I was missing a few characters and a lot of medals/ribbons. However, I remember playing the hell out of it and it’s considered the best game of all time in my opinion. I miss the days when games were so good you didn’t even care about unlockable content because you were just having so much fun. Nowadays games need to rely on unlockable content in order to keep people playing because they’re heavily lacking in the entertainment department…


Lots to reply to here but I should clarify something…I wasn’t trying to dump on GoW3. I was saying that there unlock system was similar to what we have now, and making the larger point that we put games on a pedestal.

Now that being said, while I equate ToD to the entire Gears 3 unlock system, several good points have been made about the differences, specifically them being time-gated. That’s a very important distinction that I underplayed. I do still feel though that at least in the general sense ToD and the GoW3 unlocks are similar. It’s content that is unlockable for free through play, which is all we wanted. I’ll give the check mark to the people pointing out the finer differences that I was ignoring but for ME, I’m happy because I do think the game is fun and because I feel like I’m going to be able to unlock what I want to unlock and to do so without paying real money. I like a grind, I like playing all the modes, even if I do have my preferences.