@TC_Octus These are my impressions from Tech Test Week 3, I mean launch week. I’ll try to structure this into sections so they aren’t just a collection of my random thoughts. This is all constructive criticism, so please take a look and I hope you develop solutions from it.
- The early access days were a complete debacle. I did not have a single day of the early access where I did not get kicked from a server, and that includes when I was just playing campaign. In addition to not being able to play the campaign solo the first day because it couldn’t connect to the server, a few days later I even got booted out of a solo campaign run. How does that even happen? I know I didn’t lose XBL connection because I was still in a party talking with friends. I could barely get into a VS match much less finish one, so most of those early access days I wasn’t able to finish my Tour of Duty objectives. In short, the early access time was really just a Tech Test week 3 and those who paid for it got robbed. Now I know some people will take issue with this, so I will explain. First, yes Gamepass Ultimate did give a lot of people early access so a lot of people will just say you’re out $1. That may be true, but people still payed out for it. Secondly, I continue to get the physical copy of the game because there were enough issues last year with XBL not allowing us to play digital only versions of games that I still prefer to own a physical copy. Plus, unless you plan on renewing Gamepass Ultimate indefinitely then eventually you will lose access to the game. And lastly, TC someone agrees with me because they awarded 5 days of boost and 600 scrap to early access playing for the time they couldn’t play. I say that’s a good gesture from TC and I commend them for that because they didn’t have to do that. I would have liked iron instead of scrap, but that’s just me being nitpicking because we’ll eventually build up scrap. Awarding iron to us actually gives us a bit of digital money to spend in their store and I think that’s more important because we can’t get back those days in early access where we tried to play and couldn’t due to TC’s servers.
- Continuing server issues. The server issues still don’t appear to be fixed. Last night my campaign co-op partner got booted from the game, twice. I don’t know what’s causing this, I still don’t understand why campaign co-op has to go through TC servers. It should just be a point-to-point connection between the two players.
Recommendation: Please look into this and try and fix it because TC made co-op campaign a big selling point with Jack and right now we are still getting kicked from campaign.
- Progress not tracking. So this is probably tied to the server issues, but I thought your game file should be saved on your local harddrive with it being duplicated in the cloud. Apparently that is not the case since our collectibles, achievements, and stats aren’t tracking. I know TC is aware of this and working on a solution but it’s still frustrating that this isn’t working and didn’t work properly at launch.
Recommendation: Again, please look into fixing this. I know several people were still bugged and unable to complete Gears 4 collectible achievements due to similar issues. I don’t want this to happen in Gears 5 as well.
- Stats. The stats tab is confusing. This may just be me, but I don’t like the way the stats page works in Gears 5. I actually prefer the War Journal from Gears 4. The stats page in Gears 5 isn’t a stats page, it’s a confusing leaderboard where you have to go into several sub menus to find your actual stats. Please update this to something similar to Gears 4. I really don’t care how I stack up in total games played against my friends when I’m going into the stats page. If I wanted that I’d go to the leaderboard. I want to see just my stats when I’m in the stats page. I do realize there’s a stats section on the Gears 5 website, but I shouldn’t have to go to that when I should be able to see that in game.
Recommendation: I really recommend that you update this page to something more similar to Gears 4 War Journal and keep the leaderboard stuff in the Leaderboard tab.
- Communications. While I do not have a Twitter account (private reasons), I do understand that TC and Octus were putting out periodic updates post launch responding to problems. My issue is that this is only 1 means of communication. We finally have a News tab in the game and no splash screen upon loading the game. Neither of those are being used to inform players of issues and updates, though I did see the updates showing up at the top of the forums. I do see a slight improvement from a year ago where there was virtually no communications with the players, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement here.
Recommendation: When publishing announcements, do so over all forms available. That means Twitter, FB, Official Forums, Discord, and in game news. You have a team whose whole paid purpose is community interaction. So make sure they spread the word as widely as possible, not just confined to 1 medium. This was a weak point even in Gears 4, remember?
- Speaking of communications, why was the Dev Stream on a Monday and not the standard Thursday? I must have missed the announcement that the Dev Stream was also happening. I saw a FB post about the What’s Up but couldn’t get to read it. I would have been very interested to see what TC’s reaction to the launch has been. I also had a ton of questions that I wanted to bring up. I wonder if this was a deliberate move to avoid a repeat of what happened after the Lambent debacle of Gears 4. It may not have been, but a clear announcement days before the Dev stream would have allowed more people to watch and ask questions rather than announcing it just hours before. TC really needs to step with better communications to the fan base.
Recommendation: Announce the Dev Streams at least a day or two in advance so people can plan to watch and bring questions and feedback, not announce it just a few hours prior.
- Punishing people for TC’s bugs. A friend just showed me Octus’ tweet where he threatened people who found and used a bug in Gears 5, telling them that ‘they’ll regret it’. I’ll explain the bug here for context and explain why I think this is a bad idea. In Escape, if one person drops from the game and rejoins after a save point then enemies will despawn. This was likely found during the early access days with all the server issues because we were getting booted from servers all the time. TC has now said people will ‘regret’ doing this on purpose. While I understand TC’s position that this could potentially unfairly affect leaderboard rewards I want to restate this: TC is going to punish people for TC making a buggy game. And it seems that the only reason TC is going to do this is because it can easily see who it happened to via the leaderboards. TC didn’t punish people in Gears 4 who abused the ‘headshot anyone anywhere on the map’ glitch because it was too hard to prove without video evidence (and recordings didn’t always show it), but TC will go after people who may have even done it by accident because TC made a buggy game. Does that sound right? Perhaps announcing that the bug is now known and that anyone continuing to use it will be punished would be one thing, but to announce that anyone who has done it will be punished retroactively (especially when it was likely caused by TC’s own buggy servers) seems a bit unfair.
Recommendation: I’d recommend the best way forward for TC would be to not to punish anyone in this matter, but to fix the bug. Then I’d recommend TC publish a list of known bugs/exploits and warn that continued use of them beyond the date published will result in repercussions. It does no good to retroactively punish players for something that wasn’t warned against.
- Character locks. I know I’m late to say this, but I really don’t like the fact that characters are tied to abilities in Horde and Escape. I really feel this was something that a lot of people disliked from Judgement and don’t know why it made a comeback here in Gears 5. I can understand the possible logic behind not allowing duplicate characters due to wanting to prevent speed runs, but I still don’t agree with it. If people want to play as an all Marcus team then they should be able to, and should be able to select their class ability.
Recommendation: Allow players to choose their characters separate from the class abilities. I understand this likely will never happen due to how the game is likely coded, but I seriously hope this feature doesn’t make a return in any Gears game ever again.
That’s it for now, I know it’s a long read but I wanted to make sure it was coherent and actually provided some constructive criticism and recommendations rather than just me adding to the list of complaints.