Thoughts on Tech Test Week 3, I mean Launch week Feedback

@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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

3 Likes

AlphaKnight04 hits the nail on the head. I couldn’t write a post that well thought out without letting my frustrations come out and get the better of me.

Gears 5 has great potential, don’t get me wrong. But to echo some of Alpha’s points, the server issues that CONTINUE to occur are really killing my desire to play the game. So far the only thing I truly regret is taking multiple days off from work to play Gears 5. Got to wave 46 yesterday on Horde and boom, server disconnected but still on Xbox Live and chatting in a Party. Playing co-op campaign last night and boom, server disconnected but again, still on Xbox Live and chatting in a Party.

While I’ll be going back and replaying the campaign anyway, it is annoying that collectibles I found are not registering so will have to re-find them again and hope they count this time.

Honestly, I feel Gears 5 should have been delayed until it could have been properly tested to ensure these issues were resolved. But that’s just my $0.02

2 Likes

There isn’t much I can add to this thread that hasn’t been said already, but there is one glaring issue I have with the campaign that I hope to see resolved. The checkpoint system. There are times where the checkpoints are either too far apart, poorly placed, or both.

A good example is the Matriarch boss fight. Let’s compare it to a very similar boss battle: the Lambent Berserker from Gears 3. In that fight, there are two or three separate checkpoints, one at each stage of the battle. The save points were adequetly placed, as they happened right as the fight was about to get more difficult.

Now, let’s compare the Lambent Berserker to the Matriarch. That is a 20 minute fight, one in which the enemy can instantly kill you. There are zero checkpoints in that battle, save for the one at the very start, and even that one is placed right before a short cutscene. The part that baffles me is there are three separate opportunies to place a save point; one at each one of Kait’s visions. The lack of any save points during the most prolonged and difficult battle in the game makes zero sense, and just ends up making the fight needlessly difficult, infuriating, and time consuming. There have been multiple instances where I was mere bullets away from killing the Matriarch, only to have her instantly kill me, thus undoing half an hour worth of progress.

While that may not exactly count as a technical issue, it is one that I believe can, and should be fixed.

The next issue I have is one I am not alone in. The pricing model for the items in the store is outrageously high. No one should have to pay $20 for a skin. There’s a reason they are called microtransactions. They are micro. Not a third the price of the game. While I do believe making the switch from RNG to “what you see is what you get” is the right decision, part of me misses the Gear Packs. I never thought I would say that, but let me explain. With the exception of the Black Steel packs, I never felt the need to spend real money on Gear Packs. Players could save up credits, then spend those credits on a few dozen packs and get everything. As long as they had enough credits saved up they could obtain the items they wanted. But with the new system, I don’t feel comfortable spending $20 for a skin. Even the skin sets TC released were poorly implemented, as they only contained five weapon skins. I feel as if for $20, you should get a character, a full skin set, and a banner. The Run The Jewels pack was priced at $20 and contained everything I just mentioned, yet I felt perfectly comfortable spending my money on it. I felt it was a good deal.
To summarize this last statement, I believe that the prices should be lowered, or at the very least, make iron easier to obtain through gameplay.

To close off this post, I want to say that I love Gears 5. Aside from the technical issues and microtransaction issues, I firmly believe it is one of the best entries in the series. But there is room for improvement. The community is not happy with the current state of the game. Many people have very mixed feeling about the release. The game itself is wonderful. I think TC knocked it out of the park, but the rocky launch left a sour taste in my mouth, as with many others. I hope some of these issues get resolved. Thanks for reading.

1 Like

Completely agree.

  1. The microtransactions. I do like the shift to the ‘what you see is what you get’ system, but I totally agree the pricing model is way off. As you mentioned, and so did I way back during the Lambent debacle, the price the community seemed to find acceptable was about $20 for a full set. For Gears 4 RTJ set that included a full skin set and 2 characters. What we’re seeing now is $20 for 5 weapon skins, not even the full set. While I do acknowledge that at least this time it’s simply cosmetic skins for characters and that we will still have access to those characters, just not those skins, it still seems a bit of a steep price for them. The explanation on the Dev Stream this week of how the skins in the store likely wouldn’t make a return for several Operations (as in if it popped up in Operation 1 and you missed it, then you may have to wait until Operation 6 to get it) makes a certain amount of sense, but I still don’t like it.
  2. This one is just opinion, no real recommendation except for Gears 6, but I feel like Gears is losing its identity in some respects. Specifically in little things like the difficulties being renamed. What happened to Casual and Hardcore? I can understand adding in intermediate difficulties in modes like Escape where they’re tied to mutators, but the Gears Franchise has had these named difficulties from the beginning. This feels like it’s been watered down too much for the casual gamer crowd rather than the fans. What’s next, get rid of Insane and just name it Legendary or Veteran? I just want the Franchise to retain its identity and little things like that make a difference. I know games evolve, I loved the addition of Inconceivable in Gears 4, I just think we should keep those things which help the game retain its core identity. /rant.
1 Like

You’re definitely not alone in the opinion that the series is losing its identity. There’s a multitude of reasons for that. Here’s some I can think of off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more reasons, but it’s 5am as I’m typing this, so I’ll probably forget some.

• The series just isn’t as dudebro macho masculine as it once was. I miss the unrealistic body standards for men that the series once had. Plus, the hamfisted dialogue was pretty entertaining. Now the series is just going for a more mainstream tone. The tone of these newer entries reminds me more of a Marvel movie than it does, say, Rambo.

• While the game is still extremely gory, the past games just felt more visceral. More brutal. Corwbcat recently made a good video comparing the two eras. The original trilogy felt more visceral in its depiction of violence. This new one feels more cartoony. The blood is bright red, as opposed to the crimson in Gears 1 and 2. Plus, remember when someone was bleeding out in Gears 2? Remember how much blood was pouring out of them? That was awesome. You just don’t get that nowadays.

• The characters aren’t over-the-top enough. Look at Delta Squad. You have a WHOOing 'roided up Thrashball star who is always yelling and being overly enthusiastic. Then you have the pessimistic, cynical, sarcastic, a-hole engineer. Then you have the chiché war hero with a troubled past who never shows emotion and is a gruff manly man. Then there’s Dom. He’s the most “normal” of them, but still a memorable and loveable character in his own right.
What about this new squad? You have the witty, sarcastic, intelligent black guy. Then you have the witty, sarcastic, intelligent white guy. Then you have the witty, sarcastic, intelligent woman. These characters don’t feel unique. They aren’t larger than life and boisterous. They’re bland and boring.

• The color palate. While a lot of people complained about the color scheme (or lack thereof) from Gears 1 and 2, it fits with the tone and atmosphere those game had. While this new color scheme certainly fits the tone they are going for, it doesn’t feel as war-torn or hopeless as the earlier ones. Takethe Ephyra section at the end of Gears 5. The city is far more dilapidated than it was in the original game, But yet Gears 1’s depiction of the city felt more… hopeless, for want of a better word. You really got that war-torn city feel. I can’t quite describe it, but I’m sure you know what I’m getting at.

• While the multiplayer is still great, it does feel more casual and mainstream. At the risk of sounding hipster, I do miss how Gears 1 and 2 had small, but tight knit communities. The series was much harder to get into back then. It was very niche. An acquired taste. Now I see billboards and commercials for the games everywhere. It doesn’t feel as special as it once was.

• The community. It’s toxic. Gears 1-3 had great communities. Everyone was looking out for each other. Sure, we teabagged and trash talked, but at the end of the day, deep down, there was a sense of camaraderie. Now… Now it’s just a cesspool. I get hate mail. I get beat down. I get teabagged. I get called trash because I’m not playing on PC. Quitting is huge issue. The only segment of the community that seems to be decent is the speedrunning community. Sure, there’s some bad eggs there too, but for the most part, people look out for each other.

The series is losing its identity. It’s a shell of its former self. I understand that in order to prevent a series from going stale, you need to shake up the formula. Try new things. But I prefer the grit and brutality of the originals.