This sounds so badass. I love it.
I like Gnash and Slash, the other two were jokes
So I wanna expand my thoughts on this by using Mass Effect 3 as the base example. (I’ve talked about this before so ignore me if you already know all this.)
ME3 had a co-op PvE mode that functioned much like Horde Frenzy. 11 waves, with objective waves at 3, 6 and 10. What made the game mode last so long was the extreme amount of customization that altered every game you played, and I think its approach to class structure could benefit Gears if they wanted Horde to be similarly customizable.
In ME3, there are six classes based on the ME single player games: Soldier (Weapons), Adept (Biotics), Engineer (Tech), Vanguard (Biotics/Weapons), Infiltrator (Tech/Weapons) and Sentinel (Biotics/Tech). Within each of these classes there were specific kits tailored to various races and armors. So, you could pick the Human Soldier, or the Asari Adept, or the Drell Vanguard, etc. Each kit came with a set of active and passive skills tailored to that unit to differentiate it from others in the same class. (Think… BM/Striker/Protector and how they’re all variables of “class that punches things”.)
But customization goes two steps further by allowing you to choose routes on skill trees as you level up your character. So if you pick, say, a Human Engineer, you can put points into raw damage on its Incenerate skill, or into its blast radius. You can do the same on its Overload or Drone skills. Do you want to be a boss killer, or an AoE distributor? Do you want to rely on tech combos, or do you want better DoT so you can invest in a much stronger shotgun? These sorts of questions determine how you spec out the Fitness and Combat trees, since you can put points into weapon damage, power damage, health, weapon weight, etc.
And all of that is in addition to weapon loadouts, which are independent of the kit itself. Though within the realm of Gears, that’s accounted for by the fact that the game has weapon pickups.
Relating all this back to Gears, I would love it if the next game created overall classes (like, say, the Gears 4 classes) to simplify the options, but within those options gave a much wider range of cards that you can equip. The way Gears 5 ended up left each class pigeonholed to a very specific expectation and left little room for creativity and deviation. A lot of cards felt like they were put there simply to have more cards. But if you could make your own monster from all the potential cards in one class, we could see a lot more innovation in playstyles. Like a Marksman/Nomad hybrid, or a Brawler with Infiltrator’s stim, or an Engineer that can specialize in some other weapon besides DeeBee guns. It’s the unpredictability of it all that makes it more exciting, to me. Plus the fun of going through cards to try out new, wacky ideas just to see if they work.
ME3 builds were fun because you could do stupid ■■■■ and make it work. My favorite build like this was an Asari Vanguard that I made without an emphasis on the Vanguard’s one thing: Biotic Charge. Instead, I put all my points into Stasis for stopping enemies and extra damage, specifically headshot damage, and equipped a beam rifle with a scope so I could unload on a frozen target. People questioned why the hell I put that weapon on that class until they saw it in action. That’s always a good feeling.
I do hope they keep the Assault/Tank/Support roles. Maybe a more logical sense to diversify those is to make Close/Mid/Long range subcategories for each position? At least then you can merge all the similar/redundant classes with the more superior ones.
I honestly wanna see a more robust Medic class with different healing/support methods.