What's Up Gears - Operation 5: Hollow Storm - PvE Overview


The Operation 5 Hollow Storm key art which features Dizzy Wallin holding a gnasher and a Locust Skorge screaming behind him

Operation 5 is almost here so it’s time to give an overview of some of the big updates and features coming on November 17.

In Operation 4 the team made major updates to Ranked and the store with PvE getting a relative light touch. This all changes in Operation 5 as PvE takes the spotlight!


Icons of 15 of the new character classes being introduced with the launch of Operation 5

As promised in the Operation 4 PVE Update, we have decoupled Characters and Classes – that’s right, you can now choose your Class and then pick whatever character you want to play. We can already see the Horde and Escape lobbies full of Carmine squads!

Not enough freedom? No problem. We now allow you to play as duplicate Classes and Characters, so now everyone can be Marcus and the Pilot Class. Operation 5 also includes a significant balance update for all Classes that includes tuning updates, 16 new Skill Cards, new Passives, and more. Check out the patch notes below for more details. Note: Sam, Jinn and DB characters won’t be playable in PvE until the next Title Update.

  • Blademaster (previously Lahni)
  • Brawler (previously Cole)
  • Infiltrator (previously Kait)
  • Demolitions (previously JD)
  • Marksman (previously Fahz)
  • Mechanic (previously Del)
  • Robotics Expert (previously Baird)
  • Combat Medic (previously COG Gear)
  • Tactician (previously Keegan)
  • Veteran (previously Marcus)
  • Gunner (previously Clayton)
  • Pilot (previously Lizzie)
  • Anchor (previously Mac)
  • Nomad (previously Paduk)
  • Striker (previously Grace)
  • Slugger (previously Sarah)
  • Architect (previously Kat)
  • Protector (previously Emile)
  • Jack (previously… well, Jack)

Last but not least, we’ve also increased the max level for each class to 20. Any progress made with the previously corresponding character will be applied to the relevant Classes.

The Heroic Venom Weapon set, which unlocks when the corresponding class reaches level 20

And for those hotshots that reach level 20, every class you max out unlocks a specific weapon in the Heroic Venom Weapon set. The new Heroic rarity symbolizes the most impressive or challenging accomplishments in Gears 5; so, if you see someone wielding these, respect should be given.

Oh, and this isn’t the only Heroic skin you should expect cough re-up cough – keep an eye out for more weapons sets and character skins coming later in Operation 5.



  • Changed Horde passive from “nearby kills drop more power” to “exiting cloak by firing a ballistic weapon deals 10x damage”
  • Changed Escape passive from “every 6th execution drops ammo” to “exiting cloak by firing a ballistic weapon deals 10x damage”
  • Added 5m distance requirement to Infiltrator’s Laceration card.
  • Changed behavior of Infiltrator’s Reaper card from “Executing enemies grants Stim” to “Shotgun kills grant Stim”
  • Increased Ultimate duration gained from Infiltrator’s Chain card from 2.6s to 5.0s (Level 6)
  • Changed behavior of Infiltrator’s Chain card from “Kills during ultimate extends ultimate” to “Executions during ultimate extends ultimate”.


  • Changed Marksman’s passive from “every 6th critical kill drops ammo” to “precision weapons penetrate through enemies”
  • Reduced damage of Marksman’s Ambush card from +140% to +100%. (Level 6)


  • Added card “Harness Energy” which gives 6 Stim per hit to the Barrier to the entire team. If under 100% health, gain 6HP instead. (Level 6)
  • Added card “Bullet Chain” which increases damage 50% per headshot kill up to 200% for 15 seconds each. (Level 6)
  • Increased bleeding damage of Anchor’s Bloody Shot card from 65% to 80%. (Level 6)
  • Increased damage multiplier of Anchor’s Adrenaline Junkie card from 65% to 80%. (Level 6)
  • Changed Cooldown on Kill perk to Ammo Regen perk.
  • Changed passive from “taking damage recharges ultimate” to “Anyone who fires through the barrier deals 50% additional damage”.


  • Added card “Disciplined” which increases damage 6% each hit with ballistic weapons up to 100%. (Level 6)
  • Added card “Cooperation” which gives 30% additional damage to teammates attacking your marked target. (Level 6)
  • Increased bleeding damage of Tactician’s Shredder card from 25% to 30%. (Level 6)
  • Replaced Ammo Capacity Perk with Max Health perk.
  • Changed Passive from “Killing your marked target recharges ultimate for 5s” to “Anyone who kills your marked target recharges their ultimate for 5s”.
  • Increased seconds of Ultimate recharge gained from Tactician’s Recharge Bounty card from 23s to 25s. (Level 6)


  • Added card “Homebody” which gives 32% damage resistance when 10 meters from a Power Tap. (Level 6)
  • Added perks for Repair Cost, Repair Speed, Fortification Damage and Fortification Health.


  • Added card “Blade Dancer” which increases melee damage 50% per melee or bleed kill up to 200% for 15 seconds each. (Level 6)
  • Added card “Energy Surge” which gives 6 Stim per 0.5s when 10 meters from an Energy Tap. (Level 6)
  • Added card “Brutal Claw” which increases Claw damage 60%. (Level 6)
  • Added 30% melee damage resistance to Blademaster passive.
  • Increased Bleeding Melee Damage perk from 100% to 150%. (Level 10)


  • Reduced damage of Gunner’s Mulcher Mastery from 120% to 80%. (Level 6)
  • Reduced ultimate cooldown multiplier per hit on Clayton’s Heavy Charger card from 0.0017 to 0.0014. (Level 6)


  • Added card “Scorcher Mastery” which increases Scorcher damage 70%. (Level 6)
  • Added card “Fuel Tanks” which increases Scorcher ammo capacity 120%. (Level 6)
  • Reduced melee damage resistance on Brawler’s Thrashball Pro card from 70% to 60%.
  • (Level 6)
  • Reduced damage resistance of Brawler’s Inner Fire card from 52% to 35%. (Level 6)
  • Decreased damage resistance of Brawler’s Damage Dash card from 43% to 40%. (Level 6)
  • Increased burning damage of Brawler’s Pyromaniac card from 60% to 100%. (Level 6)
  • Changed Assault Rifle Damage perk to Damage perk.


  • Added card “Silverback Scorcher” which equips a Scorcher to the Silverback that deals 120% damage. (Level 6)
  • Increased damage of Pilot’s Enforcer Expert card from 60% to 70% (Level 6)
  • Renamed “Sisters to the end” to “Wingman”


  • Added card “Sacrifice” which revives teammates within 30m when dying as a hijacked unit. (Level 6)
  • Added card “Rampage” which deals 70% bleeding damage when attacking as a hijacked enemy. (Level 6)
  • Changed passive from “killing your marked target reduces cooldown” to “teammates deal 50% extra damage to your stun beam target”
  • Replaced HP Regen perk with Ultimate Cooldown perk.
  • Reduced multiplier of Jack’s Optimizer card from +170% to +150%. (Level 6)


  • Added card “Bloody Shrapnel” which causes Trackers to deal 120% bleeding damage. (Level 6)
  • Added card “Personal Defense” which increases damage 6% per hit with the Enforcer up to 100%.
  • Added perks for Repair Cost, Repair Speed, Fortification Damage and Fortification Health.
  • Increased damage of Mechanic’s Custom Robotics card from 30% to 60%. (Level 6)


  • Added card “Bullet Boost” which gives 50% extra ballistic damage per explosive or bleed kill up to 200% for 15 seconds each.
  • Increased bleeding damage of Demolitions’ Razor Hail card from 25% to 30%. (Level 6)
  • Changed passive from “every 6th headshot drops ammo” to “mark up to 5 targets and marks last twice as long”
  • Changed behavior of Explosive Launcher Capacity from “Carry 100% extra explosive launcher ammo” to “Carry 8 additional grenades”. (Level 6)
  • Renamed Explosive Launcher Capacity to “Grenade Satchel”.
  • Added card “Gambit” which allows 6 additional grenade traps. (Level 6)
  • Renamed “Daddy’s Boy” to “Inspired”.


  • Increased ultimate duration from 10s to 20s.
  • Changed behavior of Rifle Feedback from “Rifle hits increase Living Legend time” to “Ultimate duration increased by 100%”
  • Renamed “Rifle Feedback” to “Focus”.


  • Replaced Ultimate Cooldown perk with Precision Rifle Damage perk.


  • Added perks for Repair Cost, Repair Speed, Fortification Damage and Fortification Health.
  • Renamed “Halo” to “Regenerative Field”


  • Renamed “Halo” to “Regenerative Field”


  • Renamed “Dark Fate” to “Team Up”
  • Renamed “Posthuman” to “Melee Rush”


A group of COG units emerge from cover to attack a group of Locust defenders stationed behind a different defensive structure

We’re rolling out a variety of Horde and Escape challenges to mix up the action and give you something to strive for.

ForHorde, we’re introducing the Daily Challenge. Each day, a different map will be chosen as the Daily Challenge, featuring a unique set of mutators and completion rewards. We’ve really amped up the role of mutators, introducing new types such as:

  • Fun (Bobblehead Enemies, Zero Gravity Gore, Confetti Headshots, etc)
  • Helpful (Increased Headshot Damage, Increased Player Stopping Power, etc)
  • Challenging (Aggressive Enemies, Only Regen Health In Cover, etc)

We’re also adding even more Mutators in the next Title Update.

In Escape, we’re giving you two options to play.

  • The Daily Hive, which grant special rewards for players who beat previous Hives at different difficulties.
  • The Featured Hive, which runs for 7 days and challenges you to beat pre-set par times to earn even bigger rewards.

All new PVE Challenges will be playable in Private Lobbies. Rewards include Class XP, Coins, Skill Cards or Legendary Skill Cards. Also, players can earn more Skill Cards just for playing the Daily and Featured maps, up to a maximum limit. Both the Daily and Featured Hives will pull from previously released Hives. This was a very tough call for us but we know how important adding more traditional 5v5 maps are to you and now the team can laser focus on creating and delivering what you want.



  • Removed restriction of using duplicates of the same Class.
  • Decoupled characters from Classes. Players can now use any Character with any Class.
  • Doubled base damage of burning damage over time.
  • Burning damage over time now applies full damage immediately instead of requiring 5 stacks to achieve full damage.


  • Increased fortification cost reduction for engineer classes from 10% to 15%.
  • Added a message that reminds players that they are carrying a lot of power.
  • Added an icon that appears over destroyed fortifications in Tac-Com.
  • Fixed issue with users being unable to grab fortifications after moving them to an invalid location.
  • Fixed cover node issues on Power Tap.
  • Fixed issue with Power Drops teleporting to the player on the Balcony in Asylum.
  • Fixed issue with Reflective Shell Grenadier’s mutator not working.
  • Fixed issue with users spawning Energy by exploiting a location on Harbor.
  • Fixed minor resolution issues in two locations in Abyss.
  • Fixed issue with the corner of the caution sign disappearing at lower LOD in Abyss.
  • Fixed LOD pop issue on sign in Rail Line.
  • Fixed issue with Jack’s hijacked enemy surviving the Forge Incinerator.


  • Reduced base health of Guardian/Sentinel Shields from 1600 > 1200.
  • Adjusted Matriarch’s incoming freeze damage multiplier from 0.2 to 0.4.
  • Increased damage player’s deal to the Matriarch’s weak spot in Horde by 25%.
  • Slightly increased the number of Sires, Mulcher Scions and Dropshot Scions that can spawn at the same time.


  • Added the Scorcher, Snub, Talon and Boltok to the Fabricator.
  • The Fabricator can now take damage and be destroyed. When destroyed, the Fabricator cannot be used until it is revived for 4000 power.


  • Fixed issue with the ending cinematic freezing and then skipping.


  • Adjust Team Health Bonus from 15% > 20% > 25% > 30% to 10% > 15% > 20% > 25%.
  • Power Taps now spawn on Wave 1 in 50 wave Horde.

That’s it for Operation 5 PvE Updates. Make sure to stop by our Developer Stream today where Michael Shannon, Lead PvE Designer, will walk us through all of these changes. And come back tomorrow where we break down what to expect in the world of PvP.


No new hives. Alright then.

And increased loading times in Escape weren’t mentioned either. Way to kill of Escape.

And scrapping isn’t being mentioned. What’s even the point of all this?


120% bleeding damage for Del’s tracker balls. Lol.


I’m sure he’ll be shredding through Scions, Matriarchs and Swarmaks now.

Also, adding 5m requirement to Laceration? Way to kill off the Gnasher for Kait’s class in PvE.

RIP Overload Hat Trick ribbon farming.


Cannot wait!

Seems like a lot of nerfs. Jd capacity is gone, Marcus ultimate is gone. Del didn’t change at all cuz no one is going to use his new cards. Cole and Clayton nerfed. Kait nerfed. Scorpio squad buffed mostly. Jack seems more fun.

Mutators challenges are cool but daily seems a little excessive. Not many people can play a horde daily depending on what the challenges are

Overall I would saying I’m looking forward to it.


I like most of the changes. Some of the nerfs are weird IMO. Fabricator being destructible should spice up things a bit. I just wonder if the fabricator’s destruction means the safe zone also disappears and make enemies spawn in your base? That’d be a bit annoying.

Glad I can finally play as Emile with an actually viable class.

Where’s card scrapping?

To sum up, cautiously excited.


FINALLY I can burn people as Benjamin

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I know that’s awesome. Now only if they did something that would be good!


Sorry but the fab being destructible is awful.
What if it gets destroyed and you got tags to return to it from downed players and you got no money to rebuild it??? What then?


Pull through to the end of the wave with what you got left, or you lose. Game over. Don’t back yourself into a corner next time, I guess.

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I can just see the complaining about this to come.

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Because going into an open ended part of the map is always going to work out sooo well.

And seriously, a stray Boomshot could just hit the fabricator and gets it blown up when it could be in a relevant spot to block a spawn point or somewhere better for the engineer to build. I’m not a fan.


I understand nerfing the cool down for Clay’s/Gunner’s heavy charger but why the mulcher nerf? That helped in keeping him viable in terms of dealing damage and took the spotlight away from JD Marcus and Keegan, so you didn’t have to have them. Other than that everything else looks and sounds great


I like some of the changes, mild hype on my part. Scorcher is pretty much confirmed now and I find it weird that a Brawler class would use such a thing lol, even so, burn damage getting a buff and some of the new cards being added sound kinda cool, they didn’t mention any new cards for Kat/Emile/Sarah/Grace’s classes which is a tad concerning tbh, I’m still not gonna use their classes if they remain with their underwhelming skill card pool.


We don’t know if the fabricator being destroyed also disables its “safe zone” functionality. We’ll have to ask Michael about that on stream.

Other than that, it’s a decent change to combat the fabricator being used as an invulnerable blockade. Forge might get difficult again.


It’s terrible Wall! One boomshot or a Matriarch running wild through all your fortifications.



Not so excited I’m sorry to say.


Huge nerf to Kait / Laceration. 5m is way too short a distance. This should be revised to 15-25m at the least. TC massively dropped the ball on this one. Surely 5m must be a typo and theyve forgotten the first digit?