Everyone likes to tout their veteran status when they argue for or against something pertaining to any series they care about. So it goes without saying that I'm posting here as a DAY ONE Gears of War Veteran player. I own all three Limited Edition releases and can verify that with various images, on the fly if called upon to do so. I love and adore this series. I love Gears for its characters, its fictional universe, its technically impressive presentation for our current console hardware, and for the love that shows through from the developer itself, Epic Games Inc.
Every time I play a Gears game, I can literally feel the care that the team at Epic slathered over this franchise. They love Gears as much as the passionate fans like us do. Therefore, it's disheartening to see so much venom thrown around on these boards towards the people who slave over making us happy. These are the people who got us all here in the first place. Voicing one's opinion on a public forum, which is as leniently moderated as this one is, should come with a great deal of personal responsibility. We need to conduct ourselves in the most mature and honorable way possible and we need to also be mindful of how others may passionately disagree with any notion we put forth.
That said; I feel that Gears of War 3 is clearly the best game in the trilogy on every front. I think that it's very rare to see a trilogy come together so cohesively and end on a high note, whether it be in the film, video game, or storytelling realm. Epic made it happen ONLY because they cared so much about getting it right. Since this is the multiplayer forum, I will simply move on to discuss what I think of the current MP situation and create new topics of discussion on other subjects where appropriate.
For at least 4 weeks, I've merely watched and read countless assessments put forth by others, only to not weigh in and have my voice heard. I didn't want to throw out a knee-jerk reaction in response to something I disagreed with without truly thinking things through from all sides. Gears deserves thought and logic applied to it when discussed and I feel that way only because of how important this series is to me. Unlike the previous two Gears of War games, Gears of War 3 had an openly accessible Beta that the community could test and give feedback on prior to release. This was a great idea and I think it is the reason why Epic got the Multiplayer right this time. Yes, I just said the release version of Gears 3 MP was right on the money. Every weapon had its advantages that made it viable. Every weapon was kept "in check" by another weapon. In the first two games, my dear Gnasher Shotgun was all I needed. I hit left on the d-pad and willingly dropped my Lancer for the pickup weapon of my choosing on both games. The majority of the time, I just disregarded pickups completely and rolled with the Gnasher/wallbounce/gib festival. I earned my skills at that style of play because there were honestly no other dimensions to delve into. Gears 1 and 2 were Gnasher centric. If you didn't use the Gnasher, you failed because there were no other effective options by comparison. I earned my stripes and mastered the Gnasher and the rest was history.
What people don't realize is, Gears 3 is no less Gnasher centric than the first two games -- you just have to pay attention to what weapon loadout the rest of the opposition has this time. Why? Because in Gears 3, the other primary weapons were worked on and balanced properly enough to actually be useful for once. That is a Godsend for me. I prefer the more dynamic gameplay that keeps me on my toes. I like the thrill of playing against SOS users, Retro users, Sir Lancer-a-Lots, and of course other skilled Gnasher veterans. What Gears 3 had that the first two games didn't is variety. I love winning a Gnasher battle as much as the next guy, but the other weapons are put in the game for a reason. They are meant to be useful enough to stop me, should I choose to run around with just my Gnasher for more than 50% of the time. They are meant to be useful enough to stop anyone who is playing in a predictably one-dimensional style with any particular weapon. From my experience, Epic nailed it.
For the official record, I use the Gnasher/Lancer loadout exclusively in Gears 3. I do not use the Retro Lancer or the Sawed-Off Shotgun. I'm well on my way to an Onyx Gnasher (4316 kills), which I attribute to playing so much Gears 1 and 2 with it. However, I think the SOS complaints have been unwarranted since Day one. If I could see my own K/D ratio against SOS users, then I'd be quite amused. From my own experiences dealing with SOS users, it's not even close. I know that the Gnasher is MUCH more powerful than the SOS, provided the Gnasher wielder really knows what he's doing. The pre-patch SOS (retail gib range) was perfectly easy to best: It has only ONE shot at a time. It still has painfully short range. It has an eternally long reload time. And it has limited ammo unless you manage to pick up ammo that a dead SOS user leaves behind. This is all before Epic even saw fit to reduce the gun's Gib range to match the Gnasher on 10/11/11. In my opinion, the SOS has only ever been viable for when a person can blindside you from either behind or around a corner. And in cases like those, I can do the same thing with my Gnasher -- gib you and move on. The SOS doesn't have to be aimed. But neither does a Gnasher in the cases where the SOS is effective. Epic should know the things I've stated are correct on this subject. I've been playing Gears 3 daily since release day and Gears 1 and 2 were mastered for years. But I'm just one devoted fan whose voice they'll probably never hear. The Gib range reduction was moot. Especially when we consider just how it solved nothing when it comes to SOS complaints from my vocal Gnasher community.
As for the Retro Lancer, the gun is good from mid-range only. In the right hands, sure it can down from slightly longer range. But it has a pretty long reload time and only a medium sized clip. This allows for a good player to avoid being downed outright from long range Retro fire. From long range, you need to make your shots count with the Retro, otherwise a good player will find some cover before you can down him. From short to medium range, you have a lot of power. The gun can down quite fast at that range. But the Retro bucks like no one's business. So if you don't fire in short, controlled bursts, you are going to be spraying air. It has a one hit kill Retro charge, but the charge is so blatantly telegraphed that you deserve the fatal consequence if you get caught by it. The bottom line is, this weapon requires skill to be effective and does not deserve the complaining being levied against it either. So, after having offered my opinions on the two guns everyone calls "nooby" in Gears 3, I can truly say that said description is virtually unwarranted. Now that this is out of the way....
-A tangent, that is relevant to the why the complaints exist:
It is plainly clear to me that what people don't like is having to ADAPT. I notice that with every sequel, in this day and age of the internet forum soapbox, there is ALWAYS a small, but vocal group expressing dissent with change in general. Do people truly expect to pay for the same game or product over and over again, just with new packaging? Well I sure as Hell don't, quite frankly. If Epic created Gears 3 with no ambition and just released a rehash with mere cosmetic changes, then I would immediately see that the heart and ingenuity was gone from the developer. And that would end my long allegiance to the franchise on the spot, meaning no more day one premium edition buys, no more DLC purchases, no more XBL play, etc. People complaining about the new weapons that Epic put in so much time and effort to implement are just complaining because they are so incredibly resistant to change. So many people in today's society want quick, easy, and effortless gratification. Well I think that truly learning how to play Gears 3 as its own game was very rewarding, personally. The problem is not the SOS, the Retro, or the Lancer, Etc. It never was either. It is clear that most complaints about Gears 3 MP are coming from a group of my fellow veterans who feel a bit too "entitled" to have their way. The fact that I know how many variables I have to deal with in any given multiplayer session of Gears 3 now VS. in Gears 1/2, speaks volumes about how well Epic did when making each primary weapon truly viable. It will be a real shame to see the downward spiral begin towards making Gears 3 more one dimensional. I don't want to see that, and I don't even use the weapons people are so entrenched against.
As it stands, there seem to be a vast majority of my fellow Gnasher users who are on a crusade to get Epic to throttle this game's diversity and reduce it into a rehash of some sort. I love my Gnasher as much or MORE than the devoted Gnasher fanbase who has been so vocal here. But I do see the merit in what Epic achieved with their extra time, effort, and consideration when creating the final game in this Gears story arc. I want to see other weapons pose a threat or challenge to my Gnasher game. Even if I can decimate most of the SOS users I come across, or get around Retro users who usually spray and pray, I still enjoy the dynamic of having to change my approach to handle them. I actually have to use my assault rifle, use all three variants of Grenades, and even occasionally pull out my Snub Pistol now!! It truly is a great experience. I really was content with how Gears 3 had evolved, and to me that evolution as a team based game was for the better. A Gnasher duel with a fellow Veteran is still quite common from my experience in Gears 3 TDM, and I get to have that, plus variety. Perhaps it's only wishful thinking that people could stop making excuses for their own shortcomings and persevere. Show some resiliency, Gearheads. Since when do we whine when the going gets tough? We suck it up, post our thoughts, and deal with adversity with our skill sets.
For every Gnasher fan who has complained about Gears 3's MP; Epic heard you guys. Even though they probably won't hear me, I do sincerely hope that they understand what I understand about the origin of the complaints they are getting. Epic should know that they actually got Gears 3 MP right and made all the weapons they incorporated into it actually have some usefulness. This is a testament to why so much complaining exists about certain weapons and what segment of the community the complaints actually come from. Gears 3 is no less about the Gnasher than Gears 1 and 2 were. Gears 3 is just also about the other primary weapons too. Gears 3 is based on effective teamwork and was clearly designed as such. The emphasis on teamwork was profoundly augmented from Gears 1 to Gears 2 to Gears 3. A lone wolf running around with a Gnasher trying to show off how "1337" they are by clutching every game, is going to have serious problems when facing a team who knows what they're doing in Gears 3, regardless of weapon setups. I know this from early experience. I chose to suck it up and ADAPT to the new dynamics. I've always been like that, so maybe I'm just in the minority. If that's the case, then I will proudly stay out of the majority then.
In closing, my recommendation is that Epic does not directly OR indirectly remove the Sawed-Off Shotgun or the Retro Lancer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either of them. If anything, the SOS is virtually useless as a shotgun, since a Gnasher can do everything the same except Gib multiple enemies in one shot. What the Gnasher can do instead is clutch because it gives second chances to Gib multiple enemies, unlike the SOS. The Gnasher has an active reload that is actually quite formidable, and increases its range/damage. The Gnasher allows for 8 shots, all of which can Gib before a relatively FAST active reload becomes accessible. 16 shots starting out vs. only 4 for the SOS. My point is, the Gnasher is beastly. Epic's stats provide proof that most people know that to be true as well. As the for the Lancer, it has finally become useful after so long. This is the weapon that Epic envisioned as the Gears of War flagship weapon. Now it is finally as formidable as it should be, which is appropriately correct.
-My pitch to hopefully make the air more stable:
My personal solution to solve the complaints = making a permanent All Gnasher Shotgun playlist. Yeah, it's sort of like the Hardcore weekend setup that we had not too long ago. The developers should not single out the new weapons they spent so much time incorporating and designing for Gears of War 3 by making a "Classic Playlist" which excludes just them only. These weapons (Retro and SOS) are effectively used and designed for the Story, Arcade, and Horde modes too. For consistency's sake, Epic should consider that much. If we want to play Gears 1 or Gears 2, then we can (and still do) play those games. Epic gave us a Gears 3 Beta, so we knew full well what was in store for us with these new weapons and changes in MP. What I hope Epic understands is that it is my fellow devoted Gnasher fans who have an agenda to get the Gnasher back to being the sole viable weapon for nearly every single situation.
Some of us want to be able to have our Gnasher duels without the heightened awareness it takes to deal with the varied Gears 3 loadouts. If we just had a Gnasher-only playlist (yes JUST THE GNASHER, not even the Lancer or any of the other primary weapons should be made as pickups), then the people who just want to duel with only their Gnasher on the Gears 3 dedicated servers can go at it to see who the best Gnasher wielder/team is. I don't think it's fair at all to directly or indirectly circumvent/destroy the sense of "new" that this new game has brought to the millions upon millions of fans out there who don't post on forums. So I don't want the SOS or Retro singled out and removed, either directly or indirectly. As stated before, there is nothing wrong with those two weapons at all in my opinion. I doubt I am alone in the end.
A permanent Gnasher-only playlist with just the usual pickup weapons would be less likely to kill the community. Nor would it split up a community that is already "perceived" to be severed due to the dissenting opinion of a segment of the community who prefers maining the Gnasher alone. Give us the Gnasher, a smoke grenade, and a Snub. Remove the other primary weapons from the playlist completely and don't make them pickups at all. That will give the original Gears 3 playlists some degree of merit to retain. Keep the normal lineup of map pickup weapons intact and go from there with just the Gnasher, Smoke, and Snub loadout. That would give Gnasher users our festival of Gnasher gibs and wallbouncing with almost no interference, while also preserving the intended meaning of Gears of War 3's multiplayer for the rest of its playlists.
Personally, I want Gears 3 to be Gears THREE. I don't plan to buy the same game over and over again, so I appreciate and truly understand what Epic brought to the table with this game on 9/20/11. The best thing that could be done to keep Gears 3's identity intact, while attempting to appease the Gnasher fans is to make a playlist for just that weapon alone. Any other solution is really only going to create an erosion of this game's diversity and identity. That would not bode well for future games or for many of the silently observing dedicated fans who have not yet spoken out.
I am quite fearful that Epic will remove the variety and diversity from the Gears 3 MP experience. I saw the game as pretty well balanced from retail, with only a mild Scorcher damage increase (plus a possible Hammerburst adjustment of some sort) needed. There is absolutely no malice coming from me towards any of you out there who will surely disagree with my sentiments. I will not insult any of you, nor will I take part in any immature name calling or insinuations. My hope is for you guys to be happy, but there is probably no way to please everyone. And even though that may be true, please understand and appreciate the fact that Epic has tried in earnest to do the impossible for us -- they've tried to please everybody, which is a commendable exercise in futility.
Thanks a lot to anyone who has taken the time to hear me out. I hope Cliff, Rod, Lee, Quinn, or any staff member close to them will give this message a bit of consideration. It's just coming from the heart of a dedicated Gears of War fan whose patronage began in November 2006. As for my fellow fans, have at it, but keep it clean and respectful. If this initial message is too long to read, then just know that Gears of War means a great deal to me and accept my apology in advance.