[UPDATE 11/27/2008] A title update has been released today to address the issues outlined below. Please see the post below for more information.
We're aware that some folks are experiencing longer-than-ideal wait times while using the skill-based Public matchmaking in Gears 2 multiplayer. We're working on some solutions but it's a complicated issue as there isn't any one problem; it's a combination of factors. Clearly, scale is one of them as we've had millions of successful matches played online so far, however a small percentage of players are having issues, which is unacceptable. We're working closely with Microsoft to address the matchmaking issues, I promise you that it is our #1 priority, and we hope to have an update soon.
In the meantime, I would like to suggest some workarounds:
If you're experiencing long delays (longer than 2 minutes) or you're seeing your matchmaking search restarting over and over again, please try a different playlist as that indicates a possible population issue with the currently selected one.
The problem seems to be heightened for parties of 1 and parties of 4 so please try to invite at least one friend into your party before matchmaking. And of course the fastest way to play is to have a full 5 person party before looking for a match since you won't have to find any teammates beforehand. Fortunately our new "What's Up" feature makes finding Friends who're playing Gears 2 online easier.
Also, after a match, if you'd like to continue to play with the 9 people you just played with, simply press Y to look at the previous match stats and press X to invite them all to your party so you can continue to play in a Private match if they accept. Private matches, while not arbitrated, gives you the flexibility to set exactly which map and mode you want to play along with customizing other aspects of the game.
And as always, please ensure that your router is set correctly so that your NAT is considered "Open" by Xbox LIVE as "Moderate" and "Strict" NATs make Xbox LIVE matchmaking more difficult. There are many guides available online to walk you through the process of correctly configuring your router for Xbox LIVE so I won't go into the specific details here.
Also, in case you're curious, a few interesting facts about Gears 2 multiplayer so far:
- Almost 3 million multiplayer matches (excluding Private) have been played.
- Almost 1 million screenshot photos have been uploaded to gearsofwar.com
- The most popular multiplayer mode is Horde.
- The most popular multiplayer map across all modes is River.
- The most lethal weapon is the Gnasher shotgun with almost 29% of all kills.
Again, I apologize for any issues you may be having and I hope the above workarounds give you a better experience until we are able to correct the issues we're seeing.