Let's gather round and all be friends
If all the news about the 2011 release of Gears of War 3 has not convinced you to unpack Gears of War 2 for a replay, the latest patch from Epic may be just give you the push you need. Versus is not the first port of call for Co-Optimus when playing the game, but the patch may just draw us in as it is a far more social affair. Added to this is an easier way for you to jump in and help a friend in Horde. These changes come in the new match option called 'Social XBOX Live'.
This mode will allow people to drop in and drop out of any game type. For fans of the co-op Horde mode, the new Social Horde allows players to join at any point in a player match or be invited into a ranked match. The player who has joined will receive XP from the moment they arrived, meaning they will not get quite as much as their allies. The ability to join a game of Horde midway through should stop the need for gamers to quit out and start afresh when a friend comes online.
The new game mode is also likely to benefit the more relaxed Gears versus player by encouraging a more friendly style of play e.g. if the other team drop out in a rage there is now an opportunity for other players to replace them immediately. Also, you will no longer have to wait for a match to end before your friends get to play. As soon as they arrive they can get down to gaming, rather than having to watch the rest of the current match. Epic have also relaxed the penalties for people quitting out of the new social matches, they won't receive XP if they leave, but will not be penalized further with negative XP or a quit out count.
I have always found the versus mode of Gears of War 2 a little intense for my liking, but this new system should lead to more relaxed games where people play for fun, as much as for the win. However, there is a sting with the new Patch; it only opens up for those players with the 1600MSP All Fronts Map Collection. Epic promise that this pack will be available on offer soon, but should people who own the original disc be disadvantaged?
Title Update 6 makes these new improvements:
- Adds a new public multiplayer match option called Social Xbox LIVE (aka player matches), open to anyone who owns all downloadable maps (that is, All Fronts Collection). We'll be having a promotion that will dramatically reduce the cost of the All Fronts Collection.
- You can join Social Matches in progress and can quit any time without penalty, although players who quit a match early don't receive earned experience (XP) from that match.
- Social matchmaking lets your party join a match in progress. If a match is not found, your party hosts a new match, filling any empty player slots with bots.
- Social Matches automatically cycle to the next map without further matchmaking.
- Teams are rebalanced between matches based on XP level without splitting parties.
- If you quit, your spot is taken by a bot until a new player joins the match. That new player can join while the match is in progress.
- If you join a match in progress, you are assigned a team based on XP level and party size.
- If you join a match in progress, you replace a bot at the earliest opportunity: at the first bot's death for respawning game types (for example, Annex) and at round completion for Warzone, Execution, and Wingman.
- Social leaderboards become part of the War Journal.
- Renames Public Matches to Ranked Xbox LIVE Matches to differentiate these from Social Xbox LIVE Matches, and adds some improvements to these matches.
- Improved host selection using bandwidth testing and previous hosting data has been added.
- Before the match begins, teams are balanced based on XP without splitting parties.
- Renames Private Matches to Custom Xbox LIVE Matches and makes these matches invite-only.
- Adds the ability to join Horde sessions that are in progress.
- In Social Horde, you can join a session in progress through matchmaking and you are able to continue your session from the last wave you failed without starting over.
- In Ranked Horde, you can join a session in progress only through invites.
- If you join a session in progress, at the end of the session you receive the score you achieved during the time you spent in the session.
- Improves the precision of weapon selection using the D-pad.
- Improves client-side hit detection for ballistic weapons.
Title Update 6 fixes these possible exploits, where under certain circumstances:
- Execution rules could be ignored when using certain weapon types.
- On the Subway map, you could get outside of the playable environment by sliding into cover and rolling between a train car and the side of tracks.
- On the Blood Drive map, you could get outside of the playable environment in various locations.
- Players could grief other players on Submission, Annex, King of the Hill, and Guardian games by preventing the objective from being completed while racking up experience. Title Update 6 adds match time limits to each of these game types to prevent this practice.
Title Update 6 fixes these other issues as well:
- An issue that could cause your profile to be overwritten, erasing XP level, and achievement progress.
- An issue that could cause a campaign save slot to be overwritten if you previously chose to continue without saving and then signed in.
Title Update 6 makes these balancing changes:
- Changes the Gnasher Shotgun pellet pattern to increase hit consistency.
- Changes the Guardian game type to select the leader based upon XP level (highest to lowest).