I honestly can’t tell if someone at Epic just so happened to “forget” to flip the switch —apparently, they’re not very good with Xbox Live switches —and put the code back in for online multiplayer, or if there’s something much more sinister going on. Perhaps this is a case of lacunar amnesia, and Cliff Bleszinski is trying to pretend smoke stuns and the things “players” did with them never actually happened.
He posted in the forums that in Title Update 4, there’s definitely some sort of change coming for smokes…but that’s almost two whole months away. Maybe the developers were so thrilled with the player reaction to the removal of the stuns that they just decided to not even re-implement it?
If that’s the case, I’m not really sure how I feel about that. I guess I’m going to have to be fine with it since I’m so close to rank 50, but that kind of sneakiness is something I’d expect to see in an MMO —sometimes obscure changes slip through cracks and don’t end up in patch notes, but this is a console game, and a game-altering change to a core mechanic at that. Its been a few days now, and so far I haven’t come across any official word on the change —not in the Gears 2 MotD on the start menu, or on the news page of www.gearsofwar.com, or even on the forums.
If you’re not going to re-implement the stun, at least let players know, Epic. Watching enemies roll through smoke grenades that are right beneath them, or dodge the two-second knockdown simply by crouching is so disheartening.
One or two more tweaks like this, and this is what we’ll be playing:
Gears of War 2 is still going strong online...kind of?
I’ve been playing Gears of War 2 on Xbox Live since the game first came out back in November, and frankly, I’m not even sure why. There are so many glitchers and lag-switchers online—I consider myself lucky if I can get through one three-hour session without encountering any cheaters. I must be a glutton for this kind of ignoble punishment though, because I’m still online with my friends almost every night after work.
Title Update 3 came out on March 24th, three days after the Snowblind Map Pack went live. One of the biggest changes Epic Games implemented was the experience system, which replaced the really confusing and seemingly broken 5-symbol ranking system. Of course, right after it came out, some people figured out how to glitch their way to rank 100, a feat that, if earned honestly, would require netting almost seven million experience (which can potentially take about 120 DAYS of playing…wtf treadmills). After the initial novelty of seeing an experience tracker pop up at the conclusion of each match began to wear off, I started to feel pretty discouraged by the sight of numerous level 100s in the pre-match lobbies. That would all change when the game would start and we’d absolutely pwn them, but still, the fact that people out there were lame enough to cheat their way to these achievements was pretty upsetting.
Thankfully, Epic Games and Microsoft actually took action and not only reset some of these glitched ranks, but also deleted all other achievements earned in Gears 2 by these glitchers. As if that wasn’t satisfying enough, they’ve got plans in TU4 (due out sometime in July before the "Dark Corners" 7 map pack and campaign chapter DLC, which goes live on July 28th) to actually indicate who these cheaters are, branding them with some sort of cheater stigma.
Since then, they’ve also hosted their first double exp weekend (May 15th-May 18th), and most recently, a "retro" weekend (May 22nd-May 26th) with 4v4 matches and non-concussive smoke grenades. While I’m not the biggest fan of this most recent weekend (seriously, the game has been out for almost eight months—learn where people place grenade traps and just stop getting smoked instead of QQing), I think it’s really awesome that Epic is still supporting their title with lots of DLC, game-changing title updates (even if they seem to cater to forum trolls), and even special events.
That kind of dedication really makes me feel that Epic is capable of loving their game as much as I do. They’ve gotallkindsofmerch for the game, and even a movie in production; all this support gives me really high hopes for the IP and Gears 3, which I’m hoping Epic will release in November ‘10, to keep up with their pattern.