How to not suck at the Gears of War 3 beta

As you have noticed, several of us have a bad case of Gears of War 3 fever.  Break, Andrew, our behind the scenes wizard Mecha, and several Padinga friends have been playing the beta pretty consistently the last few weeks, to the extreme that I shudder to think what we’ll do over the next four months while waiting for the retail release.  Initial speculation reads like a medical textbook:  dementia, paranoia, depression, and sexual promiscuity are all anticipated.

That being said, we can’t always play together as one happy-go-lucky, live life to the fullest, party of five(TM).  Sometimes, sometimes we are forced to work with either complete and total strangers, and in some extreme cases bots.  So here are a few tips and tricks for the strangers we meet in how they can actually contribute to the game, rather than being worthless, amoral piles of excrement. Consider this a part two to Andrew’s excellent list of people he hates in the beta.

Things that would have been cooler with a chainsaw added.

Pay attention to what gametype you’re playing - this really shouldn’t be said.  I mean, you chose King of the Hill from the menu, right?  Then why in the fuck CAN’T YOU FIND THE GODDAMN HILL?  Kills do not matter in King of the Hill.  They don’t matter in Capture the Leader.  You know what does matter?  Being KING OF THE HILL or CAPTURING THE LEADER (respectively).  If you wanted to blow the shit out of everyone on the map, play Team Deathmatch (though I suspect most of these people are just attempting to drive up their stats).  If the enemy has the hill in KotH, I want to see my teammates working their way towards that ring, trying to break it with their very last breath.  If no one is at the hill, I better damn well see a pile of my teammates corpses nearby.  Chasing one random punk through the map so you can chainsaw him isn’t conductive to being king, but it does help you look like an idiot.  Work towards the end objective, be it a controlled hill, a captured leader, or a complete shutout in team deathmatch.

You’re not an action hero – You see your teammate laying there, dying at the feet of your enemy?  Now, you have two options: revive your teammate and make the fight two against one, or run past him/her in a blaze of glory to avenge their bleed out.  If you chose the second option, I can promise two things:  you’re an idiot and the person that downed your teammate is likely going to kill you, most likely because you’ll trip on your own grenade or some similar BS.  In Team Deathmatch, you need your teammates to survive.  Their deaths bring your team closer and closer to a loss.  In KotH or Capture the Leader (CTL), you’re going to need backup to take on the enemy team.  Leaving your teammates down but not out pisses them off, usually gets you killed, and pushes you towards a loss.  Hell, there’s even incentive to reviving your teammates: you’ll boost your numbers, your odds of survival, and your score.

Know when to use the power weapons – The enemy is capturing an exposed point during King of the Hill.  Perfect time to use the mortar to rain holy Hell on them, right?  Right.  Know when it isn’t a good time to use the mortar?  When the opposing team is scattered across the map, most of them hidden under hard cover.  Sitting on a power weapon, like the Mulcher, the Mortar, or the Oneshot makes you incredibly vulnerable, but there is a time to use them.  Figure out when that time is.  Here’s a hint: it is usually when the enemy is concentrated in a single area, and they are far, far away from you.  Now, this rule can be bent a little, but just be sure it was worth it.

Love the TAC/COM – You know the left shoulder button on the 360 controller exists, right?  Maybe it is broken on most people’s controller, I dunno, but I cannot tell you how many people don’t know about the TAC/COM in the beta.  Pressing the left shoulder button brings up a more tactical view of the battlefield, showing you the position of your teammates, spotted enemies, and (wonderfully) weapon spawns.  That’s not the greatest use of it though: the TAC/COM improves visibility in low visibility situations.  Enemies show up outlined, so you can spot them hiding in clouds of smoke from smoke grenades or in the dust storm that rises during Trenches.  I cannot tell you how many people I’ve seen slaughtered hiding in the smoke of a grenade by an enemy that clearly sees them approaching.  Smoke grenade, TAC/COM, and the sawed off shotgun make a very lethal team.

No really, he'll be fine.

Retro Lancer chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarge and the chainsaw – They’re awesome, no one can deny that.  If you see a moment to use them, go for it.  However, you need to know when that moment is.  Enemy coming around a corner, unaware of your presence?  Chainsaw away my friend.  Sniper on the other side of a map?  Probably not the right time.  Just because they’re cool doesn’t mean they need to be in constant use.  Knowing when to charge and when to shoot will be the difference between looking like a total fool and driving up your score.

Learn the little tricks - The game makes efforts to teach you all the little things you can do to augment your play style.  For example, don’t forget you can plant grenades, which is especially important whenever you can funnel the enemy through a bottleneck (looking at you, grenade spawn in Thrashball).  You can also blow up grenades in your hand when you are chainsawed, retro charged, or down but not out.  Don’t forget about meatshields, grenade tagging, or even your melee attack.  All of these options have a time and place to be used, and you’ll come across as much more competent if you know when to utilize them.  Especially the meatshield grenade shove!

There is no free-for-all – Every mode in the beta is team based, like practically everything in the Gears of War series.  Don’t go it alone.  Take your teammates along, work with them.  Assist each other, revive each other, and for the love of god, use your brain.

I’m not that good at the Gears beta.  I just pretend to be.

  • Don Jaime

    I haven’t really been paying attention recently, is it too late to get in on the Beta?

    Most of the dates are from around 4/16 when I try to research. I figure simply by that it’s probably too late.

  • Don Jaime

    Upon further research it seems I have until Sunday to pre-order to get beta access from Gamestop. Thing is, I’m inferring from the “I shudder to think what we’ll do over the next four months while waiting for the retail release” comment they’re going to stop all play entirely until it comes out in September. Is that so? I’m not about to pre-order when I might have only about a day to test it out.

    You guys should’ve said how awesome it was earlier!

    Oh well, that’ll give me plenty of time to play the first two (yes I know, blasphemy) until then at least.

    • Andrew Allen

      Jaime, I’ve got a beta code if you want it.

      • Don Jaime

        I’d jump on that, but only being able to play for two days would make me kinda sad. Don’t have much time to play this weekend anyway as the wife is going to keep me busy. If, for some strange reason, play is still continued past Sunday, then, yes please!

  • Eric Robbins

    Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to try the beta until last week (week 3 of the 4 it is running). Believe me, if I had tried it earlier, I would have been cramming it down the website’s throat much sooner.

    If you haven’t played Gears of War, I do recommend the prior titles. Just be warned that their multiplayer is no where near as solid as the new titles, but the single player (and co-op) are a blast.