How Epic broke Gears of War 2 multiplayer

Gears of War 2 Multiplayer: Double Chainsaw

Given how close to perfect the final patch for Gears of War made the multiplayer game, many of us were expecting an even better experience for Gears of War 2. How wrong we were. A few weeks from release and we’re already one patch in to Gears of War 2, and while it made matchmaking a lot faster in most cases, Epic still has a long way to go to make this game the unforgettable beast it could be.

Shotgun/Boomshot blindfire glitch - Bizarrely enough, if you’re not the host, or on the host team, your shotgun and boomshot will not work correctly. “Blind firing” (a staple of the first game) will send your blast straight into the floor in front of you. Frustratingly, Epic has decided not to acknowledge this at all, despite video evidence created by two fans.

Host advantage - It was already prevalent in the first game, now it’s just ridiculous. Despite those bizarre glitches mentioned above, the shotgun always works perfectly for the host. You can always tell who is hosting the game - just look for the person running around one-shotting people with the shotgun, usually with twice as many kills as everyone else.

Smoke grenade knockdowns - the first game used smoke grenades as a strategic element, to obscure yourself from an enemy sniper for long enough to find new cover or start to flank. Gears 2 has made the smoke grenades knock you down. Not only does your character model go in to full ragdoll, which looks stupid, it takes far too long to get back up. For territorial modes like King of the Hill, this is ridiculously frustrating. Everyone starts with a smoke grenade, so the “strategy” often devolves into this: throw smoke, knock them down, rev up the chainsaw and run in.

Chainsaw invincibility - In the first game, hitting a player who had their chainsaw revved up would stun them. Plenty of people still ran around revving them like crazy - but at least a talented player could deal with it. Now, this seems completely erratic - which sucks, because an online game should be consistent, so a seasoned player knows exactly what is going to happen before it happens. Sometimes, a close-quarters shotgun blast will kill a player with a revved chainsaw, sometimes it won’t. Sometimes a few bursts of a lancer will stop a player with a revved chainsaw, sometimes a full clip won’t do anything. This is made worse by the fact that the only other close-quarters weapon, the shotgun, is so broken when you aren’t the host that there’s now more people than ever using the near-invincible chainsaw. Considering how many changes were made to increase the strategic aspect of the game, this side-effect is crazy.

Matchmaking is erratic at best - I’ve played around 20 hours on Xbox Live, and have only experienced a handful of games with my fellow Australians. Originally I had thought the first patch fixed this, but my last session was just as bad as the pre-patch situation. Here’s a hint Epic (and all other multiplayer developers) I don’t want to play with French people, because I can’t discuss tactics with them! I don’t want to play on a host in America with two seconds latency, because I can’t do anything except set proximity mines and chainsaw! I am smart enough to know what latency is, so give me a list of the available servers and I’ll join the one with the lowest latency! This is not rocket science…

Half-arsed party system - If you’re lucky enough to meet up with someone from your country that you like, you can’t offer to party up with them like Halo 3. If you’re lucky enough to be matched up with another team from your country, and have a low latency with the host, you can’t play a rematch or play more games with them - you HAVE to go back and start the matchmaking process again. If you’re in a party of three people and matchmaking is searching for two more players, someone from your friends list can’t join and become one of those players. I surely don’t need to go on - this is a half-assed, bordering on broken implementation.

Meaningless rank system - Perhaps “meaningless” is a stretch, but certainly it pales in comparison to something like Halo 3 or Call of Duty 4/5. There’s just five ranks, and it’s based on your TrueSkill (what the game uses to match you up with equally skilled opponents) and not the amount of time you’ve been playing the game - so you can go down a rank, and be unfairly penalized for matchmaking putting you in a match with horrific lag and teammates you can’t understand. Not so fun.

Flashback maps - In an attempt to curb the losses from EB Games (and other retailers) who sell a few new copies of a game, buy them back for a pittance, and re-sell, Epic has decided to offer five maps from the original game ONLY to people who buy at retail - with no plans to release the maps as paid downloadable content. I’ve run into more than a few people who bought the game second-hand, or borrowed the game off their friends that would love these maps, and would pay 800-1200 Microsoft points for the privilege - but wouldn’t dream of buying the game at retail just for those maps. This means the four other players in their party can’t play those maps either. I wouldn’t care so much if Gridlock wasn’t still one of the best maps out of the 15 available.

What do you think? Are you experiencing the issues we are? Got anything to add? Leave a comment.

31 Responses to “How Epic broke Gears of War 2 multiplayer”

  1. bert Says:

    I agree and why would they bring back tyro station instead of war machine or fuel depot or process I mean come on Tyro station?

  2. denix Says:

    gears of war 2 gave me the longest wait time ive ever encountered in a multiplayer game around 2.5 hours over a month and half later these wait times are still stupidly long its Bull Shit.

  3. cheameup Says:

    unfortunataly I agree . I love the game when it runs well, which is not that often at the moment. If player matches could be searched for like the 1st one I would be happy. I dont care about rank . 5 ranks ?Who cares its a connection lottery.

  4. Lewis Says:

    Yes bout your all missing the point, we all bought it, they’ve made lots of money, and they don’t care. Plus, even broke GOW2’s better than Halo3.

  5. RushingElephants Says:

    Want brie and crackers with that WHINE!!!! Stop crying girls!

  6. Frank Says:

    OMG your right on the dot with most of these like incredible lag and the invincible chainsaw, and plz tell me WTF r we paying $60 a year for live when we are still getting dumbass lag like this, i think if microsoft and other game devs dont fix this on the 360 they’ll loose a lot of ppl to the PS3 last but not least i would like it if when i shoot someone with my shotty it actually hits them.

    P.S. i think you should put this up on the GoW2 forum so epic sees this

  7. covered Says:

    thank you for mentioning how terrible the smoke grenade idea was. 30k kills in original gears and i wont even play this piece of crap game. One other thing i wanted to mention the maps have too many power weapons. For example…torque, boom, and mortar on a relativley small map like river is a joke. They’ve taken what made this game unique and fun and turned it right on its head. A close quarters shooter with long range weapons everywhere you look doesnt work. No wonder this game has already dropped below halo 3 as most played on xbox live. Even after an inevitabel patch i wont play, the game is so fundamentally flawed its beyond repair. nice job Rod

  8. ArbynCheif Says:

    We Should Just Play The First Gears and Make Gears 2 an EPIC fail.

  9. diabloogre Says:

    Not a fan of xbox so far. I just bought an xbox because everyone at work raves how great they are and that xbox live is so cool. This has not been my experince so far. I only have halo3 and GOW2 they both are pretty cool games but I guess I am spoiled with playing WARHAWK on the ps3 where you can actually see the other player ping rate and can search for games by region and find user set up games that you can join or can host yourself. In both halo 3 and GOW2 I don’t really like the match making part. I wish you could search for a game yourself. And like said above if you find a good game and want to keep playing you get kicked out when the game is over back to the lobby. PS3 is free online, Xbox 50 bucks a year ? The xbox has much cooler games but the online aspect needs to be improved in order to totally win me over.

  10. N00B X C0R3 Says:

    I agree with everything you said up there man. The host shotty is amazing especially when people bridge their connection so they are ALWAYS host. This makes it impossible to loose. Another thing I majorly agree with is the fact of the chainsaw. I always loose when it’s my shotty vs. chainsaw if i’m not host or don’t get lucky. Finally, I would like to say that whole buy the game retail for map pack is bull because my bro got a XBox 360 just to play gears 2 online with me because we didn’t do so good split screen but owned when it was 1 person playing. He had to buy the 60$ game instead of a 40$ used game just for the flashback mappack

  11. Michael Says:

    I love the story game but if we talk about my multiplayer experience I would say it’s not fun at all. I sit down and try get connected in the matchmaking process and usually takes me about 10 minutes to play and when the match is over i have to wait another 10 min or sometimes longer. Above all for me once I start playing I don’t really care about the rest I just wanna play and kill my friends.

  12. richard Says:

    agreed epic messed this one up (GEARS2) smoke = lame , no stun on chainsaw = lame HORRIBLE HORRIBLE LAAAG! =LAME please epic fix your free linux server you cheap bastards make millions for a game that only cost around 20,000$ to make … EPIC FAIL!

  13. Sifer2 Says:

    The matchmaking system is slow an fails to make balanced games. And the gameplay design itself is ass for competitive multiplayer. The movement speed is far too slow letting people just outright escape you by rolling which looks retarded and is. To me the multiplayer feels like an afterthought. Either that or Epic just doesn’t know how to do it right. Which I know isn’t true cause they did the Unreal Tournament series. But yeah my suggestion is don’t buy this game for multiplayer. It has cool weapons an ideas but the overall execution is so bad it ruins it.

  14. Colton Says:

    I totally agree with everything said on this post. Its good to know im not alone with my frustrations, I just dont see why Epic wont do anything about it. Do they just not care? I’ve found that going on gears 2 is like a gamble, it can turn out to be lots of fun orrr leave you extremely pissed off. Something needs to be done. Epic Failure.

  15. Dan Says:

    My biggest complaints are the match-making, and lag related issues. I cringe every time the pre-match lobby appears and players names are slow to come up, or the count-down timer skips a number or two when counting down, or when, before I know it, the game-type and map have been voted on, or people start talking in a foreign language. All are signs that unplayable lag is coming.

    There seems to be two types of lag: 1) ridiculous and 2) completely unfair.

    Ridiculous lag is completely unplayable, you can barely move, and often disappear and reappear in different areas of the map. Some times lag-switchers/stand-byers intentionally introduce this lag which is beyond frustrating. Your only recourse is to quit…no use trying to run around if you can’t control where you are going.

    Completely unfair lag is when you can play but you’re always behind what everyone else is doing. You can test this lag by firing your shotgun at a wall and measure the delay until the pellets actually hit. If it’s bad, and you’re playing good players (or even worse, a bunch of chainsawers), you might as well quit. Lag-induced chainsaw deaths are probably the single most frustrating moments of the game.

    Lag to me should be the most important factor in matchmaking. If the shotgun-delay is small, I’ll stick with the game no matter what, even if I’m completely outmatched by better opponents.

    Another nit-picky thing, why the hell did Epic make the “A” button the button you press when you want to pick up a downed opponent? I can’t tell you how many times it’s been me against 2 opponents in close quarters, I down one dude, quickly go to pick him up but instead dive away only to be killed by his buddy, or have his buddy revive him making it a 2 on 1 again. They should have made it the “Y” button and canned the whole pummeling execution.

  16. doodoo stains Says:

    This game is lame compared to the first one. they for sure ruined what could’ve been a great game. i hope they fucking die!

  17. gary Says:

    I agree with Dan a few above me. Especially with the meatshield thing being “a” to pick them up i always try to pick someone up then i get 2 pieced by his partner. i try to avoid even picking him up then just waiting for his partner to pick him up the rock both their worlds. It should definitely be “y” to pick them up. I also dont understand the ranking at all. if you get screwed with a garbage team and you put up 50 kills and lose it doesnt mean shit for you. the game should go by your skill not your rank in the leaderboards or the teams you win or lose against. I have a gold but i cannot get a 4 bar. i probably win 9 out of 10 wingman games a day despite never getting host which im not even gonna start how bad host adv is in gow2. if the game didnt lag and didnt have host adv then it would be amazing. but whatever i still play it bc i tear shit up. gears 1 was waaaaaaaaaay better bottom line.

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  19. COG Says:


  20. Gears of War 2 Glitches Says:

    Hey glitches are just part of the game you have to deal with.

  21. Epic failures Says:

    Only people who exploit glitches would say that just play the fn game the right way and then see who wins fair is fair

  22. Jezz Says:

    So sick of tryin to play multiplayer! My brother and I try and play every nite, but it just keeps taking longer and longer to get connected to a game and then most of the time the lag is so bad we have to get out of it and start the whole process again!! Last nite we were on for 2.5hours and played 4 (I repeat 4) games………..ova it!

  23. craig Says:

    man i hate the multiplayer so bad. gears of war used to be the greatest multiplayer experience ever. now its shit. ive went back to playing gears 1 because gears 2s mulitplayer is so bad. no more shotgun fights, just chainsaws and two piecing everyone in sight. thats what gears 2 is.

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  25. GOW . Multi. Sucks fucking ass Says:

    I used to love gears and when the second came out. i thought it was gona be the best thing since ice water, but when i got this shit. i had so many fucking problems that if i could take it back and get acactly what a paid for it i would i fucking would. Even the updates they make to TRY to fix it. its completly not enough theres still shit load of lagg, host, and most of all complete kill bullshit. there is no how do you say… consistincy here. if you shoot sombody with a shoot gun right on there back twice they live. and then they turn around and shoot you once and you die on contact or get one shot downed. and this is not all of it theres much more bullshit out there that has not been told storys that havent been heard to the public. but personaly i think epic is just sitting there like. “why should we take all our time to fix this shit when we already have there money… lets just let them take it and we will try harder on gears 3 thats if where not fat asses and to lazy to make another. but then if they do and they finaly do fix the next we will have to spend another fucking 60 bucks to get what we shoulda got the last time we paid our money. but last time we got a packet of shit painted black and read with carved skulls…….. any way the story mode is acceptable if any. but nobody really cares much for the story i mean once you beat it… you beat it. and thats it. but when you play online you play new people. which i must say some are pretty shitty because they glitch out the map or do other glitches which are very obnocious. well there is more shit that i can rant about on gears but you know. ill leave that up to the rest of the public

  26. the farce Says:

    were supposed to stay in a game with shitty lag while our character keeps juming around the map in time this ridiculous im sick of the lag and selling it

  27. Ian T Says:

    ive tryed like 10 times today on my net to get into a game and ive ewaited more than 3 hours and it still wont find a fucking game

  28. gucci Says:

    fuck this game. its shit. im definately not getting my hopes up for gears 3

  29. ajm53092 Says:

    What I dont undesrtand is why friggin they dont do anything about it, we are literally telling them exactley what they need to do to fix the game, they dont even need to do any research or anything, I broke the disc out of frustration a while ago, then 2 days ago I got the game because I had that urg to play it, now im remembering why I broke it in the first place

  30. jamraki Says:

    seriously there are sum sad people on here, epic has worked hard to fix this game, any lag you suffer from comes from either yours or your opponents isp not epic what do you want them to buy you a 100mb connection?

  31. Anmol Says:

    yaa we know that this game has lots of problems , but when stupid Cliff Bleszinski will launch Gears Of War 2 for PC ????? he could improve this game and should Launch the game on PC lots of Fans are waiting for it.i too sometimes feel so bad that he didnt launch the game for pc…:(
    if he doesnt wanted to launch the game on pc ,then y didi he launch Gears Of war 1 on pc.. u asshole cliffy. u should launch all the versions Stupid..and dont give such stupid reasons like Piracy and all that..other companies are stiil launching their games on PC..they do not complain about it. U Get Lost

    just Launch the game on PC or go and Get Fuck Yourself

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