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Why is Gears of War 3 Multiplayer Trending so Low on Xbox Live?

On September 20, 2011 I thought I’d be getting a game that would keep me busy online for the next foreseeable future, because that was the day my beloved Gears 3 was finally being released on the gaming public.  For the first two weeks post release my initial prediction came true.  I played Gears 3 multi with my crew every night, and absolutely enjoyed the camaraderie even though my skills weren’t as sharp as they used to be (aging gamer syndrome).  Life was good for a Gears of War fanboy.

The game’s multiplayer was near perfect, and any negative thoughts carried over from the sh*t infused Gears of War 2 multiplayer.  I thought I would be entertained for many months to come as I made my way towards the insanely ridiculous requirements to achieve the Seriously 3.0 achievement. I expected other fanboys would do the same, essentially cementing the game’s position on the top of the XBL Online Ranking list.  I was gravely mistaken though as Gears 3 has barely been able to hang on to a #4 ranking these days with it coming in behind two old COD games, and the recent BF3 title.

I was disappointed to see that my favorite multiplayer game of all-time was doing so poorly on XBL, so I pondered to myself the question, “Why is this near flawless multiplayer experience not being enjoyed by more gamers?”  The answer may lie within the game’s generous design.

After conferring with my XBL wingman (Hank the Gank) we came to the conclusion that many players aren’t playing Gears 3 online competitively because all of the game’s achievements can be gained in private matches.  This effectively makes playing online ranked games pointless, because why play against humans that obliterate you when you can play against a bunch of bots that act as if they’re being controlled by a bunch of blind people?  If anyone is truly thinking about getting Seriously 3.0 then they too know that the key to achieving this award is to do it offline against a bunch of bots.  I don’t care if you’re the best Gears 3 gamer in the world, you aren’t going to be able to pull of the stats in a ranked or standard match that you can obtain in a private match against bots.

I’ll be the first one to say that I’m part of the problem, and it makes me sad.  I hate to admit this, but as of right now I’d rather play MW3 multiplayer than Gears 3, because playing bots is about as much fun as having your eyelids ripped off.  It’s ok for a match or two, but after awhile it becomes a test of your sanity, versus a test of your skill.  I want nothing more to yearn for the battlefields of Gears 3 multi, but the way my efficient brain works I can’t justify playing competitive ranked, and/or standard matches when I can rack up 70 kills in a 15 minute King of the Hill match.

Gears 1 Seriously Cheve Good, Gears 2 Getting Worse, Gears 3 Out of Control

Epic’s decision to allow private match stats to count towards achievements has effectively cheapened the competitive experience, which is why I think gamers aren’t playing it as rabidly as I anticipated.  I think in an effort to make Seriously 3.0 the most ridiculous achievement in gaming, Epic overlooked the fact that competitive gamers need to feel like they’re accomplishing something that n00bs cannot.  I can’t help but look back to my Gears of War 1 days when I would play it day in and day out to accomplish the first Seriously cheve, which required 10,000 RANKED kills.  In fact, all of that game’s multiplayer cheves were based on ranked play.  So it felt like you truly accomplished something that other gamers to fearful of ranked matches could not.  This is not the case in Gears 3, so this is why I believe it’s not doing so hot on the XBL most played games list.

Trust me I’m disappointed in myself over this, but I just can’t see playing this game legitimately to earn the requirements needed to get Seriously 3.0.  Especially when I know I complete them in the much simpler private match setting with some creative methods.  Most of my gaming crew is doing the same thing, so even if I wanted to play ranked matches I’d have to do it solo, which doesn’t pan out well for a game based on teamwork.  If only Epic would’ve made Seriously 3.0 more realistic, and based it off of ranked stats.  Then I’d be playing this thing as if it were going to lead me to the cure for HIV.  Damn, it’s just sad.  You’ve never even thought about things like this because you’re not a freak that worries about gaming accomplishments…

 

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he's not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB's Star Wars Time podcast show.