Gears of War 2 Gets More DLC, New Ranking System

By Chris Faylor, Mar 13, 2009 8:49am PDT More multiplayer maps and another patch for Gears of War 2 (X360) are due before the end of March, according to the official site of the cover-heavy action game.

Due March 31, the "Snowblind Map Pack" will deliver four winter-themed multiplayer maps: Grind Yard, Under Hill, Courtyard, and a remake of Fuel Depot from Gears 1. No pricing was mentioned, but the last multiplayer map pack sold for 800 MS Points ($10).


Grind Yard and the new ranking system in action. Thanks GameSpot.

As for the next update, it will bring a new experience-based ranking system plus a variety of fixes when it arrives on March 24. The full patch notes follow below:

Improvements

  • Adds 100 levels of player experience that you can gain based on your score in Public matches. The game still uses Trueskill for matchmaking to find the most competitive matches, but the skill rank is now hidden. The new level of experience appears next to your gamertag, with levels 1 through 99 displayed as numbers and level 100 displayed as an icon. The game normalizes experience based on match type so that players earn an equivalent amount of experience across all modes.
  • Adds an experience penalty for players quitting before a match is complete.
  • Adds bots automatically to a Public Match if players quit and cause unbalanced teams. This ability has always existed in Private Matches if the bot count is set higher than zero.
  • Optimizes playlists to only have two modes per playlist. Ties are decided by random selection.
  • Adds map cycling to Private Matches. The first match map is chosen by vote or by host, and when that match is completed, the game transitions automatically to the next match, with the next map selected in alphabetical order.
  • Adds the ability for teams to talk to each other between rounds in a Private Match.
  • Adds the ability to save Public and Private Horde high scores after each complete wave, in case the host loses connection.
  • Makes minor changes to general bandwidth usage.
  • Adds region preference to matchmaking.
  • Improves standby detection.
  • Adds nine new achievements worth 250 points. Progress toward them starts after Title Update 3 is applied. Six of the new achievements require the Snowblind Map Pack, a set of four new maps to be released soon. The nine new achievements:
    • "Rookie Gear" (10 points): Earn enough multiplayer experience to reach level 5 (Public only).
    • "Seasoned Gear" (20 points): Earn enough multiplayer experience to reach level 15 (Public only).
    • "Battle-Tested Gear" (30 points): Earn enough multiplayer experience to reach level 25 (Public only).
    • "Battle-Hardened Gear" (50 points): Reach level 50 and play a match on each of the four Snowblind Map Pack maps (Public only).
    • "Veteran Gear" (75 points): Reach level 100 and win a match on each of the four Snowblind Map Pack maps (Public only).
    • "Never Eat Red Snow" (20 points): Complete waves 1 through 10 on all Snowblind Map Pack maps in Horde (any difficulty).
    • "Icy Dead People" (25 points): Complete waves 1 through 50 on any Snowblind Map Pack map in Horde (any difficulty).
    • "Frigid Body Dynamics" (5 points): Play a multiplayer match on each of the four Snowblind Map Pack maps (any mode).
    • "The Weather Outside Is Lethal" (15 points): Win a multiplayer match on each of the four Snowblind Map Pack maps (any mode).

Exploit Fixes

Title Update 3 fixes these possible exploits, where under certain circumstances:

  • A player could swap from a pistol to a two-handed weapon during a cover slide and then mantle greater distances.
  • Players could kill themselves in Wingman to avoid giving their opponents more points. Now, suicides and team killing will reduce team score.
  • A player holding a meatshield could melee through some walls.
  • A player could equip a two-handed weapon with a shield using either the Boltok or the Gorgon pistol.
  • A player could equip a two-handed weapon with a meatshield using either the Boltok or the Gorgon pistol.
  • A player could prevent planted shields from being picked up by other players.
  • Players could launch themselves into the air with a smoke grenade while mantling.

General Fixes

Title Update 3 fixes these other issues as well:

  • An issue that caused chainsaw interruption when a player is shot to be less reliable in some body positions than in others.
  • An issue where a third player could join a Public Wingman party lobby and remove another player from the game.
  • An issue in Submission games where occasionally the meatflag would immediately run back to the spawn point after being dropped.
  • An issue where players that were knocked down but not out (DBNO) while planting the Boomshield would appear to be standing.
  • An elevation-based issue where the detection for a headshot might not align properly with certain character model heads.
  • An issue that could cause Wingman teammates to have different character models.
  • Additional miscellaneous bug fixes.

Balancing

Title Update 3 makes these balancing changes:

  • Reduces stun duration of smoke grenades. Currently, characters always start to get up after 2 seconds.
  • Gives melee the same delay after roadie running that shooting received in Title Update 2.
  • Removes spawn protection from the Horde in Horde mode.
  • Increased the forward angle that triggers chainsaw duels so that players with Lancers equipped won't be sawn from the side without a duel.
  • Reduces the delay before a player can climb up after entering low cover.
  • Makes minor changes to weapon spawns on the Subway map to provide greater balance.

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