Microsoft’s popular Xbox One and PC shooter Gears 5 is releasing a new update that addresses one of the biggest pieces of feedback from the community so far, further improving game balance.
The new update, which is releasing on October 7, addresses the impact and the nature of flashbangs. Fans have remarked that flashbangs are too powerful, and as such, “it’s time to make some changes,” Microsoft said in a blog post.
“Flashbangs are intended to fulfill the role Smokes used to fill in Gears 2-4 as a way to flush opponents from strong defensive positions and force the fight,” Microsoft said. “This is a critical part of what allows modern Gears to work, but not at the sake of a good gameplay experience.”
The changes coming to Flashbangs will reduced the time the impacted player is blinded to become a “very small window of denied vision.” Specifically, the blinded time is dropping from 1 second to .3 seconds. This will allow the oncoming player a “tiny moment of opportunity to make their initial move.”
“While the stun length remains the same, players will now be able to better react and reposition to incoming fights after taking a Flashbang hit,” Microsoft said.
Another big change coming to Gears 5 multiplayer is that all players will begin matches with one Smoke grenade. “Smokes are integral part of the Gears 5 meta that deny critical vision, allowing for pushes and flanks that otherwise could be difficult in certain situations,” Microsoft said. “To encourage their use more–and potentially reduce the volume of Flashbangs used in a match–players will spawn with a Smoke by default and need to select Flashes when picking their loadout before spawning.”
Another update, coming in mid-October, will make even more changes to Flashbangs. With that update, Flashes will no longer work if the other player is in cover.
“This will make the positioning of Flashbangs far more important in order to flush an opponent from cover. This will reduce instances where opponents can just throw it in carelessly and still get rewarded,” Microsoft said.
Elsewhere in the blog post, Microsoft said it looked into an issue causing players in Europe to suffer with higher-than-normal pings. The team released a “silent” update, and this seemed to have worked. “From initial reports and volume of conversation, this change seems to have dramatically improved the situation for EU players,” Microsoft said. “We know it took some time to get there–longer than any of us would like–and we want to thank you for all your patience as we discerned the problem in our new matchmaking system.”
Microsoft acknowledged that players in other parts of the world, including South Africa, are still experiencing matchmaking problems. The studio said it “found a solution” already, and it will release more information about the fix soon.