Tips and Tricks for Getting the Most Out of Gears Of War's Horde Mode

    I had sworn to keep away from Gears after playing Battlefield, but the 20x experience event this weekend sucked me back in. Gears has a handful of map-packs, and some of my friends hadn’t gotten the respective achievements for them–the insane experience gain this weekend rekindled interest in attaining them. With the Horde overload from this weekend in mind, I present to you this Horde Mode guide, whose purpose is to help you get to level 50 on any map.

    – ALWAYS get a five man team. I realize this may be difficult, but if you’re serious about getting through the levels, then a five man team is a must. Only with a five man team can you attempt to take horde mode on anything above casual. Communication and teamwork will be key, and so playing with people you know is always better than playing with randoms. This is especially true when you consider that having the most points/kills means nothing in a particular round, because scores for maps will be the same for everyone–most randoms do not know this, and tend to play selfishly.

    – Don’t overdo the difficulty setting. A dozen or two waves into casual, things may start getting too hard to handle. Playing on insane may be a blood rush, but don’t count on getting too many levels done in only one sitting. Plus, when the waves start adding extra health and accuracy, you may find yourself doing great…until all of a sudden, you get sniped from across the map by a bot that spawned a second ago. Gears loves aimbots, after all. Alternatively, and perhaps more likely, is that you’ll use up an entire clip of something just to kill a normal enemy.

    – Forget about most of the power weapons. Get rid of that sniper, torque-bow and boomshot, because you’re not playing execution here. These weapons may be great for couple of instant kills, but what happens after you use your two rounds of boom? It’s more efficient and reliable to count on your lancer and shotty, which are all-purpose, than to use the aforementioned weapons.

    Power weapons which will be useful are the grinder, mortar and hammer of dawn–all of which are capable of killing multiple enemies without much effort, and two of these do not take up any weapons slots. If you take the hammer of dawn, make sure to note where you left your shotty or lancer–you’re going to need them when you run out of ammo.

    – Weapons, cont. All maps have a spawn location for pistol replacements. I would personally recommend getting the gorgon pistol over the boltok, though this may come down to personal preference. Whatever you feel more comfortable with is fine, the point is to get rid of your useless pistol.

    I would also recommend using lancer over hammerburst, because hammerburst tends to take more well-aimed shots to kill, not to mention that you can take care of sires and wretches easily with your chainsaw. Chainsawing may be considered poor etiquette online, but don’t hesitate to use it on horde! Anything that saves ammo is automatically a boon.

    The flamer may be considered an adequate replacement for your shotty, though I find that it’s easier to find ammo for your shotgun.

    – Get to know your maps. If you haven’t played horde on a particular map, I’d even recommend giving it a quick test run. This way, you can figure out what’s changed in this mode, you can see where enemies spawn, and you can figure out where the ammo crates and weapons are located. Sometimes, the locations of the ammo crates aren’t immediately visible or sensical, like on Canals, so it’s important that you figure out where these locations are.

    – SHIELDS. This may be just as important as the first item on this list. Shields will, or should be, your lifeblood in this mode. Here’s why.

    Enemies do not know how to deal with shields, especially if you are carrying one. You can totally stand near the enemy spawn while holding a shield and gorgon pistol, though I would not recommend this until you’ve gotten comfortable using this combination. Enemies will never shoot at your feet, and strong enemies like the Boomer or Grinder cannot hit you with their power weapons. Still, you’re not invincible, so should you choose to brave it all with a trusty shield in hand, I’d suggest having a buddy nearby that can pick you up just in case something goes wrong.

    Shields are also incredibly useful for holding down strategic positions. If you’ve done a test-run on the maps, then you should know where enemies spawn, right? Well, you can pick a location which compliments that spawn area. The best locations are ones that are bottlenecks, like the central area on allfathers garden, which also have ammo supplies if not weapon spawns nearby. Enemies should be visible from this location as they spawn, so that you can start taking care of them right away. The idea here is to take all the dropped shields, and line them up so that enemies cannot get through the bottleneck (if you don’t know how to do this, all you have to do is aim and press a to plant a shield). Most enemies are incapable of kicking down your shields, but there are still a few that can, so do not think that enemies cannot bust through. The idea is to stop enemies from overwhelming you, and having shields up keeps the bots where you can see ’em without endangering yourself.

    You should note that at the start of every new wave, you have about 15 seconds before any planted shields (or weapons, for that matter) disappear. This means that before you end any given wave, your teammates should be located near as many shields as possible, so that they can replant them as soon as the new wave starts. One person can, theoretically, get through 4 shields–if they’re close enough.

    – End of round preparation is key. Make sure to always keep the last enemy alive while everyone restocks on ammo, weapons and shields. Ideally, this last enemy should be a butcher, who is being kited by someone holding a shield. You see, butchers get fixated on a single enemy…but they can’t do anything to you if you’re holding a shield. So, a common tactic is to call the attention of a butcher, and then to simply hold your shield up. If done correctly, no matter what everyone else does, the butcher should focus his attention solely on the person holding the shield up–even if other people are shooting or meleeing him! Use this opportunity to run around the map for ammo, grenades and shields.

    – Being conservative with ammo is always a good thing. Most maps only have about two ammo crates…meaning that not everyone can restock every round. The number of crates provided should be enough, however, if you use your ammo intelligently. Make sure to always active reload: that extra damage boost can save you some bullets. Make sure to chainsaw enemies if it’s possible and safe–especially sires and wretches. Flame enemies can be taken out quickly if you shoot at their backpack instead of wasting an entire clip on their body. Learn to use all the weapons in your arsenal, too, so that if you ever run out of ammo from your lancer, you can easily transition into pistol or shotty.

    Happy Hording!