Since the beginning of the competitive scene there has been a battle between casual and competitive gaming within the Gears of War community. Both sides feel that they are receiving lack-luster efforts in helping their respective sides grow and would voice their opinions through the Gears of War forums and social media websites. Many of these discussions would never truly reach an agreement and most of the time, people just ended up leaving the discussion or even the game itself behind.
The original Gears of War, along with Gears of War 2 and 3 all had a competitive scene at one point or another; the original Gears of War having the longest lasting of the three games. All of the competitive scenes in each Gears of War game would start out optimistically but would eventually lose numbers in attendees. Overall interest would decrease which would cause the competitive population to have dwindling numbers and shortly after, organizations would drop the game as competitive.
Casual gamers have always had the upper hand when it has come to both numbers and attention. The forums from both Epic Games and The Coalition have always been grounds for casual gamers to voice their opinions and have the appropriate people see these opinions. Competitive gamers have never truly had a position to voice their opinions since most of these posts would receive disrespectful comments and would cause disagreements; threads would be closed due to these disagreements most of the time. Also, being heavily outnumbered by casual gamers would make seeing these posts a task as they would be buried fairly quickly by other posts that casual gamers created.
Over time, casual gamers began to become the primary objective as each of the games were released. The games would progressively get easier and more welcoming to newer players which effectively shut-down competitive gaming for Gears of War. Not having a voice or developers listening to the competitive players only prolonged this hiatus.
August 25th, 2015 – Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is released, and of course it is one of the most talked about remastered games for the XBOX One. Being a remake of one of Microsoft’s greatest games created, it gained traction instantly, especially with the competitive scene. The Coalition began to show interest into the competitive scene quickly, returning many players who once left the game because of being ignored for so many years. The Coalition’s Jack Felling, along with past Gears greats were hired to press the competitive scene into a whole new level which only increased interest. These pushes that were made began to rebuild the trust that was once lost and started to entrench new bonds with the competitive community.
Rod Fergusson: “This isn’t a great way of phrasing it but I always talk about shipping a sequel to customers as ‘managing betrayal’.
As interest began to grow and eyes turned towards ESL and other competitive organizations, the casual gamers began voicing their opinions on the game that they felt needed to be changed in order to make the game fit their needs. This revived the initial battle between casual and competitive gamers. The Coalition ensured that Gears of War: Ultimate Edition would be sticking to its roots and would not be making any outlandish changes to the game. Evidentially, casual gamers were upset and voiced their opinions throughout the forums and social media. As the game grew older, players began to forget the indifferences and support began to come from all sides for competitive gaming.
The constant bickering between the two groups is one that has both made Gears of War look ugly, but has also aided in the growth of both sides and the game itself. Discussion is needed for growth and in doing so, we have, as a community, made Gears of War great again.
We all start somewhere, some better than others. But we all were at one point a casual Gears of War player. Some will move onto competitive, others will stick with playing the game for fun. But being categorized as either doesn’t give you the right to offend each other to the point of verbal abuse or absurd defensive behaviour. We all play the same game and enjoy it, so there is no need to slit our own throats. Respect each other, make the game better together.