Our first look at Horde 3.0 in Gears of War 4 gave us our first taste of Run the Jewels next album. Oh, and there was some gameplay mixed in too. At PAX, The Coalition blew the doors on Horde 3.0 wide open with a special ‘First to Fifty’ live stream. Did you miss it? The developers have your back with a new developer post outlining the class system and more in Horde 3.0. Let’s dive in.

With Horde 3.0, The Coalition wants to put the focus back on you. More importantly, your choices. You can build fortifications where you want when you want. And move them around at any point during gameplay. One side getting rushed more than the other? Shift an already planted turret over there.

All of this is done via a new device called a Fabricator. Imagine a 3D printer pumping out turrets and spiked fortifications. No little wrenches here. If it kills, it builds.

Alright, class time. There are five classes to choose from: Engineer, Heavy, Scout, Sniper and Soldier. (Note: you don’t have to pick a class if you don’t want to)

Engineer: This is your base builder. The Engineer gets discounts on building and repairing fortifications. If the player using this class is doing it right, they should always build more than any other class.

Engineers start the match with an Enforcer (rifle), Gnasher (shotgun) and Snub (pistol). You won’t rack up the most kills, but solid play from an Engineer will be instrumental in reaching late rounds and winning. Engineers also start with a free Repair Tool.

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Heavy: Starts with a free Boomshot. Need I say more? The Heavy is your big damage dealer. But it’s up to you (and your aim) to get the job done. A Marked Damage boost ability (markers placed on enemies by the rest of your team) combined with the Heavy class will make Horde 3.0’s toughest enemies a bit more manageable.

The Heavy Class kicks off each match with a Retro Lancer (rifle), Boomshot (power weapon) and Boltok (heavy pistol). You’ll also get a Mortar Strike ability in case the action gets a little too hot.

I know who I’m picking. The free Boomshot and mortar ability makes the Heavy class way too enticing to pass up.

Scout: Like to run-and-gun? Scout is your class. Your job is to grab Energy from fallen enemies across the battlefield. A passive ability granting double energy pickups during combat makes the risk worth it.

Scout’s X-Ray vision can also help teammates better set up fortifications as they find out where exactly enemies are coming from. The Scout Class gets a Retro Lancer, Gnasher and Snub for starting weapons. I doubt anything but the Gnasher gets much use though if you’re charging around the battlefield.

Sniper: It’s pretty self-explanatory. You’ll want to keep your distance as you start with two marksman weapons (Markza Mk. 1 and Longshot). The Coalition’s dev post also mentions two unique Fabricator skills – Sniper Strike (taking out a group of enemies) and Radar Ping (marking enemies).

The Sniper, more than any other class, relies on personal skill. If you aren’t hitting shots, you’re going to drag the rest of the team down.

Soldier: This is the class for folks who just want to blast enemies and blow stuff up. You’ll kick things off with a Lancer, Gnasher, Snub and some frag grenades. Your skills focus on doing more damage with Assault Rifles. Bigger clip, more damage per shot, active bonuses – the choice is yours. You can even select skills that let you plant minefields.

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And if all that fails, a Hammer of Dawn Strike can always be used. It uses a lot of Energy, but it’ll keep you alive.

Besides the unique class skills, there’s also five general skills that can be equipped by any class. The Coalition designed these skills to be useful if your team is missing a certain class. Say if there’s only three of you playing. These general skills will help fill in the abilities you’re missing from not having two other players.

And if you’re taking chances with random players online, The Coalition is adding individual difficulty matchmaking. Hopefully, this will make matchmaking go smoother as random teams can make it further to Wave 50 without players constantly quitting near the beginning.

Gears of War is best known for its fun, brutal multiplayer. But there’s a sizable chunk of the player base who enjoys the hell out of Horde mode. It’s great to see The Coalition put a lot of time in making this part of the fanbase happy. We’ll see how Horde 3.0 is received by players next month.

Did you play it at PAX earlier this month? Let me know what you thought.

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