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4 Things You Need to Know About Gears 5 Escalation

Debuted during Episode 4 of ELEAGUE Gears Summer Series: The Bonds And Betrayals of Brotherhood, Escalation is back in Gears 5 and better than ever – whether you’re sweating on the sticks or watching others play.

Get the low down on the evolution of Escalation – and see some of the first Gears 5 Versus footage EVER – in the video above, or read on for a written breakdown.

Escalation is the pinnacle objective-based mode in Gears 5 that brings out the best in individual play, teamwork and strategizing.  

The basic principle of Escalation is simple. Two teams of five players battle to control three rings on the map – one close to your spawn, one in the middle and one close to your opponent’s spawn.

Every ring your team holds earns you one point a second towards the round-winning goal of 250 (up from 210 in Gears of War 4). If you hold 3 Rings at once, you’ll win an instant Domination Victory. The first team to win seven rounds wins.

After every round, new weapons are placed on the battlefield and the player respawn times change in length.

While the basics of Escalation remain mostly unchanged from Gears 4 to Gears 5, the layers on top have changed entirely to create the deepest game mode ever seen in Gears.

A highlighted part of the game UI shows Hold X to Respawn, with the meter around the X button prompt filling up in a circular fashion.

Escalation introduces limited respawns for each player on the battlefield that changes the way the mode is played.

Each player starts with a reserve of five lives to take into battle. Every time you die, you’ll need to choose to spend a life to rejoin the fight. Run out of lives and you can’t spawn back into the round.

Don’t worry though – one life is added at the end of each round (to a maximum of five lives) with   every player returning to five lives at half time. This Execution-like twist now means that every respawn is a critical decision about risk vs reward.

Lives bring new strategies to Escalation, like hunting down players with low respawn pools to eliminate them from the round or making plays that force the enemy team to burn lives for advantages in later rounds.

Knowing when to stop and save respawns will make – or break – your chance for victory. If a team is entirely eliminated from the battlefield for more than 3 seconds, the opposing team earns an instant Elimination Victory.

A game UI screen is shown, highlighting potential weapons to pick for the Swarm team

Escalation’s weapon selection system has been completely overhauled to provide more options that will impact to your placement strategy.

After each round, now both teams are able to choose where to place a weapon, upgrade one on the field, activate new loadout options or disable an enemy weapon for three rounds.

Weapons can be placed on the neutral center line or on a pickup location closer to your home spawn.

Home Side Placements

Your first pick on a home side placement starts with either a flash or smoke grenade. Each grenade sets up a dedicated ‘tree’ of better weapons that can be upgraded by using further weapon picks.

The more powerful the weapon, the more picks you need to spend. With enough picks, home placements can also be upgraded into power weapons, like the Dropshot, but with much longer spawns and less ammo than the center line.

As flash or smokes build into different weapons, your picks can enhance your strengths but also advertise your weaknesses.

Center Line Placements

On the center line, any weapon can be placed into an empty slot.

Most weapons will start with less ammo than in Gears 4 when initially placed, but they can be upgraded with faster respawn times or more ammo.

While center line picks come at the risk of the opposing team having an equal chance for the weapon, they also represent the quickest and most-effective way to change the dynamics of the battlefield.

Disable Pick

In addition to placing weapons, both teams can spend a pick for a one-time disable, which removes a weapon placement from the map for 3 rounds.

You can also use a disable on a position without any weapon placed to deny a placement there for 3 rounds.

Knowing when to use your one-use of disable can make or break your strategy.

5 characters stand in formation at spawn - three at the front in a slightly offset line, and two much further back holding Smoke Grenades.

In Escalation, your order in the lobby dictates your spawning formation split into front spawn (1), mid spawn (2), and back spawns (2).

In Gears 5, the spawn formation has been changed so the back spawn players are further behind the front three. Now the front three spawns get into the fight quickest with this formation but the back two players are the only players that start with a loadout flash or smoke grenade.

In order to arm your front three players with loadout grenades, you’ll need to spend picks between rounds on a per-player basis.

As more weapons are placed, the action only escalates.

Respawn times now start at 16 seconds and decrease by 1 second after every round until the half. The more rounds you play, the faster players can get back into the fight.

At half time,  weapons are no longer removed from the battlefield like they were in Gears 4. The more rounds of Escalation that play out, the more lethal the battlefield becomes.

With so many different ways to spend your weapon pick between rounds, you have way more options, counter-plays and strategies at hand than ever before. Be prepared to adapt. No two matches will ever be the same.

Grab some friends, try out some strats and watch each other’s backs. See you out there in the Tech Test on July 19th.

In case you missed it, you can also learn more about Escalation in Gears 5 from Episode 4 of the ELEAGUE Gears Summer Series!

In the episode, Pro Players Powerz and Kenny visited The Coalition Studio to get a first hands-on with Gears 5’s Escalation mode.

During the show, Ryan Cleven (Multiplayer Design Director) and Otto Ottoson (Lead Multiplayer Producer) also dropped the first details on how we’re evolving Escalation in Gears 5 with some sneak peek footage of the mode in action.