Epic adding XP/levels to Gears 2

Title Update 3 bringing bots, too.

Epic Games will be adding experience levels to Gears of War 2 multiplayer in the next title update, due to arrive sometime in the "near future".

That's according to executive producer Rod Fergusson, who says displaying and relying on the complex TrueSkill ranks can be frustrating and misleading.

"What if, instead of skill rank, we instead showed your experience level?" asks Fergusson on the official Gears of War forum.

"You would gain experience through your individual performance in Public multiplayer matches - the higher your score at the end, the more experience you acquire.

"Of course the experience gained across the different match types would be balanced so you couldn't just grind on the re-spawning game types to try and level faster. The experience requirements for each level would grow with each level gained (like a typical RPG) and we'd have 99 levels of experience for you to show off your leetness," he adds.

Fergusson explains that experience-earned will never leak away, and that the only way to lose experience will be by prematurely quitting a match. Power-cuts and disconnects will incur the penalty, unfortunately, but there's no game-wide punishment when a host ends the fight early.

Once a battle has been finished, players will see how much experience they have earned and how far there is to go until the next level.

Levels mean nothing but bragging rights at the moment, but Epic plans to tie Achievements to them when the next set of map DLC is rolled out. This will likely cost, but the Microsoft-placed restriction on Achievements as part of DLC makes this an option Epic cannot bypass.

Interestingly, Fergusson goes on to reveal that bots will now replace drop-outs during public matches, so giving weakened teams a realistic shot at winning. These will be Insane-level AI and added to every team short of five people - even 4v4 matches will gain two bots. It's not yet determined whether bot kills will increase your end-of-game score and thus experience earned.

TrueSkill ranks will still be included and not wiped or reset, but they will be hidden and used solely to match players of a similar rank.

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