Let me preface this by saying that Gears of War 2 is an awesome game. Epic did many, many things right this time around. I love the new weapons, Horde, campaign, new characters, etc. But Jim, I think you took people bitching about the shotgun as the only complaint against the game, but that is not the case. I personally couldn't care less about the shotgun, as I rarely used it in my 2 years of faithful Gears 1 playtime. I was a lancer/pistol guy myself.
Anyway, my point is that there are some very valid complaints that seemed to go ignored in you article. The main complaint(for myself anyway) is matchmaking. Now, I fully agree with matchmaking for ranked games, as it helps even out team-stacking and supposedly host advantage. My complaint is the lack of options. I, and many others, would like a server list a la Gears 1 for non-ranked/public matches. Yes, I know Gears 2 has private matches, but there is no way to search for them and only your friends can join. I love playing with a team of friends against random people, not just people on my friends list. I also like to play mainly execution, as I do not care for warzone. But, with the current system, it is all a vote, and only for 2 options that the server chooses. Now, I know some people love the matchmaking, and that's awesome. But Epic should give those of us who do not require as much "hand-holding" a server list. Let us pick our options and search to see if anyone is hosting with those options. A forum poster over at the official Gears forums said it best:
"1. Cant decide game type.
2. Cant decide map.
3. Cant decide what side I want to be.
4. Cant decide the number of rounds.
5. Cant decide if I want to host or not.
6. Cant decide between ranked or unranked.
7. Cant decide what server I play on.
8. Cant decide server based on ping.
9. Cant decide bleed out time.
10. Cant even quit if I need to.
11. FFS I cant even stay and the end of a match if I want to."
Also, the chainsaw is a huge problem. And the only reason is because it does not lower when the person is hit. I have watched numerous times where a person will run across the map with his chainsaw revved and not miss a beat while walking through lancer fire, shotgun fire, pistol fire, and hell, even a whole clip of flamethrower fire. It really does need to have a damage stop for the thing.
I will agree again about the shotgun. But, only to an extent. Yes, it was severely overpowered/inconsistent in Gears 1. But, that's no reason to make it damn near useless. "Useless" may sound extreme, but I've seen numerous youtube videos of offline play where point-blank aimed shotgun shots do nothing. Much less what I've seen with my own eyes. And, as a personal opinon, but definitely not a request, I feel the active-down sniper should have remained the same. Only because of the ability to crawl away would now cancel out any active-whore sniping techniques from the first Gears. I personally felt that making the sniper down someone was what made it a power weapon. But, again, that's just a personal pet-peeve, not really anything that needs to be addressed like what was mentioned above. I only ask that you don't lump the legitimate complaints in with the "OMG I can't HOST shotgun no morez" complaints. Thanks for your time. read