It only seemed like yesterday when the new OpTic Gaming and newly acquired OpTic Mexico roster took to the stage in New Orleans. In fact, it was just a month ago that OpTic Gaming took the trophy home to cap off a dominant debut. In the same week, The Coalition released Competitive Patch 2.8.

Patch 2.8 changed the meta in significant ways. Shotgun accuracy was fine-tuned, round respawn timers were increased by two seconds, long/short wall bouncing was removed and replaced with a faster, smoother system, and peeking from cover was made much faster. This new movement system also came with a cost--no aim assist and no health regeneration. With the patch out for a month, we caught up with Gilbert “Xplosive” Rojo to see how OpTic Gears are finding the update and how confident they are so far in their preparation for GPC San Diego Open in September.

Xplosive's Take

“As of right now I think this is the best update we’ve ever seen in Gears of War 4,” started Xplosive. “A good majority of professional players and amateurs are satisfied with how the game is going.” Xplosive also stated that one of the things he struggled with was the health regen not activating while wall bouncing, saying it “promotes a more methodical style of play where you have to plan your next move.” However, after playing for a few weeks, Xplosive feels “comfortable” with it and feels “the changes are doing nothing but good for the game.”

OpTic was always known as a very aggressive team, pushing the angles and forcing the enemy team into mistakes. Because of this, I asked Xplosive if this slower meta had hindered the team at all, or even made them better. He replied, “I don’t think it’s hindered our playstyle and I can’t really tell you if we improved or not.” Xplosive follows up by clarifying that the team has “improved on the team aspects, but I’m not sure if that’s due to us practising or the new mechanics.” However, “the more time we play on this update the better and better we’ll get.”

OpTic plays the top teams often - especially in the weekly 2K tournaments hosted by MLG. I asked Xplosive if he feels this patch has benefited any particular team. “I don’t think it’s benefited any team, but I do feel like it has hindered some teams, just because they added two more seconds into the round respawns and it makes all the difference for teams that rely on raw gunskill and the clutch moments.” Xplosive added that “while the two seconds isn’t much, in the game it can last forever.”

Last Round

Gears of War 4 is soon coming to the end of its life cycle after the announcement of Gears 5 at E3 2018. Because of this, I asked Xplosive if there was anything else that hadn’t been touched that he feels should be tweaked. His answer was one five letter word: “flinch.” “Whether you get shot with a singular bullet, be from a Lancer or a Stun Bullet from any distance, your character does this little flinch and it throws off your aim. It’s really random because no-one does it on purpose.” Xplosive finished off by saying, “That’s the only thing I don’t like. Other than that I like where [Gears of War 4] is heading.”

“I’m really confident in my team that we could win [San Diego] and bring home that trophy, but with that being said we still have a lot of work to do,” Xplosive noted. “We just lost a (Gears Community Champions) League match against Echo Fox but then beat them in the 2K the day before. We’re not too worried about it but you can never be too prepared when it comes to tournaments.” Xplosive finished off with “going into San Diego, we’re working on our initials and trick strats and reacting to other peoples’ strats, because with the new two seconds it makes the game much slower and methodical.”

Watch how Xplosive and the team perform at GPC San Diego Open September 28th-30th.