Posted by Liv Sommerlot
Liv Sommerlot

Whether you're new to the Gears of War franchise or a seasoned veteran, you've no doubt heard of Horde, the co-op survival mode that has you facing off against increasingly larger and increasingly more difficult waves of Swarm scum. The all-new "Horde 3.0" in Gears of War 4 promises to up the ante even further, introducing new playable classes, upgrades, fortifications and plenty of weapons.

But even if you're as efficient a Grub Killer as Clayton Carmine, you might need a few tips and strategies when it comes to surviving the newest iteration of this do-or-die mode. These essential tips & tricks will help you on your way to reaching Gears of War 4's dreaded wave 50.

Go-To Techniques for Surviving Horde 3.0 in Gears of War 4

Before we get down to the basics, make sure you're fully prepared with these Horde mode essentials:

1. Never go into battle without a scout and an engineer.

Know your classes!
Know your classes!

Horde 3.0 introduces a new gameplay mechanic in the form of classes. For the first time, you'll need to carefully plan out your team, as well as level up each individual class to unlock new skills and abilities. There are five classes to choose from:

  • Sniper: equipped with Longshot, Markza sniper rifle, and Snub pistol; skills improve headshots, precision damage, ammunition capacity, explosive rounds, and reloads
  • Heavy: equipped with Retro Lancer, Boomshot, and Boltok pistol; skills increase various types of weapon damage
  • Scout: equipped with Retro Lancer, Gnasher shotgun, and Snub pistol; skills increase speed, close-range combat efficiency, and Power collecting
  • Soldier: equipped with Lancer, Gnasher, Snub pistol, and grenades; skills improve explosive damage, ammo capacity, durability, and reload speeds
  • Engineer: equipped with sub-machine gun Enforcer, Gnasher, and Snub pistol; skills increase damage, speed, and durability of fortifications in addition to decreasing construction costs

With so many classes to choose from, it can be hard to know which to opt for, and even harder to form the perfect team. Our tip, though? ALWAYS have at least one scout and one engineer. Scouts are essential when it comes to collecting Power (necessary in buying more fortifications!), and engineers are able to repair fortifications right from the start with their Repair Tool—essential for making sure your fortifications can last out a wave.

2. Don't go for hard mode right away! Start out slow...

Don't let this happen to you.
Don't let this happen to you.

The introduction of the class system and your ability to level up classes and unlock skills makes it necessary for a different approach to difficulty levels in Horde 3.0. No matter how good of a player you may think you are, higher waves may be nigh on impossible if you haven't leveled up your classes appropriately and gained the necessary skills and abilities.

What does this mean? It means you need to start on easier modes first! Use this time to level up your classes, which will let you take more Gear Cards into battle, and buff up your characters before attempting the harder difficulty modes—you'll be thankful you did!

3. Know your items and where to get 'em! Everything you need to know about the Fabricator.

Never leave home without your trusty Fabricator.
Never leave home without your trusty Fabricator.

The Fabricator is your lifeblood in Horde 3.0. It's where you can use Power to purchase items, weapons, and fortifications. It's these fortifications that will keep you safe (if that's even possible) as hordes of enemies come charging at you from every side. You can even Auto-Deposit your Power for best results (unless you're saving up for a certain reason). Each time you make a purchase, your Fabricator will gain experience. Level up your Fabricator to increase the number and strength of items you can buy.

Here are all the items and fortifications you can purchase from your Fabricator:

  • Barriers: your main source of protection against enemies; slow down anyone who comes into contact with them (degree dependent on level) and can even act as distractions
  • Decoys: the perfect item to focus your enemies' attention elsewhere; include bombs at higher levels to damage your enemy in addition to distracting it
  • Automated Turrets: the ultimate defense; automatically plow down your enemies as they approach; leveling up grants them more health, a wider range, and a larger ammo capacity
  • Shock Sentry: similar to automated turrets but deal shocks instead of damage; stun and slow any enemies caught by them
  • Manual Turrets: similar to automated turrets but operated by the player; powerful but expensive; leveling up grants them more health, a larger ammo capacity, and an increased rate of fire
  • Weapon Locker: lockers that can store weapons (so that they don't disappear after each wave); slowly refill the ammo of all stored weapons
  • Weapons: buy bigger and better weapons the higher your level; Repair Tool is also available from level one

4. Get a Weapon Locker as soon as possible.

Image credit: FUCHIPATAS on deviantArt
Image credit: FUCHIPATAS on deviantArt

The Weapon Locker may not seem like much at first glance (I mean, why waste Power that could be used to buy a new turret, am I right?), but this is actually one of the most essential items of Horde 3.0. The Weapon Locker enables you to, well, store your weapons! This means you can actually keep every weapon you nab from fallen enemies, and you don't have to give up your current weapons either.

Grab all those big-hitters like the Boomshot and Torque Bow and keep them in your Weapon Locker to pull out in a pinch! You'll never have to use your precious Power to buy weapons again if you have a stockpile of weapons waiting for you back at base.

What's more, weapons stored in the Weapon Locker will slowly regain ammo. How's that for a multi-functional hunk of steel?!

5. Complete bonus objectives for Power and Airdrops.

Drop, drop, droppin' on Heaven's door...
Drop, drop, droppin' on Heaven's door...

Every couple of waves, bonus objectives will pop up to give you an extra challenge... as well as extra opportunities to score Power or Airdrops! So before you "wave" away an objective for being too difficult or too much to think about, give one or two of them a try and see how much the rewards can help you further down the road.

Each bonus objective is different—getting a certain number of kills with a specific weapon, for instance, or finishing the wave within a set time. Each time one pops up, you'll be informed of what the reward is, allowing you to make an educated choice on whether to attempt it.

Extra Power is always helpful—it could mean another series of barriers or a new turret, and the resupply crates from Airdrops could get you out of a serious pinch down the line. Don't use them right away! So long as you don't open the crate, it won't disappear from wave to wave, and you can save it for more difficult waves on the road ahead.

6. Nab loot by prolonging difficult waves.

Power... I need more POWER!
Power... I need more POWER!

Defeated enemies leave behind Power and weapons. Great!

Dropped Power and weapons disappear before the start of a new wave. Not so great!

If you spend all your time mowing down enemies and not picking up the loot they drop, you might miss out on opportunities to snag useful weapons, ammo, and Power, but how are you supposed to find time to snag goodies when you're having a hard time just staying alive?!

The answer?

Get almost done with a wave, leaving just a few enemies here and there, and do a "goodie sweep." You won't have to worry about getting taken out (so long as the enemies you leave alive aren't huge brutes or one-shot-killers), and you can take as long as you need to snag all the dropped weapons, ammo, and Power to ready yourself for upcoming waves. This is where the Weapon Locker will come in handy, too! All those dropped weapons can be stored in the locker for future use. Way to plan ahead!

7. The Lancer is your friend.

BAM! Right through the gut!
BAM! Right through the gut!

Who doesn't love the Lancer? And by the Lancer, I, of course, am referring to the chainsaw portion at the bottom that allows you to mercilessly rip through enemies and send their guts and entrails flying in five different directions.

The Lancer is, by far, my favorite weapon of the Gears series, to the point that I use it so much (oftentimes in situations that get me killed), my sister will berate me. It's also an essential weapon when it comes to Horde 3.0, and a trump card of sorts to keep primed and ready in your Weapon Locker.

Not only is the Lancer effective at long-range, its chainsaw—with its ability to one-shot melee kill enemies—make it the go-to weapon for when ammo is in short supply. Always keep one or two in your reserves!

8. Know your enemies (including bosses) and plan accordingly.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

One thing Gears of War 4 brings with it is a whole slew of new enemies to mow down, and considering Horde 3.0's sole objective is taking on wave after wave of these new enemies, it's important to know what you're going up against, in particular, the bosses.

They're bigger, badder, and nastier than ever—and each one takes a different strategy to bring to its knees. Don't go in guns blazing against these grisly baddies!

  • Swarmak: effective weapon—Boomshot; attack to dodge—missiles (watch out when it's standing still!); how to kill—focus your attacks on the glowing, orange sacks found by its mouth, stomach and legs
  • Kestrel: effective weapon—any accurate, long-range weapon; attack to dodge—rockets; how to kill—blow up the engines beneath its rotor blades
  • Snatcher: effective weapon—any explosive weapon; attack to dodge—devour (don't let it eat you or your allies will have to save you!); how to kill—run around it in circles as you land hits on its stomach
  • Carrier: effective weapon—anything that packs a punch!; attack to dodge—missiles (they're heat-seeking and leave patches of fire on the ground in their wake); how to kill—land as many attacks as you can when the plate on its chest opens

9. Keep distance between you and your enemies! And no going Leeroy Jenkins, either.

Save the heroics for later.
Save the heroics for later.

The last thing in Horde 3.0 you wanna do is try to play hero (or zero, really). Don't go on a suicide run through a giant horde of enemies—it'll only result in your swift and certain death, as well as the frustration of your teammates when they have to spend precious Power to revive you. Horde Mode wasn't designed for solo play! You need to use teamwork and develop strategies to hold off and overpower the endless waves of enemies.

On a related note, always keep plenty of distance between you and your enemies. The closer you sneak up on them, the higher the chances you'll get swarmed and overwhelmed. Keep a safe distance at all times, use your ammo wisely, and take advantage of your environment when setting up barriers to keep enemies at bay. You'll find that you last a lot longer if you play it safe!

10. Use your Fabricator as cover in a pinch.

The ever-important Fabricator.
The ever-important Fabricator.

You already know the Fabricator is your source of items and fortifications, but did you know you can actually use your Fabricator as cover, too? That's right! Your Fabricator is indestructible, which means if necessary, you can duck behind that sucker to fend off attacks while you attempt to regroup.

By this same token, you should always have a fall back spot for when things take a turn for the worst. As you build more and more fortifications, your base will expand to cover more ground, but one unexpected attack to the side or the back could leave your base vulnerable! Having a fall back spot will keep enemies from quickly overwhelming even the most prepared of teams should one wire come loose, so to speak.

11. Save your Power for defense—collect weapons from your enemies instead.

Pretty weapons of mass destruction...
Pretty weapons of mass destruction...

It may be tempting to purchase all sorts of badass weapons from your Fabricator, but think before you buy! Weapons and ammo can be collected from defeated enemies—why buy what you can get for free? Sure, it may take longer to get the big guns, but you'll be thankful for the extra fortifications you can buy in their wake. The Weapon Locker, especially, will come in handy for just this situation—by nabbing every dropped weapon from enemies and storing them in your Weapon Locker, you'll never need to buy weapons again!

So keep that trigger finger off the "Purchase" button and save your Power for more important things.

Already tried your hand at Horde 3.0? Developed your own strategy that you wanna share! Let us know in the comments!