PSA: Full Gears of War 3 beta launches today, more content next week

If you're just joining the Gears of War 3 beta today, then you're not that big of a fan, are you? Sure, it means you've pre-ordered the game from GameStop (or another participating retailer outside of the US) and secured your ticket to the beta, but true Gearsheads have been playing through their copies of Bulletstorm for a full seven days now. What's your excuse?

Your half-assed engagement means that you're already way behind in the race to unlock the most demanding rewards before the beta ends on May 15, including the "Thrashball Cole" character skin and the Gold-Plated Retro Lancer weapon skin (both pictured). And, of course, you've already excluded yourself from adding the Flaming Hammerburst to your permanent arsenal -- it was only available to beta players last week.

If you're saying to yourself, "I really don't care about the unlockables -- I just don't wanna get owned by all the 'cheaters' who have been playing the beta forever already." Well, for one, you're lying to yourself. But you can also check out some tips for preparing to enter the beta from senior gameplay designer Lee Perry over on Ars Technica. And you can relax a little, too. Bulletstorm early access players were limited to Team Deathmatch on two maps, so they're just as new to the King of the Hill mode and the Trenchtown and Old Town maps as you are.

Additionally, next Monday, May 2, Epic will reintroduce the Capture the Leader mode, rounding out the beta's full slate of three gametypes on four maps (not to mention, "special events and surprises" will occur "throughout the beta"). But if you wait until then, it's kind of like why bother?

Update: Corrected schedule of gametypes and maps availability.
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Join the Biggest Gaming Event of the Spring as the "Gears of War 3" Multiplayer Beta Kicks off Today
Fans unite to help shape the biggest blockbuster of 2011

Rally your brothers in arms and charge into battle with Delta Squad as the multiplayer beta for this year's most anticipated blockbuster, "Gears of War 3," officially launches today on Xbox LIVE. Fans who've preordered "Gears of War 3" from GameStop* can jump into the action and help perfect the award-winning multiplayer experience in the epic finale to one of gaming's most celebrated sagas.

Over the next three weeks, players will have the opportunity to get an early taste of three brand new competitive modes on four breathtaking maps:

Beta Content Schedule

April 25 – May 1
The beta kicks off with the new Team Deathmatch and King of the Hill modes on three explosive battlegrounds: Thrashball, Checkout and Trenches.

May 2 – May 8
The action amps up with the addition of Capture the Leader and a fan-picked map from the Facebook voting contest, Old Town.

May 9 – May 15
The mayhem continues with Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill and Capture the Leader on all four maps.

Additionally, fans can look forward to special events and surprises throughout the beta, and unlock exclusive medals, weapon skins and character variants, which they can carry over to their retail copy of "Gears of War 3" when it launches on Sept. 20. For example, players can complete 50 matches in any game type to unlock Thrashball Cole during the beta. Completing 10 matches as the Thrashball athlete during the beta period will permanently unlock the character variant for the retail version of "Gears of War 3." For additional details on the unlockables and the beta, please refer to the official Epic Games FAQ:

Powered by dedicated servers, "Gears of War 3" offers the series' most feature-packed versus multiplayer experience yet, and raises the bar with new game types, weapons, visceral executions, playable characters, squad communication tools, a deep player rewards system, and more. New players will enjoy the finely balanced gameplay and streamlined game types, which make "Gears of War 3" deeper and more accessible than ever before, allowing anyone to instantly jump into the action.

Developed by acclaimed studio Epic Games, "Gears of War 3" is available for preorder today in three distinct editions – Standard ($59.99 USD), Limited ($79.99) and Epic ($149.99). For additional details on the game and the beta, please visit

*For the full list of participating global retailers, please visit:

This article was originally published on Joystiq.