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-enthused 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?