- "What are those things?"
"Tickers. Locust use them like landmines, so keep your distance."
- —Benjamin Carmine and Tai Kaliso discussing Tickers
Tickers were creatures found in the Hollow that the Locust used as a mobile land mine by strapping Imulsion tanks to them. They were named after the ticking sound they make while scurrying across the battlefield. They are small creatures that somewhat resemble a cross between a rodent and a reptile. Tickers are always seen in large numbers, and are used mainly as mines against COG vehicles. However, the Locust use them against COG ground troops as well; an example of this being the Kantus, which summon them two at a time and use them as a last defense when under direct threat by COG units. They are quick moving and relatively difficult to detect despite the sounds they emit, making them dangerous and unpredictable adversaries, especially in large groups. Due to the gas released by Tickers when about to explode, and the tanks mounted on their backs, it would seem that Imulsion is used to cause the explosions.
Destruction of Halvo Bay
Kilo Squad faced several Tickers inside the Museum of Military Glory's vaults and halls, normally summoned by Kantus monks, several of them tried to destroy Nassar Embry's armor along with a massive horde of Locust.
More Tickers ambushed Kilo at the Halvo Bay Military Academy and attacked them outside the R&D Labs, later on, while defending a courtyard inside the Halvo Bay Military Academy, Kilo Squad had to fight waves of Tickers trying to breach through their defenses, aided by other Locust creatures they managed to cause damage to their fortifications but despite their efforts they were dispatched by the Gears.
They attacked Kilo at Seahorse Hills where they laid siege to Kurt Elliot's mansion and later protected Onyx Point from the cunning Gears. Kantus summoned many Tickers inside the courthouse where Kilo was being trialed for treason but they were eventually killed along with their masters.
Evacuation of Ilima
- "Under the table-Tickers!"
- —Michael Barrick spotting the Tickers at the school's cafeteria
While Zeta-Six was moving through the abandoned high school's cafeteria, they were ambushed by a swarm of Tickers both with and without Imulsion tanks. They cleared all of the "Ticking Bastards", as referred to by Michael Barrick, and proceeded to the locker rooms. Zeta found another group out of the school as they were searching for Seeders. When Zeta-Six tried to reach Dr.Wisen's Orphanage groups of Tickers tried to prevent them from reaching their destination. At the last part of the Evacuation many Tickers gave support to the Theron Elite in his final battle against Zeta-Six, but failed to keep the Locust alive.
Many Tickers were used by the Theron Guards to deal with Midnight Squad at the Ferro Bridge, a large group attacked both Gil Gonzalez and Rufus, Gil and Rufus managed to destroy the ones that attacked them and regrouped with the rest of the squad, Ahman and Takashi were also threatened by Tickers but managed to escape from them.
During an urban battle between the Locust Horde and the COG, several Tickers were defending a sniper nest but their Imulsion pack explosives caused a chain reaction when used against them by a single Gear named Alex Brand.
Liberation of Jilane
Over a dozen of Tickers were encountered by Delta Squad on their mission to Jilane, when Jace and Thecelia walked near the tunnels inside the facility, a large group of Tickers and Drones attacked them, however Jace managed to destroy most of the Tickers before they came close.
Operation: Hollow Storm
- "What the hell happened to Lola?!"
"My rig? We hit some mines. Tickers, I think. The whole area's infested."
- —Dizzy Wallin and Tai Kaliso after Rig D77 was destroyed by Tickers
During Operation: Hollow Storm, packs of Tickers were used against the COG’s Assault Derricks. During the Assault on Landown, at least one Rig was destroyed by Tickers. Rig D77 only had one survivor, Tai Kaliso. Dozens of Tickers were inside the old buildings inside Landown and tunnels, but Delta-One was able to escort their Rig to safety. Inside the Inner Hollows they ambushed several gears while they were deployed inside the Hollow, including Omega-One, Alpha-7, Gamma-Three and Delta Squad and attacked the gears in several occasions as they made progress inside the Hollow. They were used by Kantus Monks to help them find survivors after the Ilima sinking and guarded the Locust processing center.
More Kantus summoned Tickers into battle as the gear squad returned to the Hollows to send reinforcements. After JACK prepared to launch his beacon, several Tickers attempted to stop him but again failed. More Tickers were used by Locust forces in their last effort to save the Palace and their Queen.
- "Whoa, those are different, no explosives! Any bets on their party trick?"
- —Baird encountering two wild Tickers for the first time
Tickers are encountered by Cole and his small unit of the Centennial Bridge as they are crossing to help the CNV Sovereign. Several packs attacked the Gears on their way through Centennial Bridge. They later found crates full of Tickers and come with an idea of using one of them. They dropped one of the crates on top ot the Lambent Leviathan that was attacking their ship, killing it in a massive explosion that destroyed the Sovereign and caused the Leviathan to destroy Centennial Bridge.
After the bridge collapses they wash up on the Hanover coast and come across Wild Tickers that eat the wreckage of the ship, ammunition, weapons, and rummage through anything useful. Baird hates them for this even though, as said by Dom, he does the same thing. They live in small caves and appear to be shy creatures. They eliminated as much as they could around the coast of Hanover before they manage to get away.
- "I hate those Chompers, little creeps can't leave anything alone. Ugh!"
- —Damon Baird expressing his dislike for Wild Tickers
Later, the re-grouped Delta infiltrated in the Locust stronghold in the Deadlands and got attacked by several Tickers and Wild Tickers on their voyage. They eventually discover a Ticker assembly line where Drones are applying the imulsion tanks to Tickers that are chained to a moving rail. They killed some in their cages while they used the ones in the rail to kill the Locust supplying them with their own explosives.
More Tickers appeared at Endeavour Naval Shipyard where they attempted to stop the Gears from finding parts to repair the CNV Adamant. Consecutively, they were part of the Locust forces encountered at Halvo Bay by part of Delta-One.
It is unknown if they were all wiped out when the Imulsion Countermeasure Weapon was activated.
Behind the scenes
- "And now it's a free supply of ordnance! Thank you, grubs!"
- —Damon Baird, after watching how the Ticker assembly line worked
Nearby Tickers can be identified by the distinct ticking/clicking sound they emit. It is advisable to eliminate Tickers before they close in, as their explosions are harmless at long range. Tickers move quickly and zig-zag towards targets; long bursts of gunfire should be avoided as recoil makes targeting even more difficult.
One strategy for dealing with extremely nearby Tickers is to melee them when they approach, throwing them several meters away, temporarily knocking them on their backs and stunning them. However, if you melee the same Ticker twice it will blow up as if having been shot and will down you from which state you'll have to be revived by a squadmate. Hitting Tickers will provide time to escape their blast radius and attack them from greater range. However, if a Ticker is already emitting fire, the best course of action is to roll away, as it is about to explode. Oddly, if a Ticker has already lit its tanks, and is struck and knocked away, it won't detonate, as it seems to be able to extinguish its tanks at will.
Be sure to check the Ticker corpses after attacking them: if a body is still intact, it is still alive and will attack again.
A good use of Tickers is to turn their power against the Locust themselves, they are bombs after all. An experienced player can smack a Ticker into the centre of a group of Locust and then shoot it; an even more experienced player can shoot it in mid-air, causing head/upper-body damage. This is an especially useful tactic when fighting the later rounds of Horde mode: the Locust often bunch up together and Tickers run rampant.
Newly introduced in Horde 2.0, wild Tickers appear in larger groups, eat weapons that lie on the floor, deal a lot of damage to barriers and melee attack players. A melee attack instantly kills them and they aren`t more resistant to bullets than the "normal" Tickers. You can tell by their glowing belly that they carry something in them. Sometimes they hop out of a green box (bonus wave reward), revealing an ammo clip upon kill.
Buffing a Ticker with a melee attack thirty times unlocks the "Takes a Licking" Achievement. Lancer melee attacks do not count towards this achievement. The name of the achievement is a reference to the phrase: "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.", because Tickers can survive one melee and still attack you. They keep on ticking.
In Beast mode, two kinds of Tickers are available to play as: Wild Tickers, which do not have Imulsion packs strapped to them but can eat grenades and melee attack with their claws. However, after having eaten a tagged-on grenade, the wild tickers melee abilities are reduced to one explosion, just like a normal Ticker that can be used in Beast Mode as well.
Tickers are also playable in the Overrun mode of Gears of War: Judgment, they have the mixed abilities of a normal and wild Ticker, it is useful for destroying barriers and blowing up large groups of enemies, its special ability is to dash, allowing you to reach objectives faster. The Ticker can be healed by a Kantus.
Xbox Live Marketplace
You can get a pet Ticker as a prop for your avatar through the Xbox Live Marketplace.
- "Hey, a pet shop! Hey, Baird, look-that one's cute."
"Yeah, it can do tricks, too! Like blowing up in your face."
- —Augustus Cole and Damon Baird after seeing several Tickers locked up in cages
- In Gears of War 3, Act II, Chapter 4 there is an Easter-Egg of fighting Tickers. The player must clear the room of enemies, after this a yellow box will appear on the wall where there's a painted Ticker, then press X when prompted. The player will peer through the yellow box into a room where Drones and Boomers appear to be watching and betting on two unarmed Tickers fighting. In the end, one of the Tickers leaps into the air, and lands on the other Ticker, killing it.
- Tickers did have a real world counterpart. For a time during World War II, the Soviet Army trained dogs to run under German tanks with time bombs on, and this is similar to how the Tickers ambushed Tai's Derrick during the Assault on Landown. However, the practicality of the weapon was called into question when the dogs ran under the Russian tanks instead.
- Tickers appear to have no eyes, this could be because they live in dark caves. Real world cave creatures have also evolved like this. This would explain the 'ticking' noise they make, which is similar to how Bats see in the dark, by detecting objects using sound. Alternatively, it could be their teeth clicking given their jittery behavior.
- The Wild Ticker's execution in Gears of War 3 Beast doesn't count towards the achievement Judge Jury and Executioner.
- A piece of cut content for Gears of War 2 was the Armored Ticker, affectionately known as the 'Roly-Poly Ticker'. It would roll up into an armored ball, be resistant to - but pushed back by - small-arms fire, and explode when close.