Full credit for this post goes to Thievius Sisko from the Epic forums
If you havenít already heard, there is a glitch occurring where people are having their rank reset to level 1 and all of their ribbons and medal progress wiped. I have personally been rank reset, but had a backup of my player data and so was able to get everything back. It can be devastating to lose all your medals and rank that you worked hard for, so I highly recommend that EVERYONE makes a backup of their data following the instructions in this thread. I have compiled all the information that I have about this issue in this post. So apologies in advance, but this is going to be a LONG post (China will want their wall back). I don't work for Epic, so this isn't official in any way. It's just my personal research on the subject. I know that this a really long post, but most of the information below is really important.
If you are looking for general info, or are trying to AVOID a reset, then this information will help.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, there is no way to undo a rank reset once your data has been wiped. So that is why it is very important for everyone to make a backup of their data. Backups will restore your data in the event of a reset, so PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW THE BACKUP AND RECOVERY INSTRUCTIONS CORRECTLY!
This post contains the following information:
* Information on rank resets
* Information on backing up your data
* VIDEO TUTORIAL: HOW TO BACKUP YOUR DATA
* How and when you can get reset
* How to avoid resets
* NEW! How to regain locked unlocks after being reset.
UPDATE ON CLOUD STORAGE BACKUPS:
It has now been confirmed by several people that have been rank reset that their cloud backups were effective in restoring their data (HUGE thanks to Hell, You're Back Kim, xN A R U T Ox I, and now Jill for confirming this for me!). If you are not already aware, cloud storage is an online storage system that is available to everyone with an xbox live gold subscription. I would therefore recommend that everyone without a USB or memory card backup to make one on cloud storage. (If you have not used cloud storage before and don't know how, all the instructions you will need are in the cloud storage backup video later in this post.) Even if you have a USB or memory card to use for a backup, it never hurts to have a second backup on the cloud as well. There have been a couple of posts made recently which claimed that cloud storage backups didn't work, however the people who made those posts had failed to follow the backup and recovery instructions properly. When all the instructions are followed exactly then ALL backups, whether they are on a USB memory card or the cloud, WILL restore your data in the event of a reset.
INFORMATION ON RANK RESETS:
Rank resets occur due to a corruption of your "player data" file in your Gears of War 3 save file. Your player data file contains all of your rank, ribbons, medals and unlocks, and ALL of these are lost during a reset. You usually won't know that your player data file has been corrupted until you boot up the game and press start at the main menu and see that you are now rank 1. Unfortunately, it has become clear that once you have pressed start at the main menu, ALL of your data will be gone. This is because your corrupted player data file will also wipe your server data when you press start at the main menu. Once this has happened, there is NO way to recover your data unless you made a backup beforehand.
There is a slightly less common type of reset which can occur that involves the loss of your collectibles, campaign progress, and achievement progress. I assume this involves the corruption of the "campaign saves" file instead of the player data file which causes a rank reset. I have termed this different type of reset a "campaign reset", and although it is less common than a rank reset it can be avoided in the same way. Backing up your data will create copies of both your player data file and campaign saves file, and the campign saves file can be used to recover your data in the event of a campaign reset.
How best to avoid resets:
It had previously been said that if you hadn't played any matches you would be able to restore your data. Unfortunately, this is now known to be untrue. The information in your player data file is all backed up to the Microsoft servers. However once your player data file has become corrupted, the next time you press start at the main menu it will wipe your server data, and everything will be gone forever. So it is very important that you either keep a current backup, or be VERY careful with your player data.
There are MANY ways that you can be reset. Some of the most common are listed in the section called "How/When Resets Happen" near the end of this post. Some of them are impossible to avoid, such as freezing or disconnecting during loading screens. These situations can lead to corruption of your player data file, and loss of your data. So, if you encounter a situation that you think might have corrupted your player data then you can do one of two things.
1. DELETE YOUR PLAYER DATA FILE from your Gears of War 3 save before you next start up the game. Then when you start up the game, it will download all your information straight from the servers and create a new player data file for you. Doing this means there is no way your server data can be overwritten. Obviously you should only do this while connected to Xbox Live, as the game will need to download your data.
2. START UP THE GAME WHILE OFFLINE and check whether you are rank 1. If you are, then return to the dashboard and delete your corrupted player data. You can then start the game normally, and it will download your data from the servers. If you are not reset, it is still recommended that you return to the dashboard before signing into Xbox Live and continue playing.
If your game freezes then EJECT YOUR DISK TRAY!!!
Turning your Xbox off when your game freezes is one of the common situations in which your player data can become corrupted and lead to a reset. It has been found however, that EJECTING YOUR DISK TRAY in the event of your Xbox freezing will return you to the dashboard and prevent your data from becoming corrupted. If you eject the disk tray and you are still frozen and you must turn your Xbox off, then you should do one of the above two steps. Many thanks to IrishLocust for making a thread about this and bringing it to my attention. You can check out his thread here.
IF YOU HAVE JUST BEEN RESET AND DON'T HAVE A BACKUP:
If you have just discovered that you are reset to level 1 and you don't have a backup, then unfortunately it is most likely that your data will be already gone. However, you can try deleting your "player data" file from your Gears of War 3 save file, and recovering your gamertag to see if your data comes back. This only works for a VERY small amount of people. The only other way you could recover your data is if you have played Gears 3 on another console. If so, then there should be another player data file on there that you could use to replace your corrupted one.
HOW TO BACK UP YOUR DATA:
I have made a tutorial video showing exactly how to make a backup of your player data and campaign saves files. The video shows how to do a backup using the cloud, however the exact same method can be used to make a USB or memory card backup. If you have access to a USB or memory card then feel free to use one instead of, or as well as the cloud. You can never have too many backups! PLEASE read the following information before watching the video.
1. Once you have followed the instructions in the video to make your backup files, do not continue playing from your backup drive. This is because player data files become corrupted while you are USING them. So if you continue to play after making your backup, your backup files could become corrupted without you knowing. Then when you need them to recover your rank they won't work, and your data will be lost. This has already happened to a couple of people, so you should only use your backup drive when you are updating your backup or recovering your rank. The key is to use the backup file as little as possible to prevent any data loss.
2. If you would like to use a USB as your backup drive, you can use any USB drive to backup your data but it will need to be formatted first for use with the Xbox. Formatting will wipe anything that is currently stored on the USB. I have also been told that some older USB drives are unable to be formatted and are therefore incompatible. To format your USB drive for use simply plug it into your Xbox, then go into your system settings and then storage. Click on the USB drive and choose "configure now". There is some more info about USB compatibility and formatting here on the official Xbox website. There is also a video showing exactly how to do it here. Many thanks to DarkHorseDre for the links!
3. Many people have made comments suggesting that the cloud will sync backup player data stored there with your player data on your hard drive. So that, if your player data on your hard drive was corrupted then the backup data in the cloud would sync and be corrupted too. This is incorrect however. The cloud ONLY syncs with the local cache that it uses on your hard drive, and not with any of your game saves. They are completely independent. Cloud backups function exactly like a USB or memory card backup, except that they are stored online.
BACKUP TUTORIAL VIDEO:
The video showing how to make a backup is available HERE. The exact backup method shown in this video also works for backing up to USB or memory card.
HOW TO UPDATE YOUR BACKUP:
To update your backup simply load up the game and select your backup location (cloud/USB/memory card) instead of your hard drive and then play ONE game of anything. This will update your backup player data file with all your new data. Then you can dashboard and load the game back up normally. As stated above, you should not continue playing on your backup drive for more than one game, as then you risk corruption of your backup file.
HOW TO USE YOUR BACKUP IF YOU GET RESET:
If you get reset you should perform the following steps to restore your data:
1. Go into your System Settings, Storage, and then into your Gears of War 3 save on your Hard Drive (or wherever you store your main set of Gears 3 saves)
2. Delete the corrupted "player data" file from there. This is the file that caused your rank reset, so you want to delete it.
3. Load up the game and select your backup drive instead of your hard drive (so select the cloud/USB/memory card that your backup data is stored on) when it asks for a storage device. All your data from your backup file should appear.
4. Play one game of anything and then return to the party lobby. This will restore your data on the servers.
5. Go back to the dashboard, and then load up the game from your Hard Drive. Do not skip this step and try to switch storage devices while in game. This can lead to data corruption. Always return to the dashboard first.
6. After you load up the game and select your Hard Drive, play one more game of anything. This will create a new player data file on your hard drive from the server data that you just restored.
Then you are all done.
If anyone wants to watch the watch the old backup video, it is still available HERE.
Below is the original text guide for backing up your data written by nuper
I was a level 89 when my rank got reset. But I had a backup file and recovered everything including my skins and dlc characters, everything. Here's how to do it:
You have to have a Usb drive or a Memory Card (doesn't matter what size), or you can use the cloud.
Plug the usb drive into your xbox 360.
Go to "System Settings" and select "A" button,
Move down to memory and select "A" button,
Select the xbox's Hdd and select "A" button,
Click on "Games",
Move down to Gears of War 3 file and click "A' button,
There's all your skins, characters, player data and campaign saves.
*Note - You can't copy or move your "player data file", or campaign saves yet. I'll tell you how in a minute..
You can copy any dlc skins and characters by selecting the Item you want to backup and click the "A" button..
It will give your 3 choices, 1) Copy 2) Move 3) Delete, "CHOOSE COPY"!!!
It will now ask you where you want to save the item, choose the usb drive you just plugged in (or memory card).
DONE!!! It's that simple!! It is now saved and safe.
Do this for each item you want to backup.
"Do not choose "Move" or it will move your file to the usb and you'll have to select that as your hdd everytime you play gears.
Always choose "Copy".
How to copy the "player data file". Really simple.
Boot up Gears, select your Usb drive/memory card/cloud that you just saved everything to (instead of whatever storage device you usually use) and "play" 1 game of anything. This causes the game the create a new player data file and set of campaign saves for you on the storage device by downloading them from the servers. When you're done playing, Go to the Dashboard and your "player data file" is now copied onto your backup drive and you are now done completely backing up all your gears files.
How to recover if you get reset:
If you get your rank reset or loose an item, just plug in your Usb drive/memory card and boot up Gears and when it ask you to select the Hdd to save to, select your backup drive and everything will be back to what you saved on the backup. All your rank, medals and ribbons will be back!!! Play 1 game of anything again and when you're done, go back to Gears main screen and change your storage device back to the Xbox 360's Hdd (storage device) and when it downloads the content, you will have all your items and rank back on your xbox's hdd again and you have successfully recovered all your stuff.
After you finish playing gears for the day, I highly recommend you save everything you've done to the usb drive (only takes a few minutes). If you get to level 90 and get reset and the last time you saved the game was at level 85 on your usb drive, then that's what your rank will be, level 85. Better safe than sorry. Always save your files to the usb after you're done playing for the day.
How to UPDATE your backup file:
To update the backup file, you can delete the backup files from your backup drive and then repeat the original steps OR simply load up the game and choose your backup drive without deleting the old backup file and then play 1 game and it will update the file. Feel free to do whichever you prefer.
It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you do this every day or two to maintain a backup file that it up to date.
HOW/WHEN RESETS HAPPEN AND HOW TO AVOID IT:
There are a couple of different situations where people are running into this glitch, so I will list them all below.
SIGNING A SPLIT-SCREEN PLAYER IN/OUT AT THE PARTY LOBBY SCREEN.
This seems to be the biggest culprit. When you do this, it kicks you back to the main menu and asks you to press start. When you do, one or both players will have been reset to level 1. This can happen both if you sign someone in, or sign them out. I recommend if you are going to play split screen ONLY SIGN SOMEONE IN/OUT AT THE DASHBOARD. Donít try to save time by doing it while you are playing.
MOVING YOUR GAMERTAG BUT NOT YOUR PLAYER DATA TO ANOTHER XBOX
People who are playing split-screen should pay particular attention to this. If you are going to play on another console that is not your main one, you should also transfer your PLAYER DATA FILE (itís inside your Gears 3 save in system memory) to the usb/memory card as well. It contains your rank, unlocks, medals etc. And keeping them together should prevent any kind of data loss. Usually if the game does not detect a player data file for you, it will download your data from the Microsoft servers. However, I think sometimes this does not happen when you are split-screening and this leads to rank resets. Since you can now use the cloud to access your player data remotely, I would recommend this for split screeners. Then this problem should not occur.
TURNING YOUR XBOX OFF INBETWEEN VERSUS MATCHES, OR DURING HORDE, BEAST, OR CAMPAIGN.
A lot of people seems to be having this problem when they turn their Xbox off without backing out of whatever they are playing. In particular, people are turning their Xbox off or dashboarding in-between quick matches. NEVER turn your Xbox off straight after a versus match, as this is when it is saving your stats, and can mess up your player data. This also seems to be happening to people who are playing horde/beast/campaign and just turn their Xbox off without backing out of the match. I would strongly recommend you ALWAYS BACK OUT TO THE PARTY LOBBY BEFORE SWITCHING YOUR XBOX OFF OR DASHBOARDING. There are a few people who say they waited for the next map to load in a quick match, then backed out before turning their Xbox off and they were still reset.
FREEZING OR LOST CONNECTION DURING LOADING SCREENS.
This is similar to the situation above, but much more difficult to avoid. During loading screens the game is reading or updating your player profile data, and any interruption to your internet during this stage seems to cause the glitch.
FREEZING DURING HORDE, CAMPAIGN, VERSES ETC.
Many people have mentioned that their game has frozen while they were playing, and when they restart their xbox and load up the game they have been reset. This does not have to be during a loading screen to cause a reset, any freezing at all seems to be enough sometimes. Freezing between waves of horde seems to be the worst offender here.
PLAYING WHILE OFFLINE.
Many people are having their profiles reset while trying to play while offline. From what I have read, the glitch seems to occur when you are playing offline AND THEN SIGN BACK INTO XBOX LIVE. For example, your internet or Xbox live is down so you play some offline campaign, or horde. Your internet/Xbox comes back online so you sign back in, THEN you are reset. Iím not exactly sure what the best way to avoid this is, but I definitely recommend NOT SIGNING BACK IN WHILE PLAYING SOMETHING. For example, donít be IN a horde match, or be doing campaign then sign in. I would probably say going back to the dashboard would be safest. Or maybe even turn your Xbox all the way off and then back on. Unfortunately Iím not really sure, but signing in while playing is definitely a bad idea.
CONNECTION DROPS OUT DURING VERSUS/HORDE/BEAST/CAMPAIGN
This is actually the same as the above. The glitch occurs when you have been booted offline and then sign back in to Xbox live after you have just been offline. Some people are also reporting that they didnít even sign back in, just turned their Xbox off and when they turned it on the next day they had been reset.
SIGNING INTO XBOX LIVE ANYWHERE BUT THE DASHBOARD
Similar to the above. Some people have said that they signed in for the first time at the main menu or party screen because their Xbox doesnít automatically sign them in. They were then reset once they did this. This happens most frequently if you do it during a loading screen for obvious reasons.
**WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?**
I am certainly no expert (at all), but it seems like the game in certain situations seems to fail to recognise the ďplayer dataĒ file that is stored in your memory, which contains all of your rank/ribbons/medals information. When this happens it seems to start a brand new one that is blank, i.e level 1. This new file then starts to overwrite the old file when you go through any loading screens. You might be thinking ďbut all your rank information is meant to be stored on the Microsoft serversĒ, and it IS. However, it is only BACKED UP to the Microsoft servers. The actual information is contained in your player data file. This means, if the player data file on your hard drive is glitched and resets to rank 1 and then you gain xp, or pass through certain loading screens, it overwrites your old file AND sends this new information to be stored on the severs AND WIPES OVER THE OLD INFORMATION THERE AS WELL. However, if you delete the glitched file straight away it reads the information directly from the servers and recreates the player data file for you on your drive containing all of your actual rank/unlocks. Similarly, if your data on the servers gets wiped but you have a backup of your player data file, your data on the servers will be restored once you start the game up using your backup data.
HOW TO ACCESS LOCKED UNLOCKS AFTER BEING RESET:
After being reset, some unlocks (such as the For The Horde medal) become unavailable, and can no longer be unlocked. GD01 figured out a great way around this problem, so that all locked unlocks will become available again. This method has been tried by several people and seems to be effective at fixing the problem. You can read more about it on this thread if you are unsure. There are two guides available for you to follow. One is written by GD01 and is performed while online. The other is a fleshed out and slightly more descriptive guide written by FredFlintstoned and is performed while offline. I will just post both and you may take your pick. Unfortunately, I will probably be unable to answer questions about these guides as I haven't tried them myself. Feel free to ask questions in the thread I linked to above. NOTE: This method will allow everyone who has been reset to acquire the crimson weapon skins, all 3 of the avatar awards, all of the medals including "for the horde" now and everything else as well. BUT, you will have to re-acquire all of the collectibles in the campaign/arcade mode and you'll also need to complete campaign/arcade on hardcore in order to play it on insane.
GDO1- Online guide:
This one was done still connected online. You can use the other detailed one for offline option. No need to clear the cache only if needed or necessary.
Play 1 private match so that you can update your files as well as the servers. Then head to the Menus and straight to the dashboard.
1) transfer your player data and campaign save to the usb, then log off and transfer your gamertag to the usb.
2) log in on the dashboard and start the game.
3) when you see the shield like symbol with EPIC logo on it remove the usb and ignore the message that pops up. let it run through till the part where it tells you to Press Start w/ the Gears 3 logo
4) Once you hit start go to your stats/awards and scroll through the tabs and go to the collectables and then to the achievements. Both should be empty.
5) From there (at the achievement tab) place the usb back and a message saying that there's a new storage device or device has changed. Press A to continue which should take you back to the title screen where it tells you to Press Start with the Gears 3 logo. Don't press start.
6) Head back to the dashboard and log off. Transfer just your gamertag back to your HDD [the game already placed your player data from the backup in the servers or cache but if you like you can transfer the one from the usb or keep it as a back up]
7) remove your usb and log back in and start the game. Check back to your stats/awards and you should see your collectables empty and you campaign progress is gone like you haven't even touched it.
You will still have your achievements under your stata/award [ war journal ]. The progress did reset themselves so you will see the boxes pop up even tho you already got the achievement.
All your mutators, medals, skins, executions, and medals you unlock should be intact. And their progress as well.
FredFlintstoned detailed offline guide:
I tried GD01's instructions and it worked for me too!
However, the instructions were somewhat ambiguous.
But this is what I did based on what GD01 wrote:
NOTE: before you do this, make an extra backup copy of your gamertag, Gears of War 3 campaign data and Gears of War 3 player save data to a SECOND memory card or USB portable hard drive just in case. (you can now use the cloud for this). If the guide does not work for you, try clearing your cache. That seems to fix it.
1. Go offline by removing your internet connection from your XBox.
2. Sign in on the dashboard (offline)
3. "Move" (not copy) your Gears of War 3 player data and Campaign data to a memory card or usb portable hard drive.
4. "Move" (not copy) your gamertag to the same memory card or usb portable hard drive. It'll say you need to sign-out first before you can move your gamertag. Go ahead and confirm this when it prompts you.
5. Sign in on the dashboard (offline) with your gamertag from the same memory card or usb portable hard drive that you transferred your data to and start the Gears of War 3 game.
6. When you see the first Epic logo appear when starting up your Gears of War 3 game, physically remove the memory card or usb portable hard drive from your Xbox and ignore the message that appears about placing the unit back in.
7. Press start on your controller and go to your stats/awards. If you check your Achievements and Campaign Collectables, they should be empty.
8. Plug-in your memory card or usb portable hard drive back into your Xbox. When you do this, wait a few seconds and it should automatically take you back to the Gears 3 logo where it tells you to press start (but don't actually press start on your controller). Instead exit back to the dashboard.
9. "Move" (not copy) your updated/modified Gears of War 3 player data and your gamertag from your memory card or usb portable hard drive back to your Xbox 360 hard drive but DO NOT MOVE OR COPY your Campaign data back to your hard drive.
10. Remove your memory card or usb portable hard drive from your XBox 360.
11. Sign back in with your gamertag and start up Gears of War 3 (offline) and check to see if your campaign collectibles are gone. If you did the steps correctly, they should be gone.
12. Now you can connect or go back online with your Xbox 360, sign in with your gamertag and start up your Gears of War 3 game.
You should now be able to acquire all of the medals, achievements, avatars and weapon skins you weren't able to acquire when you were reset.
Even though you will still have your achievements that you've earned listed in the game, the game will think you don't have any achievements.
So you'll frequently see an achievement progression bar pop-up for all achievements while playing. This will go away after you actually got the achievement again.
This method will allow everyone who has been reset to acquire the crimson weapon skins, all 3 of the avatar awards, all of the medals including "for the horde" now and everything else as well.
You will have to re-acquire all of the collectibles in the campaign/arcade mode and you'll also need to complete campaign/arcade on hardcore in order to play it on insane.