The Gears of War 3 beta is now entering the third week of its beta schedule, and just its second week of the public beta, but you still can’t talk to your friends about it because they haven’t yet crawled out of hiding to pre-order the game. Well, the wonderful pe0ple at Epic Games have just the solution for people like you.

Starting today, players will have a number of ways they can earn buddy tokens so that they can invite their friends to the Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta during its “Never Fight Alone” phase which will run from May 8, 2011 to the Beta’s closing on May 15, 2011.

These tokens can be earned one of 4 ways and up to 5 tokens can be earned per player with Gears of War 3 beta access so if you want to, you can build your own squad of friends in hiding. Gamers will have until May 4, 2011 (that’s this Wednesday for the calender challenged) to complete these tasks and earn their buddy tokens. Not exactly a big time frame, so be sure to spread the news fast.

  • Purchase any “Gears of War” content from Xbox LIVE Marketplace (including a “Gears of War” Game Add-on, a “Gears of War” Games on Demand title, or a “Gears of War” Avatar item)
  • Play 20 or more hours of the “Gears of War 3” beta (any time already spent in the beta will count toward this challenge)
  • Add a 12-month Xbox LIVE Gold subscription to your existing account (purchased from retail or online)
  • Play more than 100 hours of any “Gears of War” title, lifetime to date

Just like regular members of the Gears of War 3 beta, friends invited by token are able to collect a number of rewards that are available to Gears of War 3 beta participants. So yes, players who haven’t actually pre-ordered the game will have the ability to unlock Thrashball Cole and his gold-plated retro lancer (pictured above). Similarly, these unlockables will also carry over to their retail copy of the game when they decide to purchase it. It’s no Master Chief, but most players will be happy regardless.

Unfortunately, joining the Beta so late will mean they only have 1 week to do so, where some others will have had 3 weeks to get a head start on unlocking these extras and boning up on their skills with the new additions to multiplayer. If you’re a friend expecting to be invited, you should probably get some practice with Gears of War 2 to prep yourself for the onslaught.

Are you going to be unlocking some buddy tokens for your friends or will you leave them in the dark like the locust horde they are?

After the multiplayer beta is done, Gears of War 3 will be bringing its multiplayer back on September 20, 2011 exclusively for Xbox 360 .