The behemoth that is Modern Warfare 3 has finally been unleashed, and despite the game’s on-screen suggestion to play the campaign mode first, hundreds of thousands of gamers are diving straight into the multiplayer arena intent on creating the most intimidating virtual environment ever. Whether you’re a veteran of the online arena or an innocent n00b just trying to redeem your super cool Mountain Dew codes, there are things about this CoD experience that will be unfamiliar. We’re here to cover the basics of the old and the new in an effort to level the playing field. Barring that, we’ll at least help you figure out why your bullets don’t seem to be working.
Like most aspects of Modern Warfare’s multiplayer features, access custom classes needs to be unlocked by leveling up. Thankfully you only need to reach level 4 to do that, and until then you’ve got some very nice pre-made loadouts to choose from, complete with attachments and perks.
Once you unlock them, you’ll want to make full use of your custom classes. Sure you’ll have the “go to” class that you use the majority of time, but you’ll also want to plan for long range combat, short range combat, etc. Don’t get caught at the start of a match without a suitable loadout for the map selected.
You won’t have much to choose from when you first start out, as the majority of weapons aren’t available until you level up. The twist this time is that your individual weapons level up the more you use them. The more kills you score with a particular gun, the greater access you’ll have to a slew of attachments like scopes, proficiencies like reduced kick, and custom skins. So when you finally get to level 32 and unlock that Type 95 you’ve been eying, the fact that you have to level it from nothing means you might end up sticking to your pimped-out M16 just a bit longer.
Assault Rifles: These are the most versatile weapon in the game. They may not excel in any particular area, but they aren’t weak in any area either. You could never use anything other than an assault rifle and still find plenty of success in MW3.
SMGs: SMG’s have lousy range and accuracy but make up for it will high fire rates and maneuverability. These are perfect for small maps or for players that like to be quick and aggressive, but you may want to avoid them if you’re playing an objective-based team match on a wide open map. Remember: as the range increases your damage drastically decreases, meaning you’ll have to score more hits to kill.
LMGs: These heavy duty weapons decrease your maneuverability , ADS (aiming down sights) speed, and have very wide hip-fire spread. On the other hand, the fire rate is excellent, the damage is high (even at long range), and the magazines are far deeper than any other weapon. As such, LMGs are one of the best choices for defensive builds. When prone, the stability of an LMG drastically improves.
Shotguns: Perfect for those fed up with aiming carefully, the Shotgun has the power and spread to stop just about anything, provided it’s at close range. These weapons are more suited for smaller maps or for players with excellent environmental awareness.
Sniper Rifles: The only choice for those who prefer the long-range single-shot kills. These weapons have the best range and some of the highest damage outputs in the game, but the long ADS time and decreased maneuverability make them less effective on smaller maps. Recoil is massive, and you’ll have to hold your breath while aiming. In other words, it takes skill to wield these effectively. Sniper rifles benefit from the same increased stability when prone as LMGs do.
Riot Shields: These are designed for defense only (if you don’t count how using them to terrorize people who’ve never seen them before) and should be used more often in team-based objective matches. The shield drastically reduces damage from the front when equipped and from the back when using a secondary weapon. Users can still get shot in the feet unless they crouch. It takes two melee strikes with the shield to kill a player.
You can slap one attachment on to your weapon (two if you have the “Attachment” proficiency) to drastically increase your performance. Like nearly everything else in MW3, you’ll have to level up (your gun in this case) to gain access to every attachment. Thankfully, some of the most useful attachments don’t take long to unlock.
Red Dot Sight: A simple attachment to make aiming easier if you don’t like using iron sights. The default reticule is a singular red dot, but you can unlock others through weapon leveling.
Silencer: The silencer does more than just quiet your weapon: it prevents you from showing up on radar when you fire. The drawback is a serious reduction in damage at range (about 25%) meaning it will take more shots to down an enemy who is far away.
Rapid Fire: A fun add-on that increases your rate of fire by 20%. The drawback is increased weapon recoil.
Grip: Available only on LMGs and Shotguns this time around, grips reduce kick by 10% and improve re-centering speed by 25%. Very useful for LMGs.
Grenade Launcher: Labeled the ‘noob tube’ by its bitter victims, the grenade launcher attaches to the underside of your assault rifle and... launches grenades. Make sure you put enough distance between yourself and the target or the grenade won’t detonate. You only get two shots, so make them count.
ACOG Scope: This offers greater zoom than iron sights or red dot sights at a cost of longer ADS time (time it takes to aim) and less peripheral vision when aiming.
Holographic Sight: Very similar to the Red Dot Sight, only mounted higher on your weapon and further reduces peripheral vision when aiming.
Hybrid Sight: A fancy gadget that allows you to switch between a standard Red Dot Sight and a combo of and RDS and ACOG scope. The drawback, like the ACOG, is longer ADS time as well as the necessity to switch for different combat situations. The peripheral vision reduction while looking through both scopes at once is extreme.
HAMR Scope: Very much like the hybrid sight, only for SMGs.
Thermal: This scope reads body heat, negating the cover of darkness or smoke. The zoom is the same as an ACOG scope. The drawback is a very long ADS time, the necessity to steady your aim by holding your breath, and the fact that it turns everything white.
Variable Zoom Scope: Identical to a normal sniper scope except for the ability to change magnifications.
Heartbeat Sensor: This is a small rectangular display that attaches to the side of your weapon. It scans only the area in front of you, and only every couple of seconds. This makes it far less effective when you’re moving around.
Shotgun: It’s a fuggin shotgun attached to the bottom of your already deadly weapon. It’s not quite as powerful as a dedicated shotgun, but it is a very valuable tool for close quarters combat.
Extended Mags: These grant you 50% more rounds per magazine. Great for SMGs.
Akimbo: This allows you to dual-wield machine pistols or handguns. As a drawback, you cannot ADS.
Tactical Knife: An add-on for handguns, this knife offers quicker stabbing and quicker stab recovery than a normal knife.
Proficiencies are like perks for your weapons. More become available as your gun levels up, but you can only use one at any given time. Make sure to take into account the type of weapon, your style, and the map before choosing your proficiency.
Kick: A very simple but very useful proficiency, and it’s the first one available. It reduces recoil by 20%. Every primary weapon can use Kick.
Impact: Bullet penetration power is increased.
Attachments: Allows for two attachments.
Focus: This reduces flinching caused by getting shot by 50%. A pretty significant effect, especially if you often find yourself in those one-on-one twitch-fire battles.
Breath: Available for Assault Rifles only, this allows you to hold your breath while aiming, much like you would when looking through a sniper scope.
Stability: Very similar to breath in that it reduces weapon sway, only it is completely automatic and is available for all primary weapons except the shotgun.
Melee: With this proficiency, your melee recovery speed improves by 35%. Available for shotgun and riot shield only.
Speed: Available only for LMG, Sniper Rifles, and Riot Shields, this proficiency increases your movement speed by 10%.
Range: Available only for SMGs and Shotguns, this proficiency increases your damage at range by 25%.
Damage: Exclusive to the Shotgun, this proficiency gives every shot a whopping 40% boost in damage.