Why Modern Warfare 3 Needs to Fix Call of Duty’s Shotgun Balancing Problem

Modern Warfare 3’s Multiplayer looks good early, but Sledgehammer Games has an unenviable job when it comes to shotguns.

The KV Broadside was a Season 2 addition to Call of Duty and it was the only other shotgun to get any love.

Image via Activision.

Call of Duty has changed a lot over the last 14 years, and while the return of Modern Warfare 2’s classic maps in MW3 may sound like warhorns to longtime fans, I’m still skeptical about a few parts of this particular puzzle.

We had so few things to worry about when building class setups back in the day, and as someone who has written 100+ loadout guides for recent games, I’m very familiar with how tricky it can be to get things right.

A lot of these new features have enhanced the experience. I love being able to control the exact amount of recoil on my Lachmann Sub or how much damage my TAQ-V loadout does at a distance, but the drawbacks aren’t subtle either.

Unbalanced weapons grab your attention like a grenade in a fishing hole these days, so when one stands out above the rest of the pack, all you can do is hold on to your rowboat and hope not to capsize.

Related: All Call of Duty Games to Play Before Modern Warfare 3

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3’s Shotgun Conundrum

The Lockwood-300 is a late-bloomer, but now it's coming into its own.
Screenshot by Gamepur.

Anyone who has played in an intense Resurgence lobby since the Season 06 update may know where this is headed. The Lockwood 300 has become Warzone’s strongest weapon by far, and it’s just as devastating in Multiplayer as in Battle Royale.

This is all thanks to the late addition of the Malestrom Dual Trigger attachment. This new Trigger Action weapon mod transforms the double-barrel’s two-tap firing style into one concentrated burst of damage that’s almost always enough to down a player in one go, even if they’re at full armor.

I originally thought this was a flash in the pan, but it’s starting to catch on a bit, and the hardcore Warzone players are absolutely destroying with it. I really don’t mind that part, though.

The real trouble comes from the fact that it always takes something special to make shotguns worth using at all in recent games. Every year brings a new gimmick to squelch the smoldering embers of what was once a huge strength in the franchise.

World War II aimed for authenticity, but hit a fire-round shaped wall.
Image via Activision.

This comes in the form of special ammunition more often than not. The Dragon’s Breath era of OG Warzone, Incendiary Shells in World War II, and the Spas-12 w/ Flamethrower (which was essentially the same concept) in Black Ops 1 all had peaks that were far too high, and we’re right back in that space again now.

I like the Dual Shot concept, in theory. I’m all for enhancing variety and offering players new ways to play the game, but the gap between the Lockwood 300 and every other shotgun is now a canyon – and we’ve never quite found a way to bridge that gap.

I’m more optimistic about Call of Duty’s future than most. I still believe there’s a lot of gas left in this tank, but the new era has some serious housekeeping to do. It’s cool if Modern Warfare 3 wants to bring back a familiar experience, but this is one annual tradition I’d rather them leave in the past.