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MW3 dev Q&A session shows promise but avoids its biggest issue

A recent Sledgehammer MW3 dev Q&A has yielded updates on the Gaia skin issue and more, though fans hoping for an SBMM acknowledgement were left disappointed.

MW3 Gaia skin dev Q&A: a skeletal operator with gold elements

A Call of Duty MW3 dev Q&A over on Reddit has given fans hope that big changes are on the way to the shooter. The team at Sledgehammer Games took to the social platform to field feedback from the community and gave updates on a variety of topics, including a potential 1v1 mode, the troublesome MW3 Gaia skin, non-disbanding lobbies, and more. However, as frustration grows over matchmaking and the perceived use of MW3 SBMM, the studio was unsurprisingly coy when confronted with the subject.

1v1s are at the core of pretty much any competitive game – especially the best FPS games. After all, what better way to settle a grievance or prove that you’re the top dog than absolutely blasting someone on Rust, or any of the other maps you can Face Off on in the dedicated mode? However, despite the original Call of Duty MW3 serving as the genesis for the 1v1 playlist, as well as its continued presence in the reboot series, it’s notably absent from this year’s game. While Sledgehammer says “there are currently no plans” to bring it back, it could very well be open to it “if there’s enough interest…”

A major cosmetic issue that plagued MW2, and is back once again to wreak havoc on unfortunate players is the Gaia skin. Referred to as the ‘Groot’ skin due to its likeness to Marvel’s talkative treant, it’s certainly much less loved than the Guardian of the Galaxy.

As a battle pass skin from back in MW2 Season 6, it’s broadly considered a pay-to-win skin, due to its visual propinquity to in-game colors and see-through nature making it a nightmare to see, let alone keep track of when you’re attempting to kill it using the best MW3 guns in the MW3 meta. Not even the best MW3 MCW loadout can blitz a player using it quickly enough before they seemingly vanish out of sight – maybe we’re just washed, though.

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Fortunately, Sledgehammer’s to the rescue, noting that “adjustments to Gaia and Gaia Blackcell Operator Skins are in the pipeline.” Additionally, the skins will be disabled “in a future update” to ensure they can’t be exploited until the changes are ready to release “to all players.” Result.

Perhaps the most exciting prospect for us is Sledgehammer’s willingness to test out non-disbanding lobbies “in a future game update”. After all, if the quality of a match is great, it’s a real shame that balanced or fun lobbies get disintegrated instantly. This could very well lead to a more engaging experience for players, though this feature materializing will come down to the performance result of a “cohort of players”. Whether or not this will be a small sample test, or something more comprehensive remains to be seen.

However, for all the promise shown by Sledgehammer’s responses, the elephant in the room could not have been more visible. In response to a large number of the studio’s messages, fans continued to raise MW3 SBMM as the core gripe that is preventing them from being able to enjoy this year’s game.

Of course, Sledgehammer itself isn’t directly in charge of what happens with the network side of things – that onus is on ActiBlizz subsidiary developer Demonware. As such, a statement written in PR-ese was offered: “Our team, in collaboration with Demonware, is always working to improve server and game performance. We got a lot of good reports and data during the Beta and Launch window. Many improvements have already been made, and further are underway.”

As our MW3 server status guide continues to spike regularly, we’ll be keeping a close eye to see if the developers are able to make good on their promise for better network performance – it’s something which we pay particular attention to in our Call of Duty MW3 review.

For the time being, give yourself the best chance in-game by equipping yourself with one of the best PS5 controllers or best Xbox controllers. It won’t insulate you from lag, but at least when your shots do register you’ll have the edge in those 1v1s.