| A personal guide to First Person Shooters -- by Product (Erik Max Francis) [BkN]
Home > Quake III Arena > Weapons
[ HOME | UP: Quake III Arena | PREVIOUS: Environment | NEXT: Powerups | DOWN ]
All weapons also have ammunition items that can be picked up, which are not pictured here.
Standard weapons


[q3a/weapons/gauntlet] The gauntlet is a extreme short-range weapon, used for physically slashing your enemies. All players start with a gauntlet and cannot use it; it does not require ammunition, and there are no gauntlets to be found lying around in the arenas. It takes two or three good slashes to kill an unarmored opponent (preferably one who's not moving around a great deal). When you do manage to frag someone with the gauntlet, you get a gauntlet medal (accompanied by the "Humiliation!" voiceover). You automatically switch to this weapon when you're out of ammunition for all your other weapons. The shotgun is far more devastating at close range; in short, the gauntlet is a weapon of embarrassment. It is particularly effective against inexperienced players who don't yet know that they shouldn't stand still while engaging their opponents. Don't use the gauntlet unless your intent is only to humiliate, not frag.

Machine gun

The machine gun is the standard issue weapon which all players start with. The machine gun takes bullets (yellow ammunition). One advantage to the machine gun is that its bullets travel (essentially) instantaneously; they do not have to travel to the target at some definite speed like, say, the plasma gun. However, the machine gun has built-in inaccuracy: Even when holding perfectly still, your hits will end up within a small circle around your crosshair. At extreme range, the machine gun is not very useful because of this; even if your target is holding perfectly still and your aim is dead on, many of your shots will miss. The machine gun has a high rate of fire, but each bullet does not do much damage. The machine gun is best use for close quarters combat, when you have no other more appropriate weapons handy. Use the machine gun at short to medium range only when you have no more appropriate weapons available to you. If your machine gun is outmatched by your opponent's weapon, retreat.


[q3a/weapons/shotgun] The shotgun fires a spread of what amount to the machine gun's bullets, although it takes shot (orange ammunition), which is different from the machine gun's bullets. Like the machine gun, the shotgun's fire travels instantaneously. The spread of the blast is quite significant, so at extreme range the blast will cover a wide area, but since it fires many bullets at once one or two are likely to hit their mark, causing minor damage. At close range the shotgun can be devastating, since the spread is low enough that in close quarters combat most of the bullets will hit their target. Its disadvantage is that it requires a fair amount of time to reload, so although you can deal out some serious damage, your opponent with a weapon that can cycle more quickly may have the upper hand. Use the shotgun at close range for extreme damage. At medium range it is somewhat more effective than a machine gun at inflicting incremental damage.

Plasma gun

[q3a/weapons/plasma] The plasma gun is a fairly effective weapon which fires fast-moving bolts of blue plasma (purple ammunition). The plasma bolts have a small area effect, or "splash," which allows them to cause damage not only to what they hit but to what is near them. This unfortunately means, as with other splash weapons, you can injure yourself with the plasma gun if you, say, fire it into a wall that you're standing against. The plasma is an all-around good weapon for short through long ranges. Learn to use the plasma gun, it should be part of your standard arsenal in the arena.

Grenade launcher

[q3a/weapons/grenade] The grenade launcher fires grenades (green ammunition), which are timed explosives which detonate with a splash similar to a rocket's after a few seconds. Grenades will detonate early, however, when impacting a player or any arena object which responds to gunfire, such as a door. Firing the grenade launcher with the intent of actually hitting something can be tricky; the grenades fire at an upward angle automatically to compensate for gravity, so using one to hit an opponent who is even standing still requires a little practice. Grenades, however, are excellent for making a combat area more precarious; firing a few grenades in a doorway is a good way to guarantee trouble for anyone walking through. When totally outgunned, firing grenades can make the battlefield a death trap, even after your opponent has fragged you; it's cheap, but effective. Use grenades for suppressive fire, covering your line of retreat, or laying-in-wait ambushes. Don't bother using the grenade launcher as an actual weapon in a combat situation, unless you have no other good alternatives available.

Rocket launcher

[q3a/weapons/rocket] Ah, the rocket launcher. Repeat after me: "This is my rocket launcher. There are many like it, but this one is mine." Since the days of Doom and the first incarnation of Quake, the rocket launcher has been the mainstay of the deathmatch player. In Quake III Arena rockets move quickly (unlike in Quake II where they were comparatively slow and thus less effective for deathmatch play). Rockets (red ammunition) have a fairly large splash effect and do severe damage when landing a direct hit. At close to long ranges, rockets are most effective; at extreme ranges they do not travel fast enough to pose a threat, except when used as suppressive fire. As with other weapons, rockets impart momentum to their target, so not only can hitting an enemy with a rocket or rocket splash knock him backwards, but can use it on oneself by firing at the ground and simultaneously jumping to jump extra high, or "rocketjump." The rocket launcher will be the preeminent weapon in your arsenal; use it with pride.

Lightning gun

[q3a/weapons/lightning] The lightning gun is an effective weapon which fires an instantaneous and continuous burst of lightning (white ammunition) in a straight line in the direction it is fired, out to a fairly long range. It does moderate damage; one must play the lightning beam on the target for a while to do some serious damage. Furthermore, since hitting one's target requires steady aim, effective use of the lightning gun is restricted to players with low pings (< 100 ms); for higher pings it simply is too difficult to keep the weapon trained on the target. The lightning gun emits a buzz when it is wielded. The lightning gun can be effective in some situations; some prefer it to, say, the plasma gun. If you have a low ping, consider it as an alternative.


[q3a/weapons/rail] The railgun fires an instantaneous and extremely powerful slug (green ammunition) in a straight line in the direction of fire until it hits an obstacle; the railgun is unique amongst arena weapons in that the blast can punch through multiple players); however, it has a fairly long cycle time. However, hitting a target requires deadly accuracy, and so to use it effectively one must have a fairly low ping, or a relatively stationary (i.e., inexperienced) target. Two hits with a railgun to an unarmored opponent are lethal. The zoom key can be quite useful here for a target at extreme range. The railgun emits a quiet hum while held, as if begging for victims. People proficient with the railgun are usually referred to as "railers," which is a compliment among railers and an insult among their victims. The railgun is a devastating weapon in the hands of a skilled player. Try to at least gain some proficiency with it, if you have a low ping.


[q3a/weapons/bfg] The BFG (an acronym dating back to Doom, which is fairly self-evident) is the most devastating in the arena, unlike previous incarnations of the BFG in Doom and Quake II, where it was an awkward weapon that was only effective in certain situations (large rooms full of monsters/victims). In addition to having a fast cycle rate, it does extreme damage with a direct hit and has a large and powerful splash; one direct hit with a BFG on an unarmored victim is lethal. Its one drawback is that its ammunition (blue ammo) is fairly hard to come by, and in the few arenas in which it appears (only five: Q3DM12, Q3DM14, Q3DM15, Q3CTF4, and Q3TOURNEY6) it can be difficult to get without peril to oneself (a vulnerable camping room in Q3DM12, a precarious walk across a moving platform in Q3DM14, a rocketjump onto a bounce pad in Q3DM15, a jump off a bounce pad onto a moving platform in Q3CTF4, and an acceleration/bounce pad combo onto a collapsable platform in Q3TOURNEY6). Many players despise the BFG, as they consider it a weapon included simply so that newbies can rack up some frags. However, it is a standard Quake III Arena weapon and is not to be trifled with; the standard bots have some unpleasant things to say about the BFG and its users, so the guys at id Software knew full well what they were doing. Fortunately, the BFG appears in so few arenas that it is easily avoidable. The key to using the BFG is to conserve ammunition, since it is relatively scarce. Fire enough shots to dispatch your opponent and no more. If you don't like the BFG, avoid BFG arenas or play server mods that remove the BFG.

Quake III: Team Arena weapons

Chaingun (Team Arena)

[q3a/weapons/chaingun] The chaingun is essentially a greatly improved machine gun, although it uses different ammunition (colored white). It, unlike the machine gun, is not a standard weapon that all players begin with; the chaingun must be picked up. The chaingun has a murderous rate of fire, but like the machine gun is not very accurate, so it is best used at close to medium range. Coupled with the doubler or scout team powerup, the chaingun can be a truly devastating weapon.

Nailgun (Team Arena)

[q3a/weapons/nailgun] The nailgun fires out a spray of nails (ammunition colored cyan) that acts as an improved shotgun at close ranges. Each nail does more damage than each shotgun pellets, but there are fewer nails fired per shot. The nails also have to travel through the intervening space, whereas shotgun pellets effectively travel instantaneously, so when shooting at distant target, one needs to lead it. The spread of the nails shot is also much greater than that of the shotgun. The nailgun is absolutely devastating at extremely close range; at close or medium range, you're likely to be able to land a few nail hits. At any more distant range, you're probably better off with another weapon.

Proxmine launcher (Team Arena)

[q3a/weapons/proxmine] The proxmine launcher fires proxmines (ammunition colored pink), which are small mines that attach to the first surface they hit. Proxmines have the same color of the team which laid them, indicating ownership. When an enemy passes near a proxmine, it detonates with the strength of a grenade or rocket explosion -- including the splash effects and momentum transfer. Proxmines are unaffected by members of your own team -- they will not even detonate. After a period of time has elapsed, the proxmines will expire and spontaneously explode. Also, either team can deliberately set off unexploded proxmines by shooting them with a splash fire weapon (e.g., machine gun fire will not do). Proxmines can be used to block major entryways to your base, particularly when the proxmines are placed in hard-to-see locations from the interloper.

Copyright © 2001-2024 by Erik Max Francis. All rights reserved.