Aim sway is not new to the Call of Duty series, but fans have been quick to lament its presence in MW3.

COD games have always included some degree of aim sway, but the behind-the-scenes design decisions for the most recent Modern Warfare title have taken things too far, according to fans.

It results in an extremely frustrating gameplay experience for many players.

What is Aim Sway?

Aim sway refers to mechanics that make aiming feel off in MW3 and significantly impacts the minute-to-minute gameplay experience.

It is made up of three mechanics that include the aiming reticule moving off-center when you ADS, the reticule shifting when you strafe, and the aim sway itself always starting in a random position.

When working together, these elements hurt MW3’s gunplay. It particularly affects mouse and keyboard users. For those using a controller, the issue is somewhat offset by aim assist.

YouTuber TrueGameData first pointed out Modern Warfare 3’s aim sway issues in his brilliant analysis video:

Aim Sway Explained

There are three main components to MW3’s aim sway that are frustrating the player base at the moment. They are:

Random Aim Sway When You ADS

According to TrueGameData, the random nature of MW3’s aim sway while aiming down sights has been around since Modern Warfare 2019.

It essentially means that your aiming reticule will move to a random location away from your original target when you aim down sights in MW3.

For example, when your reticule is looking directly at the head of your target, it will move away from it in a random direction when you ADS:

Collage showing aim sway while ads in MW3
Credit: TrueGameData

Reticule Moves Off-Center When You ADS

While aiming down sights and aiming in a particular direction, the reticule will move away from the center position in the direction you are aiming at.

You can see an example of this in TrueGameData’s video, where he highlighted the reticule’s swayed position vs its original position with a green dot:

Showing reticule aim sway off center in MW3
Credit: TrueGameData

As you can see, as he begins to aim to the left, the reticule moves off-center. It seems like a pretty negligible change at smaller distances but can make a huge difference when you get further away from your target. It can cause you to miss your shot completely.

Reticule Shifts When You Strafe

According to TrueGameData, this is the main culprit for why aiming feels so bad in MW3. Similar to the reticule’s directional shift while aiming, it will also move away from the center in the direction that you strafe.

Showing reticule aim sway from strafing in MW3
Credit: TrueGameData

As you typically strafe from left to right to avoid incoming fire in most first-person shooter games, the aim sway while strafing feels particularly off to most players.

Operator aiming weapon near cover in MW3 key art

The penalties for aiming while strafing also stack with the other two issues mentioned above.

When combined, it results in a gameplay experience that feels bad and is frustrating to play.

Fans Hate Aim Sway

On the whole, MW3 players are not happy with the state of aim sway and the overall penalties for aiming in the latest Call of Duty title.

Fans are upset at the fact that gun accuracy in MW3 is largely determined by RNG, rather than player skill:

Many have pointed out that MW3’s aim sway issues are more prominent for mouse and keyboard users, as aim assist for controllers seems to negate some of its worst aspects.

This player is certain that controller users have an unfair advantage in Modern Warfare 3:

However, this Reddit user also points out that this is only true for close distances. The further away you are from your target, the more aim sway is present for console and controller users:

It seems that all can agree on one thing: severe aim sway should not be a thing in Call of Duty.

Hopefully, Sledgehammer Games can take on board this community feedback and implement some much-needed adjustments to aiming shortly!

Here’s hoping they look into MW3’s terrible spawns while they’re at it.

Staff Writer
Passionate gamer and writer, Alpay has been featured on GamingIntel,, and TheGamer. When not writing, he delves into virtual worlds, enjoys high-concept TV shows, and splurges on Steam sales.
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