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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is finally here, and the franchise’s small army of eager fans is already diving deep into the series’ latest entry. Gamers and critics alike have played through the campaign and are already trying out all the multiplayer mode’s guns and loadouts. Early adopters have also outlined Modern Warfare 2’s cosmetic system, which means that it’s time to start grinding in order to unlock all the game’s camos.
For those who need a refresher, weapon camos are optional customization choices that let players add a little bling to their firearms. Basically, if you’ve ever seen an assault rifle painted in varying shades of green to match a ghillie suit, you’ve seen weapon camo. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has almost 200 different firearm paint options, and they’re all flashier than anything you’d ever see on a real-life soldier. Best of all, like weapon camos in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, you can earn every single camo without entering your credit card numbers. Whether you want to earn all the camos is another matter entirely.
First things first, in order to customize a weapon with a camo, you need to visit the Multiplayer Loadout page, select the weapon you want to paint via Custom Loadout, pick the Gunsmith option, and select the Camo tab. That will load a page that shows all the camos that you own and can unlock. The sheer number of camos is daunting, and it will probably grow as the years go by, but the process of unlocking all of them is a big part of the reason why so many people grind through the game’s multiplayer.
Camos come in two varieties: universal and completionist. Snow Grass, which is primarily an off-white broken up by streaks of green to simulate a grassy field covered in snow, is an example of a universal camo, which means it can be applied to any weapon. The problem is you can’t unlock it with just any weapon; you need to use the MCPR-300 sniper rifle. Specifically, to acquire Snow Grass, you need to kill two opponents within 10 seconds of each other with the MCPR-300, and then you need to repeat the process nine more times. Oh, and you also need to level up the MCPR-300 before the game actually starts tracking the requisite killstreaks.
This is the Achilles heel of Modern Warfare 2’s camo system. In order to acquire any camo, you need to grind a weapon until it reaches a certain level, and then you need to grind very specific kills with it. You never know what challenges the game will throw at you until you actually reach the requisite level and view the appropriate camo in the Gunsmith menu. For instance, another MCPR-300 camo, Bloodied, requires 10 hip fire kills (i.e., kills without aiming down the scope). Talk about a challenge.
Luckily, Modern Warfare 2 streamlines the process somewhat by placing all the camos you can unlock with a weapon in a gray box at the bottom-left of the screen. Once you unlock a universal skin for one weapon, it is also made available for all your other firearms. You will have to scroll through the list of camos if you want to dip an M4 in Snow Grass, but at least you don’t have to kill two enemies within 10 seconds of each other 10 times again.
If you thought universal weapon camos were grindy, you might want to stop reading now because the process to earn completionist camos is even more time-consuming. Each weapon has four completionist skins: Gold, Platinum, Polyatomic, and Orion. And yes, they each have their own requisite challenges you need to unlock first.
Gold is “easy” enough since you just need to complete all of a weapon’s camo challenges to receive its Gold camo mission. The kicker is that when you unlock a Gold skin, you can only use it for the weapon you unlocked it with. That means if you want all of your assault rifles and sniper rifles to rock the Midas touch, you need to complete all of their camo challenges and then finish their specific Gold camo quests. But that’s just one completionist camo; we still have three to go.
To unlock the Platinum camo challenge for any weapon, you need to acquire the Gold camos for all weapons of its type. So you know your dream of making your assault and sniper rifles glitter like gold? You will need to do just that if you want to unlock their shiny, Platinum finishes. Again, you also need to complete each weapon’s specific Platinum challenge in order to actually unlock the skins, one firearm at a time.
As for the Polyatomic and Orion skins, their challenges are the most egregious. In order to acquire a Polyatomic camo for one weapon, you need to complete its challenge, which is only available once you acquire the Platinum camo for all 51 weapons. And again, the Orion camos are locked behind a challenge that only unseals itself after you earn all 51 Polyatomic skins. The developers weren’t kidding when they called these the “completionist” skins.
While this article was a fairly exhaustive summary of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s camo criteria, it only applies to the game as of writing. The developers could easily tweak the experience to make players earn skins faster (or slower). If future updates add more weapons, then the path to completionist camos could easily stretch beyond the horizon.