Hello, this is XboxAhoy and this is the twenty-eighth episode of my Black Ops weapon guide.
Like a bolt from the blue.
In this episode we’re covering the Crossbow.
It’s a single shot weapon, unlocked at level 33.
The Crossbow is an ancient weapon, originating in its most basic form in South East Asia, today part of China.
The earliest examples date to around 600 BC.
The Chinese crossbows, or nu, were an important part of early warfare – with advanced designs such as the repeating crossbow, or ‘chu-ko-nu’ providing the ability to fire multiple bolts in a quick succession.
The crossbow’s history in Europe can be traced to ancient Greece: the ‘Gastraphetes’, translating as ‘belly-releaser’ first appeared in the 5th century BC.
Perhaps the most prolific use of crossbows in combat was during the Medieval era – while longbows were the ranged mainstay of many armies, the ease of use and devastating power of the crossbow earned quite a reputation.
The introduction of the firearm saw the crossbow’s demise: ultimately easier to use, faster to reload, and providing a higher degree of lethality at longer ranges.
Crossbows do retain some usefulness in modern warfare, however – the near-silent twang of a launched bolt useful for covert roles and assassinations.
Their ability to carry unusual payloads also makes them valuable – whether zip-lines or poison tips, the humble crossbow can do many things a conventional weapon cannot.
The Crossbow in Black Ops fires explosive bolts, with the weapon holding only a single bolt before requiring a reload.
By default, you’ll spawn with 2 bolts – one ready to fire, and one in reserve.
Scavenger Pro will extend your initial supply to the maximum of 5 bolts total.
The crossbow can deal damage in two ways – upon impact, or through its explosive blast radius.
Impact damage is insufficient to kill outright in Core – you would need to strike your opponent with 2 bolts in order to kill them.
However, thanks to the explosive element, a single successful stick will inevitably kill your victim – as they’ll have no way to escape the blast radius.
Explosive damage is high, meaning those caught in the blast will usually be killed outright, unless they’re using Flak Jacket.
The explosion’s range of effect is very small, however – only dealing damage within a 4 metre radius.
Rate of fire is very slow, as you’ll need to reload for every shot fired.
This equates to about 20 rounds per minute, or 40 if you’re using Sleight of Hand to speed up the process.
Recoil is simply not a factor with the crossbow’s rate of fire – instead, it’s the parabolic arc the bolt follows that affects your aim the most.
At longer distances, you’ll need to aim above your target to hit – the bolt travels faster and straighter than the Ballistic Knife, but the drop will need to be accounted for, else your payload will fall short.
The crossbow takes 250 milliseconds to aim – as quick as an assault rifle, and nimble enough for most needs.
Reloads are frequent and quite slow – 2.75 seconds between shots will leave you very vulnerable in a close-quarters battle.
Like the Ballistic Knife, and the Launchers – the Crossbow has no attachments available.
For a class using the crossbow, it’s your perks that have the greatest effect on the weapon – and there are two that you should definitely consider using when employing the Crossbow as your secondary.
The first is Scavenger – especially Scavenger Pro.
With the base perk you will be able to resupply your explosive bolts: a very useful trait for sustained use of the crossbow – and the pro benefit will increase your starting supply.
Instead of a meagre 2 bolts, you’ll start with 5 instead – more than double the amount of potential explosive action.
To make the best use of these extra bolts, I’d recommend employing Sleight of Hand as well – this will halve your reload time, allowing you to follow up your first bolt with another quickly, should your first miss.
The more bolts you’re able to fire – the more kills you will net overall. Don’t be afraid of firing multiple bolts in succession if you suspect an enemy is lurking in a building or around a corner.
Aiming with the crossbow requires equal measures of both practice and luck – with the arced trajectory and non-instant travel time, targeting distant or moving targets will require shifting your point of aim.
While the projectile follows a relatively straight path, when shooting over long distances you’ll need to aim a couple of metres above your target – precision will come with practice.
Moving targets are more challenging – to strike an opponent moving across your field of view, you will need to aim ahead of them, by a degree relative to their speed and distance away.
Even should you gauge a shot correctly, there’s always the risk your opponent will change direction, or stop entirely – resulting in a miss.
Given the difficulty of sticking mobile opponents, then – it may be best to target nearby surfaces, and let the explosive damage secure the kill.
The blast radius is small, so shots still need to be precise – but bolts will prove deadly against enemies without flak jacket.
Walls, floors and ceilings all make suitable impact points – as long as you can ensure the explosion is close to the enemy.
One way to enhance explosive performance is to deliberately target explosive scenery – cars, jeeps and barrels can all be detonated with a bolt, and will massively expand your potential kill radius.
This is much safer than attempting to land a stick on a moving target – all too often, your bolt will sail harmlessly past them, giving them the time to take you out whilst you reload.
As far as tackling air support with the crossbow is concerned: don’t bother. While you can inflict a little damage by sticking a helicopter, you’re unlikely to destroy it – even with multiple bolts.
The Crossbow is a challenging but rewarding weapon to use, and one that fulfils a niche role unlike any other.
Once you’ve mastered the arc of the projectile, it’s possible to stick even distant foes who aren’t on the move – and every stick is a reliable kill.
It works well as a support weapon, and can help extend the reach of close-range weapons such as SMGs and shotguns.
Up close, however, the weapon becomes a liability – a painfully slow rate of fire and a long fuse will often leave you vulnerable.
The fact that you must account for the arc of the projectile and its slow travel time also complicates things, and moving targets will become difficult to hit at any sort of distance.
The weapon falls into a very specific role, then – ideal for tackling static enemies, or for use as an area denial weapon with its explosive potential.
While it might not be as versatile as an assault rifle, the crossbow is very satisfying to use.
A well placed shot is its own reward, and the moment of panic when a bolt successfully lands – will certainly stick with your opponent.
Thanks for watching, this has been XboxAhoy.
Join me for the next Black Ops Guide, when I’ll be covering the FN FAL.
Until then, farewell.