How to start or join a Private Match in MW3
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While public matches are the main draw in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer, you can also start or join another type of match. If you’re a Call of Duty veteran, then you know all about the Private Match system, and luckily, this feature has returned in MW3.

Private Matches allow you to make your own rules for a custom game of multiplayer. You can either take part in the match yourself or invite your friends to join your party. You can also join an existing Private Match with either an invite from someone or using a custom game code. In any case, while you can take advantage of Private Matches in MW3, the feature is quite confusing to locate in the COD HQ menu.

Below, I’ll explain exactly where you can start a Private Match in MW3 and how to join one.

Finding the Private Match system in MW3

You are not able to start a Private Match from the multiplayer section of MW3 like in previous years. Instead, Private Matches are solely accessed from the COD HQ menu, which is the page you first see before entering any mode in MW3.

Within COD HQ, you need to scroll down to the MW3 section, which is indicated by the “Modern Warfare 3” logo along with an image of Captain Price. Here, you should see different boxes for Campaign, multiplayer, and Zombies. However, at the end of these boxes, there is a dedicated one for Private Matches, which you want to click on.

Image via Activision

After you click on the Private Match box, a pop-up appears that gives you three options. The first one to create a match, which you want to do if you want to host the game, and the second is to join a Private Match. You need to select the join option if you’re using a custom game code. You can also join Private Matches by accepting invites from friends. The third option is to run a Benchmark Test, but this is only available to those on PC.

Once you’re in the Private Match lobby, you can change the maps, modes, and other rules if you’re the host. If you’re not the host, then wait until the match begins.

Joey Carr is a full-time writer for multiple esports and gaming websites. He has 7+ years of experience covering esports and traditional sporting events, including DreamHack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.