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Rocket Launcher
Production information


Technical specifications
Damage Per Hit
  • 100 [direct impact]
  • 1-100 [splash damage]
  • 1-84 [splash damage] (Quake Live)
Maximum Ammunition
Fire Mode


Ammunition Type

Rockets (red)


120 units splash damage radius

Rate of Fire

75 rpm (1 Rocket every 800 milliseconds)

Muzzle Velocity
  • 900 units per second
  • 1,000 units per second (Quake Live and Challenge ProMode)



Extremely long range of 13,500 units


Railgun (Q3)


In Quake 3 Arena, the Rocket Launcher, or "RL", fires powerful rockets. These generate Splash Damage, which do damage around the rocket's point of impact. Generated splash damage from the point of impact can be utilized in Rocket Jump or air juggling enemies.

The Rocket Launcher is a popular weapon, so expect some resistance when trying to get it. When attacker kills someone with a Rocket Launcher, the game feedback summary will announce something like "Grunt ate Bitterman's rocket." on direct hit kills or "Wrack almost dodged Gorre's rocket." on splash damage kills.


  • Because the Rocket launcher's usefulness, it's often a hotly-contested weapon. Expect some resistance if you are going for it, especially in FFA mode, which everyone you face is hostile. Even at large open areas or cluttered spaces, RL can be a dominant weapon at any arena.
  • Any crosspath or narrow gate that leads up to RL spawn from an important armor or health pickup in any map, always have potential to create chaos chokes at crowded matches. To evade any risks and unnecessary stack loses, players must find alternate paths around such spots once RL is already in their possession or seek rocket packs. At the other hand chaos may be a good thing for someone who needs to risk a little by a hit-and-retreat in order to gain control over items.
  • Due to Quake 3's fast-paced nature, it can be incredibly difficult to directly hit a target with a direct rocket at long distances. Instead, utilize the rocket's splash damage by hitting your target's feet. While this usually won't kill them in one shot, it can do a lot of damage. It usually takes around two to three rockets near a target to kill him/her. Aim at the ground and walls near to shake your foe's balance off.
  • Standard player speed (320-324 ups) is a third of the standard rocket flight speed. That means rocket covers the same distance in one second, where it takes player 3 seconds to reach on a flat terrain. That flight time obviously changes within' angle you shoot, distance and movement pattern differences between you and your foe in real combat.
  • Strafe aim and movement flow have great effects on rocket's trajectory path. With some close observation and mathcrafting it takes quite some time to figure out the rockets' flight path and timing with experience. For more comfort let your elbow-wrist coordinate together. Try to lead the shot with the round of crosshair as you're on the move for foes that may engage or retreat away. Projectiles will stall behind of your movement direction on-ground either mid-air ever so slightly, affect by your angle of view.
  • Don't abuse jumpshots beyond close quarters until you get the hang of RL accuracy at long distances. Try to lead shots with small wrist flicks at long range as either of you getting closer or keeping distance. Use your wrist as a pivot from your desk at long range for smooth leading. As player experience grows RL shots will be more accurate at greater distances with prediction.
  • Running directly into someone from far distances just to pre-fire a rocket and missing it, means pretty bad disadvantage in combat. At the reload delay foe would change position and answer with a counter-shot that more likely to be accurate than a panic spam. Try to maintain a safer combat range, observe direction changes and lead your shot at long distances. Always take some sort of cover or position for height advantage when attacking long range or swap to another weapon suited for longer ranges.
  • If you're up against somebody that has the Rocket Launcher, get away from them. The RL is ineffective past close quarters because of the projectile speed. When you're out of range, take out a weapon more suited for medium or long range, such as the Plasma Gun or the Railgun.
  • When fighting against a RL from distance, make sure you're not near a wall or in tight spaces because a rocket that hits a solid surface near you will inflict splash damage, and the RL user may decide to flood the room with blasts.
  • When versing against a RL wielder, try to fake your movement by strafing straight first, so they see that and try to lead their shots your way. Deny that attempt by a diagonal step at the opposite side to confuse your enemy. Straight forth-back jumping will make you a slower target (270 ups velocity compared to 324 ups ground movement) at mid-air. Don't try jumping against blasts unless you're close enough or successfully fake-dodged a shot once.
  • Try not to use the Rocket Launcher at very close range, as you may take splash damage, or even get yourself killed by your own rocket's blast. Switch to the Shotgun, Machine Gun or Lightning Gun at close quarters, and combine them with your RL to avoid such cruel fate. Combining RL with other weapons after an air juggle will also help you to conserve its ammunition.
  • Rocket blasts can be utilized in air juggling opponents if you anticipate their movement and fire in a motion to hit rear of their direction. Predicting their movement and catching onto them may allow you to disorient or corner them. Landing airshots in a combo after air juggling them would be possible once player practiced enough. For airjuggle to work throughly, player have to circle strafe and disorient foe, then skillfully land a shot at the opposite direction of their movement.
  • Rocket Launchers can be used as an area denial weapon, keep your foe from entering a location and blast it out, you can also use the rockets to cover important items or hold choke points to force opponent to take another path. Alas, this will be a waste of ammunition if your foe keeps faking their motions or you're not hearing any audial cues on blind firing.
  • Self-damage from rocket blast splash, can be utilized for denying possible health orb spawns near the important armor spawns or Railgun to deny enemy for a while at certain maps. Especially if there's no Megahealth spawn, or there's a long time until it spawns again. Denying health orbs by damaging self, could make your opponent roam more than intended and lose time while trying to navigate for important items sending them away. When you're already possessing Megahealth or can't dominate the stacks in the arena, this technique becomes irrelevant.
  • Narrow sightlines that Railgunners peek out, can be denied with rocket fire with ease. No need to open stray fire before hand since you can intimidate sniper by sending one rocket. Narrow sightlines generally created across high floor corridors with a large open area in the middle. Anyone peeking from a corner may have an opportunity for a very long sightline by aligning. On different occassions you can see Railgunners peeking near pillars, window slots or crouch peeking from low below but high doorways for not exposing themselves.
  • Don't try to potshot rockets at opponents sniping with a Railgun at the open from afar. Skilled or not, the opponent will simply sidestep away from your rockets and retaliate with accurate fire. Try to utilize splash damage against them by gaining height advantage or get behind cover first, else try to shoot nearby walls around them to force attacker away from his/her position. To retaliate at far distances at the open Rocket Launcher requires some cover from rapid fire weapons in a combination before hand.
  • Near bouncepads, any flinging noise can be a great indication of firing RL away to deny a chasing opponent of height advantage. When a bouncepad spot has a tubular casing it's possible to disrupt the air movement of the chaser by a splash shot from rear. Else if bounce pad is at the open, best bet is going for a direct hit parallel to the ground to send them back where they came from or a peak point shot which is harder.
  • In Quake Live Rocket Launcher's splash damage is nerfed down to 84 from 100 but its projectile speed buffed to 1000ups from 900ups. This alone makes blast infliction from solid surfaces tactic sort of invalidated. Instead of abusing splash damage cheaply, players must use the rocket's new faster projectile speed for hitting direct shots.
  • Only use rocket jump tactic in desperate situations or when you need to get to higher ground quickly for reaching an important . It will only cost the player 50% of splash damage to self per blast jump at max. Remember that combining this with Quad Damage or Grenade Launcher will amplify the effect and grant you more pushback force, but the risk is much higher as well. Tier 5 and Tier 6 maps are famous about requiring player to put his/her knowledge on rocket-jumps.
  • Bouncepads are good utilities for being airborne and boost rocket jumps, especially at open yard maps. It may take the bearer 2-3 rockets in total to reach where eagles dare, and one must be considerate about where to land. As it must be a higher platform, another bouncepad or just small body of water to evade incurring further fall damage on top of blast splash. For flying sky-high, bearer must rocket jump off from the bounce pad by jumping on it and firing a rocket at it. While it suffices mostly, short ranged bounce pads require a second dive after adjustment to air momentum at the same bounce pad by firing rockets twice as bearer start falling.
  • Grenade shells of Grenade Launcher can be set off by a RL blast (this doesn't apply at Quake Live). Especially effective in a 1v1 scenario, blocking opponent's access to an important area from narrow gates or corners when used right. Simply 2 grenade shells, can be bounced at a corner and detonated by a rocket. Preferred to quickly block access to important gates from close-medium distance, without waiting for fuse time. Lobbing in a single grenade followed by a RL shot for detonation can block an important pickup in an active combat as you retreat, or before you step inside the room. Else utilized in gaining more height from a rocket jump at the cost of more self-damage.
  • Remember in Quake Live blast force is capped and rockets don't detonate grenade shells. While it's still get high propelling jumps with Quad or Doubler the height will be limited almost equally. In QL it's not possible to reach immense heights with rocket jump when possessing Quad Damage or Doubler alone. Player who thrives to reach skyhigh in QL, should try blast jumping from a bounce pad with 1-2 stacked rocket shots.
  • If you are low on health and in a situation where you know you're almost definitely about to die, simply pull out the Rocket Launcher and fire randomly. If someone's that close to killing you, then blind fury can often triumph over strategic attacks. Just don't aim too close to the ground or walls as you may kill yourself, something particularly undesirable in FFA mode.
  • If a enemy is using Flight give up and try a different hitscan weapon such as Machine Gun to kill them. The slow rocket speed means unless the enemy is going towards your rocket you will never hit them.

Advantages Edit

  • Most basic firepower in the arsenal, caters to every skill level.
  • Satisfying damage burst with large splash radius.
  • Splash damage air juggles and denies pickups.
  • Effective against cover, long sightgaps and low ground.
  • Long effective range makes it a hot deal in all arenas.
  • Semi-automatic loaded to throttle fire.
  • Can be used to rocket jump for shortcuts.
  • Devastating when used in weapon combos.
  • Splash damage have potential of dealing same damage as a direct hit in Quake 3 Arena.
  • Projectiles are faster in Quake Live.

Disadvantages Edit

  • Wanted by everyone, even the interest to it creates choke points and resistance.
  • Not hitscan, projectiles suffer flight time.
  • Self-damage can be hazardous to the wielder.
  • Short ranged for newbies, grows with player skill.
  • Requires leading the shot, further as distance grows larger.
  • Punishes pre-firing at long range, a good observation required.
  • Taking cover or higher position is encouraged at long distance.
  • Ammo can be hard to come by, not eligible for spamming at all.
  • Splash damage nerfed in Quake Live.

Trivia Edit


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