Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Zombies- Everything You Need to Know About the Gameplay

Published 10/30/2020, 7:04 PM EDT

With just two weeks to go for the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the hype surrounding the upcoming FPS title is reaching new levels. Fans of the long-running COD franchise are more excited about the Zombies mode’s return than other multiplayer modes in the game.


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The official Zombies reveal in September laid out the classic Zombies gameplay elements and new features coming to Black Ops Cold War. Now, Treyarch has released a guide for Zombies gameplay for the upcoming Call of Duty title. The blog details how the gameplay innovations work seamlessly in-game to deliver the most compelling Zombies experience yet.

Perks and Skill Tiers in Black Ops Cold War Zombies


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On launch day, players will have six different Zombies Perks to collect and utilize, including an all-new Perk. Moreover, for the first time in Zombies history, players can permanently upgrade these perks. Here are the descriptions of each base-level Perk available at launch:

  • Jugger-Nog: Increase maximum health by 50.
  • Quick Revive: Reduce the time it takes to regenerate to full health by 50%. Reduce the time it takes to revive an ally by 50%.
  • Speed Cola: Increase reload speed by 15%.
  • Stamin-Up: Increase run and sprint speed.
  • Deadshot Daiquiri: Aiming down sights moves to enemy critical location. Remove scope sway.
  • Elemental Pop: Every bullet has a small chance to apply a random base Ammo Mod effect.

While most fans might be familiar with most of the starting Perks, Elemental Pop will make its debut in Black Ops Cold War. This new Perk is entirely different and is based on Ammo Mods. While Elemental Pop is active, every shot fired gives players a slight chance for a base Ammo Mod to affect their target.

Most importantly, the player can permanently upgrade every Perk to three levels, with all-new Skill Tiers coming into effect. To upgrade their perks, players have to earn Raw Aetherium Crystals by reaching milestone rounds within the game or through successful exfiltration. Also, players can upgrade skills related to Field Upgrades, Ammo Mods, and Weapon Classes, helping them stay alive longer as they collect and invest more Aetherium Crystals.

For example, upgrading the Skill Tiers of Elemental Pop Perk grants the following effects:

  • Tier I – Equipment damage also has a small chance to apply a random base Ammo Mod effect.
  • Tier II – Reduce Ammo Mod cooldowns by 20%.
  • Tier III – When a random Ammo Mod is applied, it uses your current Skill Tier instead of the base.

Meanwhile, Treyarch has assured they will introduce more perks throughout the post-launch seasons.


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Weapon Rarities

The new weapon rarity system enables players to figure out the top-tier weapons in any given situation. In Black Ops Cold War Zombies, weapons come in five tiers of rarity: Common/LoadoutUncommonRareEpic, and Legendary. The damage inflicted by those weapons increases with each tier. Besides that, tiers determine the number of randomized attachments that weapons will have.

Treyarch says an Uncommon weapon will feature around a 50% damage boost over its Loadout version and comes with two attachments. Meanwhile, the Legendary version boosts that up to roughly 300% damage and comes stacked with eight attachments.

This weapon rarity system not only gives every weapon a path to greatness, but it also makes Wall Buys and the Mystery Box more valuable. The randomized weapon attachments thrown into the mix make buying preferred weapons off the wall different every time. On the other hand, Mystery Box has higher odds of rolling out high-rarity weapons as the rounds progress higher. Furthermore, the Mystery Box now includes convenient support items, such as the Sentry Turret and War Machine.

Custom Loadouts in Black Ops Cold War Zombies

A unified progression system across Multiplayer and Zombies in Black Ops Cold War has allowed Treyarch to deliver custom loadouts in Zombies. Players are empowered to bring all unlocked and cosmetics into Zombies. After carefully considering how loadouts would affect weapon progression gameplay, the design team simplified loadouts in the Zombies mode compared to the Multiplayer modes.

Players can bring in a single weapon and a Field Upgrade as part of their Zombies loadout. Additionally, that specific weapon will have its attachments and cosmetics, but it will be the lowest rarity available, Common. This implies players will still need to find other weapons quickly, as the starting weapon will be ineffective at killing zombies after a handful of early rounds. Players can also upgrade the rarity of their loadout weapon and other weapons in-game, thus, keeping their customized loadout weapon for the higher rounds.

Field Upgrades

Entirely different from the tools found in Multiplayer, Field Upgrades in Zombies are designed to fit the Dark Aether story’s narrative. Zombies Field Upgrades available at launch include:

  • Frost Blast  Create a frigid blast of wind that deals frost damage and slows enemies caught inside of it. Slowed enemies take additional damage.
  • Healing Aura – Summon beams of energy down on yourself and allies to instantly heal to full health.
  • Energy Mine – Create a mine of pure energy that detonates in the proximity of enemies, dealing explosive damage.
  • Ring of Fire – Create a ring of ethereal fire that boosts damage for you and allies. Normal enemies who enter gain a burning effect that deals fire damage. Lasts 15 seconds.
  • Aether Shroud – Phase into the Dark Aether for 5 seconds, becoming hidden from enemy detection.

Treyarch has balanced each Filed Upgrade with an appropriate number of zombie kills required to charge it. For instance, For example, Healing Aura has the upgraded ability to revive players on the map remotely. However, it requires double the kills to charge than an offensive-based Field Upgrade, such as Energy Mine.

Armor and Salvage

In Black Ops Cold War, Armor replaces the crafted shield of previous Zombies’ experiences. It provides a 360-degree layer of protection from the armies of the undead. When worn, Armor will mitigate a portion of incoming damage, albeit limitations to its durability. Players can find Armor as a Rare drop from enemies or purchase it using Salvage.

Players can partially repair Armor by picking up an Armor Shard dropped from certain enemies. However, being a finite resource, players will find themselves vulnerable again after eventually running out of Salvage to repair it. Meanwhile, picking up a Carpenter Power-Up will fully repair it. Besides that, Armor can be upgraded two additional levels, increasing its damage mitigation and durability as the zombies grow stronger with every round.

Support/Scorestreaks in Black Ops Cold War Zombies

Now that Treyarch has unified progression across modes, Scorestreaks have arrived in Zombies. Players might need some extra power to escape a tight spot. This is where Support comes into play. The available Support section at launch will include:

  • Combat Bow
  • Sentry Turret
  • War Machine
  • Chopper Gunner
  • Self-Revive

Support items will also pop out of the Mystery Box, as mentioned earlier. Treyarch also mentions any Support items that take perspective away from the player’s character will temporarily make them immune to damage and ignored by enemies while deployed. This also opens up the scope for utilizing these items in solo games.

Loot, Crafting, and Optional Exfil

In Black Ops Cold War Zombies, tougher enemies will drop better loot. Every zombie has a small chance of dropping resources, including Salvage, Armor, and even lethal and tactical equipment, keeping players resourceful during an undead invasion.

Upon unlocking equipment and Scorestreaks through standard player progression, that content will become available at the crafting table in-game. Players can craft it using resources. Loot will also have rarity assigned, based on its effectiveness. For instance, a Frag Grenade is Uncommon loot, while the Cymbal Monkey is a Rare drop.

Meanwhile, starting at the end of Round 10 and every five rounds after, players will have an option to use a radio in the map’s starting area to call in Exfil. However, a majority of the players must vote to initiate exfiltration in a co-op game.


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Upon triggering the option, the normal round will conclude, and players will receive a new objective to reach the exfil site within a time limit. This is when zombies will begin to flood the area in a last-ditch effort to stop the squad in its tracks. A helicopter will fly in and hover above until the zone is cleared of zombies before it can land after reaching the site. If players make it onto the chopper, they’ll escape with bonus XP and the chance to earn Raw Aetherium Crystals.

Ping System in Black Ops Cold War Zombies

For the first time, Zombies players get a locational Ping system, functioning the same way it does in the Multiplayer mode. It activates by pressing d-pad left on controllers and [Z] on keyboards by default. Overall, this feature should serve as a great quality-of-life improvement to players.


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Treyarch’s blog also detailed some Zombies goodies players can get their hands on. For a detailed breakdown of Treyarch’s thought process and how all these features will work together in-game, you can check the official Black Ops Cold War Zombies gameplay guide.

Zombies fans worldwide can get their hands on the first chapter of the Dark Aether story in “Die Maschine” when Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War launches on November 13.

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Souhardya Biswas

494 articles

Souhardya Biswas is an eSports writer for EssentiallySports. He joined the organisation in 2020, wanting to explore the sphere of professional eSports journalism. His passion for gaming started with titles like GTA San Andreas, Far Cry 2, Modern Warfare 2, FIFA 09, eventually developing an interest in Battle Royale games like PUBG and Apex Legends.