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Call Of Duty: MW3 Zombies Tips To Get You Started

Zombies mode is much different this year, but we highlight several tips to keep it from feeling overwhelming.


Zombies is live in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, but this year you'll be killing the undead in a large-scale extraction mode. This is way different than the traditional round-based mode you might be familiar with, so here we provide several tips to get you geared up and stay alive in Modern Warfare 3 Zombies.

MW3 Zombies is an extraction mode

First, it's important to understand that not only is this year's Zombies mode straying away from round-based gameplay, but it also doesn't work like the most recent objective-style modes you might've played in Black Ops Cold War or Vanguard.

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MW3 Zombies is a high-risk trios mode in a PvE environment, where you can have the option to choose how you want to play, which includes looting for high-value items and gear and completing story based Operation Deadbolt missions.

Safely exfil to keep your weapons and gear

Normally, dying in Zombies mode just means starting over, but there's much more to gain and potentially lose in Modern Warfare 3. Just like DMZ mode, you keep your weapons and gear with a successful exfil, but failing to extract from the match means you'll lose everything in your inventory with the exception of your Insured weapon. Here you can find our full guide on how Insured weapons work, and the different types of weapons you can use.

Since this isn't going to be endless waves of zombies, you really want to pay attention to the timer on your HUD in order to have a successful exfil. Matches are 45-minutes long, and once the time starts running out, there's a battle royale/DMZ-style gas collapse that will eventually kill you if you don't reach an exfil chopper in time.

There are three random exfil markers on your map. You can choose to exfil from any of the extraction points at any given time, and you don't have to play the whole match. You can simply hop in, complete a mission or grab some loot, and then exfil when ready.

If your match time is ending and the gas starts spreading, you'll only have one last chance to escape with all your gear. The gas will consume the map and eventually take away your initial three exfil points. A final exfil will appear with about 5 minutes left of the match. You'll want to use your Tac-Map to find the final exfil chopper marked on the map. It's going to be random for each match. Head to the chopper ASAP. If you miss this last ride, you will die and lose everything.

What you can and cannot keep from extraction

MWZ operator loadout
MWZ operator loadout

Just like DMZ, you choose an active operator for your match. Each operator has backpack slots, so you can extract weapons, equipment, perks, killstreaks, and other gear pieces to save to this chosen operator. This is great for getting an operator all beefed up with a better loadout before tackling a challenging mission or entering a high-threat zone.

There are also random items on the map with a sell value, such as toothpaste, batteries, comic books, electronics. You can sell these items at Buy Stations for points, or you can exfil with them and the points are converted to XP and used to reduce the cooldown of any Insured weapon you might've lost in a previous failed mission.

However, it's important to note that you lose your weapon rarity levels and Pack-a-Punch levels on the weapons you extract. So, don't upgrade your weapons if you're not planning on using them in that specific match. You also lose all the points saved in your current match. So, spend your points at Buy Stations for any gear you need before your exfil. No need to waste them.

Work the outskirts of the map

MW3 Zombies is played on Warzone's brand-new Urzikstan map, and while this version of Zombies doesn't have the continuous rounds of increasing difficulty, you do still face different threat levels here.

You spawn on the outskirts of the map in the low-threat zone. Exploring inward will bring you to a medium-threat level, and the center of the map is a brutal high-threat zone. There will be a threat indicator on your HUD just above your minimap, so you'll always know what zone you're in.

Working the outskirts of the map will allow you to gear up before dipping your toes into a higher threat level. You do not want to venture to the center of the map without decent gear. The high-threat zone contains zombies and special enemy types that have health equal to very high-round, level 55+ zombies. They are deadly bullet sponges.

Don't go alone

Zombies is played as a 24-player PvE match in trios. You can choose the "No Fill" option before searching for a match, and you'll be able to jump in and play without teammates, but there will still be other friendly trios in the match.

However, trying to complete challenges and go into higher threat zones can be extremely difficult by yourself, especially in the beginning before you get properly geared up. It's recommended to team up and explore the map together.

Complete contracts

You need lots of points to get geared up and upgrade your guns. Completing contracts is a great way to do this, and these work just like DMZ contracts. There are plenty of various objective types marked on your map, and these range from bounty contracts, cargo delivery, and defending an area.

You want to grab contracts from the low-threat level first, and start building up your cash and arsenal. Each one you complete rewards you with 2,000 points and a random reward.

Gear up

Spend your time exploring the world and looting buildings and completing contracts. This will help you get geared up with all the Zombie mode essentials. You might want to loot better weapons, build up points to try your luck at getting Wonder Weapons from the Mystery Box, and get all your perks. Unlike most traditional Zombies modes, there are no limitations on how many perks you can drink.

The ray gun returns
The ray gun returns

Perks, in the Zombies iconic form of Perk-a-Cola drinks, can be found in several ways. You can buy them from perk machines marked on your map, you can get them from random rewards, and there are even little soda can items you can loot. These perk cans can be held in your backpack so you have a choice of when you want to use them. This is a one-time-use item, but you can consume it at any time during your match or exfil with it for later use. You can eventually find schematics for permanent perk crafting, which we discuss further in the section below.

If you want to upgrade your guns, visit the Pack-a-Punch machine, but it works a bit differently in MW3. You can find full Pack-a-Punch details here.

Loot and use schematics

One thing you definitely want to save in your backpack is schematics. These are crafting blueprints that provide the permanent ability to craft important items, such as ammo mods, an Aether Tool to instantly upgrade your weapon rarity, and even something as exotic as a Wonder Weapon. You must successfully exfil with a schematic in order to save it for permanent use.

Schematics might sound too good to be true, but they do have their limitations. Each schematic will have a cooldown timer. This keeps you from having instant and unlimited access to all the powerful items, as some craftables have an 8-hour or more cooldown.

First- or Third-Person

On a much smaller note, Zombies gives you the option to switch from first-person to third-person perspective. This is done by holding the down button on the D-pad. You can toggle the option on and off any time mid-match. This might not be a tip that can save you, but at least you can technically watch your own back.

These are just some basic tips to get your started, so you can hopefully survive and successful exfil in your matches.

For more on Modern Warfare 3, make sure to check out our guide on how to level up faster, including both player rank and weapon progression. Here we highlight all the MW3 mastery camos and how to unlock them.

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