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Modern Warfare 3 Zombies: tips and tricks for MWZ

The mega-popular Zombies mode has never undergone as massive of a restructuring as it has for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. What was originally a round-based, co-op survival mode where you and a team of four gradually powered up, expanded the map, and maybe tried to complete a challenging Easter egg story has become something more of a mix of Zombies and the new DMZ mode from last year’s entry.

While there will be plenty that is familiar to Zombies veterans, such as Perk-a-Colas and mystery boxes, you won’t be able to rely on your old tactics anymore. Surviving the new Zombies mode is a completely new ballgame in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, but these tips and tricks will help you and your squad survive threats both old and new.

How is Modern Warfare 3 Zombies different than previous entries?

A soldier with a Pack-A-Punch weapon fires at zombies from behind cover.
Infinity Ward

Before getting into the details of a successful Zombies run, it is important to understand exactly how this mode works since it is so different from how the mode functioned in the past. MWZ is essentially DMZ, but with zombies on the map. That means you and a team of two others will be dropped into the open map of Urzikstan along with eight other teams of three.

Unlike DMZ, you aren’t going to be fighting against other players in the session. There’s no real way to “win” this mode — instead, it’s about getting as much as you can and escape alive.

It doesn’t need to be said that Zombies will be swarming the map, but also be aware that PMCs — human AI enemies — also patrol areas of the map to further complicate matters.

The final main tip to know before your first drop is that MWZ is timed. Each game has a strict one-hour time limit before everyone who hasn’t extracted (or died already) will be wiped and lose everything.

How loadouts work

Loadout screen in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Infinity Ward

Zombies mode features unique loadouts compared to standard multiplayer loadouts, and it has some unique features to it. Since you’re facing a different kind of threat, and looking to accomplish more bespoke objectives rather than just fight other players, you will want to tune your loadout differently.

On your first run, you will be given a few weapons called Contraband Weapons that are preset with specific attachments that you can’t modify, as well as slots for equipment, field upgrades, and acquisitions you get during the match. Acquisitions are things like Perk-a-Colas and killstreaks that you can either use then and there or attempt to extract to use on a future run.

Insured weapons are ones you collect yourself during a match, or unlock by playing other Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 game modes, and you are free to customize them however you want. Unlike other weapons, any Insured weapon won’t be lost should you die on a run, however, it will have a cooldown timer before you can use it again. You will start with just a single Insured weapon slot, but can eventually unlock two more.

Seek Contracts to get perks and weapon upgrades

A swarm of zomsbies attacking with glowing magic.

During a Zombies match, you will be looking to grab as much Essence as possible. This currency is what you will spend on just about everything in a match you can’t pick up, such as wall weapons, perks, and weapon upgrades. While killing zombies will give you a small influx of Essence for every undead you return to the grave, you will want to take on Contracts ASAP to be able to afford perks and field upgrades.

Contracts are found on your map and need to be activated to start. Once you’ve done one or two, head to the nearest perk station or weapon upgrade on your map to spend it.

Focus on completing Acts

Acts are the Zombies interpretation of Faction quests from DMZ, and should be your primary goal for every Zombies attempt. These missions are multilayered, you can only have one active at a time, and they get progressively harder as you complete each one. Acts are broken up into Tiers, which eventually unlock the next Act alongside some cosmetic loot, plus occasional permanent upgrades like additional Insured weapon slots and bigger backpacks.

Watch the threat level and get out while you can

Soldiers in a car driving and shooting zombies.

When you first land, immediately open your map and take note of the different colored zones. Anything without a color is considered low threat, the yellow zone is medium threat, and the small red splotch in the middle is high threat. Obviously, this determines how tough Zombies will be, in terms of damage they take and dish out, but also the types you may encounter. The deeper you go, the more special and boss zombies will appear, but in exchange for the higher danger, all loot and Contract rewards will be of much higher quality. That said, don’t just rush into the red zone as soon as you land and expect to survive — instead, work your way there as you complete contracts and get better gear.

Finally, there will come a time when you need to get out while you have the chance. After a certain amount of time, three extraction zones will randomly appear on the map where you can go to call in a helicopter to escape. But don’t wait until you’re on your last legs to go for an extraction because calling in the helicopter will cause a massive onslaught of zombies to close in on your location and you’ll need to survive it until your ride arrives. The helicopter will only wait for 45 seconds before taking off with or without you, and it then takes another 60 seconds before it can be requested again. Thankfully, you can request it as many times as you want, at least until the red zone expands and overtakes that extraction spot.

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