There will be more ways than ever to level up in Call of Duty when Black Ops: Cold War arrives. For the first time in Call of Duty history, player progression will be synchronized across various titles. This shared progression system will begin when Black Ops: Cold War launches on November 13, and advances further when Season One’s content launches on December 10, along with the integration of Cold War content in Warzone. Basically, XP and level progression will be shared across Black Ops: Cold War, Modern Warfare, and Warzone.
This new shared progression will be simplified by uniting this collective of Call of Duty titles under one ranking and prestige system. 2019’s Modern Warfare removed Call of Duty’s iconic prestige system, a decision that was not popular with the community, in favor of seasonal “Officer ranks” that reset at the end of each season of content. The launch of Black Ops: Cold War will bring back prestige mode, but it will be more of a hybrid between Modern Warfare’s seasonal ranking system and the ability to prestige.
In past years, prestige mode was an option available to players after they reached the highest rank in Call of Duty’s multiplayer. Opting into prestige mode let the player reset their rank and unlocked items for a fancy new “prestige” emblem, which was basically the bragging rights of the dedicated grinders. This process could be repeated several times, and it usually took 10 or more prestige levels to achieve a final “master prestige” emblem and rank.
Personally, I’m part of the minority that didn’t mind that the prestige mode disappeared with Modern Warfare. I usually reached master prestige rank each year, but it’s not like it was anything truly rewarding. I don’t think Modern Warfare’s seasonal ranking system is perfect, as the grind to complete the seasonal challenges is always far greater than any reward, but this hybrid “seasonal prestige” system has potential to be better and satisfy more of the playerbase.
Black Ops: Cold War will launch with a “pre-season” of rewards and leveling up. Once Season One’s content drops in December, the three Call of Duty titles will be synchronized under a new system. Modern Warfare and Warzone will ditch the old “Officer” rankings, joining Cold War’s new “Military Ranks” system. This won’t disrupt any players already leveled up in Modern Warfare; all the weapon and attachment unlock progression will still be there, but the player rank will be set at military rank 1 until XP is earned. After reaching the maximum military rank at level 55, players will enter a seasonal leveling progression path and automatically earn their first prestige at season level 1.
The good news is there’s no longer a tedious grind of starting over and unlocking all the weapons, attachments, and perks each prestige. The new seasonal prestige lets players keep all of the content they’ve unlocked for their custom “create-a-class” loadouts. Everyone just keeps earning XP and leveling up for new prestige emblems and rewards without any of the punishment of the past.
Each season of content will offer four additional prestige ranks to achieve across a grind of 200 seasonal levels. Each season will also give a new weapon blueprint to earn at level 50. Players who reach level 200 in any season will also achieve the iconic title of “Prestige Master” for that season, and the seasonal levels can continue to climb to 1000, with new master prestige rewards that can be earned. At the start of each new season, the seasonal level will reset, and a player’s progress will resume from the highest prestige they achieved from the previous season.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but basically players will always have an opportunity to make use of all the shared XP earned across all three games. This seasonal prestige system gives more incentive than Modern Warfare and Warzone’s Officer ranks, which capped out at 155 levels each season.
Having such streamlined progression really is a great advancement. Players can choose between multiple titles and modes without feeling like they’re wasting time that could be spent leveling up in multiplayer. And, as previously reported, Zombies mode will also be integrated into the leveling and rewards systems this year. Whether you prefer to play last year’s maps on Modern Warfare or choose to devote all your free time to killing zombies in Cold War, you’re still leveling up your military rank and battle pass for the season.
However, Activision did suggest Cold War as the “preferred” way to level up. The newest Call of Duty generally gets more double XP events, though, so this isn’t too surprising to hear.
In addition to leveling one rank across multiple games, some weapon progression will be shared. All unlocked weapons from Modern Warfare and Cold War will be available for use in Warzone. All XP and leveling counts for both Warzone and whatever game the weapon originates in. So, players can still work to unlock camos and attachments for any weapon by playing Warzone, but Modern Warfare guns can’t be used in Cold War multiplayer and vice versa.
Operators from both titles will also be shared in Warzone, so all the pricey Operator bundles purchased from Modern Warfare will still be good to use in Cold War’s Warzone update. However, like the weapons, they can’t be used in the wrong era of multiplayer.
All this information, as detailed by Treyarch’s blog, follows up yesterday’s tweeted Season One road map. One of the most exciting parts of the road map is the confirmation that Modern Warfare’s excellent 2v2 Gunfight mode will be returning in Black Ops: Cold War. It also mentions the return of “Nuketown,” the Black Ops map that will probably never die. Nuketown is reimagined for every Black Ops title, and Cold War will have a “Nuketown ‘84” map.
There are a lot of reasons to feel excited for Call of Duty, and I can’t wait to sacrifice sleep trying to reach all these new levels when Black Ops: Cold War launches on November 13.