Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer quick start guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops has a dizzying number of multiplayer modes and options to explore. Whether this is your first tour of duty or your seventh, our quick start guide will have you power leveling in no time. Since we had access to the game for a limited time, we’re going to focus on how to invest your early COD Point earnings to maximize your return. We’ll also tell you how to unlock Black Ops’ secret co-op Zombie modes. Now put down that noob tube and pay attention!

Above: Who’s ready to get their nuts shot off? 

The hell are “COD Points” anyway?

Call of Duty vets are accustomed to earning XP and leveling up to unlock goodies. Black Ops introduces COD Points, or “CP,” an in-game currency that adds a new dimension to the leveling system. CP are used to purchase weapons, attachments, killstreaks, personalization options and just about everything else in multiplayer. It breaks down like this: leveling up with XP unlocks stuff, but you must purchase it with CP in order to actually use it. Example: the Uzi submachine gun is “unlocked” at level 23, but you must buy it for 2,000 CP to equip it in a custom loadout. Once a weapon has been purchased, attachments are available for additional CP.

As with XP, you receive CP at the end of every multiplayer match. The payout is calculated at 10% of your XP earnings. You also get hefty CP bonuses when you level up. Finally, you can earn CP through Contracts and Wager Matches. The XP/CP system is a little more complex than what you’re used to, but it truly improves the customization experience. Read on for details!

Above: The tiny, frantic Nuketown map is a great place to rack up kills 

Create-a-class – Level 4

Custom classes are unlocked at Level 4. You won’t have much to spend your CP on until you get here, so just try out the default classes and focus on learning the maps. Once Custom Classes are available, you can start buying weapons, equipment and perks for your personalized loadouts. Early on, your CP will be in short supply so focus on really pimping one or two of your strongest classes. Here are some tips on how to spend your CP in each category.


One of the big benefits of Custom Classes is the ability to choose your own perks. Everyone will have their own preferences for perks that suit their weapon loadout and style of play. But if you’re keen to pick up XP and CP fast, go for the Hardline perk (slot one) for 2,000 CP. Hardline gets you killstreaks faster, which is especially baller when you have the RC-XD a mere two kills away (see Killstreaks – Level 10).

Above: Your character’s appearance changes based on what you have equipped for Perk 1


The Claymore is a hefty 5,000 CP, but well worth the investment. They’re a great defense against RC-XD spam and are a lifesaver in team objective games. Don’t overlook the strategic possibilities of Tactical Insertion too, which is a cheaper option at 2,500 CP.

Above: Useful implements of death


The new Nova Gas grenade is like concussion plus smoke, and it does area damage to boot. Nova Gas is bargain at 1,500 CP, and a must-have for your arsenal of destruction.

Above: Nova Gas is the all-in-wonder of tactical grenadoes


The reusable Tomahawk costs 2,000 CP and delivers a one-hit kill. If you’re always cursing about being out of grenades, grab one of these and start chopping.

Above: A gift that keeps on giving

A Note on Weapons and Attachments

As you level up, better weapons become available for purchase with your CP. As soon as you buy a weapon, all its attachments are available to purchase provided you have enough CP. In Secondary Weapons, the Ballistic Knife is unlocked at Level 15. Its silent one-hit kills are vastly more gratifying than any pistol, so buy and equip it ASAP.

Above: You can buy the extended mag, red dot sight, and flamethrower attachments for the price of one noob tube – budget accordingly


  • jaketheripper666 - December 20, 2010 2:17 a.m.

  • GammaGames - December 5, 2010 2:26 a.m.

    My favorite wager mode by far is One in the Chamber. Im pretty good at it, and get first most of the time. People don't like playing with me so they normally leave after like 5 matches. I jsut figured something out in OitC, you get infinite sprint! I was chasing this guy and his fireds where telling him to run for his life(they where dead and watching my person)
  • civver - November 21, 2010 10:48 p.m.

    Some of this advice isn't so enlightening. The Nova Gas may be good, but you only get one of those. Better to get the drop on 2 enemies with the Concussion grenades. And I'll have to express my disapproval at encouraging the purchase and usage of the annoying RC-XD. Far better to help the team and yourself by sticking with the Spy Plane. Instead of sitting in a corner, more points can be had by going around and shooting people with foreknowledge of their location.
  • CJ5950 - November 12, 2010 9:29 p.m.

  • NightCrawler_358 - November 11, 2010 10:35 p.m.

    You know this is actually cool looking. at least Treyarch is doing unique things for a change. The CP is a clever game changing idea, and I like the new art style. Its a little more CG-ish, and it reminds me of Borderlands, just not as drastic.
  • husk94 - November 11, 2010 7:15 p.m.

    don't encourage rc spam.............
  • EDfromRED - November 11, 2010 5:05 p.m.

    Thank you very much for the excellent tips! I sent a link along to all my friends who are playing Black Ops. I was a tad intimidated faced with all the new modes and options, but now look forward to racking up the kills : )
  • jhastings21 - November 11, 2010 2:21 p.m.

    i bought the black ops hardened edition and some one told me that the medal that comes with the game if you take the foam out of the plastic case there is a serial number mine says A3 is that true?
  • NanoElite666 - November 11, 2010 6:30 a.m.

    So there's Pentagon Zombies, the original four Classic Nazi Zombies maps in one of the fancier editions (I'm not really sure on the details of this one yet), AND a whole new Nazi Zombie map? That's a lot of zombies to shoot up.
  • gangjute8 - November 11, 2010 3:33 a.m.

    I am addicted to One in the Chamber. It's so intense...
  • SeattleSound - November 11, 2010 12:52 a.m.

    Glorified version of a pellet gun
  • Ell223 - November 11, 2010 12:02 a.m.

    I tell you what is annoying. When you're winning at One in the Chamber, and everybody else leaves and makes you lose your connection and thus your earnings.
  • Twizinator - November 10, 2010 11:43 p.m.

    Stupid Amazon hasn't delivered my Prestige Edition yet. I was supposed to get it on release!
  • redoralivedemtion - November 10, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    the game looks awesome my friends are awesome hopefully I get it from them captcha:Evolu expetter uh oooookay
  • Cleanser247 - November 10, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    I'm picking Black-Ops up tonight!

Showing 1-15 of 15 comments

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