Contracts are another way to earn CP. You can start taking out contracts when you reach Level 5. You buy a contract for a small amount of CP, and are rewarded with a big bonus when you complete the terms. They’re available in three categories, Mercenary, Operations and Specialist. You can have one active contract in each category at a time. Some contracts can be completed multiple times, but have a 24-hour cool-off period before you can buy them again.
Above: Operations Contracts focus on specific match types
To maximize your CP, make sure you always have a few active contracts going. Always Be Closing. When you’re just starting out, grab the low-hanging fruit like Steel Meets Spine (Knife an enemy in the back) to quickly turn 25 CP into 150. Don’t forget to buy the easy ones again when the 24-hour waiting period expires! Some of the more difficult contracts will also give you an XP bonus. For example, you can buy the Shotgun Shock contract (Get 2 kills in one life with the Masterkey attachment) for 100 CP. You have 40 minutes of game time to complete it, and it earns you 400 CP plus 400 XP!
As you level up, more demanding Contracts become available in all three categories. And even better, after launch Treyarch will periodically add brand new contracts to the mix to keep things interesting.
OK, now it’s on. Once you unlock killstreaks at Level 10, they’re all available to purchase. Buy and equip the RC-XD killstreak (1,600 CP) first thing. Other killstreaks are your discretion, but at the start of your Black Ops multiplayer career you’ll get the most mileage from the RC-XD. Plus, it’s hella fun to drive! One word of warning: you’re completely vulnerable while piloting the RC-XD, so make sure to hide well before deploying!
As in previous Calls of Duty games, Challenges are earned by achieving milestones, such as “Capture 20 objectives in Headquarters” or “Get 15 headshots with pistols.” Other challenges are focused on gameplay, for example the Action Hero challenge tasks you with killing 5 enemies within 3 seconds of diving prone. The full list of challenges is daunting, as pretty much every aspect of multiplayer has a Challenge associated with it. You’ll achieve many of the early ones without even trying – they just happen in the background and occasionally pop up to shower you with XP. Challenges only give XP as a reward, no CP. But they do help you level up faster, which in turn earns you CP bonuses.
Above: Yet another reason to aim for the head
When you’re just getting started, Wager Matches aren’t likely to do you much good so we’ll talk about those in a minute. You’ll only have enough CP for Ante Up, so the stakes will be too low to matter. Instead, focus on power leveling in regular multiplayer matches – you can easily get to Level 10 (killstreaks unlocked!) in a couple hours. Then you can start really maxing your XP and CP rewards by using your perks, killstreaks, contracts and equipment in combination with each other. Here’s a system that worked really well for me. Buy the RC-XD killstreak and the Hardline perk. Hardline means you need one less kill for your killstreak rewards, so you’ll get an RC-XD every two kills. Buy the Nova Gas tactical grenade and equip that too. Now you’re ready to earn some CP!
Above: Thanks, Hardline perk!
Buy the Experimental Device contract (Earn an RC-XD killstreak) and the Demolition Wrath contract (Get 10 kills in one round of Demolition). You should be able to cash in both of these contracts in one round of Demolition. Hardline makes it easy to get the RC-XD, and in Demolition the enemy tends to cluster around objectives. From a safe distance, drive the RC-XD to the objective and detonate it in someone’s face. You may even get multiple kills, but note that kills earned with killstreaks do not count toward another killstreak. If your opponents are taking out your RC-XDs, use Nova Gas or a Smoke grenade so they won’t see it coming. As an added bonus, your teammates will be able to take advantage of the chaos you’re creating to better take or hold the objective.
Above: Start making cash register sounds
Next, using the same Hardline/RC-XD/Nova Gas combo and take out the Domination Massacre contract (18 kills in one match of Domination) and the Blood for Cash (Earn 2 killstreak rewards) contract. Play a round of Domination using the same system to rack up kills and complete both contracts at once.
There are certainly other combinations of perks, killstreaks, contracts and equipment that play nice together. Looking for and cashing in on these synergies adds a fun twist to multiplayer in Black Ops. Once your Custom Classes are rocking, you’ll be in a position to earn loads of excess CP for gambling in Wager Matches or spending on the more cosmetic options like gun camos, heart-shaped reticles and face paints.
Above: Killed by a lavender reticle – oh the humiliation!