Black Ops Cold War Zombies guide - loadouts, objectives, Pack-a-Punch and Exfil explained

Black Ops Cold War Zombies guide
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This Black Ops Cold War Zombies guide will help you survive waves after wave of the undead. It's packed with plenty of tips and tricks here to help you survive on the Die Maschine map, and generally stay alive as long as possible as you fight the Nazi corpse army. These are general survival pointers to keep you alive against the Zombies in Black Ops Cold War, whether that's to complete Easter eggs or just to see how far you can last - our Black Ops Cold War Zombies guide can help you. 

If you're looking for a guide to the Black Ops Cold War Zombies Easter egg, we have that covered too.

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Black Ops Cold War zombies Loadout

Black Ops Cold War zombies loadout

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Before you jump into a Black Ops Cold War zombies match, there are some steps you should take to prepare. In the Loadout menu, you’ll have the ability to use the Create a Class function, just like in Multiplayer. Your progression in Multiplayer mode carries over to Zombies, meaning you’ll be able to use all the attachments for the guns you’ve earned thus far. 

Don’t forget to take a look at your Field Upgrades, as well. These are specific to Zombies mode and will give you the upper hand during a match. All of them are decent, but we tend to gravitate towards Energy Mine, as it deals explosive damage. But all are useful across various playstyles. 

Black Ops Cold War Zombies skills

The other main section to keep in mind are Skills. These are permanent upgrades to Weapon Classes, Field Upgrades, Perks, and Ammo Mods in Black Ops Cold War Zombies. You upgrade these Skills by using Aetherium Crystals, which are earned by reaching round milestones, completing the Easter Egg, and successfully exfiltrating via chopper.

You’ll earn a round milestone for every five rounds you survive, so the longer you last, the more Aetherium Crystals you’ll earn. Keep in mind, the higher rounds will give you more Aetherium Crystals per milestone. For example, surviving round 25 will only get you one, while surviving round 95 will earn you eight. In essence, survive longer to gain more Aetherium Crystals. Depending on your playstyle, you should prioritize certain Skill upgrades over others, but ones that are never a bad choice are Jugger-Nog, and whichever Weapon Class you use.

Black Ops Cold War Zombies objectives

Black Ops Cold War zombies objectives

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Now that you understand how Loadouts work, you should be prepared to actually play. The main flow of the gameplay is similar to older Zombies modes, wherein you survive round after round, killing hordes of undead and using points to buy upgrades and to open up the map. 

Specifically, the flow of the game involves surviving by having zombies follow you through the map. The map is designed in such a way that you can bait them into funneling through corridors so you rarely get overrun. Now, things can always go wrong, but that’s the general idea. Keep running around in circles as the zombies follow you, turn around to get some kills, and keep running. Repeat this process to stay as safe as possible, while being aware of your points (aka Essence). Ideally, you should open up the map as much as possible by opening doors and unblocking pathways. This costs points, but is vital to surviving. 

There are a couple special zombie types that spawn in every few rounds. The Plaguehounds are most frequent, and deal high amounts of damage via their gas attacks. You’ll know they’re about to spawn when you hear “Fetch me their souls,” and the area around you gets foggy. For best results against them, keep running around and try to attack them from a distance. Do not attempt to fend them off while you’re in close quarters, as they’ll easily overtake you.

The other enemies to look out for are the Megatons. These are larger infected that serve as a mini-boss of sorts. You’ll want all hands on deck to take them out. Once you deplete its health, it will regenerate and split itself in half, making two new zombies called  Megaton Bomber and the Megaton Blaster. Again, fight them from a distance and do your best to avoid their radioactive attacks. They have a lot of health, which is why it’s so important to upgrade your weapon with the Pack-a Punch machine as soon as you can. 

Gather points to turn on the power in Black Ops Cold War Zombies

Black Ops Cold War zombies turn on the power

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Your main goal in Black Ops Cold War Zombies, as every, is to acquire the Pack-a-Punch machine, which allows you to upgrade your weapons. Before you do that, though, your objective right from the start is to get out of the beginning area and get to the underground Facility to turn on the power. To do so, you’ll need to open several doors (or blow through piles of rubble), which costs Essence. 

Ideally, your team should be evenly distributing who buys what. If only one person spends Essence on opening doors, that player will be at a severe disadvantage, as they won’t have enough to buy certain perks or upgrades. It’s best to be fair and have players take turns opening doors. In total, it will cost between $8,000 and $9,000, so make sure you split that among the team.

Luckily, the objective of turning on the power is marked on your map, so keep surviving the rounds while making your way to the underground area. Depending on your team and a little luck, you should be able to turn on the power by round six or seven.

Turning on the power allows you to do many things and is essential to surviving the onslaught of undead. Most importantly, it is the first step in getting your hands on the Pack-a-Punch machine. 

Interact with the two terminals

Black Ops Cold War zombies

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After you’ve turned on the power, you’ll get two new waypoints that require you to turn on a set of Terminals. They’re close by, so interact with them and you’ll be able to move onto the next goal. 

Enter the portal

Black Ops Cold War zombies

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As soon as you turn on both Terminals, a large portal will appear in the center of the room. It’s labeled “Anomaly” on your HUD. Take the steps down to the center and interact with the portal. Doing so will send you to an alternate dimension.

Enter the next portal in the alternate dimension

Black Ops Cold War zombies

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The main thing to know about the alternate dimension is that it’s a lot darker, making it harder to see. Because of that, you’ll want to turn your brightness up, and try not to stay around the inside areas of the map.

You’ll have another objective that leads you back outside, but before you interact with it, take a look at the purple crystals found around the middle of the map while outdoors. If you shoot them, they’ll drop random items like upgrade materials (which we’ll cover later on), Essence, and other useful things like armor plates. 

Do keep in mind, you’re on a timer, so don’t hang around too long before interacting with the next portal. It costs 500 Essence to interact with it, so make sure you’ve got enough points before running up to it.

Grab Pack-a-Punch part and place it in the machine

Black Ops Cold War zombies

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After you interact with the portal you’ll be moved to a new area where you’ll find a Machine Part. Collect it, and deliver it to the Machine in the center of the map. This will unlock the Pack-a-Punch machine, which is vital to surviving during the later stages. 

Use the Black Ops Cold War Zombies Pack-a-Punch to survive

Black Ops Cold War zombies

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If you’ve made it this far, you should be in good shape to survive for a while. But let’s dive into how the Pack-a-Punch works, because it’s not self explanatory. Each upgrade costs Essence. The first tier is 5,000, the second tier is 15,000, and the third is 30,000. The higher the tier, the more damage your weapon will do. Your weapon will also feature a camo skin after each upgrade you apply. 

You can also use the Pack-a-Punch machine to apply ammo mods like Napalm Burst, Dead Wire, Cryofreeze, and Brain Rot. These all have varying attributes and are useful in many situations. Remember, you can upgrade your Ammo Mods from the Loadout menu before a match. 

You should aim to upgrade your weapon with the Pack-a-Punch machine by round 10 or so. If you wait any longer, you’re going to have a hard time taking out all the Zombies, as they become more plentiful and are more challenging to defeat.

Pick the right Black Ops Cold War Perks

Black Ops Cold War zombies

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There are various perks you can acquire throughout the match that enhance your character. The perks are as follows (as described by Treyarch):

  • Jugger-Nog: Increase maximum health by 50.
  • Quick Revive: Reduce the time it takes to regen to full health by 50%. Reduce the time it takes to revive an ally by 50%.
  • Speed Cola: Increase reload speed by 15%.
  • Stamin-Up: Increase run and sprint speed.
  • Deadshot Daiquiri: Aiming down sights moves to enemy critical location. Remove scope sway.
  • Elemental Pop: Every bullet has a small chance to apply a random base Ammo Mod effect.

One thing to note is that each subsequent perk costs more to acquire. You should prioritize Jugger-Nog and Speed Cola, but all are useful in their own ways. Since they become more expensive as you acquire more, grab the most important ones first.

Use Black Ops Cold War Zombies Arsenal Upgrades to increase the rarity of guns and armor

An additional type of upgrade that works independently from the Pack-a-Punch is the Arsenal upgrade system. This station is located in the underground area of the Facility and will let you upgrade the rarity of your weapon, as well as your armor, in exchange for material.

These upgrade materials are called salvage and are dropped from zombies. They come in two forms - green and blue. The more valuable upgrades will cost blue salvage, while the lower end ones will only require green, which is more common. You can check your salvage by pulling up the scoreboard. 

Keep in mind, the weapon Arsenal upgrades stack with your Pack-a-Punch upgrades, so you’ll want to invest in both for maximum efficiency. In addition, you should absolutely take advantage of the armor upgrades, as this effectively increases your health and can be replenished by picking up armor plates (or if a Carpenter powerup is collected). Don’t neglect to stop by the Arsenal station when you can, in between rounds. 

Black Ops Cold War Zombie Crafting Tables provide useful items and don't need power

Black Ops Cold War zombies crafting table

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In addition to using salvage to upgrade armor and weapons at an Arsenal station, you can also use it at Crafting Tables. Here, you’ll find many useful items like Stim Shots, Stun Grenades, and even killstreaks like a Chopper Gunner.

One of the most useful items you can acquire is the Self-Revive ability, so always prioritize that and make sure your teammates do the same. It will get you out of sticky situations and allow you to survive longer. Keep in mind, you can utilize the Crafting Tables without turning on the power. 

The Black Ops Cold War Zombie Mystery Box can produce valuable weapons

Black Ops Cold War zombies

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If you look in the sky, you’ll see a large blue beam, indicating the location of the Mystery Box. This box gives you a random weapon in exchange for 950 Essence and is a great way to ensure you’ve got the weapons you need. 

The later rounds have a higher chance of giving you a rarer weapon from the Mystery Box, so keep that in mind as you spend your points. Also, every so often, the box will move, so don’t rely on it being in the same spot throughout the match. You also drop the weapon you swap right on the ground in front of the box and it’ll stay there for the duration of the match. This is good to remember just in case you want to retrieve an older weapon you had.


Throughout a Black Ops Cold War Zombies match, you’ll come across opportunities to Exfil via a chopper. This occurs starting after round 10 and every five rounds afterwards. Doing so will grant you rewards and is an effective way of securing Aetherium Crystals. To call the chopper, head to the starting location and interact with the radio. Once you do, you’ll have to make your way over to the area where the Quick Revive perk machine is located to board the chopper.

However, the boarding process isn’t as simple as you might expect. Once you call the chopper, a timer will count down and you’ll need to take out all the zombies in order to get onboard. If you fail to take out the remaining zombies you will fail the exfil process, so do not attempt to board until all the zombies in the area are dead.

If you’re playing with others, you must have a majority of the group vote to Exfil to begin this process. If you don’t get enough votes, you won’t be able to Exfil, so try communicating with your team to see if everyone wants to escape. 

Joseph Yaden

Joseph loves Nintendo and horror games. With the Nintendo Switch, he's ready to get spooky anytime, anywhere. He specializes in covering Call of Duty: Warzone and action RPGs like Dark Souls, so you can bet he's looking forward to Elden Ring, the brainchild of George RR Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki. You can find Joseph's work at GamesRadar, Digital Trends, Inverse, and PLAY Magazine. When he's not writing about video games he can usually be found petting his cats and listening to some Progressive Metal. He thinks Meshuggah is tight.