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Call of Duty®: Warzone™ – A Guide to Payload, Warzone’s First Team-Based Objective Mode

  • WZ

Live today in Warzone, Payload is the ultimate test of teamwork and strategy for you and your squad. Read up on how you can master this new objective-based mode, including why it’s great for leveling up your weapons.

  • Strategy Guides
  • Season 04
Call of Duty Warzone 2.0

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Call of Duty®: Warzone™ – A Guide to Payload, Warzone’s First Team-Based Objective Mode

  • WZ

Live today in Warzone, Payload is the ultimate test of teamwork and strategy for you and your squad. Read up on how you can master this new objective-based mode, including why it’s great for leveling up your weapons.

  • Strategy Guides
  • Season 04
Call of Duty Warzone 2.0

Choose a platform to open its digital store to download your free digital copy of Call of Duty®: WarzoneTM.

Buy Battle Pass

Payload Planning – Let’s Drop In


WarzoneTM is well-known for its primary offering of “battle royales”, but modes like Payload take this game into a true “combat arena”. This new mode requires your Squad to strategically fight together and complete important missions… with the intent to blow enemy combatants and defenses up, all while attempting incredible plays along the road to victory.

In general terms, Payload pits two teams against each other. Your team has an initially straightforward mission; to either escort or attempt to stop two trucks carrying satellite parts as they cross Verdansk. This respawn-enabled mode uses sections of the map to create action-packed, high-intensity moments where brawls for objectives turn into complete chaos as your squad fights for control in a match’s final seconds. And with Custom Loadouts and chosen Field Upgrades enabled, Payload beckons the most Elite Operators to not only prove themselves for post-match bragging rights, but also gain some serious personal progress for Attachments, Weapon Camos, and more.

Ready to learn more? Here’s what you need to know about Payload, including what the mode is all about, how to win it, and why it’s a great way to level up Weapons and your overall profile:

Payload – The Basics

As part of the ongoing conflict between Perseus and NATO, satellites have crashed into various locales around Verdansk. After weeks of conflict over the salvageable remains, both factions have successfully brought in a new indestructible flatbed truck to load the satellites and retrieve them from the warzone. You’re here to act as an escort.

While Operators are not licensed to operate the flatbed truck under any circumstances – the trucks move remotely without teams controlling them – they can carry the several tons of satellite salvage across long distances. However, they only do so when they are properly escorted by Operators and the pair of trucks slow to a stop if obstacles are placed in their path, making them major targets for destruction by the opposing team.


Attacker and Defender: Payload pits two teams made up of up to 20 players that each have a turn on the Attacker Team or the Defender Team. For each team, there is an overall mission-critical goal to achieve:

Attacker Team: You and your allied Squads must ensure the truck convoy reaches its final destination.

Defender Team: You and your allied Squads must disable the truck convoy by any means necessary.


After dropping into a specific section of Verdansk with their chosen Custom Loadout and Field Upgrade, the Attacker Team drops near one of two trucks within the designated playable area. The Defender Team drops on the other end of the playable area, surveys the land, and starts to plan ambush points; ideally at Build Spots (see below).

The Payload vehicles’ progress appears under the compass at the top of the screen. For the Attacker Team player, as you stay within the vehicle’s escort perimeter (shown as a ring of light around the truck), it turns blue and your Payload transporter will move forward. If the ring turns yellow, it means at least one Operator from the Defender Team is in the vehicle’s escort perimeter, which causes it to stall until they are eliminated. And when this ring is red, it means the vehicle is being held by the defenders.

On the progress bar located on the mini-map and along the route the trucks are taking are specific milestones. These either represent a Build Spot or a Satellite Part Checkpoint; the former is optional (but helpful) for your mission, and the latter is mandatory for success. Here’s what function they perform, and what they look like on your map:


Build Spot – This is where the Defender Team can build obstacles and, if the escort vehicle passes over it, becomes a contract for the Attacker Team to pick up. These are shown as a dotted box with a diamond in the middle (progress bar and mini-map), or a red toolbox (along the road). This from a red toolbox to a Contract if the escort vehicle passes over it.

Satellite Part Checkpoint – This is a mid-goal for the Attacker Team. If the escort vehicle passes it, the Attacker Team gains more time. These areas are represented by a straight line on the progress bar, a circle inside a dotted circle on the mini-map, or a set of green flares in the overworld. When a vehicle passes through here, a specific amount of time will be added to the Attacker’s clock (next to the progress bar, below the compass).


Death in Payload is not permanent; downed Operators can choose to spawn on either vehicle path if they are eliminated in combat. However, Defender Team Operators have a short respawn delay (at launch, this is set to 10 seconds), while Attacker Team Operators can re-infiltrate immediately, as well as receiving a boost to your Sprinting Speed (a limited-time, temporary advantage called “Overdrive”) allowing you to get back closer to the objective quicker.

If both vehicles reach the end of their route path before time hits zero (which can be extended if the vehicle crosses certain checkpoints) the Attacker Team takes the round. Otherwise, the Defender Team wins the round. Teams swap sides after the first half.


Payload – Attacking

·        Attacker – Go to the lead truck to escort the Payload vehicle

·        Contracts – Do the assigned contract to earn a Payload reward

·        Collect – Reach the next checkpoint to collect a piece of the satellite. Time is increased at each checkpoint.


Attacker Team Operators have two primary objectives in the form of both vehicles; along with escorting them, they be even more proactive in helping their team win by finishing the following:

Contracts: The first is completing Contracts; these are like the Recon one found in Warzone’s other modes. Upon activating one, you’ll need to stay near the Recon Device for a short period of time; once you do this, it will spawn rewards like Killstreaks and Cash to spend at Buy Stations scattered around the play area.

Combat: The other is eliminating defenders; remember that Defender Team Operators’ respawns are slightly delayed, which can allow for power play-like situations where attackers could charge forward with an Operator (or full squad… or even 20v0) advantage while escorting vehicles.


Payload – Defending 

·        Halt – Halt the Payload vehicles by getting close to the lead vehicle. Stop them from collecting satellite pieces.

·        Build/Purchase – Build obstacles in the road to stop the Payload and purchase defensive buildings at checkpoints.

·        Contracts – Stop the attackers from winning the contracts so they don’t earn rewards.


Defender Team Operators have a bit more nuance to their strategy, especially because they can’t be as reckless as the brutish escorting side.

Though Defender Team Operators cannot respawn immediately after being defeated, defenders can build obstacles and defensive buildings to aid in stopping the Attackers.

Obstacle Construction: Obstacles, which are free to build, can be constructed directly on either vehicle’s path as denoted by red toolboxes. It takes time to build an obstacle here, but once this is done, it remains intact until an Attacker Team Operator physically destroys it with a planted bomb. If they don’t remove this scenic blockade, the vehicle comes to a complete stop right at the obstacle, and no matter what, the Attacker Team Operators waste some time destroying these obstacles to keep their escort moving.

Defensive Buildings: These can be considered more active measures that cost Cash to outfit with appropriate Operator-killing hardware. Bolster a structure along the truck route with an automated turret, or watchtowers that can give elevated cover in places that don’t normally offer it. Against Attacker Team Operators, the Defender Team should use every advantage they can, including these buildings, so it may be wise to search every eliminated enemy body for extra Cash to construct these defenses.


Top Five Tips

1. Smoke ‘em If You Got ‘em. Defenders and attackers could use smoke grenades to conceal their positions or cover objectives. On the flipside, how do you deal with smoke spammers? Use thermal sights to easily cut through smoke, as well as the Cold-Blooded Perk to remain off enemy thermal sights or use Trophy Systems to intercept these smoke grenades before they pop off.


2. Mount a Defense (or Offense). Remember that you can mount weapons to cover – this makes it easier to control recoil as you fend off attackers from the Payload. As for attackers, you can mount weapons to pick off defenders at a distance, cutting their numbers down so your whole team can charge on the objective.


3. Cash Rules Every Engagement (in) Payload. Operators can add to their advantage through Killstreaks and Defensive Buildings (for Defender Team Operators). In addition to using your Custom Loadouts, use these tools to aid your team in escorting or defending the Payload.


4. Controlled Chaos. You are only able to communicate verbally and with pings within your squad, so your combined efforts for attack or defense lack coordination until you become familiar with this mode. Still, you are all working towards a common goal; ensure you and your squad does your part to escort the Payload or stop it, and don’t worry about those teammates that are just going for kills on either side, as they are being a help by whittling down the other team’s headcount.


5. Payload – A Motherlode of XP and Practice in Verdansk. Other than bragging rights and playing alongside 19 other Operators in a massive and bombastic combat scenario, Payload offers the opportunity to dig deep into learning specific areas of Verdansk, as the playable area is restricted to a certain named area like Downtown or the Promenade. Also, respawns are enabled, which gives you more time to play in the map, and more chances to earn XP for kills. In other words, if you learn positioning, jump spots, and other strategies through experience, then Payload is for you.

Speaking of experience, Payload offers a ton of XP for yourself and your weapons. By using your Custom Loadouts, you can be able to gain Weapon XP specifically for those weapons without having to get a Loadout Drop in a Battle Royale game. And as for camo challenges? Whether you need Longshots or “behind cover kills,” Payload could be your arena for grinding out for Gold Camos.

Now get out there and execute the mission.


Need More Intel? Visit the Official Warzone Strategy Guide to get a detailed look at all 300+ Tips, over 400 Points of Interest, and everything you need to step up your gameplay and be fully prepared for Warzone.

For more information on Call of Duty®: Warzone™, check out: and and follow @RavenSoftware and @CallofDuty on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

© 2021 Activision Publishing, Inc. ACTIVISION, CALL OF DUTY, CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS, CALL OF DUTY WARZONE, and WARZONE are trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc.

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