Skip To Main Content

The Prestige Primer Episode 1: Progression Toward Prestige

  • BOCW

A weekly column about progression and advanced strategies in Call of Duty® returns with an explainer of the progression system for Black Ops Cold War, as well as a deeper dive into a shotgun blueprint that you can earn when you sign up for Call of Duty e-mails.

The Prestige Primer Episode 1: Progression Toward Prestige

  • BOCW

A weekly column about progression and advanced strategies in Call of Duty® returns with an explainer of the progression system for Black Ops Cold War, as well as a deeper dive into a shotgun blueprint that you can earn when you sign up for Call of Duty e-mails.

Black Ops is back, and so is this weekly journey through this upcoming action-packed year for Call of Duty.

This is the Prestige Primer, a column that is all about helping you, the elite (or soon-to-be elite) player dominate the online competition in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and the greater Call of Duty universe.

These articles include a quick showcase of one of the Operators you can currently play as, a top tip centered around the latest events in Call of Duty, and a recommended weapon that could be an elite tool in your arsenal.

Return here every week to learn how to gain XP quickly, master plenty of weaponry, and know what you’re missing out on in Call of Duty, including how you might want to prepare for upcoming updates and even a few exclusive looks at what’s to come.

We’re on the road to hitting our first Prestige in Black Ops Cold War and there’s no time to waste.

Let’s level up:

This Week’s Featured Operator

To celebrate the return of Black Ops, our featured Operator is none other than Frank Woods of the CIA, whose default outfit is an updated take on his iconic original design.

A former MACV-SOG operative, Woods’ legacy continues in the game’s Campaign, which you should dive into and see how he helps crack the cold case of who the dangerous Soviet spy Perseus is. Adler, Park, and a few other familiar faces from the game’s Campaign are also available as playable operatives in Multiplayer and Zombies, but they will have their time in the spotlight in the coming weeks.

For now, it’s best to kick off launch week by playing as Woods and going on some massive Scorestreaks to prove that he can’t be killed.

Top Tip – Progression in Practice and Five Tricks for Reaching Prestige

Before launch, Treyarch gave a look at the progression system for Black Ops Cold War and confirmed the return of Prestige. With hundreds of levels to strive towards and dozens of classic and new Prestige icons on offer, there’s plenty of opportunity to showcase the time you’re putting into having fun in-game, all without losing your hard-earned loadout items upon Prestiging.

To remind you of how this works in Black Ops Cold War – before the full player progression system starts overlapping with Warzone™ in Season One – it happens like this:

1. Unlock all your loadout items from Military Rank 1-55. These are designated by various military insignia from a Private to Commander.

2. As soon as you complete Military Rank 55, you earn your first Prestige, which puts you on an all-new levelling track at Season Level 1. To signify this, the icon beside your name changes from a military insignia to the first Prestige Icon.

3. Every 50 levels, you reach a new Prestige, granting you a new Prestige Icon beside your name. There are three total Prestiges for this pre-season over the next four weeks: Prestige at Level 1, Prestige 2 at Level 50, and Prestige 3 at Level 100. In all subsequent seasons, there are four Prestiges to hit at Levels 50, 100, 150, and 200.

4. Every time you achieve a new Prestige Level, you get a new Sticker and Emblem to show off on your weapon and profile respectively. The first time you hit a Prestige in a season, you also get a new Weapon Blueprint. More on that next week.

5. If you reach every Prestige in a season, you become a Prestige Master at Level 200, which changes the color of your Prestige Level and allows you to customize your Prestige Icon. You can also continue levelling up to Level 1,000.

6. Every 50 levels, no matter if you have another Prestige to unlock or not, you receive a Prestige Key, which allows you to unlock a Prestige Icon at the new Prestige Shop to use over your current one. These are from previous Black Ops games that veterans should remember fondly.

7. At the end of each season (or this pre-season), you go back to Season Level 1, but your Prestige does not reset. In other words, when next season rolls around and you’re at Prestige 3, your new goal is to hit Prestige 4-7 and Prestige Master again.

8. Anyone who joins in late can still reach the highest available Prestige Level and become a Prestige Master in any season – they just have to put in the time to catch up.

If you’re ready to become a Prestige Master and want to gain XP quickly, here are five tips you should know:

1. Checking (and Stacking) Multiplayer Challenges. Treyarch pulled out all stops with various long-term challenges that offer plenty of XP over the course of your Multiplayer career. Sometimes these can overlap, such as when a daily challenge is based around a game mode which ties to one or multiple career objectives. Study up on all challenges on day one, “stacking” them together where it makes sense, then adjust your playstyle to knock out multiple challenges at once and maximize your XP earn rate.

2. Playing Objective Game Modes. Objective game modes offer more chances to earn XP outside of eliminations through objective play, such as capturing zones or detonating Dirty Bombs. Whether it’s the classic 6v6 core objective modes, the larger 12v12 Combined Arms, or the massive squad-based Fireteam: Dirty Bomb game mode, try out these objective modes for a change of pace and for more XP opportunities.

3. Using a Variety of Weaponry. Along with changing up game modes, try to constantly rotate weaponry to hit specific challenges, and stay unpredictable against enemies who gravitate towards one or two guns. Not every weapon is perfect for every engagement type, so if an enemy can’t shoot straight at range or has a super bulky weapon up close, take advantage of those weaknesses with a hard counter.

4. Playing and Mastering Zombies. The popular co-op mode shares player levelling with Multiplayer, and it offers its own set of unique challenges with Calling Card and XP rewards. If you haven’t waded into this co-op mode yet, then these challenges should give you one more reason to explore this story-rich, Easter Egg filled experience.

5. Taking Full Advantage of Double XP Opportunities. The Prestige Primer will detail plenty of ways to earn Double XP, whether it’s announcing a Double XP weekend or opportunities to earn Double XP tokens, so you can edge closer to becoming a Prestige Master.


Gunsmith Weapon of the Week

There are plenty of weapons to level up and unlock attachments for, making it key to focus on a few of your favorites in order to fully customize them and unlock their true potential.

However, when attachments are scarce, it’s best to heavily rely on weapons that have available Weapon Blueprints, which come pre-configured with attachments that would otherwise be earned via levelling up. Essentially, Blueprints are a living preview of how this weapon can perform, all while offering a more customized weapon compared to the base version in its early levels.

Take for instance the Hauer 77, the first unlockable shotgun on the main progression path.

This is a one-shot, pump-action machine in extreme close quarters, making it a great compliment to a mid or long-range primary weapon. Rather than starting from scratch with no attachments, you could level this weapon up by using the “Battle Worn” Weapon Blueprint from the same family, which is available to you after opting-in for e-mails about the Call of Duty franchise.

If you are already opted-in to email, keep an eye on your inbox, as you’ll get this Blueprint via Welcome e-mail that will come the day after your first login to Black Ops Cold War. If you aren’t opted-in, be sure to check the box upon registration or log into your Call of Duty profile, navigate over to the Preferences tab, and check the boxes for Call of Duty to opt-in.

As for the Blueprint itself, it’s an awesome upgrade thanks to an attachment that gives a 20% boost to ammo capacity and starting ammo. This is crucial for a weapon category where every shot counts, and for one that takes some time to fully reload.

The other two included attachments – a grip and stock – are great for stability and mobility, with neither providing a major penalty in other statistics. Reducing flinch to near-zero levels lets you get in those close-quarters fights without the fear of getting off the mark after being hit, while the stock is great for advanced movement techniques through increasing your slide speed.

Once you level it up, try filling out its attachment slots with the 25.2” Task Force Barrel to maximize damage, or the Flash Cone 12 GA Muzzle to stay under the radar except in extreme close quarters. However, no matter what additional attachments you throw on this blueprint, it’s an incredible Secondary to start out with during launch weekend, let alone one that could grow to become a mainstay in your loadouts.

With all that in mind, we’ll see you online in Black Ops Cold War this weekend and many weekends to come.

Execute the mission.


For more information and the latest intel on Warzone, visit and follow @CallofDuty on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

For more information and the latest intel on Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare®, check out:, and follow @InfinityWard and @CallofDuty on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.

For more information on Activision games, follow @Activision on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

© 2020 Activision Publishing, Inc. ACTIVISION, CALL OF DUTY, CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS, MODERN WARFARE, and WARZONE are trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc. 

We're Hiring

Check Out Job Opportunities At Our Studios

Join Us

Our Teams

  • Game Design
  • Art & Animation
  • Brand Management
  • Production
  • Quality Assurance
  • Customer Support
  • Studio Operations
  • Programming
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Human Resources

The Software License and Service Agreement will be updated. Please follow this link [] in order to see these changes.