The Prestige Primer Episode 3: Five Reasons to Try Hardcore

We break down how Hardcore modes can help you earn XP quickly while improving your gun skills, as well as feature a secondary weapon that can dish out plenty of one-shot kills.

The Prestige Primer Episode 3: Five Reasons to Try Hardcore

We break down how Hardcore modes can help you earn XP quickly while improving your gun skills, as well as feature a secondary weapon that can dish out plenty of one-shot kills.

After we celebrated Nuketown ’84 entering Black Ops Cold War with nearly a full week of Double XP, there are plenty of Operators out there who feasted on the competition and earned their three Prestiges already.

If you haven’t yet reached Prestige 3 and Level 100, then there is a set of game modes that can help you blast through those final levels with plenty of XP to offer.

With that said, let’s level up:

This Week’s Featured Operator

Our featured Operator this week is one of four that were unlocked at launch that you may have overlooked: former Marine Lieutenant Powers.

Her allegiance is questionable, as she’s a suspected plant for the CIA who is gathering information from the Soviet intelligence machine. However, she is one of the Warsaw Pact’s two Mil-Sim operators, and one who’s well-equipped for combat in desert locales like Satellite.

She was our pick while unlocking the faction’s other four Operators, and even after we had the full half dozen choices of our Warsaw Pact representatives, we still find ourselves falling back to her so we can rock those slick aviators in the lobby.

Top Tip – Five Reasons to Try Hardcore

This week, we want to highlight a specific section within the Quick Play option: Hardcore.

After selecting this playlist, tab over to the “Hardcore” section rather than searching for a match in order to find the current rotation of Hardcore modes. While the modes are similar to what’s offered within the Core playlist – e.g. Team Deathmatch, Search & Destroy – Hardcore comes with its own special rules. For example, friendly fire is enabled, all players have a limited HUD and significantly reduced health, and health regeneration doesn’t exist outside of a Stimshot.

That alone makes Hardcore a solid change of pace for those who want insanely fast gunfights or more realistic gameplay. Why else is it worth it? Here are five more reasons why Hardcore can be an essential part of any elite player’s regiment within Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War:

1. Warm Up Those Reflexes

Because most weapons kill with a single shot in Hardcore, the best players will have lightning quick reflexes. Hone those skills here and translate them over to Core game modes for pure dominance. Try playing your first few matches of the day on Hardcore to practice getting that first shot on target, and don’t be surprised when you see your Elimination count in Core go up afterwards.

2. Practice for “Playing Your Life”

A skill that separates the good from the great Call of Duty players is knowing how to “play your life”. In other words, know when it’s best to put your survival first and to not aggressively go in for the kill. Playing a Hardcore mode forces you to think about your movements across the map, especially about not staying out in the open for too long, which could lead to more deaths than eliminations. Also, before loading into some Search & Destroy sessions, it’s a smart idea to play Hardcore to learn how to slow down and tactically pick your battles.

3. A Place to Grab a Few Attachments

Do you have a weapon that doesn’t have many attachments unlocked or Blueprints available for use, but you want to try it out anyway? Because nearly all weapons with unlockable attachments deal one-shot kills in Hardcore, it’s a great environment for experimentation. Plus while racking up early weapon levels, you’ll unlock the first few attachments that provide buffs with no downsides, which are solid building blocks for a more powerful loadout.

4. XP Rewards Via Exclusive Challenges

Across the Career and Battle Hardened challenges are several objectives tied to Hardcore modes. Whether it’s completing matches among the Top 3 players or earning kills in Hardcore modes, these challenges will bestow great caches of XP, while also being necessary for unlocking some badass animated Calling Cards.

5. A Potential Solution for Longshot Camo Challenges

Speaking of challenges, Hardcore can be an incredible place to earn Longshots, which are necessary for completing every gun’s Multiplayer Mastery camo challenge. Be sure to check your Combat Record to see what an individual gun’s Longshot range is and equip your gun with high-magnification optics or a flashlight if you’re having trouble spotting enemies at longer distances.

Gunsmith Weapon of the Week

Ahead of receiving the “Nightfall” blueprint weapon when Season One drops, we’ve been hard at work grabbing Diamond camo on our two shotguns. During this journey, there is one camo set that lines up perfectly with our Hardcore advice: the Geometric set unlocked for both shotguns at Weapon Level 15.

Earning these 50 Longshots can take a while in Core modes, as the Longshot distance listed – 14+ meters – well exceeds that of each weapon’s regular effective range. This means getting Longshots could require firing two or three shells, or even a full magazine down range.

However, with the Hauer 77, the first unlockable shotgun in the game, we’ve found an attachment combination that helps to turn it into a longshot-earning beast no matter what mode we play.

In addition to the 24.1” Ranger Barrel to boost Effective Damage Range, we went with the STANAG 8 Round Magazine in order to have enough ammo for the entire enemy squad to chew on, No Stock for one of the fastest Sprint to Fire times in the game, and Speed Tape for better ADS speed. These all round out the Hauer 77 to make it a highly mobile weapon, although an optic or a flashlight could be used instead for those solely using this build to focus on longshots.

After warming up in Hardcore, try this weapon configuration out in Core, as a loadout including it and a one-shot kill sniper rifle like the Pelington 703 can show you why having phenomenal aim could help you dominate any Multiplayer lobby in Black Ops Cold War.

We’ll see you online.

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

For more information on Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War, check out:, and follow @Treyarch, @RavenSoftware, and @CallofDuty on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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