Call of Duty 101: Season 04 New Player Guide for MW II and Warzone Season 04, Including Tips and Tactics

Welcome to Call of Duty 101 for Season 04: Here, we cover everything first-time players need to know, including how to quickly unlock everything in the Military Ranks (nearly all weapons and Loadout items), how to get your hands on the brand-new weapons, and what modes to try out first.

How to Run This Town in Season 04

Welcome to Season 04 of Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® II and Call of Duty®: Warzone™.

With Season 04 dropping yesterday, there are a ton of ways to dive (back) into the wide Modern Warfare II universe.

That’s why COD 101 is here — this is a quick-start guide into Modern Warfare II and Warzone, designed to help you focus on the new content, improve your game, and have fun.

By that, we mean that we are not going to hold your hand down Vondel’s streets — sticking together without proper awareness is a terrible Warzone strategy — but we are going to give you enough information to get you into the game and enjoy it alongside us. Let’s get into it!

First-Time Player Quick Guide

Warzone has a tutorial, and we highly recommend that any player starts there. You can’t miss it: It appears right when you boot up the game for the first time. Don’t skip it.

Alternatively, the first Campaign missions in Modern Warfare II, like those in previous Call of Duty games, are the best way to both familiarize yourself with the game’s main story and get a lot of great tips — or experience — on how to play the game.

Once you play a few matches of the main online modes — Warzone Battle Royale and DMZ, or Modern Warfare II Multiplayer and Special Ops — you will most likely level up to Rank 4. That grants you access to building a Custom Loadout.

As you will see in-game, this slightly differs between modes but it always has a Primary Weapon, almost always contains a Secondary Weapon (“remember switching to your secondary is always faster than reloading”), has at least one piece of Equipment (something you throw or use for a benefit), and then has other items — depending on the mode — that we will lead you to discover in-game.

Every Custom Loadout is different between modes.Your Custom Loadout s always under a menu called “Weapons” once you get past the main hub screen, but here is what a Custom Loadout is exactly:

Modern Warfare II Multiplayer. Your Custom Loadout is given to you at the start of mostMultiplayer matches (Gunfight, Gunfight OSP, and Party Modes like Infected are the exception).

Modern Warfare II Special Ops. Standard in Missions and Raid experiences, except for specific Playlists. These are usually called “SOMETHING — Name of Mission,” such as “One in the Chamber — Defender: Mt. Zaya” (note: not in Season 04 at launch, but was a playlist in a previous season).

Warzone Battle Royale (including any non-DMZ mode). Find aLoadout Drop, or purchase a Loadout Drop at a Buy Station. You can also purchase the individual Primary Weapons and Perk Packages separately and get some equipment and other items that aren’t included in Custom Loadouts but are immensely helpful.

Warzone DMZ Beta. Whatever you bring into DMZ via Loadout — which is different between each Operator — is what you have. Ammo is limited, but you can always acquire new or additional weapons in the world… And once you extract them, they can be used for a future infiltration.

Take time to customize your weapon within the Weapons Menu prior to dropping into a match, and come back regularly to see what new items are unlocked (as you rank up or level up your weapon and unlock more attachments).

You can also head to the Store or check the Battle Pass to see what custom configurations — known as Weapon Blueprints — can be purchased, which are all built to perform to three labeled strengths right out of the box.

In addition to following all in-game tutorials, here is where new players should start across both games:


The Plan: The new mapVondel in Season 04 will host multiple featured Resurgence Playlists at launch. We highly recommend playing these playlists to start, as Resurgence Battle Royale gives you more time to live and learn how to play the game more.

Plus, Vondel is a brand-new map created by Beenox. Everyone is starting from scratch here, so outside of learning fundamentals of aiming, firing, and surviving — all of which you will pick up by playing the game — there is one way you can get an edge on everyone else right now:

Tip — Map Knowledge Is Power: The best players don’t have to hit every shot; most often, positioning can be the key to winning a fight. And you can’t master positioning without knowing your surroundings. Learn about Vondel here — or better yet, have it on a second screen (even a phone or print it out) and learn some of its ins-and-outs before getting some boots-on-the-ground experience.

The Other Plan: Alternatively, you can start your journey in DMZ, an extraction game mode built for players who love taking a bit of risk to get some incredible rewards. More on this mode later in the article [Mode Spotlight: DMZ].

Modern Warfare II: The Best Way to Dive into Call of Duty

If you own Modern Warfare II, there are some great options for you to get used to becoming an Operator and saving the world.

Campaign: This is arguably the best place for new players to start across all modes. With adjustable difficulty, tons of AI Combatants to get you up to speed on typical combat pacing, the introduction of Modern Warfare II’s main story, and unlockable items such as Operators and a special Weapon Blueprint, this single-player mode is a great way to spend a few nights or a weekend until you feel confident enough to use those rewards in other modes.

Special Ops: This co-op modeis another great choice, as you can play with friends against AI Combatants. It is a great way to train your aim and get awesome rewards by earning Special Ops Stars in missions or continuing the epic Modern Warfare II story in Raid. By the way, the last episode is coming at Season 04 Reloaded, a mid-season update, so now is a great time to catch up.

Multiplayer: This is the most popular mode choice in Modern Warfare II, with numerous maps and game modes, ranging from tactical Ranked Play to massive team battles in Ground War and Invasion. We highly recommend playing the following Multiplayer modes for your first time out:

  • Invasion: A mix of enemy Operators and AI Combatants make this mode incredible for newcomers.
  • Team Deathmatch: A no-frills, no-holds-barred Deathmatch is a great stepping-stone into player-versus-player combat.
  • Domination: More of an objective player? Domination is one of the easiest modes to understand, with three main objectives to achieve during a match. Try capturing two instead of all three for your team to set up a proper defensive position!
  • Ground War: Once you get comfortable with player-versus-player combat and objective play, jump into Ground War. Feel free to use vehicles to maximize your mobility and elimination potential.
  • Infection: If it is available, play this party mode. You are either an Operator with a set Loadout or an Infected with a knife, a throwing knife, and tactical insertion. Infected players must turn all Operators to their team before the time limit. Giant Infection is pure unadulterated chaos . . . in the best way possible.

Pro Tip: Don’t have anyone online to play Special Ops, Multiplayer, DMZ, or Battle Royale with you? Use the Find a Party feature, where you can find fellow Operators through in-game communication methods (e.g., Text Chat Only), translated into over a dozen main languages, including every language this blog is translated into! Alternatively, you can always convince friends to hop on and play — Warzone is free, after all.

How to Use New Weapons and Get the New Battle Pass

One of the main updates for each season is its Battle Pass, which offers free content unlocked by playing the game, as well as the ability to upgrade to unlock all 20+ sectors of items like Weapon Blueprints, Operator Skins, and more.

You can see the Battle Pass in any main menu, usually next to the Events and Store tabs. Set your progress to either automatic (recommended for new players) or manual unlocks. You can also purchase the full Battle Pass or get BlackCell, an offering with incredible value, exclusive items, and free Battle Token Tier Skips. Learn more about these here.

The Battle Pass includes two free functional weapons, the first of which could not have come at a better time for new and returning players: the Tempus Razorback Assault Rifle and the ISO 45 SMG.

Weapon Detail: Tempus Razorback Assault Rifle (unlocked for free in the Season 04 Battle Pass, Sector D13)

Weapon Blueprint: “Uninvited Guest” (Victory Sector of Season 04 Battle Pass)

This weapon is incredible for new players: It is a high-floor weapon that delivers consistent damage with relatively low recoil, making it easier to control compared to other weapons in its class.

As you improve in the game, you can start using attachments that increase its recoil — because you can learn to control it — but maximize its handling statistics, such as Aim Down Sight speed.

The Tempus Razorback — specifically, the weapon category it belongs to — has a wealth of attachments for a reason: Assault Rifles, like the Tempus Razorback, is the most versatile Primary Weapon you can have in the game.

Weapon Detail: ISO 45 SMG (unlocked for free in the Season 04 Battle Pass, Sector D19)

Weapon Blueprint: “No Tomorrow BlackCell” (Sector 19 in Battle Pass, for BlackCell Owners)

Think of the ISO 45 as the small jab to the midsection in a boxer’s arsenal: It requires you to be up close and control it well, but when it hits, it lands a significant strike.

Although Shotguns are an effective choice for close-range combat, they can be considered “new player trap” for those who don’t quickly learn positioning, effective range values, and movement techniques. Meanwhile an SMG like the ISO 45 can hold its own at this distance, but be most effective within three to about a dozen or so meters (roughly speaking — no need to bring a ruler to a firefight).

So long as you control its recoil and stay on target, the ISO 45 is bound to be effective.

For this special COD 101, let’s combine both Battle Pass weapons into one Loadout.

Tempus Razorback / ISO 45 Full Loadout Recommendation for Multiplayer, Battle Royale Modes

Primary:“Uninvited Guest BlackCell”Weapon Blueprint,“Uninvited Guest” Weapon Blueprint, or Base Weapon for Weapon Blueprint with Equivalent Attachments

Secondary: “No Tomorrow BlackCell” Weapon Blueprint, “No Tomorrow”Weapon Blueprint,or Base Weapon for Weapon Blueprint with Equivalent Attachments

Perk Package: Overkill, Scavenger, Fast Hands, Survivor

Equipment: Frag Grenade, Decoy Grenade

Field Upgrade (If Applicable): Battle Rage

Here’s the deal: This Loadout allows you to deal with most engagements you will have in Call of Duty. Outside of extreme close ranges (you turn a corner and there is an enemy right in your face) and long to extremely long ranges (that’s when you get a longer-range rifle, but don’t worry about that now), the Primary and Secondary pairing offers complete coverage.

Fast Hands, the Bonus Perk in your Perk Package, allows you to quickly switch between these two weapons. Overkill makes it possible to equip these two weapons in the same Loadout, and Scavenger allows you to pick up ammo for these weapons from eliminated players.

The Ultimate Perk, Survivor, is a bit of gamesmanship in Multiplayer. On death, you enter “Last Stand,” where you can self-revive or have a teammate revive you. In Call of Duty, every second being alive is valuable, so if you find yourself dying a ton, this is an amazing Perk to use.

Survivor in Warzone, however, is a major intel Perk. On top of allowing you to be revived faster by squadmates, it automatically pings the enemy who downed you, which allows you and the squad to see where you got shot from. Having a Self-Revive Kit basically turns this Perk back into the Multiplayer variant, but that piece of intel can be critical to your success in a Battle Royale match.

Mode Spotlight: Vondel Resurgence

Imagine a regular Battle Royale match where the last squad (or solo) standing wins, then amplify it with the ability to get back into the game more often. That is Resurgence.

For those unfamiliar with Resurgence rules, if a squad member is eliminated in a match, and one or more squad members are still alive, a countdown will appear beside their name. When this countdown hits zero, they will redeploy to the DZ.

Your squadmates can shorten this countdown if they perform specific in-game actions such as eliminating enemies, which incentivizes aggressive play. This countdown grows longer with each circle collapse until the final few circles — where all redeploys, save for those bought through a Buy Station, are disabled.

Solo Resurgence modes give you a free second life, but after that, you must refill your own Resurgence Counter in every life.

How is this all different in Season 04 compared to previous seasons? There is a whole new map to explore in Vondel. That means everyone is starting from scratch in learning a new map, which can be great for new players who may be nervous about going into territory that is familiar to other players but new to them.

On top of that, there are new features like Dynamic Resurgence Timers, which means if a squadmate drops from a squad-based match, or if you have a disconnect due to an internet issue, the timers are adjusted to reflect the new team size.

Here are some tips for this mode.

Vondel Resurgence Tips

1. The Most Valuable Resource — Time. Resurgence is about making every second count. Earn eliminations, complete contracts, and scavenge for Supply Boxes to cut down the Resurgence Timer.And remember, you might be down but you’re not out, so long as that Resurgence Timer is filled. So don’t be discouraged on the first (or second . . . or fifth) death.

2. Don’t Full Send . . . Most of the Time. For newer players especially, swimming down Vondel’s central canals without a paddle — er, weapon — is a recipe for disaster. Know what weapons you have, consider their strengths and weaknesses, consider where you are on the map and what your movement options are, and most importantly, don’t take a shot until you are sure you are ready for an engagement.

3. Reactive Vision. Don’t go blind when bullets start flying . . . or you may lose vision temporarily due to a Flash Grenade, but that’s not the point. If an engagement suddenly breaks out, find some cover, figure out where the enemy is firing from, and shoot back.

Here is where you can learn more about Vondel, the main Resurgence map for Season 04 (with Ashika Island set to return in regular Playlist updates throughout the season).

Mode Spotlight: Battle Map Search & Rescue, Battle Map Prisoner Rescue 

Two new modes for Season 04 Multiplayer are Battle Map Search & Rescue and Battle Map Prisoner Rescue, great for those who prefer limited-life, first-person action experiences.

Essentially, these are two large player count variations of round-based modes Search & Destroy and Prisoner Rescue.

Search & Destroy is the official “game five of a five-game series” mode for the Call of Duty League (whose Championship is happening this weekend!). It’s where, to put it simply, your squad either must plant or defuse a bomb — or eliminate the opposition entirely — to win each round.

Prisoner Rescue is a similar game: You have two HVTs that need exfiltration or defending, depending on whether your team is on attack or defense. In Search & Destroy, if you go down, you’re out. In Prisoner Rescue, squadmates can revive you. We are emphasizing this, because we often see even the best Prisoner Rescue players forget that they can revive their squadmates.

To support the higher player count these modes are run on our Battle Maps. The sandbox style maps combined with the higher player counts make these modes much higher action!

Here are some tips for this experience:

1. “Keep a Low Profile and Hold Your Fire.” Single-life modes are won and lost by players who can tactically move around enemy forces for the purpose of better positioning. It is best to not play this mode with an itchy trigger finger.

2. Intel Is Power. In addition to soaking in all this information we are giving you, using intel-gathering tools — Heartbeat Sensors, Snapshot Grenades, the red dots on the compass, UAVs, and, most importantly, teammate callouts — can be critical to learning where enemy positions are. This is a crucial part of setting up a winning engagement. Use them often. Use them wisely.

3. Clear, Concise, and Courteous Comms. A successful team gives clear direction and is well-coordinated either by using the voice chat, text chat, or the in-game pinging system. Pay attention to it, learn how others are using it effectively, and then use it yourself. And do not be a bad actor. Read the Call of Duty Code of Conduct for more information.

Learn more about these 12v12 Playlist variations of Search & Destroy and Prisoner Rescue here.

Mode Spotlight: DMZ 

DMZ is recommended for extraction shooter fans; those high-intensity, single-life games that feature both fellow Operators and AI Combatants as enemies… But know that DMZ is whatever you make of it, whether it is working methodically through missions or just cruising around Vondel with that new amphibious vehicle.

Just know at the end of the day, you better be on an exfil chopper before you a deemed MIA via encroaching gas.

Despite its ruleset being based on player risk — you lose any noninsured weapons and Keys if you die during an infiltration — DMZ offers a few new player-friendly features.

New Features for Season 04

For this season, there are more ways to have whatever you exfiltrate with and complete in each match matter.

Consider the Forward Operating Base (FOB), the replacement for Faction Missions and the new hub for DMZ. This is where you can access Urgent Missions, see your weapons and Stash, and check the Bounty Board for Barter Recipes.

Initial Planning: The first Forward Operating Base and Urgent Missions are built for new players; they teach you how to play DMZ, and they offer a great amount of XP in addition to DMZ-specific rewards (e.g., FOB upgrades) and permanent rewards like Weapon Blueprints that can be used across all modes. You will also be playing alongside more experienced players, who can help you through the dangerous DZs of Vondel, Al Mazrah, Ashika Island, and Building 21.

Surviving and Thriving: Finally, winning in DMZ is about shifting your perspective. Simply surviving an infiltration and completing a Contract within the DZ grants you a Perk (or multiple, if you get an exfiltration streak going).

That Perk can be extremely helpful for the next infiltration for gathering more Contraband or completing more objectives. And, in general, you should see any successful exfil as a major victory if you are a new player.

Consider yourself proficient in DMZ if you can survive and complete missions and/or contracts every other infiltration — that is, a success rate of 50% — because even the best DMZ players in the world cannot say they survived every infiltration.

Oh, and feel free to open that microphone or type in text chat within DMZ; the community here is full of people who want to help others complete missions, so say hello and send them an invite to join your party! Just be wary of those who say they are taxi drivers . . . but if they are, make sure to tip them handsomely for their help.

Learn more about DMZ here.

How to Get Rewards During the Assault on Vondel Event

As part of Season 04, there is a new Event to participate in until July 7: the Assault on Vondel.

Available via the Events tab, you can complete objectives to earn medals. These give you rewards like Operator Skins, Weapon Blueprints, and more. They also unlock new content for everyone in-game by combining everyone’s medal count together around the world.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is simple:

1. Go to the “Events Tab.”

2. Look around the map (by selecting or hovering over various sectors) to see how you can earn Medals via challenges.

3. ???

4. Profit, by way of collecting medals and earning rewards.

It is that simple. On the Event screen, you will see your own Medal count as well as the community’s total. There is also a separate screen for all the rewards that you can personally earn.

Get in there and save Vondel before [[REDACTED]].

Maximizing Challenge Completion

Outside of the Event, a major part of Call of Duty is ranking up. That is how you unlock nearly every Loadout item (through Rank 55) and earn Prestige rewards, which include new ranks and special Weapon Blueprints.

Ranking up is as simple as playing the game and earning XP, and XP gains can be maximized by completing challenges. This includes:

Daily Challenges: These are simple to see, as they show up in the pre-game lobby of any online mode you are in (and are visible in the Challenges menu). Complete all three — worth 2,500 XP each — to get a special Bonus Challenge worth 10,000 XP.

Weapon Challenges: In addition to leveling up weapons and unlocking attachments for them, you can also unlock camouflages — coats of paint that can be applied to nearly every weapon in the game, except Gold, Platinum, Polyatomic, or the fabled Orion camouflage (read our Camo Challenge blog here before taking on this ultimate and rewarding quest).

Operators Challenges:  You can unlock over a dozen Operators by owning Modern Warfare II and by completing a variety of challenges across all of its game modes. For example, finishing the whole Campaign unlocks Hutch, while finishing Special Ops missions like Atomgrad Raid: Episode 03 unlocks Operators such as Alex, and performing tasks in Multiplayer has its own Operator rewards.

Calling Card Challenges: View Calling Cards — items that can be added to your Profile for bragging rights — via the Challenge menu (accessible in the top-right corner of any non-in-match menu screen) and see what you can earn on top of XP. Calling Cards are broken down into:

  • Games: Shared, Modern Warfare II, Warzone, and DMZ
  • Prestige: Once you hit a certain Prestige Rank, more challenges open up.

This menu also has “Premium,” for whatever Calling Cards you get outside of Challenges, such as via Bundle, Battle Pass, or other means.

Let’s keep it simple with the following math:

Let’s say, hypothetically, one of your Daily Challenges is “Get 2 Operator Longshot Kills.” It awards 2,500 XP. If you get that number of Longshots, not only will you get the standard XP, but you also get a 2,500 XP bonus from that challenge.

Now let’s add in a Double XP Token — you can get these via the Battle Pass or by completing objectives across game modes. During certain times of the year, Double XP is turned on, eliminating the need for a Double XP Token.

There is also the Prestige 1 Mastery Calling Card Challenge of “Colorful Shine — Get 50 Operator Longshot Kills with SMGs.” If you decide to do those Longshots with an SMG, you will be well on your way to getting that Calling Card.

And for fun, let’s make this the new ISO 45 SMG that you are doing these Longshots with. The Platinum Challenge for most weapons — including SMGs — are Longshots, so let’s say you are playing enough to be working toward Platinum Camo.

Alright, so that’s showing the work, now here is the equation:

2x(Base XP for Longshot Kills + 2,500 XP for Daily Challenge) + Calling Card Challenge Progress + Platinum Camo Challenge Progress = …

5,000+ XP and Challenge Progress Towards More Rewards… In other words, absolutely [[REDACTED DUE TO EXPLETIVE]] incredible value compared to just playing with one weapon constantly.

Plan tactically. Play well. And take in the rewards.

It’s as simple as that.

Everything Else You Need to Know in Season 04

This intel drop has only scratched the surface: There’s a lot more content in Modern Warfare II and Warzone leading to countless other ways to play in Season 04.

Season 04 includes Vondel, which is a brand-new, medium-sized map for Resurgence Battle Royale, DMZ, and other modes in Warzone. Modern Warfare II owners also get a six-pack of Multiplayer maps, including the return of the classic locale Showdown as well as a slice of Vondel in the Kunstenaar District.

There is never a better time to dive into Modern Warfare II and Warzone than right now, so drop into all this action and, as we always say around Task Force 141 . . .

Stay frosty.

Leave a Reply