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MW3 Zombies guide - The best weapons, perks, and how to farm XP

Everything you need to know to survive the MWZ apocalypse, from the best MW3 Zombies weapons to extract with, how to farm XP, and more.

A Mimic boss from the Modern Warfare 3 Zombies mode.

What are the best MW3 Zombies weapons and perks? How do you grind for XP in the open-world Zombies mode? We’ve got the answers to these questions and more based on our time exploring the first-ever open-world Call of Duty Zombies mode.

Zombies is a Call of Duty fan-favorite mode, and has taken us to a 1980s theme park, Nazi Germany, and even the Titanic before now. For the first time ever, the CoD zombie game comes to Modern Warfare, and brings new open-world gameplay into the mix. Modern Warfare 3 Zombies plays out like DMZ mode in MW2 in the form of an extraction mode with zones of increased difficulty, and takes place in the Warzone map, Urzikstan. Here’s how to succeed this massive new Zombies mode, including the best Zombies weapons and perks, and how to farm XP.

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Modern Warfare 3 Zombies mode

It’s time for Task Force 141 to take on a threat unlike any they’ve ever experienced before as Laswell and Soap lead the fray in Operation Deadbolt. Fitting into the Modern Warfare universe, the game’s Zombies mode takes place after Viktor Zakhaev unleashes a vial of Aetherium onto the world, immediately infecting the dead and bringing them back to life. What we’re not sure of is how Zakaev himself is alive, but we’re choosing not to think too hard about that question for now.

This might be the first time Zombies has come to Modern Warfare, but it’s also the first time the mode can be experienced in an open-world map. Hordes of undead threaten to take over the world, as the mode plays out in a similar fashion to a Warzone or Ground War map, with vehicles at your disposal alongside familiar mystery boxes and Perk-a-Cola vending machines.

In a unique twist to the Zombies mode, you go up against undead and living threats, as multiple squads team up together to neutralize the threat, putting more players and AI foes on the MW3 map than ever before. Rather than the game ending once your entire party is wiped out, this new Zombies mode is an extraction experience, with several different regions to explore.

A player fires an electro-magnetic weapon at a large, zombified monster, and other zombies approach in MW3 Zombies mode.

Best MW3 Zombies weapons

MW3 Zombies is essentially just lifted from MW2 DMZ mode, with Zombie and Mercenary PvE instead of PvP. As such, the weapon system works the same way. If you aren’t familiar with DMZ or haven’t played in a while, you get one insured loadout slot (and unlock more once you progress), anything else is considered Contraband. Drop or swap a contraband weapon in-game and lose it for good. Extract with something new, however, and this then gets added to your weapon list to take back in next time. With that, it’s worth looking out for some of the best MW3 Zombies weapons available and extracting safely with them so you can start the next match with them at your side from the moment you drop in.

The best MW3 Zombies weapons are as follows, with as high a rarity and Pack-a-Punch level as possible:

  • Longbow
  • WSP Swarm
  • Crossbow

The best longbow loadout for MW3 Zombies.


The best MW3 Zombies Longbow build is:

  • Barrel: Tac-Brute Suppressed Barrel
  • Optic: SZ Mini
  • Stock: No Stock
  • Bolt: SA-M Quickbolt
  • Rear Grip: Nought-Z3 Grip
  • Perk: Deadbolt Daiquiri
  • Pack-a-Punch

The Longbow can be one of the best Modern Warfare 3 Zombies weapons thanks to its one-shot kills, even in Tier 3. While the crossbow, which we’ve also listed, can do the same, it has a far slower fire rate and reload, so the longbow with the attachments above is even better. If you can set these attachments on a blue rarity of higher Longbow, you’re going to deal massive damage. The easiest way to ensure this rarity is with a rare Aether Tool, which can be found as loot in the medium zone. Don’t forget to Pack-a-Punch the weapon too. We’ve not specified a level as it’s costly, so just upgrade your weapon as high as you can – Pack-a-Punch is removed from your weapon once you exfil.

The best WSP loadout for MW3 Zombies.

WSP Swarm

The best MW3 Zombies WSP Swarm build is:

  • Barrel: WSP Optac Long Barrel
  • Underbarrel: FTAC SP-10 Angled Grip
  • Ammunition: 9mm Frangible
  • Magazine: 100 Round Drum
  • Optic: SZ Mini
  • Perk: Deadbolt Daiquiri
  • Pack-a-Punch

An SMG is a fantastic weapon to have on hand in Modern Warfare 3 Zombies thanks to their incredible fire rate. If you get a train of zombies behind you or a large group at a contract or exfil, there’s no better way to take care of them all quickly and efficiently. The WSP Swarm is better as a secondary weapon as it doesn’t hold as up as well for taking on Mercenaries or bosses, but it does swiftly dispatch large groups of the undead. As with all the best MW3 zombies weapons on this list, Pack-a-Punch as high as you can afford, and increase the rarity with an Aether Tool.

The best crossbow loadout for MW3 Zombies.


The best MW3 Zombies Crossbow loadout is:

  • Laser: Kimur RYL33 Laser Light
  • Arms: Carbon Elite V3
  • Ammunition: Brightblaze 20” Bolts
  • Wire: 28-Strand Cable
  • Stock: FT Dart CB
  • Ammo mod: Napalm Burst
  • Perk: Deadbolt Daiquiri
  • Pack-a-Punch

This one-shot Crossbow not only takes down zombies and Hellhounds with ease, but deals so much damage that it’s a great weapon against even the toughest tier 3 bosses. The key to this build is the Brightblaze ammo and Napalm Burst ammo mod, as these both deal additional fire damage to the target. Our next priority with this build was speed over accuracy and range, so we recommend having the Deadbolt Daiquiri perk alongside every one of these best zombies weapons. Again, Pack-a-Punch this sucker as best as you can, and increase its rarity with Aether Tools.

How to get the MW3 Zombies crossbow

While we personally prefer the Longbow, you will hear many people saying that the Crossbow is unbeatable in Zombies and want to give it a go yourself. While the Crossbow can drop randomly as loot in the red zone of Zombies mode, it’s not all that likely. If you don’t already have one unlocked, your best bet might be to ask a friend who does to bring one in as an insured weapon and drop it for you. This way, theirs is protected and you can exfil with your own.


A player takes a Jugger-Nog out of a Perk-a-Cola machine in Modern Warfare 3 Zombies.

Best MW3 Zombies Perks

Perk-a-Colas are back in MW3 Zombies, and they’re better than ever. Every single one of the MW3 Zombies Perks is worth having in one form or another, and, for the most part, getting them is random, but here are the very best MW3 Zombies Perks to look out for:

  • Deadshot Daiquiri
  • Quick Revive Soda
  • Stamin-Up
  • Speed Cola

Deadshot Daiquiri

Deadshot Daquiri is like an aim-bot, assisting you in hitting an enemy’s critical zone. This is an incredible perk in MWZ for several reasons. Firstly, you don’t have to worry about accuracy in your build, so you can prioritize the likes of damage and range on your weapon build. What’s more, Deadshot Daiquiri particularly helps with tier 3 zombies, mercenaries, and bosses, improving the possibility of succeeding in harder contracts and earning more XP and better loot.

Quick Revive Soda

Quick Revive Soda is practically an essential, whether you’re playing solo or in a team. Solo, Quick Revive Soda gives you an extra life, allowing you to revive yourself once. This, alongside a Hellhound pet and the Healing Aura Field Upgrade can seriously extend your zombies game and give you a much better chance of extracting. In a team, Quick Revive allows you to revive teammates 50% faster. This is a godsend when surrounded by zombies and taking on a boss.


While you might think Speed Cola is the right perk for sprinting, Stamin-Up is actually the perk you want to make your Tactical Sprint last longer. Increasing your stamina with Stamin-Up also reduces the Cooldown of your Tac Sprint, so getting around the map faster – or running away from hordes of enemies – is a breeze.

Speed Cola

Speed Cola, meanwhile, actually refers to the speed of your hands, allowing you to reload your weapons and switch between them faster, just like the fast hands perk in multiplayer.

Perk-a-Colas are rewarded for completing contracts and other missions, which is why they are mostly random. That said, there are Perk-a-Cola machines dotted around the map, so if you are particularly desperate for Speed Cola or Quick Revive, for example, you can purchase them. You may even be rewarded with or buy a Perk you already have active, in which case you can stow the ‘can’. If you successfully extract, you can then use this perk in a future match.

The great thing about Perk-a-Cola effects in MW3 Zombies is that they last for the entire match once triggered, and they stack. You can see which perks you are currently benefitting from by the icons at the bottom of the screen.

Three skeletal, zombified figures hang from the underside of a larger mutant enemy in MW3 zombies.

How to grind XP in MW3 Zombies

There are a few solid ways to grind for XP in Modern Warfare 3 Zombies, but here are the best right now for spawning infinite zombies:

Outlast contract

Outlast contracts can be deciphered on the Zombies map by their satellite icon, and by starting one of these, you are asked to remain inside a set area while the progress bar on the left-hand side fills up. The contract is complete once the bar reaches 100%. However, the difficulty increases – as does the XP reward – the further along you get. At around 50% completion, zombies spawn quickly and offer a great deal of XP, and you can keep the bar here by leaving the purple zone. This will cause the bar to decrease again, but as long as you keep entering and leaving the PND zone, you will continue to be met with infinite zombie spawns.

Spore Control contract

For this job, you’re tasked with using Inhibitors to weaken nearby spore eggs before destroying them with your weapon. The key to farming XP here is that infinite zombies spawn until the contract is complete. As such, you can keep one or two spore eggs around for as long as you want to keep killing zombies and Hellhounds. While you can place all inhibitors down, we wouldn’t recommend it, as the spores could be destroyed by other players or explosions and end the contract early.

Both of these methods are also great for completing certain Zombies missions or camo challenges, too. If you have a challenge that requires a certain damage type, ensure that you have an ammo mod on your weapon before starting the contract.

Now you should have all the information you need to completely dominate Modern Warfare 3 zombies mode with the best weapons and perks. Of course, if you’re grinding for MW3 Zombies XP, you also want to use MW3 Double XP Tokens, so use our guide to find out how to get more. If you want to loot the Mercenary Stronghold in Zombies mode, you’re also going to need to know how to find and beat the MW3 Zombies Mercenary Convoy, but at least having these weapons and perks will help.