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My journey to the top 100,000 players in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Zombies

This image, and all subsequent images in this article, courtesy of Treyarch

I’ve been a Call of Duty Zombies player for as long as it has existed. I remember finishing Call of Duty: World at War’s grotesque campaign and sitting through the end credits to start my first Nazi Zombies experience on “Nacht Der Untoten.”

Since then, I have been hooked. From World at War to the various Black Ops games, I have been on the Zombies ride for more than 10 years as of writing. As I have gotten older, my friends that I played Zombies with have gone and done other things, ultimately leaving me as the sole Zombies player left. 

As the last one standing, it is only right for me to achieve my own personal Zombies goal: be in the top 100,000 of all Zombies players on Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War (BOCW)

Now you may be asking, “why stop at 100,000? Why not try and go for 50,000 or even higher?” To that I reply, “I just don’t have the time to do that anymore.” 

When I first started playing Zombies in 2008 on “Nacht,” I always wanted to be the best Zombies player in my friend group, especially since it felt like I had all the time in the world. The only things I had to worry about were going to school, doing my homework and having a good time. 

Nowadays, my life is devoted to work, exercising, living with the fear of impending doom facing the world, trying to have a stable social life and learning how to cook. 

In all seriousness though, I truly do not have the time to sit down for hours at a time to try and reach the top 50,000. Before, I could afford to sit down for 5-7 hours a day and just grind out Zombies matches. Now that I’m older, I’m lucky to get even two hours in before going back to work. 

In order to make any sort of progress when trying to climb up the leaderboards, players have to devote a lot of time in order to reach high rounds. It is not uncommon for some players to spend upwards of 10 hours – maybe even more in some runs – just playing Zombies, reaching rounds 100+. 

That being said, considering the immense time commitment needed to reach the top 100,000, you may also be asking: “so why do this in the first place?” To which I reply, “Why not?”

As the last Zombies player standing among my friend group – as is usually the case when I play Zombies – I see this as a farewell to Zombies. I have been playing Zombies for over a decade and, after reaching this goal, I can finally slow down and play something else. 

With all that in mind, here is how my journey to the top 100,000 Zombies players in BOCW went. 

At first, it went decently well. Because of the aforementioned lack of time, I stuck mainly to the 20-round version of “Die Maschine,” knowing that each game took roughly 40 minutes, giving me at least two games of Zombies. Additionally, because of my experience, I often wound up being the player with the most kills, headshots, revives or all of the above. 

Zombies Top 10000 1
This is what a typical game in a public lobby looks like for me.

That helped me shoot up the leaderboards – no pun intended – by a few thousands after every session. However, after watching popular Zombies players such as FaZe Blaze do runs lasting more than a few hours, I figured I could do something similar to help boost me up the standings. 

As such, I set aside a few days where all I would do was try to get as far as possible on “Die Maschine.” To my surprise, I almost reached round 100 during one run — I stopped at round 79 because I got tired after playing for more than eight hours.

Knowing that I could hit round 100 with a little bit more patience, I kept pushing myself to reach that mark. In my various attempts to reach 100, there were many times when I put down the controller to grab a bite to eat or sleep, only for me to realize BOCW crashed. 

I remember one Sunday in which I took break at round 82 to go do something else and when I returned, my Xbox One had hard-crashed because of BOCW. Knowing my luck, I assumed the game did not track my progress. Lo and behold, I was right and not only did none of my progress track, I actually went down in the leaderboards because the game did not recognize that I was playing. 

Zombies top 1000 1
After round 69, I started getting more and more tired.

Frustrated, I took a three-day break from playing Zombies. I am glad I did because when I got back to it, I was more determined to reach 100. After a few weeks of testing out different strategies and weapons, I set out one Sunday morning to see if I could finally do it.

Armed with a Ray Gun, the Hauer 77 and Ring of Fire – along with all the perks – I finally reached 100 at around 9 PM PT. Not only did I feel elated, I felt tired — spending more than 12 hours playing the same game is not only physically draining, but also mentally. 

I am not sure how some players can do it but, after that session, I was mentally fried and all I wanted to do was sleep. I played a few more rounds before ultimately succumbing to the horde of Zombies. 

After the game ended, I checked my position on the leaderboards and from the 600,000’s, I had rocketed past 550,000 and into the 400,000’s. From then, I played both public and private matches almost religiously in an attempt to reach 100,000 at some point. 

The public matches remained capped at around 20 while private matches were played to see how often I could get to round 100, knowing that those were the ones which would really help. Reaching higher levels became easier for me and soon, it was not uncommon for me to reach 50+ on any given run. 

Doing this strategy from late December to late January was an exercise in patience as I watched myself slowly creep up the leaderboards. By the time “Firebase Z” was announced, I had grown tired of “Die Maschine” and felt like giving up. 

At that point, I had cracked the top 200,000 and was hovering around 150-140,000. I thought to myself, “if I stop now, it will still be an accomplishment.” However, after taking a few days off and watching new information on “Firebase Z” trickle out, I slowly regained my drive to accomplish my goal yet again. 

And so, once the map released on Feb. 4th, I tried to see how far I could go on my first run. To my surprise, I reached round 50 before eventually calling it a night. My loadout consisted of the new R.A.I. K-84, another shotgun and a chopper gunner – just in case things went south – as I circled the helipad close to a thousand times. 

Zombies AR 1
This is a lifesaver, once you get to use it enough.

After the game, I noticed that I was within 20,000 of reaching my goal. Once I saw that, I kept grinding until after one public game, when I realized I was within reach. I stood at 100,119. With this in mind, I set out to play one last game, knowing that reaching any round past 30 would help me reach my goal. 

Going to my tried-and-true method of training Zombies around the helipad, I reached round 54 before eventually being overrun by the Orda attacking the Aether Reactor. Though I was sad the run ended, I was more curious to see where I landed. 

To my surprise, not only did I reach my goal, but I blew past it.

Zombies Big Rank 1

Once I saw I cracked the top 100,000, it was bittersweet: I was happy that I did it, but at the same time, I was a little sad knowing that the journey was over. In a way, this also spelt the end of my competitive Zombies career, if I can even call it that. 

Now that I am the only one left, there is no point in me trying to be the best player anymore. I can go back to playing Zombies casually and enjoying my time doing it. Will I do something like this ever again? No, not at all. 

The amount of time I invested throughout the entire process was just too much, and knowing that I am not getting any younger makes it clear that I cannot feasibly do this. 

But I am glad I did: it’s a culmination of more than a decade’s worth of dedication to Zombies. Now I can sit back, relax, and reminisce about the past – just like the rest of my friend group – while knowing that at one point, I was one of the top 100,000 players in BOCW Zombies.

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