Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: How to level up fast

Last Updated July 5th, 2021

Infinity Ward’s recently launched Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot wouldn’t really be a true Call of Duty experience if it didn’t allow players to earn XP and rank up through their multiplayer exploits. As has become the norm throughout the Call of Duty series, ranking up in Modern Warfare is how players unlock access to new multiplayer weapons, kill streaks, perks, and more. The game’s unique Enlistment/Officer Rank system also jettisons the entire concept of prestiging, which means players don’t have to slog through the rank 1-55 grind multiple times.

Even though Modern Warfare’s multiplayer rank grind is now a one-and-done affair, you might still be hankering to get it over with as quickly as possible, especially if you’re eyeing some of the game’s high-rank weapons or kill streaks. If that’s the case, we’ve compiled some tips and strategies to help you work through the ranks at an efficient pace so you can reach the proverbial multiplayer endgame sooner rather than later.

Stick with a single weapon for the Mo’ Money perk

When you’re starting out in your Modern Warfare multiplayer career, you should absolutely experiment with different weapons and weapon types to find the armaments that best match your playstyle. However, one of the ways in which Infinity Ward is making up for the lack of a prestige system is by implementing a full 1-70 leveling track for all weapons in the game. Yes, you read that correctly. Every firearm in Modern Warfare can be leveled up to level 70 by accruing weapon XP through use.

Every time you level up a weapon, you’ll unlock either an attachment for one of that weapon’s Gunsmith categories (Muzzle, Underbarrel, Optic, etc.) or a weapon perk. There’s a finite list of perks you can unlock for each weapon, though depending on the weapon itself you’ll unlock different perks at different levels. As early as you can, try to stick with a single main weapon so that you can level it up quickly. You’ll eventually unlock a weapon perk called Mo’ Money which increases the amount of XP you gain from kills with that weapon.

As long as you don’t mind foregoing other weapon perks, you should always have Mo’ Money equipped. If you can also unlock Mo’ Money for your secondary weapon of choice, so much the better.

Choose your field upgrades wisely

Field Upgrades are active abilities that can be manually deployed during a match and which, once equipped, remain active no matter which weapon loadout you’re using. Unlike kill streaks, you don’t need to rack up kills or score points to deploy a Field Upgrade, you just need to wait until its charge-up gauge is filled. You unlock additional Field Upgrades as you rank up, but the best Field Upgrades for maximizing XP gains are actually the two you have unlocked by default: the Munitions Box and Recon Drone.

In DICE’s Battlefield series, XP is awarded for support actions like providing your teammates with ammo or spotting enemies, and the same concept applies to Modern Warfare’s Munitions Box and Recon Drone Field Upgrades. As their names imply, the Munitions Box provides additional ammunition to nearby teammates once deployed, and the Recon Drone can spot and tag enemies from a distance, giving your allies a clear target to zero in on.

Not only do the Munitions Box and Recon Drone Field Upgrades help you and your team win, they also award points (and thus XP) through use. You’ll get points every time a teammate uses your Munitions Box, every time you spot an enemy player with your Recon Drone, and every time an ally kills an enemy your Recon Drone has tagged. You obviously don’t gain as many points through Field Upgrade uses as you do from scoring kills or capturing objectives, but when efficiency is the name of the game, every little bit helps.

Stick to objective-based modes

Unless you’re really confident in your ability to rack up kills, objective-based modes like Domination and Ground War are your best bet for consistently high XP totals. You get a decent amount of points from capturing objectives, and you’re guaranteed to capture at least a few objectives in any well-balanced game. That combined with whatever kills you manage to score during the match makes for the highest return on investment for XP, even if you lose the match.

Ground War is especially lucrative in this regard thanks to its long average match length and large number of objectives to capture. However, if you’d rather not deal with the many trials and tribulations of large-scale warfare (we understand it’s never fun getting constantly sniped by opponents who are too far away to even see), modes like Domination, Hardpoint, Kill Confirmed, and Headquarters are worthy alternatives.

Shoot down enemy kill streaks

Sticking to Ground War is also a good idea since it affords you plenty of opportunities to shoot down airborne enemy kill streaks (UAV’s, Personal Radars, etc.) with a launcher, earning some score and XP in the process. If you don’t mind foregoing the use of a pistol, you can just always have a launcher equipped in your secondary slot. However, since Modern Warfare players can edit their loadouts mid-match, quickly switching from a pistol to a launcher is also a viable option.

When Modern Warfare first launched, a bug prevented players from earning weapon XP for their launchers by shooting down enemy kill streaks. Fortunately, the game’s 1.07 update (which is now live) fixed that issue, ensuring players get both profile XP and weapon XP for every enemy kill streak they shoot down.

Look for easy missions to complete

Every daily challenge and mission task you complete in the Barracks tab of the multiplayer menu awards XP, so you should always be working on a mission task alongside your normal multiplayer endeavors. The various mission tasks on offer run the gamut in terms of difficulty, and they also cater to different weapon types, game modes, and playstyles.

The Boot Camp mission is obviously a good one to start with, but once that’s off the board you can look into missions like Weapon Master (racking up kills with different weapon types), Expert Gunsmith (scoring kills with certain weapon attachments equipped), and (if you’re on PS4) Dominator (tasks involving the Domination game mode). If you can’t complete all tasks in a mission, don’t sweat it. You can switch your active mission at any time (retaining any progress you made in the previous mission’s task), allowing you to focus on tasks you know you can complete.

Save your double XP tokens for later ranks

If you played through Modern Warfare’s story campaign and/or pre-ordered one of its special editions, chances are you have a few Double XP Tokens available. These tokens can be manually activated at any point to enable a limited time period of double XP, but you should resist the temptation to blow through them when you’re still in the early ranks.

Instead, save your Double XP Tokens for when you’re in the mid-game slog (ranks 30-50ish). Chances are you’ll be bursting through the early ranks at a steady clip regardless, and having a few Double XP Tokens on hand can help you keep that pace going as the amount of XP needed to rank up climbs higher and higher.

Avoid special ops

Yes, we did recently write an entire guide on Modern Warfare’s Special Ops cooperative mode, and we still think it’s worth playing if you’ve got a few buddies you can recruit. However, if your only focus is ranking up as quickly as possible, you should avoid Special Ops like the plague.

Hopefully Infinity Ward has some changes planned for the near future, but as of now the XP payouts you earn from Special Ops matches are, to put it bluntly, abysmal. You can subject yourself to a 30+ minute Special Ops operation or (again, if you’re on PS4) Survival match and for your efforts you’ll earn maybe one tenth of the amount of XP you would have earned had you spent those 30 minutes just playing multiplayer matches.

Again, this might change in the future, and we hope that it does since right now it feels a bit like Infinity Ward is subtly pressuring players to just avoid Special Ops entirely. For now, though, the simple truth is that if you want to rank up fast, you shouldn’t even bother with Special Ops.

How to quickly level up weapons

As a little bonus, we decided to mention how you can quickly level up individual weapons in Modern Warfare as well. Unsurprisingly, weapon XP is primarily gained from scoring kills with the associated weapon, so you’ll want to up your chances of securing those kills as much as possible.

Depending on your preferred weapon types and engagement ranges, certain attachments can make consistently scoring kills much easier. For example, if you prefer close-range weapons like shotguns and SMG’s, consider equipping a suppressor attachment. The decreased bullet velocity doesn’t really matter in close quarters, and the suppressed weapon noise means you can remain undetected and more easily flank unsuspecting opponents (or at least surprise them if you meet head-on).

Ammo clips which increase your weapon’s total mag size are also handy, especially if you stick mainly with LMG’s, shotguns, or sniper rifles, since you won’t need to reload as often and can thus score more potential kills between each reload. Just note that larger ammo clip attachments negatively affect both your aim-down-sight speed and your movement speed.

Modern Warfare’s new 2v2 Gunfight mode is also worth investing in if you don’t care too much about which weapons you’re leveling up. You’ll gain weapon XP for every weapon you use in Gunfight (assuming you kill an enemy with it of course), even if you haven’t unlocked it for use in standard non-Gunfight game modes. If you level up a weapon in this fashion and you want to clear the flashing green dot informing you of a new weapon unlock, just create a custom game in the Private Match playlist where you can peruse all weapons and attachments regardless of their unlock status.

Obviously nothing helps you rank up quickly in a Call of Duty game better than a good old fashioned double (or triple) XP weekend, but waiting around for one of those to occur isn’t really much fun. By following the above strategies, you can efficiently climb towards rank 55 (and beyond) in Modern Warfare no matter what day of the week it is, and in most cases you can level up your favorite weapons in the process to boot.