8 things I wish I knew before playing Call of Duty: WWII's zombies mode

WWII Nazi Zombie secrets

Once you nail the basics, check out our other guides to truly master the Nazi Zombies mode in Call of Duty: WWII. 

*How to open the secret room
How to get the Tesla Gun
How to access the Weapon Upgrade Station

Sledgehammer’s return to World War II ticks the necessary boxes for slick shooting and quicktime events (during which you knee a Nazi in the nuts), but don’t be fooled by the plainness of its Zombies mode. Come the inevitable map packs, and the insanity will truly begin: celebrity cameos, exploding planets, something involving pizza, and zany gadgets more at home inside a clown’s suitcase than a laboratory. You must prepare. You must prepare now. Our Call of Duty: WWII Nazi Zombies beginner’s guide can help. 

WWII Zombies deviates from the previous perk-style system by introducing class loadouts and map-based powerup passives, but the biggest change is the debut of Jolts, the currency you get when you kill a zombie. To succeed in Zombies, respect the Jolt: it funds character upgrades, gun purchases, opens locked doors, and is the general mark of progress during a round. What’s the best way to get Jolts? Is that really David Tennant? Read on to learn it all.

Stay mobile and stay reloaded

Most of WWII’s zombies are of the standard shamble strain, but keeping them at arm’s length or farther demands constant attention to where you’re heading and how many groaning obstacles are in your intended path. Zombies can appear in front of you, around the corner, behind, or even from above or below. Check all of your angles, and don’t linger in one spot too long unless you’re prepared to use your class ability or toss out a grenade to avoid being overwhelmed. Keep your gun topped up as much as possible, especially if you’re wielding a boomstick or a bullet-spitter such as heavy machine guns with long reload times.

Focus on a specific goal or activity  

The wave you’re on dictates the ease at which you can accomplish tasks, such as unlocking a new area or exploring for secrets. You can certainly attempt to pack in multiple activities on a single round, but be aware of the heightened difficulty later waves impose on whatever you plan to do—say, unlocking the weapon upgrade machine at wave 10 instead of wave 6. You can certainly beeline to the final boss battle regardless of what wave you’re on, so figure out with your group what your intended round experience will be.

Use the shovel early for easy Jolts

Whacking that sleepy look off a zombie’s face with a digging tool isn’t just a pleasingly humiliating coup de grace, it’s also the best way to quickly earn the maximum amount of Jolts per kill—130 instead of the 100 gained from normal shooting. You can even dispense with your firearm entirely in the first three waves or so and solely focus on shoveling your way to a fat Jolt wallet useful for funding vital purchases later on. Remember to stay aware of the zombies’ increased health per wave, as it’ll take one extra hit per wave to down an enemy. Strong attacks using right click to focus your swing helps with recovering ammo and grenades, but you’ll be stuck in place for a few vulnerable seconds as you dig your shovel out of your victim’s nostril.

Stay on pace with the zombie power curve

Each wave bestows deeper health pools to all zombiesl, and your starting pistol will deal spitball-level damage by about wave 5. You’ll need at least a shotgun or SMG by then, and you’ll need to think ahead to the round’s endgame and appropriately upgrade your equipment in preparation for the truly difficult waves later on. If you feel your base weapons aren’t clearing waves effectively enough, get the weapon upgrade station unlocked and start spending Jolts on enhancing your guns.

Try your luck with the Command Room’s Mystery Box, as well—you could nab a beefy machine gun or powerful sniper rifle with one or two lucky rolls of the dice. The Blitz machines dotted throughout the village area and Bunker rooms are excellent flourishes to your firepower, increasing your reload speed, melee damage, run speed, and other bonuses for the duration of the round. Make those your priority.

Buy cheap ammo for your weapon by returning to its locker

If you’re comfortable with your chosen weapon, keep its initial locker location in the back of your mind for a quick loop to resupply. The Jolt cost for reusing the same locker is often in the low hundreds compared to the thousands needed to swap weapons at a different locker or pray to the Mystery Box.

Camouflage is the best ability for solo play 

The class loadouts in WWII Zombies are designed to complement each other when in a squad, and the Medic’s Camouflage is fantastic for swooping in for a safe revive on a downed teammate or to inflict some bonus bleed damage on a heavy boss-type enemy with the Serrated Edge augment. Consider favoring it over the other class picks for solo runs or to familiarize yourself with map layouts, as being able to vanish out of sight and recover safely is a great fallback tool. Be careful if you need to pop it close to a teammate—any surrounding zombies will instantly snap to the nearest visible target!

Delay the next wave with the straggler method

If you have the necessary Jolts to accomplish an objective or open a gate, you don’t need to blast down an entire wave in seconds. You can delay the deployment of a fresh mob by prolonging the current wave you’re on to explore or gorge on upgrades before pushing forward. An oft-used tactic is to whittle down a wave until one or two straggling zombies remain, keeping them close by as you complete errands. Proper distance is key—too close, and you’ll get swiped; too far, and the game will either despawn your pursuers and force them to reappear closer to you (often right in your face in a jumpscare) or cause them to break out in a loping sprint directly towards you. 

The characters that aren't Tennant are funny too

Yes, that’s David Tennant voicing and lending his face to the art-appreciating Drostan Hynd, but the remaining cast of celebrity-alikes are just as effective at swearing in a panic as everyone’s favorite high-pitched Scotsman. Ving Rhames’ Jefferson Potts or Elodie Yung’s Olivia Durant are typical top picks in a full lobby.

Omri Petitte

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?