Call of Duty Black Ops: Ranks, Levels and Unlocks

Call of Duty Black Ops: Ranks, Levels and Unlocks
Page content

Leveling Up and Unlocking

As you gain EXP you begin to ascend through the levels, and each level comes with a new symbol, a new name, and new weapons. You can gain EXP in any number of ways; kill people, capture points, call in killstreaks, shoot down killstreaks, and more. There are 50 levels and when you reach level 50 you can enter Prestige Mode. Prestige Mode resets everything except your emblem and clan tag, resets your level to 1, and lets you go through it all again. Certain prestiges higher up get you colored clan tags, special backgrounds, and special lobbies and leaderboards. You can prestige a maximum of 15 times.

  • Level 1: Private.

  • Level 2: Private II. Unlocks the LMG Class

  • Level 3: Private III. Unlocks the Sniper Class

  • Level 4: Private First Class. Unlocks Create A Class.

  • Level 5: Private First Class II. Unlocks the RPK and Contracts.

  • Level 6: Private First Class III. Unlocks the Enfield and Clan Tags.

  • Level 7: Specialist. Unlocks Skorpion.

  • Level 8: Specialist II. Unlocks the Stakeout and game mode challenges.

  • Level 9: Specialist III. Unlocks the M14.

  • Level 10: Corporal. Unlocks Killstreaks, playercard data, and emblem editing.

  • Level 11: Corporal II. Unlocks the Mac11

  • Level 12: Corporal III. Unlocks the RPG.

  • Level 13: Sergeant. Unlocks the Combat Record.

  • Level 14: Sergeant II: Unlocks the FAMAS.

  • Level 15: Sergeant III: Unlocks the Ballistic Knife and medal challenges.

  • Level 16: Staff Sergeant. Unlocks weapon emblems.

  • Level 17: Staff Sergeant II. Unlocks the AK74u.

  • Level 18: Staff Sergeant III. Unlocks the Python.

  • Level 19: Sergeant First Class. Unlocks weapon clan tags.

  • Level 20: Sergeant First Class II. Unlocks the Galil and elite challenges.

  • Level 21: Sergeant First Class III. Unlocks nothing.

  • Level 22: Sergeant Major. Unlocks weapon cameos.

  • Level 23: Sergeant Major II. Unlocks the Uzi.

  • Level 24: Sergeant Major III. Unlocks the Spas-12

  • Level 25: Lieutenant. Unlocks custom sights.

The Rest of the Levels

The first 25 levels are easy peasy. Every level the amount of EXP it takes to increase goes up. The last 25 levels take much longer to gain. If you’re finding leveling slow, play an obective game like Headquarters, or Demolition with a dedicated team of defenders. More kills = more exp, but capturing objectives and defending them is worth even more.

  • Level 26: Lieutenant II. Unlocks the AUG.

  • Level 27: Lieutenant III. Unlocks the L96A1.

  • Level 28: Captain. Unlocks custom lenses.

  • Level 29: Captain II. Unlocks The PM63

  • Level 30: Captain III. Unlocks the final challenges.

    rank prestige 8 128

  • Level 31: Major. Unlocks face paints.

  • Level 32: Major II. Unlocks the FN FAL.

  • Level 33: Major III. Unlocks the crossbow.

  • Level 34: Lieutenant Colonel. Unlocks nothing.

  • Level 35: Lieutenant Colonel II. Unlocks the MPL.

  • Level 36: Lieutenant Colonel III. Unlocks nothing.

  • Level 37: Colonel. Unlocks nothing.

  • Level 38: Colonel II. Unlocks the AK-47

  • Level 39: Colonel III. Unlocks nothing.

  • Level 40: Brigadier General. Unlocks nothing.

  • Level 41: Brigadier General II. Unlocks the spectre.

  • Level 42: Brigadier General III. Unlocks nothing..

  • Level 43: Major General. Unlocks nothing.

  • Level 44: Major General II. Unlocks the Commando.

  • Level 45: Major General III. Unlocks nothing.

  • Level 46: Lieutenant General. Unlocks nothing.

  • Level 47: Lieutenant General II. Unlocks nothing.

  • Level 48: Lieutenant General III. Unlocks the China Lake.

  • Level 49: General. Unlocks nothing.

  • Level 50: Commander. Unlocks Prestige Mode.

Effects of Prestige

Prestige mode can be entered up to fifteen times, each time once you reach level 50. Prestige has many effects on the game, including resetting nearly everything to level 1. You keep your purchased emblems and background, as well as your clan tag. You also keep the ability to add emblems and clan tags to guns, but can’t use it until you unlock it again. Each prestige grants you new bonuses.

  • Prestige 1: Prestige Leaderboard, Prestige Team Deathmatch, New Emblem, New Background, and a 6th Class Slot

  • Prestige 2: New Emblem and Background

    Call of Duty Ranks

  • Prestige 3: New Emblem, Background, and the 7th Class Slot

  • Prestige 4: New Emblem and Background

  • Prestige 5: New Emblem, Background, and the 8th Class Slot

  • Prestige 6: New Emblem and Background

  • Prestige 7: New Emblem, Background, and the 9th Class Slot

  • Prestige 8: New Emblem and Background

  • Prestige 9: New Emblem, Background, and the 10th Class Slot

  • Prestige 10: New Emblem, Background, and the Hardcore Prestige lobby.

  • Prestige 11: New Emblem, Background, and facepaints.

  • Prestige 12: New Emblem and Background

  • Prestige 13: New Emblem, Background, and Colored Clan Tags

  • Prestige 14: New Emblem, Background, and Gold Gun Camo

  • Prestige 15: New Emblem, Background, and Prestige Pure lobby.

Each time you prestige, be aware your COD Bucks will reset to 0. To use them on something you save, spend them on emblem symbols, layers, and backgrounds.

Basic Challenges

Basic challenges are the easiest challenges in Black Ops multiplayer. Even so, some of them are things you wouldn’t think of doing, or would only do occasionally. Here’s the list.

  • Break On Through - Dive-to-prone through windows.

  • To The End - Participate in full length matches (no ragequits, joining late, or host disconnections count.)

  • A Class Above - Be in the top 3 scorers on your team. Minimum 5 teammates, so no Team Tactical.

  • Vandalism - Destroy cars.


  • Guerrilla Warfare - Kill enemies with weapons you pick up off the ground.

  • X-ray Vision - Kill players through objects or walls. Hardened helps with this.

  • Law of Gravity - Fall a long distance to your death.

  • The Shortcut - Fall a medium distance (15+ feet) and survive.

  • Action Hero - Kill enemies within 5 seconds of diving to prone.

  • Multi-Killer - Get double or multi kills.

  • Stalking Prey - Kill enemies while crouched.

  • Laid to Rest - Kill enemies while you are prone.

Elite Challenges

Elite challenges are marks of a player a step above the basic, though they aren’t the most advanced actions. Many of them involve intermediate tactics and uses of items in ways beyond fire-and-forget. Here’s how you earn each of them, though the exact number can be checked in your challenge menu in your conbat record.

  • Return to Sender - Kill enemies with thrown-back grenades.

  • Situational Awareness - Kill enemies by causing cars to explode.

  • Master Chef - Kill enemies with cooked grenades.


  • Lethal Insertion - Kill enemies within 5 seconds of spawning on a tactical insertion.

  • Patience - Kill enemies who have spawned on tactical insertions within 5 seconds.

  • Clean House - Kill every member of the enemy team (minimum 5 members, so no Team Tactical.)

  • Gone Ballistic - Get two kills in one life with your ballistic knife. You can pick up fired knives if you miss, so use that.

  • Two Corpses, One Tomahawk - Kill two players with your tomahawk without dying in between.

  • Shard of Glory - Kill a player after diving to prone through glass.

  • Assault Rifle Perfectionist - Fire an entire AR clip without missing.

  • SMG Perfectionist - Fire an entire SMG clip without missing.

  • Pistol Perfectionist - Fire an entire pistol clip without missing.

  • LMG Perfectionist - Fire an entire LMG clip without missing.

  • Sniper Rifle Perfectionist - Fire an entire sniper rifle clip without missing.

  • Both Barrels - Land two shots with the Olympia without reloading.

  • High Value Targets - Kill the enemy with the most points.

Finishing Moves Challenges

Finishing Moves are final kills of the match, so naturally completing all of these challenges will take quite some time. You have to perform the specific action and get it on the final killcam. What actions? Here you go.

  • Final Kill - Be the killer in the final killcam.

  • Final Stab - Get the final kill with a backstab.

  • Final Heave - Get the final kill with a tomahawk.

  • Final Stick - Get the final kill with a stuck semtex.

  • Final Bolt - Get the final kill with a crossbow (doesn’t need to be a stick.)

  • Final Blade - Get the final kill with a fired ballistic knife.

  • Final Click - Get the final kill with C4.


  • Final Manslaughter - Get the final kill with the Death Machine.

  • Final Drop - Get the final kill with a care package (dropped on an enemy or hacker pro sabotage.)

  • Final Boom - Get the final kill with the RC-XD

  • Final Turret - Get the final kill with your sentry gun.

  • Final Barrage - Get the final kill with your Mortar Team

  • Final Burn - Get the final kill with a napalm strike.

  • Final Bombardment - Get the final kill with a rolling thunder.

  • Final Bite - Get the final kill with an attack dog.

  • Final Explosion - Get the final kill with a grim reaper.

  • Final Nightmare - Get the final kill with an attack chopper.

  • Final Curtain - Get the final kill with a gunship.

  • Final Chopper - Get the final kill with a chopper gunner.

  • Final Choke - Get the final kill with Nova Gas.

Killstreaks Challenges

Killstreaks challenges are all quite self-explanitory, but some of them are more than just “get kills with this killstreak.” Some of them, in fact, are anti-killstreak challenges. While the numbers vary, they all have three challenges associated with them.

  • Get X number of kills with the killstreak (or in the case of spy planes and blackbirds, while the killstreak is active.)
  • Use the killstreak X number of times.
  • Destroy the killstread X number of times (in the case of turrets, air support and the like. Obviously doesn’t apply to the Blackbird or weapon killstreaks.

Yes, there is a “get X kills with the care package” killstreak. Given that it’s almost impossible to kill a player by dropping a box on them, the primary way to get this killstreak us to use Hacker Pro to sabotage an enemy crate. Then when it explodes, those kills count.

Lifetime Challenges

Lifetime challenges are the only challenges that do not reset when you prestige. They keep counting from the moment you begin the game to the final time you die. Many of them are obvious, but the less obvious ones are detailed as well.

  • Career Kills - Get kills.

  • Career Time Played - Time spent in game. Time spent in lobbies might count, but time at the menus don’t.

  • Career Wins - Win matches.


  • Career Top 3 Performances - Be int he top 3 scorers in games.

  • Career MVP Finishes - Be the top scorer.

  • Career Headshots - Get headshots.

  • Career Assists - Get assists.

  • Career Complete Matches - Complete full games. Joining late, leaving early, or host disconnected games don’t count.

  • Career Killstreaks Earned - Earn killstreaks.

  • Career Score - Earn arbitrary high numbers of score.

  • Career Contracts Completed - Complete contracts.

Medals Challenges

Medals are necessary for challenges, but for the most part they’re self-explanitory. You earn medals for things you do in-game. Rescue a teammate in second chance? Medic medal. Avenge a teammate after they’ve been killed? Avenger medal. There are a number of medals that have challenges associated with them, and others that do not. The challenges all have only one level and offer 700 exp as a reward. They all require earning the medal 20 times. The exception is the first one, for tomahawks.

  • Watch That Killcam! - Earn a bank shot medal.

  • Sharing is Caring - Share 20 care packages.

  • Suicide Machine - Assist in 20 suicides (injure a player who then kills themselves.)

  • Sniper’s Doctrine - Earn 20 one shot, one kill medals with sniper rifles.


  • Guardian Angel - Rescue 20 allies by killing enemies who have injured but not killed them.

  • Returning the Favor - Kill 20 players who have killed you. (Payback medals.)

  • The Crate Pirate - Steal 20 care package crates. (Sam and Sentry boxes count also.)

  • Knife in the Back - Stab 20 enemies in the back.

  • First Strike - Gain first blood 20 times.

  • From the Grave - Kill 20 players after you are dead (cooked grenades, claymores, and other explosives work.

  • Sticky Bombed - Earn 20 “stuck” medals with Semtex or Crossbow bolts.

  • Revenge for the Dead - Kill 20 players who have recently killed allies.

  • Perfectly Executed - Kill 20 players who are in second chance.

  • From a Distance - Kill 20 players with longshots (a significant distance away, easiest with snipers or LMGs)

  • Heartbreaker - Kill 20 players just short of their next killstreak reward.

  • Combat Medic - Revive 20 allies on second chance (only works if they have Pro.)

  • Assisted homicide - Injure 20 players that someone else then kills (assists).

Pro Perk Challenges - Perk 1

Pro perk challenges are probably the most important challenges in Call of Duty Black Ops. Some are simple, some are hard, but if you want to unlock the pro version of a perk, you have to complete them. So what are they? Here you go. Lightweight

  1. Earn 15 Melee Kills
  2. Be wounded but escape and live to regenerate 5 times.
  3. Earn 10 Offense medals by killing enemies near their objectives.


  1. Pick up 150 blue resupply packs.
  2. Kill 5 players with a grenade you resupplied.
  3. Get 5 Kills without dying 5 times.




  1. Kill 20 enemies while they have a spy plane or blackbird active.
  2. Destroy 30 aircraft (spy planes, helicopters, etc) with non-killstreak launchers.
  3. Destroy 1 enemy sentry gun. (Not SAM turret.)

Flak Jacket

  1. Survive 10 explosions
  2. Plant or Defuse 10 bombs in Demolition, Sabotage, or Search and Destroy
  3. Throw back 5 enemy frag grenades (Don’t need to get kills, just throw them back.)


  1. Share 10 care package, SAM, or Sentry boxes with allies.
  2. Earn 7 killstreaks in one match using hardline. (Use Spy Plane, Counter Spy Plane, and Napalm Strike for most effect.)
  3. Get 7 kills without dying.

Pro Perk Challenges - Perk 2

Perk 2 challenges are much the same as perk 1. Remember, you have to have the perk equipped or progress to the challenge doesn’t count. Hardened

  1. Kill 10 players through surfaces.
  2. Shoot 200 bullets into aircraft.
  3. Destroy one piece of equipment through a wall.


  1. Get 50 Kills with secondary weapons.

  2. Get 50 one shot, one kill medals.

  3. Get 30 Headshots


Steady Aim

  1. Melee 2 enemies within 5 seconds
  2. Get 100 kills after sprinting
  3. Get 150 hipfire kills.

Sleight of Hand

  1. Get 150 kills aiming down sights.
  2. Reload and then kill an enemy within 5 seconds 30 times.
  3. Wound and enemy, reload, then kill them 10 times.


  1. Get 150 kills with a gun with 2 attachments
  2. Get 10 frag or semtex kills
  3. Get one frag or semtex multikill.

Pro Perk Challenges - Perk 3

For the third tier of perks you’ll have to do challenges similar to the first two tiers, just with the Green perks. Remember: once you unlock a pro perk, you then have to buy it so it’s effects become active. Tactical Mask

  1. Kill 20 enemies you flashbanged
  2. Kill 20 enemies you stunned with a concussion grenade
  3. Kill 20 enemies poisoned by your nova gas


  1. Sprint 26 miles
  2. Earn 10 first blood medals
  3. Get 15 captures in Capture the Flag




  1. Get 150 kills with a silent gun
  2. Get 5 Backstabs
  3. Plant 10 bombs in Demolition, Sabotage, or Search and Destroy

Second Chance

  1. Get 10 kills in Second Chance
  2. Kill the enemy that downed you in Second Chance 5 times
  3. Get 1 headshot in Second Chance


  1. Destroy 10 pieces of equipment
  2. Kill 25 enemies with Claymores or C4
  3. Kill 25 enemies in range of your Jammer or Motion Sensor.

Weapon Challenges

Weapon challenges are all the same and they’re all boring. Unlike Modern Warfare 2, where completing the challenges net you special titles and emblems, the only thing you gain from these challenges is EXP. Every weapon has essentially the same challenges. Get kills, get headshots. The only difference between tiers is the number you need. As you could guess, with the launchers, the challenges become “kill air support” and occasionally kill players, when the option is available. Don’t worry about these challenges; just let them happen while you use your weapons of choice.


We hope you have enjoyed this expansive Call of Duty Black Ops multiplayer guide. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, or if you’ve found information that is incorrect or that has changed, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below. Enjoy, and happy wargaming!

This post is part of the series: Call of Duty Black Ops Multiplayer Guide

This four-part guide to Call of Duty Black Ops multiplayer will cover everything you want to know about the game’s online component. Everything is covered, from the COD Bucks and weapons and perks, all the way to overviews of each map and challenge.

  1. Guide to Multiplayer in CoD Black Ops
  2. Call of Duty Guide: All the Weapons and Equipment in CoD: Black Ops
  3. Call of Duty Black Ops Maps Guide: All the Multiplayer Maps for CoD: Black Ops
  4. Call of Duty Black Ops Ranks Guide: XP, Classes, Unlocks and Challenges in CoD: Black Ops
  5. Kill More, Die Less: Multiplayer Tips and Tricks for CoD Black Ops
  6. Call of Duty Black Ops Multiplayer Game Types
  7. Black Ops: Dominate Your Opponents Multiplayer Guide
  8. Call of Duty: Black Ops - Killstreaks Guide