Black Ops Leveling Guide – How to Level Up Fast 15th Prestige

How to Level Up Fast in Black Ops – Call of Duty Blops Leveling Guide version 1.3 by oTradeMark

To prestige, or not to prestige.. that is the question.
Whether ‘tis nobler in the game to suffer
The nades and bullets of outrageous 12 year olds,
Or to take arms against a sea of AK74 users,
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep

If you have played Call of Duty Black Ops Multiplayer very much you have most likely reached the rank of commander and unlocked the 5 star emblem next to your gamertag. If you are familiar with previous COD titles you will also know that this doesn’t have to be the end of the road for your leveling journey.

That is because in Call of Duty Black Ops you have the choice to enter prestige mode. Entering prestige mode in Call of Duty resets your current level and weapon set back to level 1 in exchange for unlocking a new emblem next to your gamertag along with extra custom class slots, playertags, and other bonus features of the multiplayer game.

Some of you might have already played 10+ days in Black Ops and you might already be a 15th prestige level 50 player. If that is the case, congratulations. Really the only thing that is required to reach the prestige 15 in Black Ops is time. No matter how bad you are, if you play enough you are bound to get there eventually.

But for those of you who don’t have as much time as you would like to play Black Ops and yet still want to reap the rewards that the later prestige levels have to offer, I have created a Black Ops leveling guide just for you.

Now just a preface on myself. I am married and have 2 children (1 boy and 1 girl). When I’m not working or spending time with my family, I enjoy playing sports & video games. Because I don’t have as much time to play now as I did when I was a single college student I need a way to level quickly and efficiently. That’s where this guide comes in. This guide is a collection of the things I have learned while leveling in Call of Duty Black Ops and it is what helped me prestige in one day playing only 50 games during the last Double XP weekend! Enjoy!

Why should I prestige?

OK, first off let’s talk about the benefits of entering prestige mode as outlined below. The first 10 prestiges don’t unlock anything aside from a new prestige emblem and an extra custom class slot every other prestige. Starting at prestige 11 you unlocked additional face tattoos to use on your in game character. At prestige 13 you unlock the ability to change the color of your clan tag and at prestige 14 you unlock the ability to purchase golden camouflage for your weapons (50,000 COD Cash a piece). Finally, prestige 15 unlocks the Prestige Pure playlist, a playlist that matches 15th prestige players against other 15th prestige players, and also entering prestige 15 unlocks the only animated playercard background in the game. Below is a chart to show what is unlocked at each prestige:

Prestige Level Unlocks
Prestige 1 Custom Class 6, Prestige Leaderboards & Playlist
Prestige 3 Custom Class 7
Prestige 5 Custom Class 8
Prestige 7 Custom Class 9
Prestige 9 Custom Class 10
Prestige 11 Face Tattoos
Prestige 13 Clan Tag Colors
Prestige 14 Golden Camo for guns (50,000 CP per)
Prestige 15 Prestige Pure Playlist, Animated Playercard Background

The 15 prestige emblems that will be located next to your gamertag at each prestige are shown below. My recommendation for you is to look at the emblems and unlocks that you will gain for each prestige and decide if it is worth it for you to prestige. I personally like entering prestige mode because I enjoy the satisfaction of leveling up and unlocking things as I play, but a lot of people don’t care about extra emblems or golden camos, in which case I would recommend just staying at level 50 and hording massive amounts of COD cash for everyone to see.

How long is this going to take?

If you have weighed the pros and cons of entering prestige mode and want to get through your prestige levels as fast as possible let me outline the time it is going to take to reach max prestige.

Leveling is based off of experience earned while playing the game. Every time you do something that helps your team you are rewarded with experience. For example getting a kill, capturing a point, or defusing a bomb will all earn you experience.

Aside from the things you do in game you are also rewarded for completing specific challenges and contracts that can be purchased in game. On top of that the game rewards you with a bonus XP multiplier anytime you win a game.

Leveling up in Call of Duty even when using the tips in this guide is still a lengthy process. Depending on the skill of you and your team it could take anywhere from 10-20 hours of in game time played to level through all 50 levels of a prestige. That is typically about 100-200 completed games at around 15 minutes per match.

If you can complete 50 levels within 16 hours of game time played you are leveling at an extremely fast pace. I just reached 14th prestige in 8 days and 8 hours of game time played, Which means I have gone through all 50 levels 14 times with an average of 14 game time hours per prestige.

The Call of Duty Black Ops Leveling System

First of all, to understand how to level quickly you need to understand how the Black Ops leveling system works. There are 50 levels in a prestige, each level requiring exponentially more experience than the one before. I have included a table below to show you exactly how much experience is needed to reach each level as well as the percentage of the prestige that is completed when you reach that level.

As you can see the total amount of experience necessary to prestige is approximately 1.25 million XP. When you reach level 25 you are actually only 18% of the way through the prestige experience wise, so the first 25 levels are going to go by much faster than the last 25 levels.

Level Rank Title Min XP XP to Next % Complete
1 Private 0 300 0.00%
2 Private 300 900 0.02%
3 Private 1200 1500 0.10%
4 Private First Class 2700 2100 0.21%
5 Private First Class 4800 2700 0.38%
6 Private First Class 7500 3400 0.59%
7 Specialist 10900 4100 0.86%
8 Specialist 15000 4800 1.19%
9 Specialist 19800 5500 1.57%
10 Corporal 25300 6200 2.00%
11 Corporal 31500 7100 2.50%
12 Corporal 38600 8000 3.06%
13 Sergeant 46600 8900 3.69%
14 Sergeant 55500 9800 4.40%
15 Sergeant 65300 10700 5.17%
16 Staff Sergeant 76000 11800 6.02%
17 Staff Sergeant 87800 12900 6.95%
18 Staff Sergeant 100700 14000 7.98%
19 Sergeant First Class 114700 15100 9.09%
20 Sergeant First Class 129800 16200 10.28%
21 Sergeant First Class 146000 17400 11.56%
22 Sergeant Major 163400 18600 12.94%
23 Sergeant Major 182000 19800 14.42%
24 Sergeant Major 201800 21000 15.98%
25 Lieutenant 222800 22200 17.65%
26 Lieutenant 245000 23500 19.41%
27 Lieutenant 268500 24800 21.27%
28 Captain 293300 26100 23.23%
29 Captain 319400 27400 25.30%
30 Captain 346800 28700 27.47%
31 Major 375500 30100 29.74%
32 Major 405600 31500 32.13%
33 Major 437100 32900 34.62%
34 Lieutenant Colonel 470000 34300 37.23%
35 Lieutenant Colonel 504300 35700 39.94%
36 Lieutenant Colonel 540000 37200 42.77%
37 Colonel 577200 38700 45.72%
38 Colonel 615900 40200 48.78%
39 Colonel 656100 41700 51.97%
40 Brigadier General 697800 43200 55.27%
41 Brigadier General 741000 44800 58.69%
42 Brigadier General 785800 46400 62.24%
43 Major General 832200 48000 65.92%
44 Major General 880200 49600 69.72%
45 Major General 929800 51200 73.65%
46 Lieutenant General 981000 52900 77.70%
47 Lieutenant General 1033900 54600 81.89%
48 Lieutenant General 1088500 56300 86.22%
49 General 1144800 58000 90.68%
50 Commander 1202800 59700 95.27%
Prestige Commander (Maxed) 1262500 100.00%

How to earn experience

The first thing that you should understand about leveling in black ops is how you earn experience. When you enter a game of Black Ops you are rewarded for the tasks you complete in game. Capturing objectives, killing enemies, assisting teammates, and calling in killstreaks are all examples of in game accomplishments that you can do to earn experience. But aside from the obvious ways of earning experience there are also several side challenges, contracts, and bonuses that can help you on your way.

Match Bonuses

Match bonus XP is exerience earned when you complete an entire match. If you leave during a game you forfeit this match bonus (which is a poor quit penalty to say the least). Your match bonus is determined by your current level, the length of the match and also if you win, lose or tie the match. Your match bonus is multiplied by 1 for a win, 0.5 for a loss, and 0.75 for a tie.

In other words, winning is very important to leveling up quickly, which brings me to my first suggestion. Always play with a team. Your team doesn’t have to be full of MLG caliber players. You just have to have share common goal of going after the objective and playing smart in order to win most of your games. If you already have a group of people that you play with that’s great. If you don’t, I recommend getting involved on some gaming forums or tryout for a clan to get some friends online. You can even add players to your console friends list directly from your recent players. If you are playing the game and get matched up with some good players who you enjoyed playing with send them a message and try to start up a party together. Some of the people I currently play with the most are just players I got matched up with randomly online and really enjoyed playing with.


COD challenges are specific tasks that you need to complete in order to earn a set amount of experience. There are two basic types of challenges in Black Ops. Static challenges and Progressive challenges.

Static challenges are challenges that you only need to complete once and you will earn the experience for that entire prestige. For example did you know that you will earn 5000 XP just for earning a bankshot medal (bounce a tomahawk off a surface for a kill)?

Progressive challenges on the other hand are challenges that you complete over time, such as the marksman gun challenge. The marksman gun challenge is a challenge for every gun in the game that earns you experience as you get kills with a particular weapon. There are different levels of this challenge which earn you more XP for every level completed.

All challenges reset when you prestige except the lifetime challenges. Lifetime challenges are generic challenges that you work on when playing any mode in multiplayer and do not reset when you prestige.


Contracts are in game bounties which you purchase with cod points and reward you with additional cod points and experience. Contracts are determined by Treyarch and switched every 24 hours to allow more variety on the types of challenges you can complete.

I was surprised to find out how many players don’t actually purchase contracts. I guess they don’t think that completing those challenges will earn them very much experience or help them in their leveling, however I am at prestige 13 and have earned over 700,000 XP on contracts alone, more than half of one prestige all together.

Always try to buy contracts that co-operate with each other. For example get 50 kills with an SMG + Capture 3 flags in CTF. Create an SMG runner class and go play some CTF. Or maybe there is a stab 2 people in the back with ninja contract as well as a get 75 kills with the famas contract. Equip ghost & ninja and a silenced famas and go to work on the other team.

Finally, don’t buy contracts that are going to cause you to do poorly in a game. There might be a 1000 XP contract for getting 50 kills while using the ACOG and Extended Mags on a gun but if you suck while using a poor class setup you are going to end up losing more than 1000 XP from missed kills and frustrating games/losses.

Game types

Let me preface this section by saying that gaming is meant to be fun. If you don’t enjoy a game type, don’t play it. That being said, there are many game types within Black Ops for you to choose from and some of them offer a distinct leveling advantage over others that I will cover with you now.


The fastest game type to level within when playing with a winning team is Headquarters. Headquarters is an objective game type where 2 teams fight over a certain area. Once the area is controlled by one team they become the defenders of that area, and the opposite team becomes the attackers of that area. The attackers are trying to break the HQ by killing the enemy team and regaining control of the area. Once your team captures the HQ, you only have 1 life and if you die you will not respawn until the enemy team breaks that HQ.

Headquarters earns your entire team 50 experience for every 5 seconds that you have the HQ controlled. The game ends after 20 minutes or after a team controls the HQ for 250 seconds total. 50 XP for every 5 seconds that you control the HQ turns out to be 2500 XP per player on the winning team not including task specific bonuses like kills, captures, challenges and contracts.

It is not uncommon for players to earn 10,000 XP for one game of Headquarters, in fact I was able to earn 44,451 experience for one game of Headquarters alone! (That is like leveling through all of level 41 in one game!)


The second fastest game type to level with is probably Search and Destroy. S&D is a one life bomb based game type which is played in rounds (Best out of 7). The main advantage of S&D is that you earn a ton of experience for kills and objectives when playing. A kill in S&D is worth 500 XP, an assist is worth 250 XP, and a plant or defuse is worth 500 XP. As you can see if you had a really good round and killed all 6 players plus planted/defused the bomb you would earn at least 3500 XP in that round alone. The downside to playing S&D is that it can be a double edged sword. If you are bad at S&D and don’t get very many kills/plants/defuses you will hardly earn any experience and end up just watching other players for the majority of the game.

I personally don’t like Search and Destroy because I tend to rush a lot and die early to a strategically placed claymore or frag grenade but some of my friends almost exclusively play S&D and level really well when they play it. One more thing to mention about S&D. Search and destroy gives round bonuses not match bonuses and the round bonus multipliers are bigger than in any other game type. (x2 for a win, x1.5 for a tie, and x1 for a loss)

All other gametypes

Now all the other game types have their pros and cons. In fact I enjoy playing a variety of game types when leveling up as it keeps things fresh and allows for different play styles depending on the game. But I would reserve all the other game types for situational circumstances only.

For example, if there is a demolition contract to win 1 game without allowing the other team to detonate a point, go ahead and spend 10 minutes completing that. It is worth it in the long run. Also, there are game type specific challenges that can be completed when you unlock them. For example, did you know that you will earn 3000 XP for completing 2 challenges just by winning 2 games of sabotage in under 2 minutes? (Sabotage is one of the fastest game types out there when you have a good team)

There are also certain challenges that are much easier to complete on certain game types. For example, all of the final killcam challenges are much easier to get when playing free for all. Because FFA ends at 30 kills simply race to 29 kills with your best weapon and then call in all of your killstreaks at the end to try to get the final killcam with your killstreak. Each final killcam challenge is worth 2500XP, that is a very quick way to get some massive XP at later levels.

Class setups & weapons

Class setups are extremely important to leveling up quickly. One of the biggest mistakes players make when trying to level up quickly is that they pick a weapon and perk setup that they enjoy and stick with it through an entire prestige. Not only does this seem boring to me, it also leads to a whole slew of potential experience that you are missing out on. I am going to outline the main ways in which you earn experience through your class setups below:

Weapon Challenges

Each primary weapon in the game has 2 basic weapon challenges, the marksman challenge (kills) & the expert challenge (headshots). These challenges are progressive in that you start off on tier 1 with only 10 kills required to earn 250XP and then each tier the amount of kills required to complete and the XP rewarded increases. Looking at the chart below you can see that the XP per kill is the best at 1000 kills per weapon. Weapon types and weapon attachments also have a similar tier challenge. Weapon types reach it’s peak XP per kill at 2000 Kills and weapon attachments reach their peak at 1000 kills.

Kills XP XP/Kill
10 250 25
25 500 33.33
75 750 15
150 1000 13.33
300 2000 13.33
500 5000 25
750 7500 30
1000 10000 40
1500 10000 20

So what’s this all mean to you? Basically, try using a primary weapon with the same attachments until you get the 1000 Kill challenge for your weapon and the attachment. Then move onto a new primary weapon using A DIFFERENT attachment until you again get the 1000 Kill challenge for your weapon and attachment.

Pro Perk Challenges

Each perk has a set of 3 challenges that you can complete in order to unlock the “Pro” version of that perk. Each one of those challenges earns you 2000 XP. Completing all the challenges for all the perks will earn you 90,000 total experience.

There are several synergistic perks which have challenges that you can complete at the same time. For example, lightweight, steady aim and ninja all have a challenge that requires knife kills to complete. Lightweight requires 15 knife kills, steady aim requires 2 consecutive knife kills within 5 seconds, and ninja requires 5 back stabs (knife kills directly from behind). So in order to quickly get the 6000 XP from all 3 challenges equip a ballistic knife with lightweight, steady aim and ninja as your perks and run around knifing people. This should earn you 6000 XP relatively quickly, plus an extra 1000 XP from a challenge that requires you to get 2 kills with the ballistic knife without dying (stab kills count).

Although this sounds like a great way to earn experience, some of the perk challenges can be very difficult to complete. That’s why I have assembled a list of tips for helping you complete the pro perk challenges as quickly as possible:

Perk Slot 1

Lightweight: Faster movement speed. Speed increase depends on wielded weapon
Lightweight Pro: No fall damageChallenges & Tips:
Melee Kills – Earn 15 melee kills.
Equip a ballistic knife for fast knifing.
Synergistic with steady aim quick melee & ninja backstabs
Escape Death – Escape death 5 times after being hurt.
After taking damage dive to safety by sprinting and pressing down on the crouch button.
The red on your screen will disappear and your character will take a deep breath when he is healed
Offense Medals – Get 10 Offense Medals by killing enemies near their objective.
Play capture the flag. Pick up the enemy teams flag and run around killing people. Every kill while carrying the enemy flag counts towards this challenge
Scavenger: Resupply from dead players.
Scavenger Pro: Start with extra ammunition & replenish tactical grenadesChallenges & Tips:
Resupplies – Resupply 150 times while using Scavenger.
Grenade Kills – Get 5 Lethal Grenade kills with a resupplied grenade.
Try throwing your grenade right when you spawn then immediately finding a scavenger pack. That way any grenade you throw during that life will be resupplied.
Synergistic with Warlord grenade kills
Kill Count – Get 5 kills without dying 5 times.
Ghost: Unable to be detected by enemy radar. Previously Cold Blooded in MW2.
Ghost Pro: Undetectable by aircraft, dogs, IR, and sentries. No red crosshair or name when targeted.Challenges & Tips:
Concealed Kills – Kill 20 enemies while they have a Spy Plane or Blackbird active.
Synergistic with Ninja silenced kills
Destroy Aircraft – Destroy 30 aircraft with any non-Killstreak launcher.
Ground war is a good game type to find a lot of aircraft
Enemy care package helicopters can be shot down in one shot
Destroy Sentry Gun – Destroy 1 Sentry Gun.
Equip the sentry gun killstreak yourself, then throw the package over to the enemy spawn. When the enemy places it down be ready to sneak up and knife it.
Flak Jacket: Reduces explosive damage
Flak Jacket Pro: Immune to fire damage and allows you to safely toss back frag grenades.Challenges & Tips:
Protected – Survive 10 explosions while using Flack Jacket.
Demolished – Plant or defuse 10 bombs in Demolition, Sabotage, or Search & Destroy.
Demolition is the easiest to get this done. Synergistic with Ninja
Throwbacks – Throw back 5 enemy Frag grenades.
Camp on a perch like the birds nest in firing range and throw decoys next to you. The enemy team should start lobbing grenades at you… throw them back.  Even cooked grenades that you just start to pick up and blow up while in the process of throwing count towards a throwback.
Hardline: Killstreaks require 1 less kill to acquire.
Hardline Pro: Change the contents of a Care Package.Challenges & Tips:
Share Packages – Share 10 Killstreak reward crates with teammates.
Equip SAM Turret, Care Package and Sentry Gun killstreaks. This way one killstreak of 5 will earn you 3 packages to be shared with your team. Big maps make it easier to call in care packages without the enemy team interfering
Multiple Killstreaks – Earn 7 killstreaks in one match while using Hardline.
Can be done at the same time as share packages above, or put on 3-4-5 killstreaks (UAV, Counter UAV, Care Package) and just play normally.  Don’t stay alive for too long after earning all 3 of your killstreaks as you need to reset your killstreak counter.
Killstreak – Get 7 kills without dying in one match.

Perk Slot 2

Hardened: Increased bullet penetration. Previously FMJ attachment in MW2
Hardened Pro: Bullets do extra damage to aircraft and turrets. Reduced flinch when you are shot.Challenges & Tips:
Penetration Kills – Get 10 kills using Hardened and shooting through walls.
The M60 is good for this but really any gun will work.
Bullets in Aircraft – Shoot 200 bullets into enemy aircraft.
Find a fast firing weapon with a big clip then shoot at a heli
Equipment Shot – Destroy 1 piece of enemy equipment through a wall.
USE HACKER!  Synergistic with Hacker destroys
Scout: Hold breath longer during weapon scope
Scout Pro: Faster Weapon SwitchingChallenges & Tips:
Secondary Kills – Get 50 kills with secondary weapons.
Use a pistol only for a few games. Can’t go wrong with a python plus speed reloader
One Shot Kills – Get 50 One Shot, One Kill Medals.
I hate sniping so I never get this
Headshots – Get 30 Headshot kills.
I rarely get this challenge just because once I get the 50 secondary kills I stop using this perk
Steady Aim: Increased hip fire accuracy. (smaller aiming reticule spread)
Steady Aim Pro: Quicker aiming after sprinting and quicker recovery from knife lunge.Challenges & Tips:
Quick Melee – Melee two enemies consecutively within 5 seconds.
Equip a ballistic knife.  Synergistic with Light Weight melee kills and Ninja backstabs
Sprint Kills – Get 100 kills after sprinting.
Use an SMG.  Synergistic with Marathon miles
Hip Fire Kills – Get 150 hip fire kills using Steady Aim.
Use an SMG
Sleight of Hand: Faster reloads.
Sleight of Hand Pro: Faster aiming down sights with non-scoped weapons.Challenges & Tips:
Aiming Kills – Get 150 kills while aiming down sights.
Reload Kills – Kill an enemy within 5 seconds of reloading 30 times.
Fast Hand Kills – Reload and finish off the enemy you wounded 10 times.
Fire 1 shot of your weapon. When you see an enemy, stun or flash them. After seeing the hit detection quickly reload your gun and kill the enemy. Profit.
Alternatively, use a noob tube (grenade launcher) on a gun. A lot of kills will require both grenades and will count towards a fast hand kill.
Warlord: Allows 2 attachments on primary weapon. Previously Bling in MW2
Warlord Pro: Start with 1 extra lethal and tactical grenade (except smoke)Challenges & Tips:
Two Attachment Kills – Get 150 kills using a gun with two attachments.
Dual mags + Silencer is my favorite combo for a ghost class
Grenade Kills – Get 10 Frag or Semtex kills.
Synergistic with Scavenger
Grenade Multi-kills – Get 1 multi-kill with Frag or Semtex.
Synergistic with Scavenger. Ground war makes this easier. More players = more chances for a multi kill grenade

Perk Slot 3

Marathon: Longer sprint duration
Marathon Pro: Unlimited SprintChallenges & Tips:
26 Miles – Sprint 26 miles using Marathon.
This sucks… enjoy the grind
First Blood – Get the First Blood Medal 10 times.
Start every round of every game with a marathon class and switch once first blood is taken. You will get this eventually doing that.
Captures – In Capture the Flag, get the Flag Capture Medal 15 times while using Marathon.
Synergistic with lightweight offensive medals
Ninja: Silent footsteps
Ninja Pro: Louder Enemies and you’re completely silent.Challenges & Tips:
Silenced Kills – Get 150 kills using the Suppressor attachment.
Synergistic with Ghost concealed kills
Back Stabs – Get 5 Backstabber Medals.
Synergistic with light weight melee kills and steady aim quick melee
Plants – Plant the bomb 10 times in Demolition, Sabotage, or Search & Destroy.
Plant then hide near the bomb. Let the enemy defuse, kill them, then re-plant. Works great when whole team does this.  Synergistic with flak jacket defuses
Second Chance: Pull out your pistol before dying
Second Chance Pro: Survive longer, and any teammate can revive you.Challenges & Tips:
Kills – Get 10 kills while in Second Chance.
Revenge – While in Second Chance, kill the enemy who downed you 5 times.
Shoot more
Headshot – Get 1 headshot kill while in Second Chance.
Shoot and get lucky, then contemplate on your actions for using such a ghey perk.
Hacker: Detect enemy equipment & explosives through walls.
Hacker Pro: Can sabotage enemy equipment, turrets, and crates. Invisible to motion sensors.Challenges & Tips:
Destroys – Destroy 10 equipment or explosives while using Hacker.
Synergistic with Hardened equipment shot
Explosive Kills – Kill 25 enemies with a Claymore or C4.
C4 is actually faster if you know how to use them. Double tap reload button to fast detonate C4 in air.
Near Equipment Kills – Kill 25 enemies within the radius of your Jammer or Motion Sensor
Motion sensor is easier. Put it down in the corner of a high traffic area or objective
Tactical Mask: reduces effects of flashbangs and concussion grenades.
Tactical Mask Pro: Reduces the effects of the flash and concussion grenades. Reveals the position of a flashed or stunned enemy.Challenges & Tips:
Flash Kills – Kill 20 enemies that are blinded by your Flashbang.
Concussion Kills – Kill 20 enemies that are stunned by your Concussion Grenade.
Nova Gas Kills – Kill 20 enemies poisoned by your Nova Gas
Flash, Stun & Nova Kills are all synergistic with Scavenger Pro & Warlord Pro as you replenish tac grenades and get extra grenades with warlord.  I rarely get the tac mask challenges during leveling as I feel they take to long to complete when I would rather be using ninja, hacker, or marathon

Level By Level Class Loadout

So combining the tips from above this is a level by level class loadout that I typically use for each prestige:

Levels 1-4: Use anything as custom classes and challenges are not unlocked yet. You can get to about level 6 with one good game of HQ.

Levels 5-13: Until I unlock the Famas I usually just use the Mp5K and try to complete some perk challenges. Use these levels to get your knife and steady aim challenges done.  I do recommend getting tactical insertions early as a lot of your XP will come from capping HQ points in early levels and using tac inserts makes that easier.
Class Loadout:
Mp5K + Rapid Fire
Secondary: anything
Equipment/Lethal/Tactical: tac insert, frag, decoys
Perk 1: Lightweight
Perk 2: Steady Aim
Perk 3: Marathon/Ninja
Tips: Work towards 150 kills with the Mp5K + rapid fire.  That will complete the challenges for MP5 Kills Level IV, SMG Kills Level II, and Rapid Fire Kills Level III, amounting towards a total of 5000 XP already.  Also use these levels to complete your lightweight challenges, steady aim challenges, and if you can play CTF for a bit I usually get my marathon flag caps and lightweight offensive medals during this time.  The 3 perk challenges for lightweight & steady aim combined with the one challenge for marathon and two challenges for ninja all amount to 18,000 XP, a great early boost for your leveling.

Levels 14-29: I introduce you to the Fusil d’Assaut de la Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne or FAMAS.  The Famas is the best gun in the game.  Some people argue that it’s noobish to use and it’s cheap but the simple fact of the matter is that statistically it is superior to every gun in the game.  I use this religiously until I get the 1000 Kill challenge for it.  However, if you refuse to use such a “noobish” weapon here are some good alternatives that you unlock during levels 14-30:
Level 17: Unlock AK74u – By far the best SMG in the game.  Great alternative to the Famas and unlocks just a few levels after the Famas.
Level 20: Unlock Galil – Great AR.  Does more damage than the Famas at the cost of higher recoil and slower rate of fire.  Still a great alternative though.
Level 21: Unlock M60/Stoner – Stoner/M60 are situational but if you want to play with these big guns this is your time to shine.  Personally, the slower movement, reload and grenade throw speeds while using LMG’s are too unbearable for me.
Level 26: Unlock Aug – The ignored and underrated step sister of the Famas.  Statistically it is almost identical to the Famas save a slightly larger recoil pattern.
Class Loadout:
Primary: Famas + Dual mags / Silencer
Secondary: Python Speed Reloader or CZ75 Extended Mags
Equipment/Lethal/Tactical: tac insert, frag/semtex, flash/stun
Perk 1: Hardline/Scavenger/Ghost
Perk 2: Sleight of Hand/Warlord
Perk 3: Marathon/Ninja/SecondChance/Hacker
Tips: This is where you should make a major push to complete as many perk challenges as possible.  Work towards the 1000 kill challenge for the Famas, Assault Rifles, and Dual Mags or Silencer attachments while sequentially completing each perk challenge.  For example, as soon as I have the money to buy the SAM turret, Care package, and sentry gun killstreaks I equip all 3 killstreaks and complete all 3 hardline challenges within a couple of games.  Next I will put on ghost, sleight of hand and ninja with a silenced Famas, and get my concealed kills, sentry gun kill (it’s a lot easier if you just earn it yourself and throw the care package to the enemy), aim down sight kills, reload kills, silencer kills, and fast hand kills.  This might also be a good time to go play some demolition games and get your ninja/flack jacket plants/defuses.  Once you have hardline, sleight of hand and ninja pro it’s time to switch the class up.  Put on Scavenger, Warlord, and Second Chance and go be a douchebag in all the servers.  Collect all the scavenger packs while constantly throwing grenades and pissing people off by going into second chance before each death.  You should be able to complete all perk challenges for all 3 perks within 10-25 games.

Levels 30-45: By the time you reach level 30 hopefully you have the following already completed: Lightweight Pro, Scavenger Pro, Hardline Pro, Steady Aim Pro, Sleight of Hand Pro, Warlord Pro, Ninja Pro & Second Chance Pro.  There are also a few challenges from other perks that you should have gotten by now but they probably won’t be pro perks yet.  If you aren’t completely finished with some of your challenges don’t sweat it.  Occasionally challenges will allude you.  One prestige I spent probably over 20 games trying to get the second chance headshot before I finally got it.  Just try to wrap them up as soon as possible then move onto the next challenge.  Levels 30-45 are a very big chunk of your leveling experience, encompassing almost 50% of the total XP you will earn during a prestige.  So just grind through these levels as best you can.

Level 30 is an important level for 2 reasons.  First of all you you unlock the Strela-3.  The Strela-3 is a great secondary for any ghost class as it almost guarantees you a couple of aircraft kills during an HQ game.  Secondly, level 30 unlocks Final challenges like the finishing moves.  If you are good at Free For All, I suggest you use this time to go complete your finishing move challenges.  Finishing moves are when you get the final killcam using certain weapons or killstreaks highlighted in the challenge.  Otherwise, if you are bad at FFA or don’t like to play that gametype, continue on with your perk challenges.  Both class loadouts and tips are listed below.

FFA Class Loadout:
Famas + Silencer
Secondary: Python Speed Reloader
Equipment/Lethal/Tactical: motion sensor/radar jammer, frag/semtex, decoy (Your equipment/lethal/tac might need to be switched out depending on the challenge you are trying to complete.  Such as getting a tomahawk kill or C4 kill in the final killcam)
Perk 1: Hardline
Perk 2: Sleight of Hand
Perk 3: Ninja
Tips: In order to level quickly when playing FFA try doing this.  First setup your killstreaks to be UAV/BlackBird/________ (insert whatever killstreak you need to complete the finishing move challenge here)  Next of all run around and collect kills as fast as possible.  Only use your UAV and Blackbird killstreak, save your 3rd killstreak and try to stack multiple ones up for the end.  When you reach 29 kills then call in your 3rd killstreak and try to get the final killcam.  If your killstreak doesn’t get the final killcam then try to do one of the final killcam challenges that doesn’t require a killstreak such as a C4, tomahawk, ballistic knife, crossbow kill.  I always keep a variety of classes available for me to switch to.  The whole idea is to get your 30th kill while completing a final killcam challenge.  If you are good at FFA you can rack up the XP for the win and killcam challenges very quickly.  I was able to earn 8 final kill cam challenges (16,000 XP) in around 1 hour of play.  That’s not including the XP I got from all the wins.

Regular Class Loadout:
Famas + Dual mags / Silencer
Secondary: Python Speed Reloader or CZ75 Extended Mags / Strela-3 for Ghost challenges
Equipment/Lethal/Tactical: tac insert, frag/semtex, flash/stun
Perk 1: Ghost/Flack Jacket
Perk 2: Hardened/Scout
Perk 3: Marathon/Hacker
Tips: Try to wrap up the last of your perk challenges during these 15 levels.  Put on flack jacket, hardened & hacker and shoot through a wall to destroy a piece of equipment, easy 2000 XP.  Shoot down aircraft for your Ghost challenge.  Survive some explosions.  Get some hardened penetration kills.  Use your secondary weapon for a few rounds until you get your one scout challenge.  Finish your marathon miles and get your hacker claymore & motion sensor kills.  That being said there are some challenges which I usually DONT COMPLETE… The thing is if a challenge is very difficult to complete and you don’t play as well while using that perk then in the long run you are being detrimental to your leveling.  The challenges which I usually don’t complete are as follows: Flack Jacket throw backs, Hardened bullets in Aircraft, Scout one shot kills, Scout headshots, All 3 tactical mask challenges and sometimes I don’t get all 26 marathon miles.  Keep this in mind.  Don’t spend too much time on challenges that make you play poorly.  If you find yourself sucking with a particular perk, throw on your pro perks that you are the best with and play your prestige out with those.  Also, at this time pay attention to your primary weapon kills.  Once you hit 1000 kills on your primary weapon and attachments move onto a new primary weapon.  I recommend keeping the primary weapon in the same classification (ie: if you use an assault rifle for your first 1000 kills, use another assault rifle for your 2nd gun).  Kills are really subjective to how good a player is.  Some people get thousands of kills per prestige, others don’t get 500.  Play to your strengths.  If you can’t kill anyone for squat, focus on hopping on the HQ points and getting as many captures and defends as you can.

Levels 45-50: By this time you should have all of your perk challenges completed that you are going to finish for this prestige.  The good news is you are only 5 levels away from prestiging.  The bad news is that experience wise you still have 25% of the leveling process to get through these final 5 levels.  The great thing about the last 5 levels is that this is your time to shine.  You should have all the pro perks and weapons you need and have COD cash for days.  Use this time to get your best games in during your prestige.  There is no worrying about challenges or things now.  Just focus on getting kills and completing in game objectives.  The better you play during these final 5 levels the faster you will get to prestige.


As stated earlier, using this information I was able to prestige in 50 games.  If you are interested in watching those games I have created a series on my youtube channel called “The Path to Prestige.”  Check the games out here:


Thanks for reading! Hope it helps, check me out on or send me a message on twitter / xbox live @oTradeMark


28 thoughts on “Black Ops Leveling Guide – How to Level Up Fast 15th Prestige”

  1. thanks for the guide and updates, it’s really come a long way since the first version you put up. really helpful stuff, especially since this is my first CoD game. if you’re online and need another person to fill a party, hit me up – gt: fluffybunnies


    1. You are always welcome to send me a message, gt: oTradeMark. I’m part of a large clan with hundreds of members but am always willing to join up with someone if we aren’t with a full group.

  2. Really appreciate the guide. I play more FFA than anything usually, but I do like HQ. I guess I should work on the whole adding people who are good at, and like to play, HQ so I can take advantage. Really great guide man, thanks for taking the time to do this

  3. Hm, I havent seen a guide like this till now. Its too late for me to be following this as I am gonna hit 15 soon. But im gonna show my other friends this and see if this helps them out. Great guide! Good Job on this.

  4. Hey, this is a really great guide you’ve written! Been using it recently and it’s really helpful. Thanks!

  5. great guide man. i read this yesterday and tried to find it again today but google wasnt very helpful. I then proceded to type in “married guy cod bo not much time to play” and then i found it again lol

    I got ghost pro and hardline pro in a matter of two games yesterday. without this guide i would have never realized that i just had to change my killstreaks to all the care package ones. i could never find a an enemy turret to destroy for ghost and it was always impossible for me to share 10 care packages before. with your tips that all changed. i should be prestiging tonight on to prestige 8. i plan on timing myself using this guide and see how long it takes.

    Thanks again!

    My username is VegasOutlaw89

    1. lol… I’m glad the “married guy not much time to play” search showed the guide… I will have to add some backlinks to the guide so it shows up on google for you next time.

  6. This guide is great for game aspects such as how to get pro perks and so on, but assumes that everyone is as great at the game as him and also as large as a gaming humu as himself. Ignore this and keep playing like you enjoy the game.

    1. I don’t assume everyone is “as great at the game as me.” I know there are players better than me and also players that are not as good as me. These are simply some tips that can be universally applied to level faster regardless of how good you are at the game.

  7. Awesome guide, and this will help me a lot. Just got Black Ops two days ago and I found out I’m good at TDM, Sabotage, and CTF. Anyways, I’m glad this showed up because I haven’t found any decent guides lately. Again, awesome guide! If you have Black Ops on ps3 my psn is DeathAbandoned.

  8. I’ve been playing for a while after using this guide and it vastly improved my experience of the game. The info is invaluable, and it’s also very well written and organized. Nice work!

  9. It took me 11 hours to get a full prestige. I first played FFA using the Olympia. I’m a very great player and usually finish a FFA in less than 3 minutes. My killstreaks change depending on the map. Say: Firing Range, Jungle, Array, and the big open maps or small open maps like Nuketown. I use Black Bird, Chopper Gunnar, Attack Dogs. For Nuketown, I would recommend Spy Plane, Black Bird, Chopper Gunnar. It’s a very close quarter map, therefore it’ll be very hard to take down air support. Flak Jacket/Hardline, Sleight Of Hand Pro, Ninja are great perks for FFA.

  10. Hey this was awesome, thanks for the help. I mainly now am focusing on getting those pro perks and those loadouts work great. Before I read this I was only using lightweight, slight of hand, and marathon (I got all those pro very quickly, but then didnt work on anything else). All in all thank you for all of this.

  11. heh otrademark, im making a guide. i found your guide to be extremely helpful. mind if i put the information on my guide? credits will be given to you. thanks

  12. This guide is beast. I leveled so fast in headquarters I became dizzy. I’m an average player but got from level36-43 in 1 day.You are awsome,This guide is awesome, this is on my favorites list.

  13. guy thats levels up fast because of otrademark

    hey thank man, a week ago i was only level 29, now i’m 7th prestige because of this guide.I’m going to tell my friends to look at this guide.

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