How to rank up quickly in Call of Duty Ghosts

Hello, my name is Trent aka oTradeMark. PwnStarzDotCom and I were the first players in the world to reach 10th prestige in Call of Duty Ghosts (zOMG NO LIFEZ WTFBBQ!), reaching that pinnacle before teams like Optic, Machinima (Complexity) and #TheRace. This guide is a collection of information and tips on how we did it.

Call of Duty Ghosts Leveling Guide:

What is Prestige?

Prestiging in Call of Duty is a way to signify that a player has reached the maximum level in the game and restarted their character. You can think of reaching max level as “beating” the Multiplayer portion of the game and prestiging as completing consecutive playthroughs.

What do you get for prestiging?

In prior games, prestiging has earned you prestige icons, player emblems, unlocks and other in game benefits. Call of Duty Ghosts is pretty lame as far as prestige “rewards” are concerned. You do earn a new prestige emblem that appears next to your name and you also unlock a new player background to customize your squad members but really you don’t get any in-game benefits in Call of Duty Ghosts. For that reason I would recommend reaching the max level for as many characters as you like the prestige symbol for. Personally I think prestige 8 and 9 are the best of the 10. These are what the emblems and backgrounds look like:

The 10 Character Prestige System

Call of Duty Ghosts has a slightly different prestige system than prior Call of Duty games. Instead of leveling up and “resetting” your character when you prestige, Ghosts gives you 10 potential characters to unlock, and you earn a new prestige every time that a character reaches maximum XP level 60. Since the first character you level up counts as your first prestige you only go through the leveling process 10 times to reach max prestige whereas most Call of Duty games require you to go through the leveling process 11 times (1st playthrough plus 10 prestige playthroughs). While this new prestige system has less levels to complete overall, the leveling process is slower and can take quite a bit longer to reach max prestige than in prior games.

Squad Points

Squad points is COD Ghost’s new method of unlocking weapons, perks, streaks, characters and more. You earn squad points through leveling up, completing field orders, completing field operations and completing in game tasks. While squad points are not directly related to leveling up fast it is important to note that your first 5 characters only cost 3 squad points per character to unlock, but your 6th-10th characters cost 100, 200, 300, 400 & 500 squad points respectively to unlock. That means that you need to save 1500 squad points during the leveling process in order to unlock all 10 characters (~166 squad points per prestige for your first 9 characters). When we were racing to max prestige we saved a lot of squad points during our first 5 prestige levels and then unlocked all of our characters at once so we didn’t have to worry about saving them up for the final 5 characters.

How to play if you want to level up fast in Call of Duty Ghosts

All Call of Duty games follow a relatively similar leveling scheme. You earn experience from your in game performance (kills, assists, playing the objective, etc.) and bonus XP rewards (match bonus, challenges, etc.). In order to maximize your XP earned you want to do as many things each game that give you XP while also working towards the completion of bonus XP tasks. While this is pretty simple in theory, leveling up as efficiently as possible depends on your skill level, play style and available operations / bonus XP. But generally, the best way to earn experience as fast as possible is to stay near the action, PTFO (Play The F***ing Objective) and play to win.
DISCLAIMER: Video games are meant to be fun. As long as you aren’t ruining other people’s experience (griefing, boosting, glitching) then I would say play however you want if it allows you to have an enjoyable experience. If following these tips is not fun for you don’t use them. Personally, I enjoy leveling up fast because I enjoy the challenge of racing to be first and I enjoy getting the in-game benefits of reaching max prestige as soon as possible, but if that doesn’t interest you then you’re probably just wasting your time reading this guide.

Match Bonus

Match Bonus XP is experience that you earn for completing a game in Call of Duty Ghosts. The exact formula for this match bonus was discovered in MW3 and while I don’t have the exact formula for Ghosts, traditionally your match bonus is determined by 3 things: Level, Time & Result. The longer the match is the bigger your bonus. The higher your character level the greater your bonus. And finally if you win the match, your bonus will be twice as big as when you lose. This is also why I mentioned playing to win is an important part of leveling up fast as your match bonus is halved upon losing.

What is the best Game type to rank up quickly in COD Ghosts?

The best gametype to level up in depends on your skill and play style. If you are a run and gun slayer and play solo then Cranked is the game type for you. If you are a more objective based or strategic player then Search & Rescue might be the best for you. And finally, if you play in a team or you struggle to get kills then an objective game type like Kill Confirmed or Domination will be the best for you because you can still get a lot of XP and score through capturing points and collecting tags. I will go into greater detail for each game type below.


Cranked is probably the best game type for leveling up quickly if you can manage to get kills and stay cranked. Cranked is like TDM but when you get a kill you unlock all of the speed perks for your character and you also get +200 score/XP per kill while cranked. So essentially, cranked has a built in x2 XP multiplier for every kill you get while cranked. While cranked you do have a 30 second countdown where you will blow up at the end of it if you don’t get a kill but that will rarely happen if you stay moving (unless part of the enemy team quits which seems to happen a lot). Combine that with the fast paced action of Cranked and the limited rotation of maps (Cranked removes all of the larger maps because you would blow up too often) and you have one of the best game types to level up in Call of Duty Ghosts.

Search & Rescue

S&R is a decent gametype to level up in, especially when you have an XP boost or double XP weekend, because each action gives you a lot of XP. I think it’s 250XP for a kill, 250XP for a rescue/deny and 500XP for a bomb plant. Combine that with double XP and you are getting some great experience. My only issue with S&R or S&D in previous games is that because you are getting on average far less kills and objectives per game it is a lot harder to complete challenges and operations when playing this game type. So I tend to stay away from these game types. However, if you are a very tactical player and enjoy strategy and slow paced game types this might be the game for you.

Kill Confirmed

Kill Confirmed does have amazing leveling potential if you are very aggressive, especially if you are playing with a team of slayers who just sits back and you collect the majority of the tags. I recommend using marathon / agility with an SMG or Shotgun for Kill Confirmed as it allows you to stay in the action and collect tags all game.

What is the best strike package to level up fast in COD Ghosts?

This again depends on your play style but if you have a 2+ K/D you will probably want to run specialist. If you die a lot or are very objective based run support. I will go into detail as to what I feel the best strike packages are below:

Specialist Strike Package

Again, if you have a 2+ K/D I would probably run the Specialist strike package. The idea is to get your specialist bonus as often as possible for 2 reasons: 1. You earn XP for getting streaks/specialist bonuses & 2. You can work towards a multitude of perk challenges when you unlock all of your bonus perks. Which perks you run in your loadout should really depend on your operations but this is usually what I run:
1 Primary weapon, 0 secondary, 0 lethal 0 tactical.
11 perk points: Hardline (2), Dead Silence (2), Amplify (2), Focus (2), Flak Jacket or Sit Rep (2), Takedown, Gambler or Ready Up (1)
Perk Bonuses: If you run three 1 point perks as your first 3 unlocks you will unlock your 8 bonus perks at 7 kills which is nice if you are purely trying to get bonuses and unlock your extra perks. I usually unlock scavenger as one of my first 3 bonus perks though as I find I run out of ammo before I get my bonus completely unlocked. Also, if you are working on operations/challenges you might unlock those perks earlier in the cycle. For your final 8 bonus perk points when you unlock your specialist bonus I typically unlock Off The Grid (to stay off UAV’s), Blind Eye (to stay off Oracle’s) and then whatever extra perks I need for operations. Alternatively you can get off the grid during your first 3 unlocks and get 4 bonus unlocks at your bonus. Essentially you want to only use the most crucial perks in your setup and then unlock whichever perks you need for operations/challenges during your specialist bonus unlocks. Also, keep in mind that all of these class setups are referring to cranked, so you can see that I’m not running any speed perks because I automatically get those perks after my first kill. If you aren’t playing cranked then sleight of hand or stalker or quick draw might be worth unlocking / equipping in your class setup.

Support Strike Package

The support strike package leveling potential lies in 2 things. First, your streak doesn’t end when you die so you can constantly rush the objectives and not worry about keeping your streak going. Secondly, a lot of support streaks give you XP and points for helping your teammates. For this reason I suggest running Satcom, Ammo Crates, Ballistic Vests as your 3 streaks. Ammo crates & vests give you +50 score for every teammate that takes one. I’ve played some games where I’ve gotten over 7 rotations of vests/crates and I told my teammates to pick them up each time. If you have 5 teammates picking up both a vest and weapon every time you earn it that is an extra 500 XP per streak cycle. Satcom’s are used because it both helps your team and it is the only streak which can be used before crate/vests so it let’s you cycle your other streaks faster. In my opinion, support streaks are actually a faster way to level up quickly when playing in a party if they are constantly picking up your vests/weapons from the crates. The leveling potential when working together in a team is huge.

Assault Strike Package

Finally, the assault strike package is not necessarily bad for leveling, it’s just not as effective as the other two in my opinion. The dog’s are really strong in this game, and assault satcom’s are only 3 kills to get. If you are good at getting your streaks then Assault can actually be pretty decent for leveling, especially if you are working on assault operations at the same time.

Operations & Challenges

Operations & Challenges are really the key to leveling up as fast as possible in Call of Duty Ghosts. Efficiently completing operations & challenges without slowing down your in game effectiveness can severely increase the speed at which you level up. The key is to complete them efficiently.

How Do Operations Work?

Operations are broken down into 5 categories: Perk operations, First class operations, Game mode operations, Weapon operations and Gear operations. Each category has 10 active challenges which automatically turn into new challenges every 2 weeks. You can manually re-roll your challenges for a new list of operations by spending 1 squad point. Since each challenge gives you 1 squad point anyways, don’t be afraid to re-roll for new operations if you don’t like your current list. On average, I complete 2-4 operations per category before manually re-rolling for new operations. It used to be that you could only complete 1 tier of operations before you had to re-roll as well but I think they fixed it to where you can complete all 3 tiers of an operation before re-rolling. One very important thing to mention is that you can carry over 1 operation per category with you when you re-roll your operations by selecting that operation and highlighting it in the category list. So basically if I had 3 operations per category that I wanted to complete I would finish 2 out of 3 of them and then highlight the last one and re-roll my operations. That way I would have a new list of operations and carry over the last operation I was still working on. You can also choose to carry over the easiest operations to complete each time as that gives you at least one easy operation per category to complete each re-roll.

Which Operations Should You Complete?

If you are purely trying to level up as quickly as possible you should not, I repeat, SHOULD NOT try and complete all of the operations in each category. Many operations are extremely hard to get and you will waste more time and more potential XP trying to get them than you could have obtained from just playing normally. You want to focus on completing operations that don’t get in the way of your in-game effectiveness. Focus on completing perk operations for the perks that fit your playstyle. Complete the game mode operations for whichever game mode you level up fastest within, complete the weapon operations for whatever attachments you like best, complete the gear ops for whatever strike package you are using to level up fast, and finally first class operations are kind of random so I usually don’t intentionally complete any of those unless it just happens. I will start compiling a list of operations which I feel are worth completing below and give tips on how to complete them.

Weapon Camo Challenges

Along with operations, you can complete weapon challenges in order to unlock new camo’s for each weapon. These weapon camo challenges also give you in game experience which can help you rank up fast in COD Ghosts. While the exact amount of XP that you receive for each weapon camo challenge is not visible from the create a class screen or barracks menu like it was in previous games, you can see a +score pop up alongside of a completion notification in game when you complete one of these challenges. Each camo has a different challenge to unlock it, such as earning a certain amount of kills while crouching, sliding, or my personal favorite, while leaning (psyche, I hate the stupid ass lean challenges with a passion). Just like the operations, I recommend that you only complete the weapon challenges which don’t slow down your in-game efficiency. Try and complete the camo challenges that you can complete naturally with your playstyle. For example, if you are a camper, completing your crouch and lean kill challenges might be really easy to complete. Whereas, if you are a very aggressive rusher, getting the point blank (close range kills) or kills shortly after sliding might be worth pursuing.

Hidden Challenges

Along with your weapon challenges and operations there are a number of hidden challenges within the game. I have no idea why Infinity Ward didn’t include these challenges and the weapon camo challenges in an easy to view list with their associated experience rewards but Infinity Ward has never been a big fan of logic. As far as I know, all of the hidden challenges are just different tiers of the weapon camo challenges. For example, getting 150 kills without attachments is one of the weapon camo challenges however you also complete separate XP challenges for no-attachment kills along the way. You can think of all the weapon camo challenges as tiered challenges with several XP rewards given to you as you work on the challenge. There might be additional hidden challenges which exist within the game that aren’t related to weapon camo challenges but I have not seen them. When you complete one of these challenges a completion notice will pop up in the top left hand corner of your screen underneath the minimap and a +score pop up will appear in the center of your screen. (The score pop up is added to any in-game score you recently received which is why it is difficult to determine the exact XP amounts you receive for completing these challenges.)

I will compile a list of any hidden challenges I find along with the estimated XP reward associated with the challenge below.

Bonus XP

Clan Wars

Clan wars is a new meta-game within Call of Duty Ghosts that is integrated with and accessed through the new Call of Duty app. The objective in clan wars is to earn capture points by winning games from a variety of playlists within Call of Duty Ghosts. If you would like to learn more about clan wars you can read about it here. But capturing a node for a particular playlist earns your entire clan an XP bonus for that playlist. This is a great way to earn bonus XP and level up fast in Call of Duty Ghosts. Try to form a clan with other players who play a lot of the game type that you want to earn an XP boost in because you only get the experience boost when you currently hold the capture node for the clan war.

Monster Energy Double XP

Specially marked Monster Energy packs (or individual cans if you live outside of the US) have Call of Duty Ghosts care package DLC codes that you can redeem at for an in-game bonus. Most of the rewards are in-game backgrounds or emblems however there is a chance to receive some in game double XP time as well. However you can only redeem 10 codes per account so you are limited on getting double XP in that regards.

Playstyle & Skill

As I mentioned in the very beginning of this guide, your play style and in game skill play a big factor in determining how quickly you can level up in any Call of Duty game. If you want to rank up quickly in Call of Duty Ghosts, staying near the action and playing the objective will be much more effective than camping in the back of the map. Also, winning more gunfights and improving your in-game skill will allow you to stay alive longer and amass more experience faster. But getting better at Call of Duty could be an entire guide in and of itself so I won’t go into it any further in this guide. If you do want to get better at Call of Duty, you can subscribe to or watch Pwn at

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