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Survival Mode

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For a similar gamemode in Black Ops: Declassified, see Hostiles mode.
For the similarly named gamemode in Zombies, see Survival.

Survival Mode is a game type on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Mobilized and Call of Duty: Strike Team, and a Special Ops Playlist in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. On Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Mobilized, it is exclusive to Single Player, while in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, it can be played alone or with one other player.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: MobilizedEdit

It is only unlocked if the player either uses a cheat code, or beats the campaign on Hardened difficulty. Doing the former only temporarily unlocks it, while doing the latter unlocks it permanently.

There are four maps in Survival. They are:

  • Withstand is in a bombed-out apartment building in Russia. There is debris all around the apartment for the player to take cover behind.
  • Persistence is in a military aircraft hangar somewhere in South America. There are several large supply cases for the player to take cover.
  • Outlast is in a small courtyard in South America. Fallen pillars, gates, and a car are all available for the player's cover.
  • Endure, the final map, is in a war-torn Middle-Eastern town. Debris is littered everywhere for cover.

When the player first unlocks the mode, they will begin with Withstand only, and other maps are progressively unlocked. To unlock a map, the player must survive at least three minutes in the previous map. At the beginning of every game, the player starts out with a USP and three Frag Grenades, but there are three randomly generated weapons that spawn on the ground, and eight seconds are given for the player to gather these weapons, and/or to find cover. The weapons include the M4A1 Red Dot, AN-94, AK-74, P90, MP5, MP7, M40A3, AA-12, M249, and the RPG-7. The weapons are replaced every 60 seconds. All of the weapons have a large amount of spare ammunition, and, in the M249's case, it has a 200-round mag, where it would be found in other modes to have a 100-round mag.

There is no co-op for this mode.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3Edit

"In Survival mode you will fight off waves of increasingly difficult enemies as you earn XP and unlock several types of armories to expand your arsenal and load-out customization along the way."
— Description of Survival Mode in the Survival Mode trailer.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 - Spec Ops Survival Trailer(02:09)
Survival Mode Trailer

Survival Mode appears in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 as a gametype within Special Ops mode. In Survival Mode, players must fend off waves of A.I controlled enemies on various multiplayer maps. The waves are semi-random with certain waves predetermined, while others contain increasingly large and powerful contingents of forces such that in the later stages of the game, players can expect to face multiple Juggernauts, Dogs strapped with C4 and enemy air support simultaneously.

Gameplay is noticeably more arcade-like in Survival Mode when compared to the campaign; the player is more accurate when firing while moving or firing from the hip, being shot does not cause their view to be thrown off as badly, and enemy soldiers can survive more damage than in campaign or Special Ops. There is no means of winning in this game mode, because the waves will continue until one player has been eliminated; in co-op, if either player dies, the round ends. As with other Special Ops missions, co-op is available for this mode, both online and split-screen.

Survival Mode also features a currency system which allows players to buy items such as air support, sentry turrets, weapons, and even friendly NPCs to assist the player throughout the match. Revenue is generated by killing enemies and can be multiplied by chaining numerous kill sprees. Six factors at the end of each wave also provide a certain amount, depending on the total time, wave number, enemies slain, accuracy, damage inflicted on the player and headshots. Furthermore, assisting in an enemy kill will reward the assisting player a fraction of the total amount received by the player who performed the kill. Three "Armories" are placed in fixed locations around the map and are activated over the course of the first few rounds; the Weapon Armory provides ammunition for guns, and allows the purchase of bullet-firing weapons and their accessories. The Equipment Armory provides armor, grenades, and special items like sentry turrets and claymores. Finally, the Air Support Armory allows the player to call in assistance from orbiting aircraft, such as Perk drops, Predator missiles and small groups of friendly NPC soldiers delivered by helicopter. Only one Perk can be used at a time, buying and equipping another Perk will simply replace the previous one. Likewise, purchasing a new weapon will remove the previous firearm. Typically a map will place two of the Armories close together and one a significant distance away.

In addition to their normal regenerating health, players can purchase flak jackets to provide a fixed amount of protection before they start taking health damage. Armour does not regenerate, and can only be replenished by buying more at the Equipment Armory.

When a wave is over, players can press the appropriate button to start the next wave, or simply wait 30 seconds for the next wave to start automatically. This is to allow players some time to ready themselves between waves or buy support, weapons, perks, weapon attachments, equipment, etc.

Survival Mode also has a ranking system similar to multiplayer, but unlike multiplayer's maximum rank of 80, in Survival Mode the maximum rank is 50. Also it takes 2176500 XP to finish the final level whereas in multiplayer only 1746200 XP are required. Experience earned within a Survival Mode game is accumulated, allowing the player to purchase improved equipment and weapons as they rank up. Completing Mission Mode challenges also provides players with experience points.

Maps are categorized by four difficulties: Easy, Regular, Hard, and Insane. Four maps are found in each difficulty. In Easy maps, the player spawns with a Five Seven, two Flashbangs, two Frag Grenades, full body armor, and Self Revive. In Regular maps, the player spawns with the same equipment as Easy, except the player wields a USP .45. In the Hard maps, the player spawns with an MP412, two flashbangs, no frag grenades, full body armor, and Self Revive. In the Insane maps, the player spawns with an M16A4 w/ Red Dot Sight and built in Rapid Fire, a Five Seven, no grenades, full body armor, and no Self Revive. DLC maps, however, are given varying difficulties.


Tier 1 (Easy) - unlocked by default

Tier 2 (Regular) - unlocked at level 8

Tier 3 (Hard) - unlocked at level 15

Tier 4 (Insane) - unlocked at level 25


Tier 2 (Regular) - Unlocked by download

Tier 5 (Pretty Insane) - Unlocked by download

Tier 6 (Very Insane) - Unlocked by download


The enemy soldiers in Survival Mode progress through a variety of increasingly better armed and armored variants. Additionally, a number of special enemy types will appear semi-randomly in certain waves.

Numbers in brackets represent the amount of money received when the enemy is killed.

Note: All of the above-listed enemies, except the Juggernauts (and their variants), Dogs, C4 Dogs and helicopters drop their listed weapon when they are killed. Riot Shield Juggernauts drop a Riot Shield and Claymore Experts drop a PM-9. Juggernauts and their variants drop neither a PKP Pecheneg nor ammo for said weapon upon death.


Before each round the player is assigned two random challenges from the list below, appearing as bars in the lower left of the HUD. Each time the bar is completely filled, the player will gain $500 multiplied by the number of times the bar has been filled in the current round. A new pair of challenges are assigned when the next round begins, and partially-filled bars do not carry over between rounds even if the game has issued the same challenges as before.

  • Kill Streak: Kill four enemies without taking damage. Bar is wiped if the player takes damage.
  • Rampage: Kill multiple enemies in quick succession. Bar slowly decreases if the player kills no enemies.
  • Headshot: Kill four enemies with headshots. Bar decreases if the player lands a kill with a non-headshot.
  • Knife Streak: Kill five enemies with the knife in a row.
  • Quad Kill: Kill four enemies at once.
  • Flash Kill: Kill five flashed enemies.

Weapon ArmoryEdit


  • Refill Bullet Ammo: Refill for $750, unlocked by default

Assault RiflesEdit

All Assault Rifles cost $3000

  • M4A1 unlocked by default.
  • M16A4 unlocked by default. Primary starting weapon on tier 4 maps with Red Dot Sight. Delta Force members equip this by default.
  • SCAR-L unlocked at level 5.
  • ACR 6.8 unlocked at level 14. Primary starting weapon on Off Shore with Shotgun (attachment) and ACOG Scope. Commando troops equip this by default.
  • AK-47 unlocked at level 24. Heavy troops equip this by default.
  • FAD unlocked at level 32. Heavy commando troops equip this by default.
  • G36C unlocked at level 39.
  • CM901 unlocked at level 43.
  • MK14 unlocked at level 47.
  • Type 95 unlocked at level 50.

Submachine GunsEdit

All Submachine Guns cost $2000

  • MP5 unlocked by default. Medium troops and riot squad alllies equip this by default.
  • UMP45 unlocked at level 4.
  • MP7 unlocked at level 13.
  • PM-9 unlocked at level 23. Claymore experts equip this by default.
  • PP90M1 unlocked at level 38. Chemical agents equip this by default.
  • P90 unlocked at level 46.

Light Machine GunsEdit

All Light Machine Guns cost $7000

  • M60E4 unlocked at level 12.
  • PKP Pecheneg unlocked at level 18. All types of Juggernauts equip this by default but the player cannot use them nor collect ammo for said weapon.
  • MK46 unlocked at level 34.
  • L86 LSW unlocked at level 41.
  • MG36 unlocked at level 48.


Sniper RiflesEdit

All Sniper Rifles cost $2000


All Handguns cost $250

  • Five Seven unlocked by default. Starting weapon on tier 1 and tier 4 maps; Overwatch, Black Box, FoundationSanctuary and Terminal. Light troops, medium troops, heavy troops, commando troops, heavy commando troops and claymore experts equip this if in Final Stand on the maps where players equip it.
  • USP .45 unlocked by default. Starting weapon on tier 2 maps, DecommissionPiazzaLiberation and Gulch. Light troops, medium troops, heavy troops, commando troops, heavy commando troops and claymore experts equip this if in Final Stand on the maps where players equip it.
  • MP412 unlocked at level 2. Starting weapon on tier 3 maps. Light troops, medium troops, heavy troops, commando troops, heavy commando troops and claymore experts equip this if in Final Stand on the maps where players equip it.
  • Desert Eagle unlocked at level 11
  • .44 Magnum unlocked at level 20
  • P99 unlocked at level 40

Machine PistolsEdit

All Machine Pistols cost $1500

  • G18, unlocked by default.
  • Skorpion, unlocked at level 3
  • MP9, unlocked at level 17
  • FMG9, unlocked at level 37


Scope Attachments

  • Holographic Sight for $1000, unlocked by default.
  • Red Dot Sight for $750, unlocked at level 7, granted on tier 3 maps by default.
  • ACOG Scope for $1250, unlocked at level 30, granted on Off Shore by default.

Under-barrel Attachments

  • Grip for $1250, unlocked at level 19
  • Grenade Launcher for $1500, unlocked at level 28
    • M203 (Underbarrel on the M16A4 and M4A1 only)
    • GP-25 (Underbarrel on the AK-47 only)
    • M320 (Underbarrel on the ACR 6.8, CM901, FAD, G36C, MK14, SCAR-L and Type 95) 
  • Shotgun for $1500, unlocked at level 45, only for assault rifles, granted on Off Shore by default.

Equipment ArmoryEdit

  • Frag Grenade Refill for $750, unlocked by default
  • Flashbang Refill for $1000, unlocked by default
  • Claymore x5 for $1000 (10 Max), unlocked at level 2. Claymore experts equip this by default, as do chemical agents (though the latter uses a variant that 'poisons' players rather than true explosives)
  • C4 x5 for $1500 (10 Max), unlocked at level 3. Suicide bombers and bomb dogs equip this by default.
  • Body Armor for $2000, unlocked at level 10
  • Self Revive for $4000, unlocked at level 12
  • Sentry Gun for $3000, unlocked at level 17
  • RPG-7 x2 for $2000 (4 Max), unlocked at level 27
  • Sentry Grenade Launcher for $4000, unlocked at level 31
  • Riot Shield for $3000, unlocked at level 37. Riot Shield Juggernauts and riot squad allies equip this by default.

Air Support ArmoryEdit


I Live (10 Gamerscore/ Bronze trophy Bronze Trophy PS3 icon) - Survive 1 wave in a Special Ops Survival game.

Serrated Edge (15 Gamerscore/ Bronze Trophy Bronze Trophy PS3 icon) - Finish a Juggernaut with a knife in Special Ops.

Arms Dealer (20 Gamerscore/ Bronze trophy Bronze Trophy PS3 icon) - Buy all items from the Survival Weapon Armory.

Danger Zone (20 Gamerscore/ Bronze trophy Bronze Trophy PS3 icon) - Buy all items from the Survival Air Support Armory.

Defense Spending (20 Gamerscore/ Bronze trophy Bronze Trophy PS3 icon) - Buy all the items from the Survival Equipment Armory.

Birdie (20 Gamerscore/ Bronze trophy Bronze Trophy PS3 icon) - Kill 2 enemy helicopters without getting hit in a Special Ops Survival game.

Survivor (20 Gamerscore/ Silver trophy Silver Trophy PS3 icon) - Reach Wave 10 in each mission of Special Ops Survival mode.

Get Rich or Die Trying (25 Gamerscore/ Silver trophy Silver Trophy PS3 icon) - Have $50,000 in your current balance in Survival mode.

Unstoppable (40 Gamerscore/ Silver trophy Silver Trophy PS3 icon) - Reach Wave 15 in each mission of Special Ops Survival mode.

Survival Mode EnemiesEdit

Call of Duty: Strike TeamEdit

Survival Mode also appears in Call of Duty: Strike Team. It only has one map.



  • The Survival Mode trailer used the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 variant of the Red Dot Sight, but this was cut from the final game.
  • In Survival Mode, while prone, pistols held with two hands will not center on the screen.
  • Players cannot be harmed by dogs if they climb ladders, however, this is only recommended if no infantry are in the area.
  • The player may be shot by his own  Sentry Grenade Launcher if the player stands between it and an enemy.
  • On the Special Ops Trailer of Modern Warfare 3, it appears to have duration of time that the player is surviving on the wave.
  • When picking up an enemy weapon, all currently stored ammo will be emptied into the gun.
  • The Heavy Commando troop wielding an FAD assault rifle resembles a 'mini Juggernaut'. He has the same uniform, armored vest, helmet, and arm-guards, but does not wear the Plexiglas visor, thigh guards, shin guards, and armored collar, as well as having slightly smaller shoulder pads; he also wears different boots.
  • In the beginning of the mission, Overlord will say that they cannot get to the player, but strangely, they can send GIGN and Delta team.
  • The enemies in the Special Ops mission Negotiator, and the enemies in the mission "Persona Non Grata" use the same character model as the commando troops wielding ACRs.
  • The highest Survival Mode rank is 50, but during Call of Duty XP, the highest known rank was level 80.[1]
  • The icon used to represent Armor was different in the Survival Mode trailer.
  • The RPG is the only standalone launcher that appears in Survival.
  • The Commando troops seem to be carrying handgrips on their ACRs, however, this was probably cut from the actual game, for players receive no such attachment when they pick up said weapon. Furthermore, the grip was seen in Modern Warfare 2, but cut from Modern Warfare 3.
  • The Juggernauts seem to carry some model of pistol, presumably to use it in Final Stand, but do not use it because they are so heavily armoured.
  • All maps in Survival feature the Delta Force and Overlord. This is true even on maps that do not feature the former.
  • The perks dropped by helicopters automatically disappear if players do not collect them but instead kill the enemies.
  • One should note that in later waves and on harder difficulties, not all enemies come at the beginning of the wave. For example, on Tier 1 maps, a Little Bird appears when there are few survivors on either Round 21 or 22.
  • Friendly fire is enabled on Survival mode.
  • The Care package perk drops have the Task Force 141 logo on it. However, Overlord is the announcer.
  • The official Bradygames guide book says that all of the maps have self revive, despite the Tier 4 maps not.


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