MW2 - Sales Record
Modern Warfare 2 broke sales records by being the fastest selling Call of Duty game since it released in 2022 Activision


  • DMZ pits players against each other and AI-controlled combatants
  • XP rewards carry over to the base game and "Warzone 2.0's" progression systems
  • Death means all collected loot and uninsured items are lost forever

The first season for "Warzone 2.0" has officially kicked off, but players who don't want to dive into the battlefields of Al-Mazrah blind have another option to consider.

DMZ is the latest permanent game mode to enter "Call of Duty's" lineup and it's free to play as well, just like its more ubiquitous battle royale brother mode. Here, the focus shifts to PvE, though the threat of other operators always looms on the horizon.

People who aren't familiar with how survival-extraction games work may find DMZ to be jarring, and even veterans of games like "Escape From Tarkov" and "Hunt Showdown" might still be confused as to just how "Modern Warfare 2's" take on the subgenre works. Here's a quick explainer of how DMZ plays.

Main Objectives

In DMZ, players are spawned right inside a confined area of Al-Mazrah where they are meant to accomplish three Faction Missions before exfiltrating out of the warzone. These objectives range from looting caches to completing Contracts and more.

Faction Missions can be finished across multiple runs, so players are free to do whatever they want once their boots touch the ground.

Modern Warfare 2 - DMZ objectives
Objectives in DMZ are shown on the left side of the Tac Map screen Modern Warfare 2

Loot and Equipment

Before deploying, players can pick from a selection of Contraband weapons to add to their loadout. These weapons are expendable, which means they can be lost forever upon death. On the other hand, Insured weapons are permanent parts of a player's loadout—on death, they go on cooldown instead of being lost.

In-game, loose loot items like tubes of toothpaste, laptops, flash drives and wine bottles can be taken back to the base for a sum of money. As of the launch version of DMZ, cash cannot be spent and all of it is automatically converted into weapon and player XP.

Weapons that players pick up from crates, the environment or dead enemies get added to the list of Contraband items in the pre-deployment screen. They can be used again on future deployments, but players cannot customize them as they would Insured guns.

Up to three weapons can be insured at a time.


Weapons, ammo, grenades, field upgrades and armor plates all occupy their unique slots in DMZ. As such, Backpacks are reserved for carrying extras like valuables, cash, additional weapons and backup ammunition.

  • Tip: stow a spare weapon in the backpack like a shotgun or sniper rifle to adapt to changing engagement distances

Al-Qatala Strongholds

Certain areas around Al-Mazrah have been converted into Strongholds by AQ forces. These are indicated by rook-shaped icons on the Tac-Map as well as the faction's bright, orange flags flying on top of roofs. Tons of combatants often guard Strongholds from the outside while more hide inside.

Enemies here are much stronger than the ones everywhere else. Guards with riot shields and soldiers with high-powered weapons lurk in every corner. However, successful raids often see players leaving the warzone with the best loot. This includes rare, fully-modded Contraband guns as well as intel for certain Faction Missions.

Modern Warfare 2 - DMZ stronghold
Modern Warfare 2 introduces DMZ mode as an addition to Warzone Activision

Strongholds can be entered by finding a key somewhere in the map. Also, players can purchase keycards from Buy Stations using the cash they find lying around. Remember to check the corpses of nearby guards to see if any of them dropped a usable key.

Lastly, be aware that Strongholds may attract the attention of other players. Entering and clearing one greatly increases the risk of getting sniped and swiped, so proceed with caution.


Like in the battle royale mode, Contracts give players secondary objectives that reward either extra cash payouts for Buy Station purchases or big XP bonuses at the end of a run. Some contracts, like Safecracker, also give additional items like weapons, armor plates and grenades.

Contracts are completely optional, but completing them can help players maximize their time and rewards in DMZ.


Exfil points are clearly indicated by an exit icon on the Tac-Map as well as green smoke on the area itself. Approach the smoke and press the appropriate button displayed on the screen to call for a chopper. It'll take a few seconds before it arrives, so try to hide in a nearby building to keep other players or stray Al-Qatala soldiers from ruining a run.

The site will become visible to all squads on the map and AI combatants will swarm the area. Once the chopper leaves, the exfil point is closed permanently.

Successful exits will reward players with all of the Contraband items they've acquired as well as XP that translates to their overall progression for their accounts and weapons that carry over to other game modes, making DMZ a refreshing way to level up guns and get new unlockables.

Modern Warfare 2 - DMZ exfil
Exfil in DMZ mode can get complicated once AI and other players start swarming the landing zone Modern Warfare 2