What the New Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Prestige System Means

The new prestige system offers plenty of rewards.
The new prestige system offers plenty of rewards. / Photo by Treyarch/Activision

Developer Treyarch has announced a new progression system set for implementation in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, itself headed for release Nov. 13. The “seasonal prestige” system will make its debut in the newest Call of Duty when it releases, but it will also be implemented less than a month later on Dec. 13 in Call of Duty: Warzone and Modern Warfare.

The confusing systems of progression which currently exist have long been a complaint of the COD player base. This new system promises to streamline progression in a way that blends the prestige system, which was a marquee feature of older COD games, while offering the constant freshness of the newer seasonal system.

Taking notes from their current successes, the COD developers will offer something akin to a battle pass similar to those already in their existing games. According to this blog post by Treyarch, “If you reach level 200 in any Season, you’ll also achieve the title of Prestige Master for that Season.” We can expect Seasons to last roughly as long they do currently, so around two months. Progression will also undergo a soft reset at the beginning of each season, but you will get to keep whatever you earned in the previous one.

Implementing a seasonal system has already proven wildly successful for Activision-Blizzard in recent years, despite the confusion that players often voice. In their 2020 third-quarter earnings report the company reported that their year-over-year revenues shot up more than “a dozen times larger than what it posted a year ago.” This remarkable growth is largely attributed to the free-to-play entries in the COD series and the ongoing waterfall of revenue that they reap through microtransactions.

This blending of new and old offers a very exciting proposition to new and returning players. In older COD games streamers and YouTubers would often do a "race to prestige" on release night, competing with each other to see who could be the first to reach level 200. If you want to learn more about this new system coming to Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, this video by S0ur, a COD veteran, goes through the changes in detail. He also offers his personal insights on the changes and what they mean for the game.