What is DMZ? Call of Duty Warzone 2.0

When Call of Duty Warzone 2.0 is finally here after a long wait, but it hasn’t just brought with it a new battle royale map and experience – there’s also an all-new mode called DMZ.

This is the COD take on a genre that’s been growing in popularity for a few years now: the extraction shooter. Here are all the details you need right now.

What is DMZ mode?

In essence, DMZ tasks you and your squad with infiltrating and moving around the Al Mazrah map from Warzone 2.0 with a set of objectives.

Whereas in Battle Royale your task is to survive until no one else is standing, here it’s more about completing some tasks and then escaping alive. The map is populated by AI guards and enemy players with their own objectives, to make this harder.

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These missions can involve looting specific items, killing certain marked NPC enemies or eliminating rival operators in specific areas, so expect plenty of mission variety.

Once you finish your jobs or want to get out of there, you’ll need to make your way to specific exfiltration spots (which might be guarded by other canny players) to get out of the map with your loot.

Die along the way and you’ll face severe penalties, losing the loot you had on you and potentially waving goodbye to the weapon you were using for a good chunk of time.

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The mode is inspired by the likes of Escape from Tarkov and Hunt: Showdown, both of which have large cult followings.

Call of Duty Warzone 2.0 DMZ mode release date

DMZ arrived in Beta at the start of Season 1 for Warzone 2.0 and Modern Warfare 2 – that means it came out on 16 November 2022.

To find out more about what else came to Warzone 2.0 in Season 1, check out our guide right here.

Is COD DMZ mode free?

Because it’s part of Warzone 2.0, rather than Modern Warfare 2, DMZ is indeed completely free to play. It’s also a great place to level up your weapons if you don’t have access to multiplayer, as killing its AI guards gives you loads of weapon XP.

Warzone DMZ mode factions

Part of how DMZ works is by having different in-game factions that you can complete missions for. There are three at launch, as confirmed by this detailed official blog post about the mode.

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These factions are called the Legion, White Lotus and Black Mous, and each offers missions with ascending levels of difficulty in the order we’ve named them.

This makes the Legion an ideal faction for those getting used to the mode, and your default starting point, while the next two factions can be moved onto once you’re more comfortable.

Each faction has multiple tiers of missions on offer, meaning we had access to a total of over 50 missions to work our way through at launch.

Warzone DMZ mode mission rewards

Of course, given the high levels of risk attached to a run in DMZ compared to Warzone’s battle royale modes, there has to be an incentive to play it.

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This is where mission rewards come in – successful missions and runs in DMZ give you welcome rewards, from small things like double XP tokens to spend and weapon charms to show off, to bigger deals like actual permanent weapon blueprints and operator skins.

If some of these are exclusive to the mode, expect them to become status symbols among the best players.

Warzone DMZ mode loadouts

Weaponry in DMZ functions a little differently from how it works in multiplayer and battle royale – while you’re still able to take Gunsmith weapons into the DMZ, this has a risk attached.

When your first start up on DMZ, you’ll play with a Contraband Weapon that could still pack a real punch, but these weapons will be gone forever if you die.

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If you bring in your own Gunsmith weapons and accept the risk of losing them, you’ll be using what’s called an Insured Slot in your loadout. Dying with one of these doesn’t mean a permanent loss of access, but rather a timed window in which you can’t use it anymore. This generally lasts a couple of hours, which is enough to lock you out until your next session.

This timer can be lowered by making more successful runs, though.

If you don’t have any Insured Slots available, and no Contraband Weapons to use, you’ll drop into the game with a random, not very powerful gun – one without a raft of attachments.

Warzone DMZ mode looting

One thing that has changed significantly for DMZ is how you interact with items and pick-ups – you now have a backpack and a much more in-depth looting system to learn.

This is a bit more complex than the version used in Battle Royale and means that looting a body or area is something you have to be very careful about.

Loot is also found in logical in-game locations. For example, medical cabinets will contain medical items, while minifridges, cabinets and more are also lootable for household goods and more.

Warzone DMZ mode radiation circle

To give time pressure to the various players on each server (we’re not exactly sure how many this means in total, yet), there is a radiation circle mechanic in DMZ.

In Battle Royale, the circle closes in on players, driving them together into a smaller area over time.

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In DMZ, though, it’s the opposite – a slow spread of radiation outward in a circle will force players to run into an ever-narrowing band of the map to stay clear of it.

This only begins quite far into the match (after about 20 minutes) and is designed to force players to start planning their exfiltrations. As each exfil point gets enveloped by the gas, it’ll disappear, narrowing your options.

However, before the entire map is covered a final exfil point will appear, giving players a dangerous last chance to escape.

The radiation source rotates each run for some randomness, as do the exfiltration points.