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CoD MW3 Zombies: How to Exfil

If you want to reap all the rewards in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Zombies, you need to exfil. Here's how.

While they aren’t on the level of battle royale games (yet), extraction shooters are a popular niche genre with lots of possible mainstream appeal. If you want to survive Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Zombies — essentially the DMZ extraction mode — you need to know how to exfil.

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How to Exfil in MWZ

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Extracting in MW3 Zombies is a fairly simple process. On the edge of the map, in the low-threat zones, are more than a dozen green smoke flares you can see from a long distance. They’re marked with a symbol of a blue man running through a door on your Tac Map.

  • To exfil in MWZ, you need to go to one of the smoke signals and interact with it to “Call the extraction chopper.”
  • Doing so will start a (hidden) two-minute countdown until the helicopter arrives.
  • During that time, swarms of zombies — dozens at a time — will appear. You need to defeat enough undead for the chopper to land.
  • When the extraction chopper arrives, a 35-second timer will appear. You have until it reaches 1 to get on the helicopter.
  • If you’re the only person to get on, the timer will automatically reduce to 10 seconds (should there be more than 10 left) or whatever time remains.
  • The extraction helicopter will leave whether you’re on it or not, so if you want to exfil, you must be on it.

You can, of course, farm the swarm of zombies that appears and not get on the chopper, whether to level your weapons, work on challenges, or some other goal. After the helicopter leaves, the exfil marker will be greyed out and unavailable for use for about a minute. The hordes of zombies will dwindle until someone summons the next helicopter.

Enjoying this article? Don’t forget to check out our MW3 Zombies Big Bounty Locations Guide

When Should You Exfil in MW3 Zombies?

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As an extraction mode, you only get to keep what you find in Modern Warfare Zombies if you exfil successfully. And you only have 45 minutes to play before a gas field descends. And that cloud makes every zombie much stronger and dealing continuous damage to you. So, when should you exfil? It depends.

If you’ve just started on your journey in Modern Warfare Zombies, I recommend going to extract when:

  • You’ve bought everything you need from the Buy Stations in the low-threat zone.
  • You’ve completed as many Act challenges as you’d like.
  • When your rucksack is full of higher-rarity items.
  • When there are no fewer than 10 minutes left on the timer.

Why Knowing When to Exfil is Important

Early on, you won’t have easy access to many of the valuable tools and knowledge you need to take on the higher-level threats in Modern Warfare Zombies, whether in the form of schematics, Perk-a-Colas, etc. You need to stock up on gear before you go guns blazing into the harder content.

For players with the right gear, especially those that let you succeed in the mid and high-threat zones, when you exfil will depend on your risk tolerance. If you and your team have some of the best loot in the game, it can be tempting to stick around just one more minute to see if you get a little extra. While that risk can sometimes pay off, the loss of hours worth of resources might not be worth the reward.

However, Modern Warfare Zombies is no Escape from Tarkov. There isn’t much you can’t quickly get back with some luck and some grinding. And if you have a stock of the game’s best and rarest gear, dying is even less of an issue than it is for the most tricked-out Tarkov stashes. If Zombies weren’t such a slog, there would be even more to say.

If you’re new to MWZ, that’s how to exfil. Do so often to build up a stock of Perks, backup gear, and other necessities. If you’re a grizzled, zombie-slaughtering veteran, you can be a bit bolder — but don’t overstay your welcome. Things can go sidewise quickly. For more tips and tricks, check out our guides on playing Zombies split screen and more in our MW3 guides hub.

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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.