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For other uses see, Veteran
"You will not survive."
— Common in-game Veteran description


Veteran is the hardest of the four difficulties that are in the Call of Duty series. The player will find they will take much more damage and have very low health, with enemies having increased accuracy and deadly reaction time. Completing levels will often reward the player with Achievements/Trophies. A combination of extreme caution, knowledge of the level, heavy use of cover, quick-saving and not getting frustrated is key to completing levels on this difficulty.

To "console" the player, a new feature was added during the later games that allows the player to lower the difficulty level from the pause menu.


Call of Duty, United Offensive and Call of Duty: Classic

Call of Duty is possibly the hardest game in the series to complete on Veteran difficulty, due to the lack of health regeneration (or health packs, for that matter) and large number of enemies that can kill the player with two shots (one if it's a tank or armed vehicle). The player needs to take some cover or victory is to be short lived. United Offensive is just as difficult, if not harder due to the greater number of large-scale battles. On Call of Duty: Classic, there is no manual save, and the checkpoints are relatively spread out and won't activate if the player has less than 33% health. It is also a good idea to check each area thoroughly since the compass deliberately does not indicate red dots, and to avoid being surprised by a hidden enemy. Use grenades often and wisely to force enemies out of cover (or simply to spot them), but be careful as they sometimes can throw it back. It is also important for the player to have AI allies with them, especially in levels where they do not respawn, as they help considerably in thinning the enemy's ranks.

Among the hardest levels would be the Dam level, due to the fact that the player is completely alone, without any help from AI, Pavlov due to the large number of enemies during the attack and defense of the house, and the truck ride levels since the player cannot go prone in the vehicle.

Call of Duty 2

In Call of Duty 2, the campaign is slightly easier than the original Call of Duty since the player's health can regenerate and the compass indicates red dots for enemies, yet it is still a very hard game to beat. Although there are 27 missions in all, some of them are extremely short but nonetheless extremely combat-intensive. Checkpoints are more frequent in throughout each mission and, unlike the original game, the player doesn't need to have at least 33% health to activate it since the health meter is taken out. Because the player still cannot throw grenades back at the enemies in this game, dying from grenades will be common, and it further causes the player to be flushed out of cover, exposing them to chaotic firefights.

Missions commonly thought to be the most difficult include "The Silo", "The Tiger", and "The Brigade Box," mostly because of their open-ended nature which usually causes the player to get ambushed and the enemies having the high ground. Like the other Call of Duty games in the series, there are infinitely spawning enemies which will continue to attack the player until a certain point has been reached or an objective has been completed. "The Tiger" is particularly difficult because of this system, especially when attempting to capture the HQ, because the game will not save until the player successfully clears out all of the Germans inside of it.

However, because there are a limited variety of automatic weapons in the game, the player will not take damage nearly as often and swiftly like in the Modern Warfare series. Therefore irritating, split-second deaths are much more rare. Still, caution is strongly advised as the enemies tend to be extremely aggressive (especially in close quarters combat) and will strafe to avoid being hit. The cross-hairs disappear completely when the player is in motion, so hip-firing on the move while playing on Veteran is not recommended unless the player is caught in a desperate situation. There aren't as many explosives and destructibles in this game that will kill the player instantly, such as the RPG-7 and exploding vehicles. Bullet penetration is non-existent, so shots must be carefully placed in order to kill a partially exposed enemy. Also, enemies cannot kill the player in one melee hit (provided that the player is at full health)- it will actually require around three to four hits. Pistols can be very effective, as they kill enemies in one hit and make the player move much faster despite the lack of a sprint feature.

It is recommended that whoever plays this game on this difficulty takes their time, staying prone and making well placed shots. Because there are no time limits that require the player to complete any objective in a certain amount of time, the player can typically relax and move at a comfortable pace (except for missions that require the player to take out mortar crews, tanks, or panzerschrecks). Make sure to use smoke grenades when passing through an area that is under heavy fire, and try to conserve them on missions that require the player to place satchel charges on tanks- they can be especially helpful in destroying these tanks without easily getting ambushed or perforated. Only move out of cover to avoid grenades. When defending an objective, try to avoid the heat of the battle as much as possible. The player's teammates will take a good portion of the enemies, easing the burden on the player.

Call of Duty 3

Although it is slightly easier and shorter than its predecessors (14 levels instead of 27 in Call of Duty 1 and 2), the challenge is still not to be taken lightly. Like Call of Duty 2, health regenerates when in cover and the compass still recognizes enemy movements. The player now has the ability to throw back enemy grenades, even though the button sequence is a little complicated vis-a-vis the subsequent games.

The most challenging levels in the game are arguably Saint Lo (the first level in the game), Laison River, the Mace and Chambois (the final level), as enemies respawn relatively quickly. While the player has more smoke grenades and fragmentation grenades than Call of Duty 2, the player should expect many of the same challenges found in that game (i.e. no sprinting).

Checkpoints are relatively more spread out in comparison to Call of Duty 2; for instance, in Night Drop and Laison River, a checkpoint does not activate until the player disables all three flack cannons. As in previous games there's no time limit unless it consists of destroying a tank or other armored vehicles, but nonetheless the fast respawning in many areas encourages the player to hurry up.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

The Veteran difficulty in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is much easier to beat than its World War II predecessors, possibly due to the fact that many levels are not all-out battles like the ones seen in the World War II Call of Duty games. As in Call of Duty 2 and 3, enemies will keep infinitely respawning until the player moves forward, albeit at a slower rate, giving the player more time to maneuver before moving on. The new sprint ability makes this game easier and faster to complete in comparison to the previous three games, but the player should not abuse it as he/she cannot shoot, reload nor throw grenades while running. Stealth missions are also rather easy for the most part, as long as the player doesn't reveal his location. The missions that are considered as being the most difficult on Veteran difficulty are "One Shot, One Kill", "Heat", "No Fighting In The War Room", and the non-canon "Mile High Club", because the player has a time limit to complete the mission and therefore can make the player impatient or, as in "One Shot, One Kill", when the player has to wait for a helicopter with tons of enemies closing in. When this time limit is paired with the infinitely spawning enemies, these missions require a lot of skill to accomplish. Completing a block of either 1, 2, or 3 missions on Veteran award the player an achievement worth 40 gamerscore.

Call of Duty: World at War

The Veteran difficulty in Call of Duty: World at War is possibly one of the hardest because of the enemy AI's tendency to throw many grenades at the player at one time (known as 'grenade spamming' in gamer communities) and the respawning happens at a frighteningly fast pace, giving the player a smaller window of opportunity to move forward than other games. This will force the player to run away from the grenades, causing them to run away from cover and most likely run backwards or into the firefight. Grenades with the indicator barely showing will not instantly kill them but it will stun and weaken them. Most of players agree that Downfall, Heart of the Reich and Blowtorch & Corkscrew are the hardest levels, given that on, they comprise the lowest percentage of users who have that achievement (with 21%, 21% and 23%, respectively).

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2's Veteran difficulty is still challenging, but it is considered the easiest game in the series as the enemies don't consistently throw grenades or respawn very quickly. The AI enemies have increased accuracy and they will rush the player. In addition to all of that, the player will have about 1/2 of their normal health, and gain about 1/4 of all the checkpoints available on the other difficulties (with the exception of "S.S.D.D." and "Museum".) The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 missions considered to be the most difficult on Veteran difficulty are "Takedown", "The Hornet's Nest" and "Loose Ends". The reason for this is mostly because the player will be shot at from multiple directions at once. Completing a block of either 1, 2, or 3 missions on Veteran award the player an achievement worth 25 gamerscore on the Xbox 360, or a silver trophy on the PS3. Completing all missions on Veteran (or Hardened) will give the player the "The Price of War" achievement/trophy for 90 Gamerscore on Xbox 360 and a gold trophy on the PS3.

Some of the more difficult areas in the Veteran campaign:

  • Takedown, after the player's squad is dead
  • Wolverines, when the player have to run from Nate's to the Predator missile control
  • Exodus, the suburban street before lazing the guns

Special Ops

In addition to Veteran being available to players in campaign, it is also available to players in Spec Ops. This is the hardest of all three available difficulties, but will award the player with 3 stars, if the mission is finished (and the other player is also on Veteran, if there is another player). Since stars are stackable in Spec Ops it is advised to try them all on Veteran at first to save time, although trying to complete the mission on Regular is advisable, as the player can then know the map. There are a total of four achievements that require the player to beat a certain number of missions on Veteran difficulty worth 160 gamerscore total on the Xbox 360, or one bronze trophy, two silver trophies, and one gold trophy on the PS3.

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black Ops once again incorporates infinitely spawning enemies at some locations in the levels, although grenades are not as rampant. However, it is a considerable challenge to complete even the first set of missions on Veteran, and there are even a couple of achievements not related to mission completion that require Veteran difficulty to be selected, such as Light Foot, which requires the player to escape the ship in "Project Nova" within 45 seconds. It is arguably harder than the Modern Warfare series due to the fact that checkpoints are more spread out than those games, yet not as much as in Call of Duty 3. Enemies tend to be much more accurate and more agile in this installment than in previous ones. Although they're not thrown as much as in the previous games (excluding Modern Warfare 2), grenades are still thrown casually by enemies, and are very dangerous as usual.


  • The Veteran difficulty in Call of Duty 3 has to be unlocked by completing the game on any other difficulty first.
  • Veteran difficulty does not appear in the DS version of Black Ops.
  • It is possible to spawn after dying in the same room as where the enemies are.
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