Maps in Call of Duty are as important as ever — a sure-fire way to ensure the game’s multiplayer remains fresh and enjoyable. Much has been said about the Black Ops Cold War maps since launch so we’re ranking them all based on flow, design, and replay-ability.
Looking back at the best Call of Duty titles – Modern Warfare (2007), Modern Warfare 2, Black Ops II – the common thread among all of them is some stellar multiplayer maps. From Shipment to Highrise to Raid, the best Call of Duty games feature some truly memorable maps.
General opinion suggests BOCW’s maps are solid if unspectacular; an improvement on last year’s Modern Warfare but not necessarily matching the high standards we know Treyarch can reach. Maps like Fringe and Firing Range are the pinnacle of CoD maps, and we can hope to see some of them later in the year.
We’ve not stuck the large-team maps in our list, focusing instead on the sixteen in standard 6v6 multiplayer. That means all eight base maps, and the eight maps added since launch. The maps will be ranked down from 16 to 1 and we’ll update this list in the future as more maps are added. We know, for example, that Hijacked is coming in Season 4.
Finally, this list is of course subjective. Different players enjoy different maps, but we’ve tried to gauge opinion and collaborated our views to produce this overall list.
Bottom of the list is Miami. This overly large, overly dark map is incredibly frustrating to play whenever it comes up in the rotation. It’s a struggle to pick enemies out in the murky environment, and there’s also huge variety in different areas of the map.
Go through one of the buildings and you’ll probably be gunned by a camping shotgunner, go through the beach or mid-map and you’ll probably be gunned by an unseen opponent in the darkness. This is the exception to the comment that Black Ops Cold War’s maps are solid, and should have been taken to the map abattoir long ago.
Just one spot above Miami is Armada, a large boat map that features a bizarre hole in the middle. We’re not quite sure why it’s there.
Sure, rappelling around the map is fun enough, but the ridiculous number of levels and angles lends itself to seriously uneven gameplay. The only reason it’s above Miami is because it’s bright enough to actually see your enemies.
Next up on our list is Satellite. The best part about this map is its generally fast pace. It’s not the biggest map, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding enemies to shoot at (or to shoot at you).
With that being said, one half of this map is sand dunes, and it’s a nightmare. The dunes don’t provide nearly enough cover to make many parts of the map feel safe, so expect to be eliminated by a distant head-glitching sniper at least a few times per game.
Next up is Cartel. A lot of this map flows nicely and has a variety of sight-lines and lanes that lend themselves to different play-styles in a way that feels balanced.
The issues with this map almost all revolve around its center. The elevated hut gives campers way too much protection, and the array of bushes do nothing but allow players to vanish in and out of the shrubbery. Trying to capture Flag B is a stressful chore, and CoD should never feel like that.
The first DLC map on this list, spot number 12 is occupied by Yamantau. Set on the eponymous mountain, its medium size and snowy environment are reminiscent of Array from Black Ops.
It’s not quite as strong as the Black Ops classic though, with a few issues over lines of sight and repetition prominent after a few games. It’s not bad, but it’s nowhere near the levels Treyarch have proved themselves capable of.
Another Season 3 map, Diesel dropped back in April of 2021. Again, as is indicated by its position in this list, it’s a fun-enough map, even if it doesn’t pull up any trees. It’s certainly a more solid map than some of Black Ops 4’s DLC maps, like the awful Lockup and Casino.
We’d like more balance in its lanes, with some very close quarters and others incredibly bare and open. Barring that, it can be enjoyed, but it’ll never go down in CoD history.
10. The Pines
The Mall at the Pines is the setting for The Pines map, added on December 16 alongside Season One of Black Ops Cold War’s content. There are shades of Black Ops II’s Plaza in this map, utilizing dark blues and snowy outdoors for this New Jersey shopping centre.
It’s a three lane map that’s creatively designed, with a nice mix of open areas and smaller, closed one. However, it struggles to balance levels and open areas, with far too many head-glitches making a number of areas incredibly frustrating to try and push. The amount of times you’ll die to enemies above you is sure to get on your nerves, even if there’s a lot of promise in this map.
Set in Hannover, Germany, Garrison is about as middle of the road as CoD maps can get. It’s fine, and there are no real issues with it. It’s not a stellar map, but it also doesn’t have any major weaknesses. There’s probably a few right angles too many, but it has a nice flow and is small enough to stay fast-paced. In a word, solid.
In terms of aesthetics, BOCW’s Checkmate is deeply reminiscent of the original Modern Warfare’s Killhouse. It’s set in a large warehouse and caters to a nice variety of gameplay.
The plane lends itself to some close-quarters action, while the longer lines of sight down the left mean snipers can prosper too. While this kind of thing was an issue on Satellite, it works nicely on Checkmate and feels consistently fun, regardless of your weapon of choice.
Express is one of many Black Ops II maps brought into Black Ops Cold War, and it eclipses most of the maps from the 2020 title. The LA train station is as fun and well-designed as ever, even if the ability to be run over by trains can still be annoying.
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It’s not quite as good as Nuketown or Raid, but the map comes from arguably the best CoD of all time, so it’s hard to argue it’s not a top-tier map. It says a lot about the general trajectory of CoD maps over the last few years that many of our top 8 from BOCW are re-skinned fan favorites.
Taking the sixth spot in our rankings is Moscow, another BOCW map that featured in the game’s beta. This is the epitome of a vibrant, three lane map, the likes of which have cemented Treyarch as the best CoD map designers.
It flows very nicely but always remains consistent, meaning good players prosper and campers are punished. Mobility too, is key on Moscow, with plenty of walls and windows to mantle to ensure you dip in and out of the action as you want. It’s very good, but lacks the organized chaos of our top five maps.
Apocalypse is, so far, the strongest original DLC map in Black Ops Cold War. It’s similar to Madagascar from Black Ops 4, but it’s small and actually fun. Its strength has been realized in its addition to the CDL’s map pool going forward, even if just for Hardpoint.
While this map blends a lot of layers, its tight design means clever play is rewarded, rather than just being shot in the back by unseen foes.
4. Nuketown ’84
As you’d expect, we’re big fans of the fifth iteration of Nuketown. It’s a colorful, vibrant take on an absolute CoD classic. Barring some issues with ‘out of the map’ glitches, it’s as solid, fast-paced, and downright enjoyable as its always been. Organized chaos has long been a fan favorite, and that’s exactly what Nuketown ’84 has brought to Treyarch’s 2020 title.
Crossroads originally sat at the top of our original list, but it’s since been dethroned by the Black Ops II maps that Treyarch have added. Regardless, this map is small and really fast-paced, but well-designed enough to ensure it never dissolves into the kind of anarchy that frustrates players.
The three lanes have the perfect amount of crossover, encouraging creative movement, and rewarding smart play-styles. It’s also a great map to look at, with the snowy scenery making the perfect backdrop for some Cold War skirmishing.
Standoff, like many Black Ops II maps, is in the Call of Duty Map Hall of Fame. It’s no surprise then that it leapfrogs every Cold War map, and nestles itself at second place. The three lanes are as fun as ever, blending the perfect mix of gameplay and fast pace. There’s a reason it’s an all-time great.
Long time readers of our Call of Duty content will know that, back in October 2019, we ranked Raid as our best CoD map of all time. It’s no surprise then that, as an identical remake, it eclipses any new map we’ve seen in Black Ops Cold War.
The three lanes are as fresh as ever, and gameplay feels incredibly fast-paced but always consistent. Any play-style can be rewarded on Raid, provided you do it well. It will take something truly remarkable to knock this off our top spot as this list is updated.
That rounds off our ranking of BOCW’s multiplayer maps! Be sure to check back to this page as more maps are added and be sure to tweets us @DexertoIntel to let us know your thoughts.