Survival Mode is a returning game mode in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare which can be played Solo or Online with three other players with a few changes.
Similar to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Exo-Survival pits players against countless waves of enemies with each wave bringing forward tougher foes and more difficult challenges.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Exo Survival Strategy
Players are expected to face off regular soldiers, ASTs, Assault Drones, and even K9 Unit. In addition to Normal Rounds, players will also need to complete Objective Rounds.
Objective Rounds require players to come out of their hide-outs and complete certain objectives like collecting Dog Tags, Intel, defusing bombs, and controlling a Hardpoint.
Basics of Exo Survival
Choosing Your Exo Class
At the beginning of the first round, players are asked to choose their starting class: Light, Heavy, or Specialist. Your class determines which weapon, scorestreak, exo-ability you will receive along with other factors like your speed and total HP.
This class is the fastest among all, but has the lowest amount of armour. It utilizes Pistols, SMGs, and ARs and has Exo-Hover as the starting ability. As for the scorestreak, it uses UAV.
This class is the slowest among all, but has the highest amount armour of. It utilizes Pistols and Heavy Weapons and have Exo-Shield as the starting ability. It uses XS1 Goliath Scorestreak.
This class is the balanced class. It utilizes Pistols, Shotguns, and sniper rifles and has Exo-Cloak as the starting ability. As for the scorestreak, it uses Remote Turret.
How Exo-Survival Works?
Once a round of Exo-Survival begins, enemies will begin reaching your location. All you need to do is to use everything at your disposal and kill them.
Keep on checking the lower-left corner of your screen as it will notify you if there are less than five enemies remaining on the field. After killing all enemies, you will see a 45-seconds countdown timer until the start of next round.
During this time, you can reach your camping spot or head over to Weapons and Exo Upgrades Stations to make any purchases. You can also skip the timer and instantly jump to the next round by double-tapping the X/Triangle on consoles.
Upgrade Points and Upgrade Stations
Throughout the Exo-Survival Mode, you will earn Upgrade Points for completing Normal Rounds, Objective Rounds, and via Supply Drop. Upgrade Points can be used to buy new abilities, weapons, and attachments from Upgrade Stations.
Check your Mini-Map and you will see a Weapon Upgrade Station and an Exo Upgrade Station. You can cash in your Upgrade Points to make purchases on these Upgrade Stations. Do note that some of the upgrades are not unlocked unless you have reached a higher wave.
Bleeding Out and Reviving – How to Revive
While playing with three other players, when you are downed, you can still fight with your Pistol while waiting for your teammates to revive you.
You will see a downed teammate denoted by a Plus Icon. In order to revive a down teammate, simply reach him/her and press the ‘Use’ button to revive.
If you are not revived and bleed out while your teammates are still alive, you will enter the Spectator Mode until the next round where you will be automatically revived.
Similarly, if you are downed and a round is completed, you will be automatically revived for the next round. The game only ends when all your teammates including you have bled out.
While playing solo, you will be automatically revived, but only once.
Ammo Resupply and Scorestreaks
Although you cannot pick up the weapons of fallen enemies, they will occasionally drop Ammo Crates floating in the mid-air. You can simply approach these small crates and refill your ammo.
These crates do not remain there forever so make sure to pick them up before they disappear. It is a good idea to resupply from these Ammo Crates as you will save your one Upgrade Points.
Like I have mentioned above, each class in Exo-Survival starts with one Scorestreak, but you can add up three more Scorestreaks from Supply Drops.
The Scorestreaks from the Supply Drops are random, but you can upgrade them from Exo Upgrade Station. Similar to Weapons and Weapon Attachments, you may need to reach a certain round in order to upgrade a specific Scorestreak.
Supply Drops and Perks
Throughout the Exo-Survival Mode, you will see a blue bar at the bottom of your Mini-Map. This bar is filled up by killing enemies and once it is completely filled up, you will receive a Supply Drop. Supply Drop are marked on your Mini-Map with a Yellow Question Mark.
While playing the co-op mode, players can divide the goodies within the Supply Drop or one player can take all of them. Supply Drops are the only way to earn Scorestreaks and Perks in Exo-Survival Mode.
Speaking of Perks, these are bonuses for your characters that are acquired from Supply Drops. Not all Perks available in Multi-Player Mode are available in Exo-Survival.
Furthermore, a Perk called Weapons Free is only available in Exo-Survival and allows players to acquire any weapon despite of their class. Only following Perks are available in Exo-Survival Mode:
- Danger Close
- Fast Hands
- Flak Jacket
- Unlimited Sprint
- Weapons Free
You can check out our Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Perks Guide for more details on each of these Perks.
Not all rounds in Exo-Survival Mode require you to sit around in a corner and take out enemies one by one. The purpose of Objective Rounds is to force you to come out and complete certain objectives.
An Objective Round appear after every three Normal Rounds and failing to complete the assigned objectives leads to certain penalties. Below is a quick rundown of every Objective Round in the game:
Collecting Dog Tags
In this Objective Round, you will see Dog Tags scattered around the field with their exact location marked on your Mini-Map. Your task is to grab all Dog Tags within two minutes. While playing Solo, you are asked to grab 10 Dog Tags and the number increases in co-op mode.
This Objective Round asks you to successfully defend a Hardpoint and score 10 Defending Kills. In this round, you need to stay inside the Hardpoint and kill a total of 10 targets from that location.
In this round, you are required to defuse 3 bombs within 2 minutes. The locations of the bombs are displayed on your Mini-Map. Do note that it takes a while to defuse these bombs and you are completely vulnerable during this time so make sure to clear out the area before going for a defuse.
You are given a complete round to complete this objective. In this round, after you kill enemies, some of them will drop Intel. You are required to gather five Intel from different enemies to complete this Objective Round.
Penalties for Failing Objective Rounds
Like I have mentioned above, failing to complete an Objective Round penalizes you in different ways. Here is a quick rundown of different penalties that you face for failing an Objective Round:
Enemy Sentry Guns
A couple of enemy Sentry Guns are deployed on the map which target you. You can destroy these guns with your weapons or melee attack from behind.
A Nano Sphere appears on a certain location of the map and damages all players who enter it. It automatically disappears once it has dealt its fixed amount of damage to players.
This is just like a Smoke Grenade, but with much more intensity. The Smoke Strike obscures your vision greatly and remains in its location for a fixed period of time.
This is similar to System Hacked Scorestreak. Throughout its duration, you will not be able to use your Scorestreaks, Exo-Movement, Exo-Abilities, and Exo-Launcher.
In addition to this, it also disrupts your screen which disturbs your aim to some extent.
Like its name suggests, this penalty renders your primary weapons useless and calls in additional enemies to attack you. You can still use your melee attacks to take out enemies, but it is better to wait for your weapons to work.
Types of Enemies
Throughout your Exo-Survival journey, you will encounter these guys the most. There are different kinds of soldiers that appear on the field ranging from Cloaked Soldiers to Elites.
All these soldiers are equipped with Exo-Suits and they make use of all Exo-Movements and Exo-Abilities at their disposal.
These flying little guys can be really hard to take out. They can target you from an insanely long range and hard to hit due to their constant mobility. Make sure to be equipped with EMP Grenades to take them out instantly.
These dogs are far more frustrating than regular soldiers. They can be really hard to take out, but a single well-timed melee attack is more than sufficient to take them out.
These are soldiers equipped with large mech suit equipped with HMG and a tough armour. When encountering these enemies, make sure to stay on the move and try to reach a higher ground and take them out from there.
Exo Upgrade Station
An Exo Upgrade Station allows you to change your Class, Exo-Ability, upgrade Scorestreaks, and improve Exo Stats.
Increases weapon damage, fire rate, and spread. This stat is maxed out at 10 and is unlocked at Round #5.
Decrease damage taken. This stat is maxed out at 10 and is unlocked at Round #10.
Increases the maximum capacity of your Exo Suit battery and increases the duration of Exo Abilities. This stat is maxed out at 5 and is unlocked at Round #15.
Note that all Exo-Abilities cost only 1 Upgrade Point:
Quickly deploy a portable shield attached to your arm. This ability is unlocked by default.
Hover in place for a short duration. This ability is unlocked at Round #3.
Visually conceal yourself for a short duration. This ability is unlocked at Round #7.
Exo Trophy System
Destroy up to two incoming enemy projectiles. This ability is unlocked at Round #13.
Temporarily generate health beyond normal levels. This ability is unlocked at Round #17.
Not all Scorestreaks that are available in Multi-Player Mode are also available in Exo-Survival Mode. Only the following Scorestreaks are available in Exo-Survival Mode:
- XS1 Vulcan
- Remote Turret
- Missile Strike
- Bombing Run
- Aerial Assault Drone
The upgrades for these Scorestreaks unlock at different rounds and all of them cost 3 Upgrade Points. We have compiled a separate guide on Scorestreaks and Modules along with tips to use them effectively. You can check it out by clicking at the link provided.
Exo Survival Weapon Upgrade Station
Not all weapons are available to all classes. Some of the weapons are restricted to certain classes and can only be acquired by other classes with a Perk called Weapons Free.
In addition to this, players must reach certain number of rounds to unlock a particular weapon or weapon attachment. In this section, I will talk about different weapons and when they are unlocked:
This is a semi-automatic pistol which is best in class handling. It requires 1 Upgrade Point and is unlocked by default.
This is a two-round burst pistol which is best in class range. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #6.
This is a fully automatic machine pistol which is best in class fire rate. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #12.
This is a Break-action hand-held rail gun which is best in class damage. It requires 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #20.
This is a fully automatic SMG which has increased damage for first five rounds of every magazine. This costs 1 Upgrade Point and is unlocked by default.
This is a fully automatic SMG which is the best weapon in class mobility. It requires 1 Upgrade Point and is unlocked at Round #2.
This is a fully automatic SMG which is best when it comes to class damage. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #7.
This is a fully automatic SMG. The first three rounds of burst fire faster than the rest It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #12.
This is a fully automatic SMG which can be only be equipped in Akimbo mode and has the best rate of fire in its class. It requires 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #19.
This is a five-round burst and is best in class handling. It requires 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #24.
This is a fully automatic AR which fires faster over time. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked by default.
This is a fully automatic AR which has the best mobility in its class. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #5.
This is a three-round burst AR and has the best range in its class. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #8.
This is a fully automatic AR and has the best in handling in its class. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #11.
This is a four-round burst AR which also prints its own ammo. It requires 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #17.
This is a semi-automatic which has the best range among all assault rifles. It requires 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #25.
Pump-action directed energy weapon. Best in class mobility. It requires 1 Upgrade Point and is unlocked by default.
Semi-automatic. Best in class damage. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #6.
Fully automatic. Best in class fire rate. It requires 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #16.
Bolt-action rail gun. Best in class handling. It requires 1 Upgrade Point and is unlocked by default.
Semi-automatic. Best in class range. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #9.
Semi-automatic two-round fire system. Primer (first round) explodes when the Catalyst (second round) hits nearby. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #13.
Semi-automatic. Shoulder mounted with no hip fire. Best in class damage. It requires 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #24.
Constant beam of directed energy. No ammunition, but can overheat. Best in class damage. It requires 1 Upgrade Points and is unlocked by default.
Fully automatic. Reduces recoil over time. Best in class accuracy. It requires 1 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #3.
Fully automatic heavy machine guns. Akimbo only. Aim and Fire shoot the two guns separately. Increased fire rate and accuracy in lockdown mode. Press Left on D-pad to enter lockdown mode. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #10.
Semi-automatic directed energy. No ammunition, but can overheat. Best in class range. It requires 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #15.
Fully automatic. Slow reload. Best in class fire rate. It requires 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #19.
Grenade launcher. It requires 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #23.
Weapon Optics and Attachments
Red Dot Sight
This attachment is not alien to any FPS player out there. Although it purely depends on the personal preference, Red Dot Sight somewhat increases the accuracy for some players. This attachment costs 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked by default.
Auto Focus Sight
This sight automatically zooms in when ADS. This attachment costs 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #3.
This sight provides better precision than Red Dot Sight. This attachment costs 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #5.
This sight comes in with built-in threat detection. This attachment costs 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #10.
You will have 4x with attached Red Dot Sight with this attachment. This attachment costs 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #14.
This sight has multiple zoom levels. This attachment costs 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked by default.
This attachment is not new to Call of Duty franchise and increases the hip-fire accuracy of players. This attachment costs 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #4.
With this attachment, you will have more ammo in every magazine. This attachment costs 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #7.
This attachment provides you increased firepower, but consumes ammo way too quickly. This attachment costs 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #11.
This vertical foregrip reduces recoil of fully automatic weapons drastically. This attachment costs 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #15.
This attachment allows players to move faster while ADS. This attachment costs 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #19.
This attachment costs 3 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #22. You will be able to increase the overheating time of energy beam weapons.
Cookable Frag Grenades. It requires 1 Upgrade Points and is unlocked by default.
Blinds, disorients, and slows enemies. Can be manually detonated. It requires 1 Upgrade Points and is unlocked by default.
Temporarily shows enemies through walls. Can be manually detonated. It requires 1 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #4.
Timed sticky explosive. It requires 1 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #8.
Grenade that detonates on contact with any surface. It requires 1 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #12.
A lethal thrown drone that returns on command. It requires 2 Upgrade Points and is unlocked at Round #16.
Exo-Survival Map Tips and Strategy
There are four tiers of maps in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and with the exception of first tier, each tier is unlocked by completing a set number of rounds in previous tier maps:
- Bio Lab, Retreat, Detroit, Ascend [Tier #1] – Unlocked from start
- Horizon, Comeback, Terrace, Instinct [Tier #2] – Complete 50 rounds in Tier 1 maps
- Greenband, Solar, Recovery, Defender [Tier #3] – Complete 75 rounds in Tier 2 maps
- Riot [Tier #4] – Complete 100 rounds in Tier 3 maps
This map is covered by snow which is why it is not recommended to fight Cloaked Soldiers in the outer areas.
You will see several explosive cannisters along the rail. These are an excellent way of taking out heavy enemies like ASTs. However, these can also kill you if you are caught in the blast radius. Avoid that!
Most of the buildings in this map are surrounded by glass which can easily be broken with gunshots. Therefore, it is not recommended to stay inside these buildings.
Instead, there are quite a lot of good vantage points and rooftops which you can utilize to your advantage.
You will also come across a cave in the northern side of the area which will provide you with a good hiding spot unless you are forced to go out during Objective Rounds.
The highlight of this map is a trailer located on the west side. This trailer can be protected by relative ease, but you will have to watch out for grenades; especially at higher rounds.
In addition to this, school is a decent place to camp and go through a couple of rounds. The reason for this is that there are only two entries into the school.
Lastly, avoid Scorestreaks like Bombing Run on this map because it is surrounded by many buildings.
This map provides players with a good mix of indoor and outdoor areas to fight enemies. Personally, I like to stay in the underground areas which has limited accessibility to go through a couple of difficult rounds.
This whole map is centered around a hanger with a Control Room overlooking it. This Control Room is an excellent place to camp with your team.
In addition to this, you will come across Mission Control located in the northeast corner of the map. This is again a very good spot to hide in and pick off targets one by one.
Similar to Horizon, Comeback is centered around the Power Station which itself is a decent place to set in with your squad or Solo. Power Station has only two entrances and both Weapons Upgrade Station and Exo Upgrade Station are really close by.
The areas in northwest and southeast side of the Power Station are also suitable for small teams in addition to a couple of rooftops which are decent getaway spots.
Grotto Bar and a small tunnel at the top of the map are great places to camp with your squad. Camp there with your squad and if you can, place in a couple of Remote Turrets to aid you go through a couple of difficult rounds.
In addition to the tunnel, you will also come across an alleyway in the west side of the pool area which is another decent spot to camp while playing Solo.
This map is mostly open, but you will find a cavern in the farthest north corner of the area. This cave is a decent place for small teams to hole up in.
One thing that you need to bear in mind is that Upgrade Stations are quite far from the cavern. For larger teams, you can check out the entire indoor area located in the northeast side of the map.
Lastly, another decent spot to hide in is the area behind Exo Upgrade Station.
The buildings on both sides of the map provide decent protection against AI-controlled drones and ATSs. While in these buildings, you will be able to pick off your targets while staying protected from drones which can be really annoying at times.
One thing that you need to lookout for are holes in the buildings. Keep an eye out on them while jumping from one location to another!
You will see a large pipe leading from the pool to a small room. This room can be fortified with a couple of Remote Turrets and your squad members for quite some rounds.
However, you need to look out for some unwanted grenades. In addition to this small room, you can also camp inside a large warehouse located in the west side of the map.
If you play this map on Multi-Player and Exo-Survival, you will note that in Exo-Survival, gates do not open and all the action takes place in the east side of the gate.
You will mostly find open space in this map. I would recommend reaching the structure located in the southeast corner of the area which is ideal for smaller teams.
The highlight of this map is central anti-air weapon building which can be accessed by diving into the water and following the narrow pipe. In addition to this, there are several fortified bunkers located near the open beach area.
There are quite a lot of narrow alleyways, large outdoor areas, and accessible rooftops in this map. The cell block room is a decent hiding spot with limited entry points.
You can also use Prison Yard’s open space to lure enemies there and then bombard them with Scorestreaks like Bombing Run. Another important thing about this map is that it is the only map which does not flip after reaching Round #25.
High Round Exo Survival Strategy For Co-op and Solo
If you are hoping to reach over 100 waves while playing Solo, this may be asking a little too much; unless you are really good or have found a good hiding space.
There are maps like Ascend where you can stick to the outskirts of the map when in danger, but other than this, you will not find many places to dig in and reach an insanely higher wave.
Sure, you can deploy a couple of Sentry Guns in an area and camp there, but even those Scorestreaks will not last forever.
While playing Solo, the best thing that you can do is not to stick to a particular location. Always be on the move and do not try to take on all enemies at once.
Although this game can be considered as an arcade shooter, do not underestimate the power of hiding behind a cover. Work on your aim and choose the sensitivity which works best for you. Moreover, use Exo-Abilities and Exo-Movement as much as you can to be successful as a Solo player.
While playing as a team, instead of hiding and sitting in an corner, open up your mobility options and protect a small area. Choose a building and protect its entrances.
Upgrade your Scorestreaks and utilize Bombing Runs, UAVs, and Remote Turrets as much as you can. There are certain Weapons Attachments which will allow you see through walls; make use of them.
I will not recommend energy beam weapons or shotguns, but then again, if you are comfortable with those, go with them! Divide up the roles and always take someone wearing Heavy Exo to grab the goodies inside Support Drops.
It is very important to look after your teammates. Do not wait till the last second to revive a fallen teammate. If possible, try and reach a higher ground even when inside a building to get a better line of shot.
K9 Units and ASTs are unable to reach you on rooftops and elevated structures; use this to your advantage. Furthermore, it is a bad idea to take on an AST head on; even when you are an AST yourself! Stick to the cover and replenish your HP at regular intervals.
Lastly, make good use of your Exo-Abilities and Exo Launchers as they can make all the difference in Exo-Survival. Exo-Stim and Exo-Cloak are particularly useful for this game mode.
Do not forget to share your own tips and strategies with us in the comments below!