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Ranking System Explained & How To Rank Up
Here's how I believe the ranking system works and how you can achieve the highest rank Skull with Shotguns. Remember that not everything in this guide is confirmed information. Most info is what I have gained from my experience and others so it might not all be accurate. Please give it a thumbs up if you find anything useful, thank you for the support.
The tallies in the top left of your rank emblem and the blue eyes signify how active of a player you are. Each tally most likely stands for one day that you have played. The tallies and blue eyes do not mean you’re higher or lower ranking than someone else. They also do not mean you’re about to rank up or down. To earn a tally mark, play a couple games for the day and you should earn 1. Play a couple more games the next day and you’ll have 2. Once you have earned all 5 tallies, your eyes on the Skull emblem will light up blue. You can not have blue eyes with 4 or less tallies. If you don’t play for 1 day (24 hours), you will lose 1 tally mark and the blue eyes will shut off. Let's say you have all 5 tallies with blue eyes then you stop playing for 1 week. When you come back online, you will have no tally marks and of course, no blue eyes. However, you will not lose your rank emblem for not playing which I will explain more below. Playing one long game will not give you a tally mark, you must play multiple games in one day. Jimmy Zielinski calls the eyes the “Eyes of dedication” and he also states “No vision doesn't mean less ability.” via Twitter
THE RANK EMBLEM
The rank emblem signifies your skill in the game. It is a reflection of your average highest rounds and amount of downs. Your total games played and total play time do not affect the rank emblem. You can not lose your rank emblem for not playing. You can only derank your emblem by going down too often on lower rounds. Being deranked for leaving games on low rounds (with no downs) is unconfirmed. To rank up your emblem, you must consistantly reach high rounds 30-40 or higher while not dying too much in the earlier rounds. Downs in lower rounds count against you more than downs in higher rounds.
KILLS/DOWN RATIO Your Kills/Down ratio and all other stats will not affect the rank emblem. This was a common misconception. Players have been able to rank up with 0 kills and high rounds alone while earning little downs.
WHERE CAN I RANK UP AT? You can rank up in Classic/Survival games but you cannot rank up in Grief/Turned game modes. Classic games are Tranzit, Die Rise, Mob of the Dead, and Buried. Survival games are Bus Depot, Town, and Farm. All Classic/Survival games fall under CO-OP STATS and all Grief/Turned fall under VERSUS STATS. CAREER STATS is a combination of both to show your overall stats, and that goes the same for what the stats that are on the leaderboards.
Players have been able to reach the Shotgun rank from playing Custom Games alone. A custom game will records all stats except your highest round achieved which will not be placed on the leaderboard. It does not make a difference toward the rank whether you play solo or co-op. The rank emblem should update right away after the game ends if you did rank up.
Press your right arrow key at the main menu after clicking Online if you wish to see all your stats and an enlarged rank emblem.
HOW DO I KEEP MY RANK? Play well every game of course. The main thing is not to go down in early rounds. They count against you more. If you feel like you're playing badly every game, hit up a solo game on your favorite map and try to go to rounds 30-40+ with very little downs. If you can do it successfully multiple times, this will pad your stats and prevent you from getting deranked in a single bad game.
CAN I RESET MY STATS? No, there is no *official* way of resetting your stats on Zombies, only Multiplayer. You will have to make a new Steam account if you want to start fresh. My advice is to work on the account you currently have so if you ever rank up, you will be more proud of it. Do not cheat in hopes of being reset, you will also be permanently banned.
STARTING ROUNDS Getting started is probably the hardest part of Zombies for a lot players. If you have points in the bank from previous games, you can easily withdrawal and spend it all on whatever. But some maps do not have that and you must have a basic strategy in mind. I recommend wall guns because the mystery box will not always be nice. Juggernog is the most important perk and you want to get that soon as possible. Use your money sparingly and try to build up more with double points and avoiding nukes.
KNOW WHERE THE ZOMBIES SPAWN. Don't let the zombies oome from behind and kill you. Always know where they are spawning for faster kills and to avoid getting trapped. For example, you have a full train of zombies trailing you and you want to go somewhere or use the mystery box. Do not shoot and kill them all right away. All that does is make them respawn in random places and now you have put yourself at a great disadvantage. Your chances of getting trapped and killed will be more likely because you don't know where all the zombies are since they are now scattered everywhere. Using spawn locations can be used for strategies to reach super high rounds as well.
RUN A ZOMBIE TRAINS Learning some good strategies and areas on the map to run zombie trains will easily help you survive on Solo or with other players. Sometimes you will need to kill a zombie to make a path or do other tight maneuvers to get away safe. Do not shoot into the train of zombies until you have them all grouped up first. Sometimes there are late zombies that you might back up into and get trapped easily.
FIND A CAMPING SPOT You don't have always have to run a zombie train to survive and get tons of kills. Get a decent weapon and find a nice camping spot where the zombies won't attack you from behind. Die Rise and Buried are the two biggest maps for camping. You can also camp on Origins with the Ice Staff if done properly.
TAKE BREAKS If you're playing solo, take a break once you reach a certain round or kill count. Come back later when you have more energy so you can survive longer without the risk of downs from fatigue.
FASTEST WAY TO EARN KILLS AND HIGH ROUNDS While palying solo, I recommend the maps Die Rise or Origins for the fastest kills. On Die Rise you will use the Sliquifer weapon and on Origins you will use the Ice Staff for the fastest kills possible.The rounds will be fly by and you can make round 50+ multiple times a day if you are running a good strategy. I had over 700k kills then pasted 1M kills in about a month only using both of these examples.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
DISCONNECTIONS, DO STATS SAVE? If you are disconnected from the internet or Steam during a game, the round you were on will not be placed on the leaderboards but all of your kills, downs, headshots, revives etc. from that game will still be recorded. So yes, stats still save but not the rounds you survived. Same situation if you complete a map Easter Egg or you withdraw/deposit money from the bank or place weapon in fridge/lock. The game will remember what you did even if you are disconnected before properly ending the game. Just a reminder, Steam disconnects everyone every Tuesday around 16:00 Pacific Time
AVOID LAGGY GAMES AT ALL COSTS If your ping is over 200-250, leave the game right away before you risk going down. The zombies will be able to slap you from a further distance and your bullets and headshots will take a second longer to register. Always play as Host or play with people in your region if you're trying to rank up. You can change your game search settings from Normal to Best to find the best host nearest to you or host your own game
WATCH OUT FOR HACKERS/CHEATERS There are still plenty of cheaters in this game and I hope you are not one of them. If you play with someone using point/ammo/godmode hacks or trainers then you are also at risk for a permanent ban. Leave the game immediately if you catch them hacking and report them using the in-game feature. If a hacker changes your name in-game, your tally marks may glitch and freeze. My tally marks have been stuck at 1 since September 2013 due to a low life cheater.