Dark Aether Rifts are otherworldy portals that has players take on a variety of exceedingly difficult challenges for tantalizing rewards.

However, you’re going to need to gather a few specific items in order to unlock and activate the first Dark Aether Rift.

Read on to find out what you need to take on this punishing endgame activity in MW3 Zombies!

How to Unlock Dark Aether Rifts

To unlock Dark Aether Rifts in MW3 Zombies, you must acquire four Sigil items and place them on the correct Rift Pedestals at the Dark Aether Rift location on the Urzikstan map.

Then, you must defeat the Mega Abomination Elite enemy that spawns and pick up the Sigil item it drops so you can open and enter the Dark Aether Rift.

You will find the Rift Pedestals near the Dark Aether Rift location on a small island near the bottom of the Tier 3 zone during a MW3 Zombies match. Here is the Dark Aether Rift area on the map:

Dark Aether Location on Map in MW3 Zombies

On the island, you will see four empty Rift Pedestals. Each one has a different symbol that represents a different ammo type in MW3: Cryo, Napalm, Dead Wire, and Brain Rot:

Collage of Rift Pedestals in MW3 Zombies Season 1 including Cryo, Napalm, Dead Wire, and Brain Rot

You’ll need to acquire all Sigil items and place them on the correct Rift Pedestals to unlock the first Dark Aether Rift.

How to Get All Sigil Items

Here are the four Sigil items and an overview of how to get them:

Gorm’gant Orcus boss for Bad Signal mission in Act 4 of MW3 Zombies
  • Dog Collar
    • Find a dog house while roaming the map and place a Molotov and a Chunk of Flesh item inside to spawn a Hellhound. Killing the Hellhound will reward you with the purple version of the Dog Collar
    • Take the Dog Collar through an Aether Tear and a red portal
      • Aether Tears can be found while roaming the map. Once you go through one, you will be teleported into the sky where you must parachute into a red portal
    • Going through the red portal will spawn a special Bounty Contract
      • Complete the Bounty Contract that spawns to get the gold version of the Dog Collar
Dog Collar in MW3 Zombies Season 1
Credit: MrDalekJD
  • Surveillance Camera
    • Shoot and kill a floating Aether Orb with Dead Wire ammo. You can collect the Surveillance Camera as a reward for killing it
    • Take the Surveillance Camera through an Aether Tear and a yellow portal
      • Aether Tears can be found while roaming the map. Once you go through one, you will be teleported into the sky, where you must parachute into a yellow portal.
    • Going through the yellow portal will spawn a special Bounty Contract
      • Complete the Bounty Contract that spawns to get the gold version of the Surveillance Camera
Surveillance Camera MW3 Zombies Season 1
Credit: MrDalekJD
  • Pill Bottle
    • Find an Aether Nest and shoot just once at a Cyst with Brain Rot ammo. Doing so will kill it and drop a purple version of the Pills item
    • Take the Pills through an Aether Tear and a gold portal
      • Aether Tears can be found while roaming the map. Once you go through one, you will be teleported into the sky where you must parachute into a Gold portal.
    • Going through the yellow portal will spawn a special Bounty Contract
      • Complete the Bounty Contract that spawns to get the gold version of the Pills item
Pill Bottle MW3 Zombies Season 1
Credit: MrDalekJD

Which Pedestals Should You Place the Sigils on?

You then need to place the Sigils on the correct Rift Pedestals to open the Dark Aether Rift. Here are the four Sigils items and their corresponding Rift Pedestal symbols:

  • Locked Diary – Cryo
Locked Diary on Cryo Rift Pedestal to unlock Dark Aether Rift in MW3 Zombies
Credit: MrDalekJD
  • Dog Collar – Napalm
Napalm Rift Pedestal in MW3 Zombies Season 1
  • Surveillance Camera – Dead Wire
Surveillance Camera on Dead Wire Rift Pedestal to unlock Dark Aether Rift in MW3 Zombies
Credit: MrDalekJD
  • Pill Bottle – Brain Rot
Pill Bottle on Brain Rot Rift Pedestal to unlock Dark Aether Rift in MW3 Zombies
Credit: MrDalekJD

Placing all four Sigil items on the Rift Pedestals will unlock and spawn the Dark Aether Rift Portal!

Dark Aether Rift Unlocked in MW3 Zombies Season 1
Credit: MrDalekJD

You must then defeat the Mega Abomination Elite enemy that spawns:

Dark Aether Rift Mega abomination enemy in MW3 Zombies Season 1 Dark
Credit: MrDalekJD

After doing so, you can pick up the Dark Aether Rift Sigil item. You can use this to enter the Dark Aether immediately, or save it for another game!

Dark Aether Rift Sigil in inventory in MW£ zombies Season 1
Credit: MrDalekJD

It’s also important to note that you don’t need to get the four Sigil items again to enter the Dark Aether Rift in future games. You only need to do this once.

You just need to collect more Dark Aether Rift Sigils, which can drop randomly as rewards from completing Tier 3 contracts in a MW3 Zombies game. You can do this after unlocking the Dark Aether Rift for the first time.

For more on MW3 Zombies, be sure to check out all missions and rewards here to catch up on any missed chapters!

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Staff Writer
Passionate gamer and writer, Alpay has been featured on GamingIntel, Stuff.tv, and TheGamer. When not writing, he delves into virtual worlds, enjoys high-concept TV shows, and splurges on Steam sales.
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