When a major publisher announces that they will be releasing a service that people can pay for but will not have to pay for, it’s not unexpected that there’s going to be some confusion. So naturally, when the first details about Call of Duty Elite were leaked yesterday, there were a lot of questions being asked about why Activision would charge for a service that at first glance other companies have been providing for free.
With the Elite service launching alongside Modern Warfare 3, some wonder why it isn’t just included with the game, with profits from the game’s sales covering the development costs of what appears to be a robust system. Well, Activision hopes that they can address these concerns with the content they provide, but what exactly is Call of Duty Elite going to be giving players access to?
Call of Duty Elite is split up into four sections. These are Career, Connect, Compete, and Improve. Each of these sections is further split up into several subsections which provide unique information and services to the user. Listed below are all the known details of each tab currently shown to be present in Call of Duty Elite.
The first thing players will notice is a career tab. The career tab doesn’t just track stats across one Call of Duty game, but rather every game linked to the Call of Duty Elite account in question. Unfortunately, the information here is platform specific, so if you game between two consoles don’t expect stats from both to be present. This tab is further split into Career Summary, Recent Matches, Custom Classes, Personal Bests, Leaderboard Tracker, Weapon Performance, and My Theater.
Players will be able to see a wide variety of statistics here that span the entirety of their Call of Duty gaming experience. Statistics present on the career page will cover a wide spectrum of data, from overall lifetime kills and deaths to how many Call of Duty dollars were earned on average per match. These stats are meant to give gamers a way to view all their achievements in a convenient and simple way. The new level calculator on the other hand, provides gamers with a way to estimate when they will complete their next prestige.
Members will be able to take a look at their past matches and review the statistical data from them as well. How many times the player died, who they killed the most, who killed them the most, are just a few of the stats shown here. This is standard and undoubtedly something you’re familiar with from Black Ops and other games.
Each match page will feature an overhead view of the map in question populated with red and green dots. Presumably, green dots will mark the spot a player was when a kill was earned, and red dots will denote the spot a player was when they were killed. If a player dies consistently in one area, it will be easy to see that it’s a place to be avoided. A slider below the map will give players the opportunity to look at the timeline of their events in the match, perhaps giving them an idea of which paths have been the most successful for them.
The custom presets that players set up for their game will be present here. If this system is to be fully integrated, it’s possible that gamers will be able to modify their classes from Call of Duty Elite.
This tab will be a list of all the player’s best stats from the various matches that they play, likely similar to the Black Ops personal bests menu.
Gamers will be able to compare their leaderboard stats against the stats of their friends and other players who they’ve chosen to track. Thanks to some new community features which will be covered below in Connect, there will be a big focus on community interaction, in an attempt to make Call of Duty Elite a social experience as well as a hub for the franchise.
It’s been said that Call of Duty Elite would feature a way for members to see which guns and perks they’ve been most successful with as well as which ones they have struggled with. This tab is likely the place that gamers will see what weapons they’re proficient with, which ones they could use practice with, and which ones they probably should just avoid using altogether.
Where players can likely view and edit replays of matches and other videos. The distinction between My Theater and Theater in the Connect tab hasn’t been made yet.
In this tab, players will find the social networking twist that Call of Duty Elite plans to bring to fans of the franchise. Feeding off of the best of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, this is going to be a popular hub for players to discuss everything from their favorite breakfast foods to their greatest accomplishments playing the Call of Duty games. This tab will be broken up into Groups and Theater.
Groups will be one of the social networking features of Call of Duty Elite, offering gamers the ability to find each other based on any number of connecting interests. In the Call of Duty Elite introduction trailer, theLEGENDofKARL describes this area of Call of Duty Elite as a place where you can make a group just about anything. If you want to make a group about your favorite sports team, music artist or movie, you’ll be able to do just that, and then fans of those same things can find your group and join it. Gamers will be able to join up to 64 groups, which while a high number, may not satisfy those who like to be members of just about everything. Groups will feature some of their own stats as well including leaderboards for the members of each group and the combined gameplay time of all the members of the group. Surely it’s only a matter of time before there’s a group for truly addicted fans of the game aiming to have the highest combined time with the fewest members.
This section will be further divided into Your Groups and Featured Groups. Presumably, Featured Groups will work in a similar fashion to featured YouTube videos and will be where some of the highest rated and most popular groups show up.
This section will be dedicated to user created videos for the Call of Duty games. Black Ops’ theater feature has generated a huge amount of content, and in an effort to create a better video viewing experience, Call of Duty Elite will be aiming to expand beyond just uploading a video to YouTube and hoping people will find it. On top of being able to submit a YouTube video, gamers will be able to tag each other in videos so if your clan members make an amazing video where you manage to kill all your opponents without firing a single shot, you’ll be able to tag all your clan mates in the video so everyone can know exactly who it was that accomplished the feat. Similarly, players could tag those who lost the match so those gamers can relive the shame of their defeat.
Gamers will be able to find their competitive spirit here. Compete will be where gamers will find challenges for prizes that will pit them alone, with one of their groups, or even with their clan against others for prizes and bragging rights. This tab will be divided into Featured Event, Events, Lone Wolf Operations, Team Operations and Your Program Guide.
This will likely house events that have been featured thanks to popularity or selection by the Call of Duty Elite staff.
Here is where a lot of gamers are going to find their competitive spirit. The aim here is to provide a wide host of events ranging from competitions for prizes to playing with the game’s developers. Prizes will range from virtual trophies which will show up on your Call of Duty Elite profile to real world prizes. One example given was that for a screenshot contest gamers could be awarded an iPad for submitting the winning picture.
Lone Wolf Operations
These will feature goals similar to the Call of Duty Contracts in Black Ops that gamers will also be able to complete for prizes. For example, you might need to complete a killstreak of a pre-determined number in a specified mode. Prizes here can also range from virtual badges to real world goods, with one such suggested prize being a Black Ops themed Jeep.
It’s not clear how this will differ from Lone Wolf Operations, so it’s likely that what it will be is similar tasks like those presented in Lone Wolf Operations, but directed at groups and clans.
Your Program Guide
All signs point to this being where gamers will be able to find a schedule for upcoming events and operations. Activision wants to ensure that there’s something for everyone in Call of Duty Elite in order to effectively turn Call of Duty Elite into a channel every gamer wants to tune into.
So you’ve entered a number of events that you found in the compete tab and realized that out of the millions who play the game, you’re nowhere near the league as some of the others you’re playing against. Improve is here to save the day. This section of Call of Duty Elite is meant to provide gamers will a library of useful information that could help improve their mental game while practice helps them improve their reflexes. This final tab covers just about every topic you would want to research in a Call of Duty game including Maps, Primary Weapons, Secondary Weapons, Attachments, Lethal/Tactical Equipment, Perks, Killstreaks, and Game Modes.
All the images shown above as well as a few more extras are included in a gallery below for your viewing pleasure.
Now for the moment of truth. What will be free and what will it cost? The truth here may be heartwarming for those that have felt like this is just a money grab from a greedy corporation. The simple truth is that the majority of Call of Duty Elite will be provided free of charge for every gamer that plays Call of Duty games. Things like access to statistics and groups will be provided entirely free of charge.
Activision has been incredibly coy when it comes to the topic of price, but has maintained that it will be less than the cost of comparable online services. Compared to what is as good as guess as anyone’s since Activision is touting this as the first service of its kind. Halo Waypoint, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are all free, and so far Call of Duty Elite sounds like the amalgam of all these things.
So far it isn’t clear what benefits the premium membership will provide, but Activision has hinted at a bit of what gamers can expect to get for their money. Access to map packs will be included with an premium Elite membership meaning that gamers won’t have to buy the packs if they’re already putting money into this service. Getting that content free will help subsidize some of the cost of becoming a member. Alternatively, those who don’t become premium members need not worry either, as map packs are still going to be seeing release as standalone products, giving everyone an opportunity to enjoy new maps when they come out.
So which features can we expect will require the premium membership? Just about everything to do with the Compete tab seems to indicate that this is where the money gamers put into the service is going to go. Managing tournaments and providing prizes for gamers to win isn’t a cheap undertaking and even a small subscription fee would be able to help subsidize the immense task of ensuring a quality experience for those who want to participate.
Furthermore, support services which are going to be offered to premium members will help them troubleshoot issues with Call of Duty Elite and staff employed for this will serve as facilitators much like the support staff for Blizzard’s World of Warcraft do.
Call of Duty Elite will be launching alongside Modern Warfare 3 on November 8 and will be accessible from mobile devices, tablets, the Internet, and yes, future Call of Duty games. Modern Warfare 3 will be available for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.