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A Close Look Into Call of Duty Elite

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Posted by: Robert Workman

Well, you’ve survived the first 24 hours of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.  Congratulations.  As the enjoyment of taking part in multiplayer matches and seeing how the single-player campaign turns out sink in over the next few weeks, you might be curious about the other new service that Activision recently launched in conjunction with the game – Beachhead Studios’ Call of Duty Elite.  Now, it’s not a game in itself, but rather a service, one that provides supplementary information pertinent to how you’re performing in the game, as well as a number of other options, depending on which membership you’re signed up for.

We know that the servers are a little choked up at the moment, due to the overwhelming amount of folks trying to sign up for it at this time.  However, once the smoke clears from Modern Warfare 3’s epic launch (we’re talking nine million pre-orders, folks), you’ll be able to see how Elite is beneficial to you.  Here’s what you can expect.

First off, you don’t need to really pay for Call of Duty Elite to enjoy its basic features.  It was built primarily to keep track of your stats, no matter where you’re playing in Modern Warfare 3.  Granted, multiplayer is the big thing, as you’ll not only see how you’re doing in matches (in terms of deaths and kills), but also specifics on each map, and where you see to perform the best when it comes to getting your frag on.  What’s more, you can track these stats using your console (which you’ll need to register for), along with PC, and once you download the app, mobile.

Granted, companies have launched tracking services before, like EA Sports and its Madden programs, but this is the first one specifically catered to first-person shooters, and considering the rising popularity of the Call of Duty brand (Black Ops was a blockbuster in itself), Elite may be a vital service for some folks out there.  From what we’ve seen during the trial runs of the service, it provides the kind of information that can really do you good in the long run.

Now, if you DO decide to go for the premium membership, which goes for $50 per year (if you’ve bought the Hardened Edition of the game, you automatically get the first year free), you’re entitled to a number of options that can help further your Call of Duty experience.

First off, you’ll have first crack at the in-game downloadable content.  Though Activision hasn’t yet unveiled a schedule in regards to how the maps will be released, we’re guessing the first pack will probably come early in the New Year, followed by additional content every three months.  Special weapons and other goods are expected to be available over the course of the DLC release schedule, though, again, Activision hasn’t quite confirmed what’s coming when just yet.

In addition to the DLC, Elite provides benefits in terms of competition.  First off, special tournaments will be available through Elite, challenging players to get the most kills or complete other goals in order to win in-game prizes (like double XP) or real prizes (such as a Jeep or a trip to Paris).  These competitions are clearly highlighted on the main Elite page, so you can’t dare miss them.  And it allows you to see who’s really leading the charge in kills for each event, so you have a goal that’s worth shooting for.

Secondly, you’ll be able to customize your Clan options, if you’ve got a group of friends who live and breathe Call of Duty.  Not only can you change settings for your Clan, such as emblems, weapon colors, and other little features, but you can also leave daily messages and keep track of all your members, while walking through recruitment steps when it comes to getting new ones.  If you’re a dedicated team player, this is an option you’ll spend a lot of time with.  Just wait till you see what weapon skins you have access to.

Beachhead Studios also built Call of Duty Elite as a social site, so not only can you get together with members of your group to review strategies and see what’s up, but you can also view content featuring other players.  Activision has called upon a bevy of Hollywood talent to take part in weekly programming through Elite.  The first show is Friday Night Fights, which is executive produced by Hollywood talent Ridley and Tony Scott.  It focuses on the heat of competition, and what superstar players can do against one another.  There’s also a Noobtube show in the works, where Arrested Development talent Jason Bateman and Will Arnett, among others, talk trash about certain players.  Other programming is set to follow as well.  (But no cooking show, sorry.)

Some other surprises could come down the line for Elite as well.  During Call of Duty XP and the Modern Warfare 3 event, Activision showed off quite a bit, but other accessible features, such as stat tracking from previous Call of Duty games (including Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops) and new clan options, could be a possibility.  Right now, though, it’s still in the early stages, so give it time.

That about sums it up.  If you’re a newbie who just wants to play the game, you can mess around with Elite’s free options and probably be satisfied.  However, if you’re all about dedication and really want to show folks what’s up with your skills, the $50 membership pretty much pays for itself, especially when it comes to programming and downloadable content.  Elite could definitely live up to its name…just as soon as those damn server problems are fixed.

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