Rumors about Call of Duty: Elite have been creeping onto the internet since 2009, but Activision has been notoriously vague about the service. Some players thought Elite was simply a social networking plug-in for the existing Call of Duty network. Some thought that it would be a type of content delivery system for players to download map packs and in-game content. Well, Eric Hirshberg, CEO of publishing at Activision, took the stage at Call of Duty XP to clear up all of this confusion. And it turns out that almost all of the community speculation was right.
CoD: Elite has been beta testing since July, and testers have reportedly been severely underwhelmed by the seemingly purposeless service. But if Activision can deliver on their promises, Call of Duty: Elite will be an interesting addition to the multiplayer experience. Here's the rundown on everything you need to know about Call of Duty: Elite.
Participation Is Optional:
The Internet is already full of self-important trolls calling for the CoD player base to boycott Elite. The problem is this: boycotting CoD: Elite would be a lot like boycotting cable TV—it wouldn't serve any real purpose except to prove that you have too much time on your hands. If you want to play CoD the way you always have, go ahead. Elite isn't standing in your way.
Call of Duty: Elite comes in two packages: Free and Premium. The free version is available to anyone who has purchased Black Ops or Modern Warfare 3. If it helps your understanding, this setup is a lot like the over-the-air antenna service that I was forced to endure when my parents wouldn't pony up for a basic cable package.
The premium package is decidedly more impressive. It gives players access to a mountain of premium content, some of which sounds a bit fanciful. Below, I have outlined everything we know about CoD: Elite and indicated which components are free and which are premium.
A Social Network that Connects to Your Other Social Networks (Free/Premium):
Sure, Call of Duty: Elite will keep track of your career stats, performance, and trophies, but none of these things are really new to multiplayer gaming. However, the service also gives players the optional ability to connect their Elite profile to their Facebook profile. This allows players to connect with friends that they may not have otherwise been able to play with.
Also, if all of your Facebook friends are poets or playwrights who obviously don't play Call of Duty, Elite will give you the option to make new friends based on shared interests or location. For instance, if you've been shunned by your friends because of your sleazy play style, the Elite service will allow you to join a group called "Campers" and find other sleazy players.
Take Call of Duty with You Wherever You Go (Free/Premium):
Perhaps the most progressive component of CoD: Elite is the ability to tinker with it even when you're not sitting in front of your Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Those of us who own a phone that sports Android or iOS will be able to use it to customize our player profile, optimize our loadout, watch training videos, and check stats.
This option is going to come in very handy when I'm hiding from my boss at work.
Elite Is the YouTube of CoD (Free/Premium):
Anyone who's played Black Ops is familiar with this option. Players have the ability to upload 30-second HD clips of their most impressive—or most embarrassing—moments. The CoD: Elite staff will periodically pick a few community favorites and feature these videos on the web and on mobile and console platforms.
Here, the only difference between the free and premium memberships is storage capacity. Premium members will have eight times the capacity to upload their favorite CoD clips.
Clan-Based Play (Free/Premium):
Perhaps the thing that I appreciate most about Elite is the attention paid to clan-based gaming. In the past, the only players who could take tournament play seriously sat behind a keyboard and mouse. But with Elite's new setup, creating a clan is free and easy.
And while clan-creation might be free, hardcore players will probably want to invest in the premium service, because it will allow them to level up their clan by running clan-specific operations. This allows clan members to unlock specialized benefits.