E3: Call of Duty Elite

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E3: Call of Duty Elite

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Activision unveils the most massive stat tracking system ever.

I think we're almost to the point where the time spent playing Call of Duty online is just about the actual age of the entire universe. So Activision's new Elite service is at once perfectly reasonable and utterly inconceivable. Having been in a skunkworks at Activision for the past two years, the service was finally unveiled at E3 this year. The new HTML 5 site, viewable on tablets, phones, and even in-game, provides players with just about everything they could possibly want to know about their performance in the industry's leading shooter.

Most players of online shooters are used to seeing stats for time played, kills vs. deaths, and favorite weapon, but Elite goes about a million steps beyond that. Players can also view their last ten matches, seeing a heat map of their position and activity during the match, as well as the location of every kill or death they earned as well as the location of whoever it was they killed or were killed by. You can go into any of these matches and see death-by-death exactly where you were when you killed or were killed by someone else. The death stats also let you know which weapon was used, including the mods which were attached.

Rankings for your victims and nemeses for each game are also listed, and are hotlinked to that player's profile, so you can see all the stats relevant to their performance and see what loadouts they've been using. If you like a particular player's loadout, Elite even allows you to change your loadout on the web or on your phone and have that loadout uploaded to your console game as soon as it starts.

The Improvement section of the Elite site where you can view stats for individual weapons, see videos that suggest ways each weapon can be used, and track your progress toward unlocking the next rank. Having the option to read articles that outline the pros and cons of each weapon, and see video guides to help you use them more appropriately sounds awesome. The team behind Elite is even hinting that they might contact the top performing members of the community to create exclusive content for these lessons. Even if you're not the best, you can also upload YouTube videos to Elite, which will tag every single player located in the video and send notices to them that they've appeared in a new video.

Naturally, Elite also includes full clan and group tools. You can make groups out of basically anything you want, from Chicago Bears fans to redheads to Mormons (there's bound to be some overlap there). The team hopes to include the group affiliations in the game itself, so you can tell when you're playing another red-headed Mormon Bears fan. The clans seem a bit more competitive but the team wasn't willing to offer any specific details yet.

What they were willing to talk about are the new challenges. Elite will offer events on a regular basis. You might, for instance, see an update about playing with the developers. There will also be operations, which are sort of stat-driven challenges you can compete in. Leagues, which will require an upgrade to the paid premium service, can even compete in five-to-six weeklong operations in a sort of fantasy football format.

In case you're worried, Activision promises that most of the functionality will be free and even those that cost will be "comparable" to the price of other services and will have the added bonus of automatically bundling in any DLC for the games.

There's a chance for all this data to find its way back into the game, not only for tweaking and balancing, but also for displaying the community's like or dislike of certain features. The fan groups could even be used for a kind of advocacy, pushing the players' wishes onto the publisher.

Right now the system supports the current versions of the game, but it's meant to expand with future sequels (breaking news: Activision will make another Call of Duty). The team promises more information, particularly with regard to pricing, in the coming months.

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See all our coverage directly from the show floor.

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Honestly? That seems pretty cool.

It's like Bungie.net, but far more in depth.

I could see myself paying... eh... 30 to 40 dollars a year for that.

Anything more and nty.

Of course, if I still played CoD games.

Its like Reach's system, only a bit more and you have to pay for it.

Personally I won't get it, but I respect them for at least not making me pay to play actual CoD gameplay.

I still find it amusing that activision is still pushing a pay service (yeah I know most of it will be free) when dice is blowing people away with game footage

Worgen:
I still find it amusing that activision is still pushing a pay service (yeah I know most of it will be free) when dice is blowing people away with game footage

That's why BF3 > MW3. They didn't even upgrade the game engine did they? (for MW3) it looks like the same game but with new levels and new gun skins/sounds. DICE has Frosbite 2 which is absolutely beautiful.

I think I have enough between the services on bungie.net, halocharts.com and MGC.net I think paying for any extra service is pointless.

Pebsy:

Worgen:
I still find it amusing that activision is still pushing a pay service (yeah I know most of it will be free) when dice is blowing people away with game footage

That's why BF3 > MW3. They didn't even upgrade the game engine did they? (for MW3) it looks like the same game but with new levels and new gun skins/sounds. DICE has Frosbite 2 which is absolutely beautiful.

from what I hear they are going to try and do destructible environments for it but since we havent seen any of it and they dont really have a history with it Im skeptical of how well they could pull it off

So basically, Elite will kind of be like this.

1. Sort of advanced stat-tracking.
2. Stats for guns.
3. Lists of pros and cons that you can figure out by playing the game and using them.
4. Guides that "teach" you how to use various guns in an FPS series with quite frankly some of the simplest gunplay I've ever seen.
5. The ability to make semi-official groups or clans? Can't you kind of already do that? Or is there something different about this one?
6. Essentially a blog.
7. Stat-based challenges (Halo: Reach has a similar system for free which updates daily.)
8. And the ability to pay to be able to play in a League.

Am I wrong for feeling that almost none of this is stuff I feel like paying for and/or don't feel as though I should be paying for? I mean, not all of it costs money, but none of it seems worth paying for. The only thing that seems the slightest bit justified in terms of payment is the stat-tracking. But fucking Halo: Reach and supposedly Duke Nukem Forever have fairly advanced stat-tracking for the low low price of $45-$60. Because I've bought the game, and the stats are already part of the god damn game.

Steve Butts:

In case you're worried, Activision promises that most of the functionality will be free and even those that cost will be "comparable" to the price of other services and will have the added bonus of automatically bundling in any DLC for the games.

come on guys, at least read the article before you start complaining about the pay scale.

Pebsy:

Worgen:
I still find it amusing that activision is still pushing a pay service (yeah I know most of it will be free) when dice is blowing people away with game footage

That's why BF3 > MW3. They didn't even upgrade the game engine did they? (for MW3) it looks like the same game but with new levels and new gun skins/sounds. DICE has Frosbite 2 which is absolutely beautiful.

You can't compare the two games. One is made for a different audience than the other.

Battlefield 3 is more tactical than Call of Duty, with more vehicles and weapons and much more open environments. You actually have to work together as a team. However, it takes a very long time to level up and achieve what you really want, maybe a gun that you've been looking at since your first rank. Battlefield 3 has the more tactical aspect since you can choose to blow up a vehicle, choose to blow up cover, all of that. It can also take a long time for a match, so when you're on about an hour time limit per day, you can only get say two to four matches (maybe more). And the matches are really time consuming, taking about 10-20 minutes for each match.

Call of Duty is more of the rushing/ running-and-gunning type of game. You really don't need a team to win, most players are just there to play a few games and have fun with your friends or have fun killing people. Since you can only kill people, take down killstreaks and somewhat interact with the environment, there's not much of a tactical aspect to it other than trying to play the objective, protecting a bomb site or protecting a flag. It's more of a fast paced environment, which is why so many people play it. Would you rather spend one hour playing only two or three matches? Or spend an hour playing about five or six matches. There's also a little more customization that can be placed into Call of Duty (Killstreaks, perks, weapons, attachments).

All in all, they're both different games with a different twist on First Person shooting. I love both of these games and I cannot wait until both of them come out.

My $.02 on the BF3> MW3 or vice versa matter.

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OT: Call of Duty Elite looks like it could be a great service. I really dislike paying for map packs, so why not pay about 3 dollars a month or something like that for map packs for free? That would be great. Anyway, I've talked people who are working on this and they haven't released much information. I hope to see what cool things we can experience with the COD elite Beta.

Terminate421:
Its like Reach's system, only a bit more and you have to pay for it.

Personally I won't get it, but I respect them for at least not making me pay to play actual CoD gameplay.

MrSnugglesworth:
Honestly? That seems pretty cool.

It's like Bungie.net, but far more in depth.

I could see myself paying... eh... 30 to 40 dollars a year for that.

Anything more and nty.

Of course, if I still played CoD games.

Actually, Bungie.net already does Everything mentioned here, including the heatmaps and previous games. The mobile loadout change, not so much, but more because that's not how Halo works. However I think that changing loadouts is dwarfed by the ability to que up custom maps, gametypes, and videos from your computer or mobile device to your Xbox.

Aside from that, I've heard that the layout of the site looks like a total ripoff of Bungie.net, including a circle graph that indicates activity throughout the various game modes. But I haven't seen it yet, so I can't say that with complete confidence. Anyone got a link for picture?

funny thig is i'm excited for this, why? because i don't play halo, i don't like it so you know what? i cant complain if cod wants to do this, i won't pay, i can get by with just the stat-tracking, which seems to be free as or right now, and this looks like fun so to all the whines please this is not bad, it's something new to cod and i want to see their spin on it, it could be better than anything thats out now, we have to wait and see first.

Not really interested a few neat features but nothing worth spending money on the showing who killed you from where and with what seems the most interesting. Black ops tracked enough stats for me and half the content like gun tip can be learned quickly for free either by play or an online guide. Too many games that month and I prefer battlefields mp so I'll rent it and maybe pick it up later in the summer.

Yeeaahh... I'll pass and stick to just playing my games.

vids on the pros and cons of weapons. so kinda like "attach noobtube, go kill ppl."

no matter how little or how much it costs im quite sure it wont have any effect on gameplay so kinda useless.

Yeah, I know its been said already, but Bungie already does that kind of stuff for free. Maybe not as in depth, but pretty close. I can't really see myself paying for a service like this.

Hey, my good friend is a red-headed Mormon Bears fan! Not as random as you thought! :-)

...wait you have to PAY for this...? I thought it was just something they were adding, y'know cause theyre such nice people and not greedy at all?

Fuck that shit I'm going back to tf2...

Steve Butts:
E3: Call of Duty Elite

In case you're worried, Activision promises that most of the functionality will be free and even those that cost will be "comparable" to the price of other services and will have the added bonus of automatically bundling in any DLC for the games.

Not worried at all. Screw Activision and their Elite crapola! I seriously hope players realise this is nothing more than a cash grab. Hell they practically release a new COD game every year. So people are expected to pay $15.00 a month for basically map packs downloads, and my gun is bigger than yours?

If you really wanted to impress your customers you'd just throw this service in for free, but oh no, got to squeeze gamers till there's nothing left.

It's time for gamers to come together and say screw all this paying for DRM, and these other assorted cornball services. If we don't they'll just keep doing it.

WHY would I want MORE stat tracking in a modern AAA FPS? There's already tons of that

What I don't understand is why the cadence to every press release Activision does about Elite is 'Don't worry, most of the important stuff will be free'. How exactly is this helping to SELL the product to people? I think if you're going to charge someone 8 bucks a month, you should be talking about how you're giving them value for that money, not saying 'most of it is free, so what you're paying for is essentially superfluous crap'.

EVERY MORNING, THIS ONLINE FEATURE IS HANGING FROM THE CORNER OF MY HALO'S FOUR-POST BED!

Cookie for the reference.

But I can't comment, asides that it's going to be easier for peopel to be obsessed with COD.

What more needs to be said, other than Bungie does this for free and everything else they offer is also done for free. Unless they took out clans and set it aside for elite users only they aren't going anywhere.

You want groups join one on facebook, it's free and if you don't have facebook then why would the first social media you experience be a pay for call of duty one? You want tips from the pro's or tips from anyone go to youtube.

To be honest I've seen heat maps they do nothing for me, they let you know where you kill and get killed and you should know that from playing, why do I get killed by the open bridge, overlooked by 30 positions so much?

But I will congratulate them in advance for the profits they will reap because we all know none of what I say makes sense and you should pay a corporate juggernaut extra because it costs them soooo much to pull fanservice. Where by the consumers logic is we like it we should pay more and the companies logic is they like it they should pay more.

It seems like Call of Duty and Activision have been playing catchup to games like Halo and Bungie in terms of game features and bonuses. I mean this is basically a more specified Bungie.net and even that one thing on Xbox live called Halo something where you can look at community stuff and videos. They did the same thing with video mode in Black Ops, which wasn't even as good as the film mode in Halo 3 or Reach.

It wouldn't shock me to see a Call of Duty forge feature coming out in the next release as well.

Pebsy:

Worgen:
I still find it amusing that activision is still pushing a pay service (yeah I know most of it will be free) when dice is blowing people away with game footage

That's why BF3 > MW3. They didn't even upgrade the game engine did they? (for MW3) it looks like the same game but with new levels and new gun skins/sounds. DICE has Frosbite 2 which is absolutely beautiful.

The problem with that sad truth is most CoD fanboys won't even care. At the mention of BF3 they will shun any other game with ignorance for it does not state "Call of Duty" at the top. They don't even try anymore, I swear. It truly saddens me. If Battlefield 3 does not rock the world of gaming and rip away most of CoD fans, I will throw my xbox out the window.

Ian Nelson:
It truly saddens me. If Battlefield 3 does not rock the world of gaming and rip away most of CoD fans, I will throw my xbox out the window.

I'm going to hold you to that :)

I haven't been impressed by what has been offered by Elite, yet I am not a hardcore COD fan. I'm interested to see what 'benefits' that Activision will offer with the subscription fee.

I'll pay for Elite when Xbox Live Gold is free, and not a moment sooner.

So far, Elite just seems like an overly verbose way for Call of Duty to catch up with features offered by competitors. Not telling us what we will have to pay for (those who don't ignore CoD completely going forward) makes me think they're trying to leave some niggling doubt that the service might be worth the money before they reveal it's true cash-grab nature, thereby softening the blow.

Don't be suckered in. I've seen this more times then I care to recall. When a developer says, "Hey buddy, just take my word for it!" you can bet your bottom dollar they're trying to escape the obvious reaction to their bullshit.

okay, activision seriously needs to quit with video games and dedicate its efforts to continuing the scientific pursuits of B.F Skinner; these people have clearly taken the idea of operant conditioning to unbelievable levels of complexity with Elite. i dont even care about k/d ratios, yet they have crafted a service explaining your entire online history in minute detail that im sure will prove quite popular. clearly i have underestimated their ability to make competitive multiplayer crack-tastically addicting to so many people; professional sports players arent this OCD about their stats.

seriously people, are we going to start fantasy football-esque leagues for CoD's top players next?! when will it end?!?!

Activision CEO speaking about Elite and MW3.

Skip to the 4 minute mark to hear about Elite, and which parts are free/may be pay-per use.

Really Activision?
So you're giving us stuff which is in Blops, Bungie and Guerilla and you're going to charge us for it?

Seriously?
No. That's not cool. Guerilla and Bungie have been doing this for a hell of a long time. Try doing something good like changing the actual game, maybe moving it forward and not just rehashing MW2. Sorry but I'm out, no way am I buying this unless it turns out to be amazing which is a laughable concept.

It's pathetic, it really is, they're acting like they're so innovative and clever when it's all been done and given to us for free before. Fuck you activision.

Artemis923:
I'll pay for Elite when Xbox Live Gold is free, and not a moment sooner.

Now that is a statement that wins this discussion!
Its still ridiculous that you need to pay for online gaming on Xbox.

you'll need to pay for internet...
you'll need to pay for Xbox live
you'll need to pay for Cod Elite.

microsoft and activision should really stop using those emotion-simulators that run on money.

I have to wonder how many people complaining are even CoD players? I mean, if you don't like the game, then more granular stats for the game aren't going to do much for you. I barely use the stats they already give me in Codblops so more of that isn't going to really do a lot for me, either. This seems like something they're offering to people already part of the game, not something particularly focused at attracting new customers.

Makes me wonder when we'll see World of Warcraft Elite with similar sorts of stats for boss fights, PvP and the like. There are already lots of different third party sites that parse combat logs if you're running the right mods.

dystopiaINC:
funny thig is i'm excited for this, why? because i don't play halo, i don't like it so you know what? i cant complain if cod wants to do this, i won't pay, i can get by with just the stat-tracking, which seems to be free as or right now, and this looks like fun so to all the whines please this is not bad, it's something new to cod and i want to see their spin on it, it could be better than anything thats out now, we have to wait and see first.

No, it is bad. It's testing the waters. It's a "Lets see how much money we can squeeze out of these people before they say no" ploy. And you're falling for it.

I love that DICE have now said BF3 will also have all this...
But free! =P

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