When you first hear about it, Call of Duty: Elite might sound like another addition to the growing franchise, but that isn't quite accurate because it's not a new game. Call of Duty: Elite is a new secondary service being offered to enhance the Call of Duty experience. It's more of a stat-tracking service, similar to the ones you've seen offered for Halo or other recent FPSes. However, it's a premium service. The exact cost has yet to be announced, but we know that the pricing is going to be comparable to similar services for other online games. What that means is still up in the air.
One of the most important things to note is that Call of Duty: Elite is not a pay-for-multiplayer service. According to Activision, you'll never have to pay for Call of Duty online play. It is an additional service that is part of, but not necessary for, Call of Duty online play. It contains a number of features designed to help augment your Call of Duty experience. In addition, the service also includes free DLC. If you're part of Elite, you won't have to buy the map packs that come out for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. This isn't to say that map packs are going the way of the dinosaur; players who wish to purchase individual map packs will still be able to do so. None of the features in Elite are mandatory for Call of Duty players. Several services will even be free for every Call of Duty player, but most will be for premium members.
The most obvious thing that Elite does is provide information on the player. Pretty much every bit of information you'd want as a Call of Duty player is available, broken down into convenient informative niches. You can see your kills, deaths and experience. You'll also see the breakdown of which weapons you use and how successful you are using them, information about your recent matches, and even a heat map of stages you've recently played to get a rough idea of how the match went. It also includes a detailed timeline of your kills and deaths, including the weapon you used to kill your opponent (or the weapon they got you with!). This information can be accessed via the Web, mobile phone or through an in-game interface, so you'll never be far away from checking your Call of Duty stats. You can even use a laptop to check the information from a match, mere moments after the match finishes.
The first of the three tiers is Connect. This allows you to get in contact with the Call of Duty community, so you can connect with friends and even start your own clans. Elite also allows you to join "groups," which are basically collections of people with a similar interest. This can be anything from people who live in the same city to people who enjoy collecting stamps. If you join that group, you'll be connected to everyone else in the group with similar interests. This is a pretty good way to meet new people you'd enjoy playing with or assure that you've got a group of people from the same city playing together. You can also compare your own stats to those of your friends or rivals. Perhaps most interesting is that Elite will have its own built-in YouTube clone dedicated exclusively to Call of Duty clips and videos. You can watch community videos and favorite them, rate them and leave comments.
Compete is the second tier. Although Call of Duty is all about the competition, Elite is looking to open up new ways to compete. For example, Elite is going to allow the developers to start contests for players. At any time, a player with Elite can go to a page of available contests and choose to participate. These contests are self-contained but not necessarily something you do separate from other players. For example, one contest may ask a player to get as many assists as possible over a certain time frame. Whoever gets the most assists wins. Another could task the player with getting the best screenshot of a certain theme, such as "fire" or "headshot." These contests are not just for fun, though, as winning a contest can earn you prizes. Some are fancy badges for your characters, but the best player in certain cases may earn an iPod or something far more substantial, like a jeep.
Improve is a section dedicated to improving the player. In short, it's kind of a mini-FAQ built into the game. At any time, you can go to Improve and access information about pretty much every aspect of the game. You can see detailed information on weapons, maps and perks, as well as other aspects of the game. You can get detailed stats on the weapons, see tips about where and when to use which weapons and perks, and where to go on a map for the greatest success. There are even built-in help videos that you can watch for an even more in-depth view of the various features. There will be a community where you can talk to other Call of Duty players to trade tips and hints and offer strategies on overcoming your enemies.
This isn't all Elite has to offer, although unfortunately, we can't really tell you more. Elite is being launched with support for Call of Duty: Black Ops, but it's a lesser version of what is being planned for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, as the multiplayer for the latter is being built from the ground up to work with Elite. There will be many (currently undisclosed) features that work only for Modern Warfare 3 and other upcoming Call of Duty titles. With E3 rapidly approaching, you can be sure that more information is forthcoming.
Until then, summing up Elite is pretty simple: It's a dedicated service to provide more Call of Duty information than every before. It's not pay-for-multiplayer, and it's not going to replace any modern Call of Duty's multiplayer mode. It's simply a premium addition to give the most die-hard of Call of Duty players a new way to interact with the game.
More articles about Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3