Call of Duty Elite: how it improves multiplayer for both experts AND novices


Winning a match is nice – winning an actual prize for winning a match is nicer. The Compete section of Elite will reward players for succeeding at unique goals, marathons and contests during a specified period of time. The prizes are both digital and real (the biggest item mentioned so far being the Call of Duty jeep.)

What experts will like: Easy – if you’re really that good, you’re about to earn a lot of cool stuff just for being the multiplayer badass that you are. And even if you come up short, “enlisting” in each contest will give you extra goals in Call of Duty’s multiplayer, extending the replay value and encouraging you to try different styles of play.

What novices will love: Not all contests will rely on skill or even perseverance – some will ask for the best theater screenshot or the funniest caption, and will require only your wit and creativity. For most competitions, you won’t even need to be the absolute best, as the top 50 or 100 or 500 will be rewarded. In other words, you can win cool stuff too.


Consider this section the Wikipedia for Call of Duty multiplayer – you can look up pages of detailed information and advice for every map, every mode, every weapon, every attachment, every perk and more.

What experts will like: You may know a lot, but you don’t know as much as the men and women who created this encyclopedia of strategy – Beachhead, the studio Activision formed exclusively to run Elite, is larger than some entire development companies and meets with the main Call of Duty teams (Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer, Treyarch) on a weekly basis. These people are paid to be experts. And if you’re truly obsessed, to the point that you think through your Call of Duty tactics when away from your console, Elite apps for Android, iPhone and iPad will eventually enable you to switch your custom loadouts from anywhere at any time.

What novices will love: As I admitted in the intro, I’m mediocre at multiplayer shooters, period. Call of Duty, however, adds an additional feeling of confusion and helplessness by featuring real-world weapons with real-world names and real-world appearances. I can easily tell Halo’s bright pink Needler from its bright red Spartan Laser, but trying to memorize the miniscule differences between Call of Duty’s M16 and M14, or PSG1 and L96A1, or HK21 and RPK... ugh, I’m exhausted and ready for a nap already. But hopeful that Elite’s user-friendly Improve section, with instructional videos for every gun and perk recommendations for every type of class, can help me climb the immense learning curve if I really want to. Or, with tips and tricks for enhancing emblems and Theater direction as well, at least help me win some damn t-shirts.

Are you in the Call of Duty Elite beta? Do you think you’ll use the full Elite service when it releases with Modern Warfare 3 this fall? What can Activision include in the premium part of the package to convince you to pay a fee? Share your thoughts in our comments below.

Jul 14, 2011

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Charlie Barratt
I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!