Compete[drop]We’ve mentioned Enlistments several times already so you’re probably wondering just exactly what the heck they are. You can find them in the Compete section of Elite and they come in a few different varieties. There are Events, Lone Wolf Operations and Clan Operations. The latter have not actually started yet so we’re not entirely certain what they’ll entail but we assume they’ll be just like the Lone Wolf Operations, only with a collective group working towards the goal.
So what is the goal in Lone Wolf? Well that depends on which Enlistment you signed up for. They keep a cycle of them running and we’ve seen at least 10 different kinds of Enlistments so far featuring activities such as capturing as many flags as you can, racking up as many defensive kills in Domination, piling up the most kills in deathmatch games, and so on. You have to sign up for each Enlistment via Elite before it begins and most of them only last for a few hours, so you have to be quick if you want to place high on the leaderboard.
As you can imagine, a ton of people sign up for these contests so rewarding only the winner wouldn’t make much sense. Thankfully the developers realized that and decided to offer up prizes for a large chunk of the contestants. The winner does receive a unique badge that shows up on their Elite page but with most Enlistments the top 50% of all players get some type of badge as well. There are also real life prizes to be earned but you’re going to have to place higher than we did before figuring out what they are.
The final and most lighthearted part of Connect are Events. Up until now these have all been different kinds of screenshot contests. Grabbing a still shot of the biggest explosion, capturing the nastiest Bouncing Betty kill, stuff like that. Unlike the Enlistments, only the player who submits the top screenshot seems to win anything.
When we first heard about the Improve section we immediately got excited. A little too excited, actually. We wrongfully assumed that this part of Elite would offer some kind of feedback on your play style and what you’re doing wrong via heat map and hit box tracking. Unfortunately that’s not what Improve does but, to be fair, what it does offer is pretty detailed.
It basically gives you a large amount of information on all the maps, weapons, perks, game modes, strike packages, etc. and offers several tips along the way. One of the more useful parts of Improve is the weapons section because it shows you exactly what order all the attachments and gun perks unlock in, as well as suggesting what other perks and equipment you should use them with. We also enjoyed the fact that Improve gives you a nice top-down view of each map and shows you exactly where all the objectives are for each game mode.
Improve did turn out to be a bit of a disappointment for us but that was caused more by our own expectations rather than what Improve actually delivers. For the CoD die-hards, there is a lot of useful information to be found and the suggestions it offers do seem genuinely useful.
Elite TV[videoyoutube]The final section of Elite is known as Elite TV and is slated to offer a variety of different shows that are somehow related to Call of Duty. While this piece of the Elite puzzle is still a work in progress, the one show that has already started is Friday Night Fights. This show is designed to pit celebrities and other groups of note against one another in a game of (you guessed it) Call of Duty. The episode we watched saw four men from the U.S. Army and Navy go toe-to-toe in a best of 3 tournament of Domination.
The most positive thing we took from that episode is that the production value is extremely high; the show is obviously something that Activision is putting a fair amount of work into. The down side was that the Servicemen they brought in to duke it out were extremely obnoxious and made this particular episode difficult to watch, but we’re assuming that won’t always be the case.
Another small plus of Elite TV are the ‘Improve videos’ that have started launching. They offer a video walkthrough of specific maps with a narrator offering tactics for different player-types and game modes. Although this information is stuff the average Call of Duty player would easily learn for themselves over time, the videos are well done and offer a unique perspective on each map.
What do you have to pay for?
Outside of those that are already using the service, there seems to be a lot of gamers that are still fuzzy on which parts of Elite are free and which are only accessible via a subscription. Below you’ll find everything you get access to with a premium Elite account. If it’s not on this list, then anyone can access it and utilize it via the Elite app.
- All Modern Warfare 3 downloadable content
- Enlistments and Events
- Clan ranking and Clan Operations
- All of the ‘Improve’ strategies and tips
- Premium groups (we’ve yet to figure out what these are but every group we’ve seen has been joinable with a free account)
- Early access to future Elite features
- Larger video capacity for Theatre mode (a free account does still get you a fair amount of space)
- Elite TV
Now, for the million dollar question everyone has been asking since Elite was announced – is it worth it? Well, if you’re not going to stick with Modern Warfare 3 long enough to see all of the DLC over the next nine months, we can’t really say that the other premium features are enough to push the subscription over the top. However, if you are planning on seeing all the DLC through, it’s a no-brainer.
Having said that, we’re not convinced the question of “is it worth it” is what gamers should be focusing on. What we think just as much of your focus should be on is all the other features that come with the free version – something that seems to have gotten lost in all the rumors and speculation that Activision were about to start charging for core gameplay.
If you’re playing Modern Warfare 3, Elite should definitely be a part of your experience, especially since it’s accessible on so many different platforms. From there, only you can decide whether or not all the premium jazz is worth your coin. If you’re not a hardcore Call of Duty gamer we’re guessing you won’t see the value in the premium content by itself but, then again, we doubt that’s who Elite was built for in the first place. We’re just happy that so much of it ended up being free, accessible and useful to just about any Call of Duty player.