Call of Duty Elite was first announced back in the summer, shortly after Modern Warfare 3 went public. A lot of gamers didn’t give it the warmest of welcomes as many simply saw this as the beginning of Activision charging to play Call of Duty. Thankfully, after Activision came out several times and reiterated that Call of Duty will always be free, people seem to have gotten the message that their fears were unfounded.
Instead, what we got in Call of Duty Elite is a mostly free service that runs alongside your Call of Duty gaming experience. It’s meant to show you a ridiculous amount of statistics from your time with CoD multiplayer, let you compare your progress with your friends, help you link up with other like-minded people and maybe even show you how to up your game a little bit along the way.
Although it got off to a very unstable start, the Elite status page has finally turned on the green light that signifies system stability, so we thought now would be a good time to you bring you the lowdown on what the service has been like for us, what Elite actually offers, and which features you’re forced to open your wallet for.
The career section is likely where people will spend most of their time. This is where all of your main stats are located, as well as your friends list and your own ‘vault’, which houses your saved replays and screenshots.
The total number of stats you can see in this section is simply staggering. Everything from basic stuff like your kill-to-death ratio and win/loss record, to more advanced information like specific gun stats and heat maps. Elite will even let you see all 2,230 challenges, as well as any challenges you’ve chosen to track for the long term.
For us, the star of the Career section is the individual weapon stats and the ability to create and modify your classes from the Elite app. If you’re looking to build a class based on previous success with your guns and equipment, it’s probably more efficient to do so from the Elite app rather than the game itself because all the information you’ll want to see is close together and very easy to reference by simply scrolling up and down the page.
There’s also a bit in this section where you can check out all of your console friends and see how they’re progressing. Or if you’re having a tightly contested battle with a couple of other players in an Enlistment challenge, you can track them individually so their progress is easy to reference at a later time.
The best part about all the info in the Career section is that all of it is free and the majority of it works well. The two things we could never get to work properly were the tracked challenges and the vault access, which is a shame because those are two components we were really looking forward to playing with.
It’s also worth noting that there are a few things missing from the Black Ops portion of Elite, and you can’t access any stats from Black Ops when using the console app.
Nonetheless, what’s there is set up intelligently, easy to navigate, easy to comprehend, and offers a wider variety of statistical evaluation than you’ll probably ever use.
Connect[drop2]The Connect section is where you can start a clan, check up on the status of your current clan, or find a gathering of players to game with that have similar interests and hobbies.
Finding a clan is as easy as typing in a name, and starting your own clan is every bit as facile. From there you can invite other players to join (up to 100), leave messages for the entire group, check up on your clan’s status, and boot out the dead weight.
Elite’s clan system you collectively improve the clan’s rank by completing Enlistment events and placing ahead of other clans to earn XP. Moving up the ranks awards your clan with features like new clan logos, exclusive customizable titles for all those in the clan, double XP for all members, and even prestige tokens if you rank high enough.
Unfortunately, there are two pretty major drawbacks to clan support in Elite. For starters, ranking up your clan isn’t quite working yet. You can net an XP bonus by getting Elite Founders to join the clan but there are currently no clan Enlistments available, and that’s where all the clan XP seemingly comes from. Second, even when clan XP is finally available, you have to be a premium subscriber to help your clan rank up. You can still technically be in the clan and use some of the other features if you’re non-subscriber, but to rank up and receive the in-game rewards for doing so you’re going to have to open your wallet.
‘Groups’ are the other part of Connect and while a lot of people scoffed at this unique idea, gamers that love to play online but don’t have a ton of friends to play with might just find this bit useful.
With all due respect to Call of Duty multiplayer, it doesn’t exactly take a genius to play, especially if you’re just prowling around in Team Deathmatch, mindlessly shooting people in the face. The simplistic nature of Call of Duty’s gameplay opens the opportunity for off-topic conversation while you play. With Groups, you can find others that are willing to chat about the same things you enjoy, all while playing a friendly game of CoD.
Let’s say you’re a huge Manchester United fan and you can’t wait to talk with other fans about a big win. Doing that could be as easy as logging on to Modern Warfare 3. You simply need to go to the Groups section of Elite, enter whatever interest you’re looking for and voila!
While charging for the Groups feature seems a little more justifiable (even though they’re currently not), making people pay to take part in clan activities is a bit of a gray area. The upside is that even though you can’t help your clan progress as a free member, you can still join and make use of the in-game clan list to find clan mates, even if they’re not on your friends list.