Call of Duty: Black Ops - Xbox 360

Game Description:Call of Duty: Black Ops is a first-person shooter, high-intensity military video game developed by Treyarch and published by Activision. Set to release on November 9, 2010, CoD is the 7th installment in the legendary Call of Duty series. A sequel to the developer's previous title in the series, Call of Duty: World at War, Black Ops is the first one set during the Cold War era and is a much grittier game than Modern Warfare 2. The two main characters that the player assumes the role of are Mason and Hudson, Studies and Observations Group operatives on missions behind enemy lines. They will fight through varying time periods and several locations, including: the Ural Mountains, Laos, Cuba, the Arctic, and Vietnam as footsoldiers. An impressive feature for players who close in on an enemy is a melee attack, ensuring a one-hit-kill. A new mode, the Wager Matches, will allow players to gamble with their money. A separate ranking structure from the standard online modes will be used for players seeking to be one of the top three (the only ones that receive the prizes).
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Call of Duty Elite Hands-On First Look

Call of Duty Elite Hands-On First Look

By Kevin Kelly - Posted May 31, 2011


Call of Duty Elite is Activision's newest slice of the Call of Duty pie, and you're finally about to find out what it is. Back in February, Activision announced that they were forming Beachhead Studios, a wholly-owned development studio that would work on Call of Duty products. At the time, we didn't know if that meant new games, DLC, or something else. As it turns out, it was something else entirely, and it's finally bringing what Bobby Kotick has long hinted at to Activision's biggest moneymaker: subscription fees. It's built to take advantage of Call of Duty: Black Ops, and the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3


But before you go reaching for the pitchforks and torches, Chacko Sonny, studio at Beachhead, went out of his way to point out that Elite is not a way to charge players to play Call of Duty online. They describe Elite as a "new connected service that brings together the worldwide Call of Duty community in ways we never could before," with the goal being simply "to enrich the multiplayer experience." In laymans terms, it's like a stat service on steroid. If you've ever looked at Halo stats on Bungie.net (a company that has a new publishing deal with Activision), then you've seen the tip of the iceberg of what Elite plans to bring to the table.

So to be clear, CoD Elite is not a game. It's a game service. The pillars of the service are Connect, Compete, and Improve, and Activision honestly believes that this service will become an enormous part of online gaming and connected entertainment for the company. The Call of Duty franchise represents some of the top played games on both Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, which obviously represents an enormous amount of gamers that Activision hopes will sign up and eventually pay for this service.


Dan Bunting and David Vonderhaar from Treyarch both took to the stage at Activision's pre-E3 event to show us the major differences between the Combat Record in Call of Duty: Black Ops. It's really like comparing apples to ... a truckload of crates, each one filled with apples, because the service tracks just about every stat you can imagine in the game, and pumps it into the service in the form of charts, graphs, heat maps, and more. It's meant to be a learning tool to help you improve how you play, a way to meet new players, and a new way to compete with challenges and real-life prizes. It's a fully blown-out look at your career with multiple sets of multiple stats, a new showcase for videos, a way to track and compete with others, and more.

If you're a stat-head who loves dissecting past games, Elite is going to give you joygasms as you scroll through data of your past games, look at heat maps showing where you died and where your kills were, and check out charts showing weapons you excel with, and what you tend to suck with. If you happen to be sucking, there's also a tutortial service that breaks down all of the weapons and equipment in the game, complete with video guides that offer insight on proper weapon use. It really is a huge amount of information, and during our brief time with the service, it took quite awhile just to understand how to navigate through the service. You'll be able to access Elite on mobile phones, web browsers, tablets, and more, so hopefully it's just a matter of becoming familiar with it.


You can also join groups through Elite, and those can be based on literally anything. Type in the word "Photography," and you can join groups full of other players who like photography. Like unicorns? You'll be able to find other gamers who do as well. Groups can be based on anything, and some groups become featured. For instance, I searched for "Austin," and it appeared in a list of "Top 50 Cities" inside the groups section. Groups are also tiered like Army units: 1 to 10 players is a Platoon, and from there up, 100 is a Regiment, 1,000 a Battalion, 100,000 a Brigade, and 1,000,000 is an Army.

You can also form your own clans as well, and the game offers enormous clan support, seemingly taking pointers from World of Warcraft. You can organize intra-clan tournaments and more in the clan system, and also take part in the many challenges offered up in Elite. Plenty of these challenges offer up prizes, ranging from a unique in-game badges, to belt buckles, to t-shirts, to iPads, all the way up to the Black Ops Edition Jeep. Contests might be a best kill screenshot competition, or topping the leaderboard over a predetermined amount of time. There are new challenges constantly, and it dwarfs the challenges currently in Black Ops.


Now, you're probably wondering why you'd want to pay for this service. The good news is that most of it will be free to users at home, at least for now. But, there will be a premium membership version. Most of what we were shown, including groups, will be available for free. But you'll have to pay to access other features, and those weren't explained to us yet. Neither was the pricing, which Activision assured us would be "Less than any comparable online service for gaming or entertainment." Premium members will include "full access to all of the digital content" as well, which we assume means any DLC packs that get released. Considering that those are usually $15 a pop, gamers are already paying extra. If you've purchased both the "First Strike" and "Escalation" packs for Black Ops, you've paid 50 percent of the retail cost of the game for those.

Activision underscored that "We do not and will not charge for multiplayer." So that out of the box experience you get with the product will remain the same, and you'll still be able to play online for free. To some extent. Whether or not Elite offers Elite-only matches, modes, and gametypes remains to be seen. The service is set to launch this November on the same day as Modern Warfare 3, and hopefully by then we'll know what the premium cost will be to gamers.

Considering that Hulu Plus and Netflix both have a bottom-tier $7.99 a month plan, we're pegging Elite to come in at $5.00 a month, or about the cost of a single retail title. Too much? Just right? What do you think?

Comments are Closed

  • miubhi

    Just get the Hardened Edition. You don't need the Elite thing.

    Posted: November 5, 2011 6:38 PM
  • Jag23

    Still going to get it, just not with the elite. COD is still a fun game, even though it hasn't changed much. And who cares? Mario has to save Peach in every game, just some new stuff and better graphics. And people don't complain. Same goes with Madden. Same thing every year, yet people still buy it. So how is this any different? Just buy the game and nothing else. End of story.

    Posted: July 20, 2011 6:50 PM
  • OffbeatHerbal

    Hopefully ill get the keys for the beta then ill decide but most likely ill just get the free one

    Posted: June 13, 2011 4:25 PM

    Sounds like its an optional service. Dosent mean you need to trade in your copy of CoD to avoid having to pay for what you are playing right now for free. However, im not interested.

    Posted: June 12, 2011 12:48 PM
  • beandwata

    this game is mildly cool now the online stuff is tired, lets have some dlc for the campaign mode.

    Posted: June 11, 2011 1:04 AM
  • formerroadie

    I saw this coming the second Activision got involved and the original developers of the game were fired. It was obvious they were objecting to pay for services. Activision is one of those huge companies that cares nothing for the fans. Well, they won't be getting my money for this lame service. Have fun throwing your money away. It's bad enough when these people make a map pack of four maps with two from an old game and then charge $15. Yeah, thanks, but no thanks.

    Posted: June 9, 2011 7:32 PM
  • Huckles

    OH MAN! It's exactly like Bungie.net... except you get to pay for this cool! Bravo to you CoD fans! Bravo!

    Posted: June 8, 2011 1:27 PM
  • Retsem

    I like how everyones freaking out over paying for CoD when xbox users do that aready

    Posted: June 8, 2011 6:50 AM

    You guys are dum the paid service is for new weapons upgrades skins for guns maps and act the other shiz is the free part... and if your complaining about omg a extra idk 30$ fee u don't deserve to play cod...

    Posted: June 7, 2011 2:13 AM
  • nrgizer36

    double dip out of our pockets its sad its a numbers game and the november cash cow needs to bring in more how sad will not support thinkin of not getting MW3

    Posted: June 6, 2011 11:42 PM
  • callmesmorz


    Posted: June 6, 2011 4:40 AM
  • Fryman1991

    I find it really sad to see Call of Duty coming to this. They released a great game COD4, then released a pretty good game MW2. They became the most popular title in gaming and then what did they do. They fired their head developers, released a crappy Black OPS, and are now going to attempt to make a last buck at off the series by charging their players for what every other video game (stat tracker, heat maps, clan matches) does for free. I'm not criticizing COD because I don't like it (I bought the COD4 and MW2) it is just sad to see a company milk their series (COD isn't the first and COD won't be the last). Games that milk their franchise will always be stained by doing so. Like Brett Favre, he is going to be a hall of famer, but whenever I think of him I will think of him sending is junk to some reporter. That is why I am most looking forward to BF3 and Mass Effect 3 at E3. Games look like they are going to be epic. I just hope they don't end up milking those series. Even Halo is getting to that point, I love Bungie and that is why I am glad they got off their own Halo train before they drove it straight into the ground Sorry COD but I am getting off your bandwagon. And I would seriously watch for what Bungie, Bioware and Bethesda do with their titles. These are companies that for the most part have tried to keep things fresh and not milk their products.

    Posted: June 5, 2011 8:25 PM
  • Foot13aller

    I'm glad that Call of Duty has finally had the great idea of creating a website that does exactly what Bungie has done for years with Halo. Might I just add that the service on Bungie.net has been free since its inception. As a loyal fan of both franchises, I want to say good job to COD for trying to pull every last cent out of their fan base. It's bad enough that they charge 15 bucks per map pack, but now they are trying to make something that has already been introduced to the industry seems groundbreaking and worth charging for.

    Posted: June 5, 2011 2:16 PM
  • R3DhairDNTcare

    BF3 it is!!

    Posted: June 5, 2011 2:13 PM
  • ZoMbIEx23x

    I didn't know you could be pro at a game that's as easy as Black Ops.

    Posted: June 5, 2011 1:59 PM
  • nathanray85

    OK first off i love g4 and i always have but this is some bs i will never pay monthly to play cod. i think the game is not that good to pay for it monthly for it now saying that i do pay for wow and i have for years now but there is so much more to do there then cod for one i pay xbox 60 a year gamefly 30 a monthly movies 10 a month and now cod wants money to i have to say nope i payed for the game and everything else should be free... ok i have a ps3 to and i just got mag and the map packs free and it has the same stuff as this dose but its Free and its 256 players online in one game come on guys why would anyone play to play a game like cod online go with mag much better game

    Posted: June 5, 2011 12:43 PM
  • BoydofZINJ

    Let me see if I understand this correctly. I can pay them more money to know where I die on a map? So, this is important because... oh wait, if I know I die 72 times out of 100 behind the left side of building A, I should be smart enough to realize - I should stop going there. If I was smart enough already, I would have realized that on my own, no? Do you think me going to the RIGHT of that building would save me ... magicially?

    Now I can join groups with words like Photography? WTF. OKAY I think I am sold. Not sure on what, but ... its sold to the stockholders, thats is for sure.

    Posted: June 5, 2011 9:06 AM
  • clubf00t

    it should be free..... but activision knows there fans r the dumbest group of tards out there that will buy anything with the COD mark on it.

    Posted: June 5, 2011 7:32 AM

    uhh... for one, I dont give a flying crap what my stats are, I play COD once in a while, I had boughten one of the map packs and was disappointed. Activision use to be a great company, but now there greedy a-holes. MW2 was my last COD game i bought and still will be.
    idk whatever guys...

    Posted: June 5, 2011 6:33 AM
  • warprincess

    disappointed ...........and much as I have loved the COD series.......not gonna do it any longer. Never really cared about stats and whatev.......plus MW3 just doesn't look all that different so oh well on to other games :)

    Posted: June 5, 2011 12:01 AM