Making Friends and Shooting Enemies


Call of Duty is about to take online gaming further by adding in more stats and trend analysis than fantasy football and a social networking aspect that will make it easy to find a group of people who share your interests... and then to kill people with them online.

Call of Duty: Elite is a DLC add-on that will offer a basic level of usage for free, but will offer lots of goodies and opportunities to more hardcore gamers for a minimal price. No final pricing has been determined, but the idea is that if you're going to buy some level map DLC anyway, you could spend a few more dollars and have full Elite access, with higher perks for paying members, such as competitions in which you can win a Call of Duty: Elite - themed Jeep, as a specific given example. Final pricing should be revealed in July.

You'll get access to a wide variety of stats, from Kill-to-Death ratio, winning percentage, and "levels" based on performance. You'll be able to look at stats on the last 10 matches and even chart them to look for trends. In Modern Warfare 3, these will show on an in-game player card, which will provide your stats at a glance, similar to baseball cards, and will allow for various ways of quickly comparing your stats with those of another player.

On the 360, your player card will use your gamertag, to reduce the number of identities you have to juggle and to help you build a reputation. You will be able to track players without friending them (because sometimes it's not just friends you want to shoot in the head). And, you will also be able to view other players' load-outs, to give you some pointers on what their weaknesses may be or just clues to a good load-out for a given map.

One thing that came up at E3 2011 in our presentation for Call of Duty: Elite that might get added is stats specifically on matchups between you and another player. In this way, you can compare stats on bouts you've played together without looking at other matches they've played without you.

The Elite system can be accessed on various types of devices, including smart phones. In Modern Warfare 3, they are looking at giving players the ability to pull up the Elite app and change load-outs via their cell phones on the train on the way home.

One way of finding players with similar interests is Elite's Groups. You can find a group by simply searching for some interest you may share with others, such as #Karate_Sleepovers or #Hamburgers and either your search will return a group with that name or you can click a button and you've just created that group. This type of social grouping is a very low commitment method that allows you to easily join or leave a group. Basically, it's like hashtagging yourself with specific interests. When one becomes popular, such as #Karate_Sleepover, however, it can get featured and Call of Duty peeps may even create a group artwork for it. In addition to featuring specific groups, the Call of Duty community development team will be watching for similar groups and putting some of them into categories with other, similar groups. You may find a USA States category with a #California group, for example, or, perhaps a Cars category containing #Ford_Mustang and #New_Beetle

If you look up players you've recently played with or against, you can see the groups they belong to and see if you have similar interests before trying to friend that player.

For more control, paying members can form Clans, which allows for prerequisites for membership to be put in place as well as locking in team colors and such.

Furthering the social networking focus, Elite will use Facebook friend finding to help you find existing friends who are already playing Call of Duty. As an example, one of the presenters had a female friend who plays COD on the PlayStation 3, and he played on the 360, so he didn't know she even played until the Facebook friend finder feature pointed it out.

So get ready for Call of Duty: Elite... go work on your mad pwnage skills. You can actually work on your stats now, since stats have been tracked since the November's release of Black Ops.

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