Free Call of Duty: Elite benefits detailed

Activision offers explanation of what gamers can expect from free membership to upcoming online service; custom leaderboards, video uploads, and heat maps available; mum on what paid subscription will offer.

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Earlier this week, Activision announced Call of Duty: Elite, a new online service from Beachhead that promises deep statistic tracking, access to downloadable content, social networking features, and a video series with "top Hollywood talent."

Activision isn't ready to share what a paid subscription to Elite will offer.
Activision isn't ready to share what a paid subscription to Elite will offer.

However, there was confusion surrounding what was to be offered free and what was contained in the premium subscription (believed to be around $8 a month). Today, Activision released an FAQ for Elite, which details the service at length.

When Call of Duty: Elite launches on November 8 alongside Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, all gamers (at no cost) will have the ability to:

-Access Elite through the Web, as well as via free applications for Android and iOS devices like smartphones and tablets.
-Track and share with friends in-game statistics like kill/death ratio, score-per-minute, win percentage, and more, all shown in "easy to understand" charts and infographics.
-Create custom leaderboards.
-View heat maps indicating dangerous areas in levels where players die the most.
-Upload and share videos from the game's Theater mode.
-Customize a loadout, which includes choosing weapons, attachments, and perks, and transfer it to Modern Warfare 3 via Web or mobile.
-Join groups with common interests.
-Create clans.
-Track Call of Duty career progress, beginning with Call of Duty: Black Ops.
-Be placed into groups based on interests, as designated by Facebook profile listings.

Activision promises that the above list of free components is "just the beginning" and that it will "continue to evolve" in the future.

Activision is waiting to share the Modern Warfare 3-themed perks of Elite.
Activision is waiting to share the Modern Warfare 3-themed perks of Elite.

As for the paid Call of Duty: Elite subscription, Activision has not offered much in the way of details concerning it. However, the publisher did note that a paid subscription to Elite will "set a new gold standard for what the multiplayer and community experience for a console game can be."

Activision says that it will not divulge further details concerning the paid subscription offerings just yet because "the service was designed to be deeply integrated with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and will not be demonstrated until we are closer to the launch of that game." Finally, Activision promises that by the "end of summer" every feature of Elite--paid and free--will be shown.

Activision did firmly note that participation in either the free or paid components of Call of Duty: Elite is entirely optional and that the publisher is not going to charge gamers to play Modern Warfare 3 online beyond the $60 price to purchase the game.

Further, Activision allayed gamers' fears that Elite would sell competitive advantages, as the publisher confirmed that weapons and levels will not be for sale via Elite.

"While Call of Duty Elite wants to help people become better players, there's still only one way to level up to new weapons, XP, and prestige, and that's to earn it in game."

Gamers interested in trying out Call of Duty: Elite can sign up to beta test the service at the Elite page of Call of Duty's website. The beta will kick off this summer, and gamers who are accepted into the trial period can track their progress in Elite with Treyarch's most recent Call of Duty entry, Black Ops.

For more on the forthcoming application, check out GameSpot's hands-on time with Call of Duty: Elite.

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