Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - Multiplayer Preview - Part 1

The "New" Stuff

So taking part in the COD XP 2011 tournament, and doing a few gauntlet runs in the event has given me a decent amount of time in multiplayer for MW3.  So here's my take on it.  All the accounts were capped at level 30 at the event, and looks like there will be 80 levels total in multiplayer, thus a lot of weapons weren't available for use.

The biggest thing with MW3 multiplayer is the new strike packages.  Strike packages is something that is class specific, and each package determines what type of killstreaks you'll be earning while using that class.  There are three strike packages to choose from; Assault, Support and Specialist.

Assault Strike Package

The Assault strike package is what we've all grown acustom to since the introduction of killstreaks in the series.  Kill X amount of players without dying, earn Y streak.  Die, the streak resets.  Most of the offensive killstreaks appear in this package.  I did not get to try out this strike package too much as I was the support player in all my matches, so I am unable to confirm if the killstreaks stack or not like it did in MW2, or if they are solely based on kills by the non killstreak rewards manners like in Black Ops.  Word around the web is that they do stack though.

Support Strike Package

The Support strike package is the new twist on killstreaks.  Now instead of being kills based, you get the streaks through points streaks.  Points could be gathered from kills, or capturing/defending/doing objectives.  Most of the rewards in this strike package are exactly what its named for, Support.  This is for the team player who is defending objectives, or always shooting down enemy air support.  Thus, to futher help this player, they made it so the kill/pointstreak does not reset when you die.  It will keep going to the next killstreak in your stack, and will cycle back once you've reached the third killstreak reward.  This is interesting because if you select larger killstreaks, it will be a while before you are able to call in another lower killstreak after your first.  So on a team, you'll probably want one support player with lower killstreaks, and the second with the one bigger one, since intel is everything in this game. 

Specialist Strike Package

The last strike package is the Specialist package, this one is the most interesting one.  This strike package contains no killstreak rewards at all, instead, the more you kill without dying, the more perks you get.  You start off with the regular three perks in your class slot, and (based on screen shots and trailers) you unlock your fourth perk after 2 kills, a fifth perk on 4 kills, and a sixth perk on 6 kills.  Also, I am pretty sure I heard in the keynote that after 8 kills, you get all the perks.  These all go away once you die.  This is really geared for the lone-wolf type player.  I would start off with "blind eye", "assassin", and "stalker" (more on perks later in Part 2 of this blog), set first perk to activate as scavenger, next would be quickdraw, and last would be extreme conditioning.  But there's so many other combinations that would work depending on the map, and your own playstyle.  Definitely an interesting twist on how the game would be played.

A New Game Type: Kill Confirmed

Also annoucned at the event was the new game mode, kill confirmed.  It was one of the game types played in the tournaments and in the gauntlet setups.  To win in this mode, you have to pick up enemy dog tags that are dropped when you kill them, and you have to make sure you pick up more than the other team.  The catch is, the enemy can pick up their teams dog tags to deny you the kill and points.  At the event, we played this mode 4v4, and I don't see this going beyond the 6v6 playlist.  Once the details were explained to us, I already knew that this will be a highly strategic game mode, given the importance of picking up the dog tags.  Kills confirmed or not, still count towards killstreak rewards, but as a team, you need the dog tags to win.

My first go at this game mode would be right in the tournament, and we got picked apart by the other team and couldn't recover.  Our initial game plan was to pair up, but in later attempts in this game mode in the gauntlet, we found that keeping all four team members close together worked better.  I'm sure if its 6v6, you can probably split up in two teams of three, but 4v4, the box formation seemed to work better.  At least for the map we were playing on.  We had one person designated as the dog tag pick up, and one as secondary.  You also can't just run after a dog tag without clearing the area since baiting with a dog tag is a useful tactic.  I think things like tactical insertion would be very useful as well, being able to respawn back near the hotzone instead of somewhere across the map.

.... to be continued.

Monday, 19 September 2011

COD XP 2011


So a little while ago, Activision annoucned a special event for Call of Duty Fans.  Called COD XP, it would happen in LA over the labour day long weekend.  I didn't really think much of it, since I wouldn't be able to afford the flight and hotel to LA for the event.  So I just went on playing Black Ops with my group of friends...

Fast forward to july 29th 2011, I get my beta invite to COD Elite.  Which by itself was pretty cool, since I was looking forward to seeing out some of the new features being offered.  One such feature is the compete section of the site, which has a series of contests played via Call of Duty Black Ops, and winners of such events would get prizes.  Prizes range from emblems/medals on the elite site, to free cameras, ipods and ipads.  In mid-august, there were a series of events labeled as COD XP qualifier events.  The prize would be a free trip for the winner and three other players to LA, airfare and hotel paid for, free entry into the COD XP event, and a spot in the million dollar tournament.

XP 2011

I'll do a seperate blog about how I won my event.  So fast forward to Sept 2nd 2011.....

We get bus'd from the hotel to the event, after some aggressive driving by our bus driver, we make it through the traffic, and drive past the huge line up of people waiting to get in.  We get brought around to the back for our own entrance.  Everyone attending was to wear a wristband which had an RFID tag on it.  It could be linked to your facebook account and certain events would make posts each time you checked in. 


We get in, and get seated as the opening keynote was about to start.  This keynote is mostly about the mulitplayer reveal trailer(s).  As well as the CEO of Activision talking about various things about the franchise.  The keynote starts with a montage of gameplay footage from all previous Call of Duty games.  Oh the memories...

Fun Fact about COD... more bullets have been fired on online multiplayer than there are stars in the milkyway..

After the greeting from the CEO, he goes on to talk about the fan made video "Find Makarov", which was made after the previous game, Modern Warfare 2.  He goes on about how he got in contact with the makers, not to tell them to stop, but to actually talk about working together on another video... this video gets premiered at XP2011.. Operation Kingfish.  Funny thing is, I was on a flight with the people who made this, now I wish I had gone up to them to talk to them when I was waiting at the gate... anyhow, here's the video.  Very well done..

Afterwards, the time finally came for the multiplayer reveal.. lots of details and my view on things will be done in a future blog.


 Lots of goodies to be seen.  Keynote then moves onto more details of Modern Warfare 3, as well as Elite.  Pricing of Elite was finally released.  At 49.99 per year, its actually not a bad deal given the amount of DLC comes out and all the added features for having a premium membership.  Also, as members, DLC would be rolled out more often.  Considering I paid for all 4 Black Ops DLC (@approx $15 each), the $50 fee is quite a deal on that point alone.  Not only that, but online contests/events can only be won by premium members.  No other details were revealed in the keynote about the other features of elite (that has yet to be released in the beta).

After all that, we get a second trailer to end the keynote.

The Tournmanet

So for as part of our prize from COD Elite, we are entered into a 32 team tournament, to be played in MW3.  We'd only get 15-20 minutes to warm up, setup classes and such, and then we're thrown into the fire.  My team lost first round, which was somewhat expected.  With zero tournament experience, we didn't really stand a chance, even if we made it past the first round.  But I did learn quite a bit after watching some of the teams played and talking to some other teams at the tournament.  Congrats to those who made it into the money, and to the winners of the event. 

On the bright side...

One good thing about being knocked out early in the tournament is it freed up time so we can enjoy the rest of the venue.  I got in a decent amount of controller time within MW3 multiplayer thanks to the gauntlet setups they had, and got a taste for the revamp'd Spec Ops.  More about that later....

All in all, the event was pretty good, although the walkways between the main hall and where the keynote was could've been wider.  The people running the various booths were very good and efficient, line ups to play were approx 45mins to an hour long.  There were a few bad things about the event.  First the shop was very disorganized, not all the product for sale was on display, which made the long line ups move even slower because people were asking questions at the counter.  I already knew exactly what I wanted, and only had to go back the second day to get one t-shirt in a proper size.  The other bad thing about the event was the cost of eating at it.  We learned our lesson and hit up a subway to stock up before boarding the bus for day 2.  But hey, the trip for me was free, a free copy of the game (hardened edition - includes 1 year of elite premium service), and I finally got to meet a bunch of good friends for the first time in person.  Hope to make it to XP2012!