It's a big day for Call of Duty fans.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Activision)
Top of the line is this bombshell: killstreaks, the game's bread and butter multiplayer reward system, is being replaced with 'Strike Packages.' The new setup lets players choose one of three pre-set packages — Assault, Support or Specialist — and doles out rewards based on different gameplay critera.
Use the Support package, for instance, and you'll gain points for supporting your team with turrets and airstrikes. Specialist, on the other hand, is for expert players who will enjoy temporary perk boosts for racking up kills.
Activision also showed off a new weapons upgrade system. Unlike the currency model used in past games, in MW 3 the more you use a gun, the more proficient you will become with it by unlocking attachments and improved abilities, such as faster reload speeds. Several new multiplayer modes were on display as well, headlined by 'Kill Confirmed', a mode that requires players to pick up the dog tags of slain enemies.
Topping it off was a formal pricing structure for Call of Duty Elite, a premium service for the game's most hardcore fanbase. For $50 a year, they'll get all downloadable content for no additional charge, broken up into smaller, more frequent chunks than non-subscribers. They'll also get a clan progression system and more bandwidth for uploading videos and screenshots, in addition to all the goodies made available to those who opt for the free version of Elite.
While some have bemoaned the service as a cash-grab by Activision, the numbers work out pretty well for those who intend on buying all the additional content. Each of Modern Warfare 3's four downloadable map packs will cost $15, giving subscribers a $10 savings by paying up front.
And those lucky enough to attend the Call of Duty XP event will leave with a voucher for a free copy of the 'Hardened' special edition of the game, which comes with one full year of Elite premium service for free.