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.
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...
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.
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!