Call of Duty XP: How Clan Leveling Works for Call of Duty: Elite
We already knew that Beachhead Studios planned to support clans in CoD: Elite, but that functionality is included with what it has planned for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and isn’t supported by the beta currently available to Call of Duty: Black Ops players. But “clan leveling” is a term that’s only recently come up, and it’s a function that’s native to Elite, but supported through Black Ops.
Clans on Elite work pretty much the way you’d expect. Through Elite, CoD players already have the ability to create loose “groups” that are formed around a common interest and can include thousands of people. You can come and go in groups as you please — if you think of the same feature on Facebook, you have the right idea. Groups allow players to connect with one another in MW3 over a common interest and you’ll be able to find people who are in the same group or groups as you, but clans are much more exclusive.
Each clan has a single leader (right now — more officer positions will be available as Beachhead expands Elite) and can have up to 100 members. During a panel on Elite’s clan leveling system, Clans can compete against one another through clan matches that can be scheduled through Elite, and they can also participate in two different, more open competitions: Clan Operations and Clan Challenges.
Clan Operations are much like the “Operations” available to single players on Elite. They’re network-spanning competitions that require a clan to work together to post, say, the highest kill count in a given span of time, or the best kill-to-death ratio. The competitions are short — only a few hours — and they’re tracked over Elite’s leaderboards.
During a panel discussing the clan features, Elite User Experience Director Jennifer Puno and User Experience Designer Chris Chernoff explained that when it comes to Clan Operations, emphasis was put on keeping the playing field level between clans. Just because you build a clan with your maybe-not-so-good friends doesn’t mean you’ll be robbed of the ability to compete, since only the top six clan members’ scores and statistics count toward Operations competitions.
“We don’t want anyone kicking people off their clans because they suck,” said Project Director Noah Heller.
Clans that successfully complete Operations and win prizes also get those prizes trickled down to all members of the clan — even those who weren’t playing, didn’t make the top six or didn’t participate. Prizes can include things like double experience points in Modern Warfare 3, as well as other potential in-game and out-of-game goodies. All those victories are marked off with badges that appear on the clan’s page on Elite.
Clan Challenges are a little less hardcore than Clan Operations. Anyone can participate in challenges — they’re all about racking up lots of kills, for example, or maxing out other stats. Challenges take place over a longer period and are cumulative for everyone in the clan. They’re less skill-based and more about everyone in the clan somewhat passively contributing to the clan’s success: even if you aren’t playing with clan members, your kills, for example, are counting toward the clan’s current challenge. Those challenges earn experience for your clan (as do Operations), which can level it up.
Leveling a clan is mostly for the coolness of it. In the beginning, you’ll set a clan name and a four-character clan tag that will appear in white beside the player names of clan members. These clan names aren’t locked at first, and anyone can use the same clan tags, if they wanted; but once a clan levels up sufficiently, their clan tag is locked and becomes unique. It also changes color to gold. Once that happens, no one else can use the clan’s tag if they’re not a member, which does make it pretty prestigious.
Puno and Chernoff also said Elite would later be adding intra-clan competition features as well, but as Heller put it, Beachhead Studios needs to “walk before we run.” The service is starting with core features to be released with Modern Warfare 3 in November, with more to be rolled out as the kinks get worked out over time.
Fan feedback will be a big part of what features get added, Heller said.
“We’ve got some ideas, but we need to now what you guys think,” Heller said to the audience during the panel.