Thursday, March 29, 2012

New MW3 Community Game Modes

The Community Playlist is going to have a new option (it's not confirmed yet if this replaces Drop Zone or Infected):

This weekend, on March 30th, we will be adding three FFA gunplay modes to the Community Playlists on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

The new modes are available to ALL players.

The FFA Gunplay playlist cycles 4 different modes:

There are 2 Gun Game variations. 
-One variation uses an 18 gun progression including 2 sniper rifles to separate the men from the boys. 
-The second variation cycles 6 guns 3 times (no sniper rifles) so learn the 6 gun progression and pace yourself through the 3 waves.

One In The Chamber uses the P99 handgun. 
-Players begin with one bullet and earn a bullet for every kill (with gun or tactical knife). 
-Elimination occurs after 3 deaths but the last 3 players will be visible on the mini-map to keep the action rolling. 
-Eliminated players can chase remaining players in spectator mode and back a winner of their choosing by selecting them.
-Selecting a player that you're spectating gives you 150 XP for each of their subsequent kills so you can still stay in the game after you're eliminated.

Lastly there is a new variation on Free For All that was created by our community and we LOVE.  Players call it All Or Nothing. 
-All players spawn with the USP .45 handgun with no ammo and a Throwing Knife. 
-The loadout includes the Hardline perk and Specialist point streak with Scavenger in the first slot. 
-As you get kills, you pick up scavenger packs and get ammo.
-Once you're killed you spawn back with no ammo and start again. 
-It's like One in the Chamber meets Infected with plenty of hilarity mixed in.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Survival Mode Development

If you enjoy Spec Ops and Survival Mode as much as I do you'll probably find the development interesting.  I went back and watched the Jimmy Fallon preview from June 2011 and the Survival preview trailer that was released August 9, 2011.  Here are some screen shots:

"Survival challenges along with leaderboards allow you to compete against your friends..."
The challenges may be referring to the Rampage/knife streak/kill streak bonuses you can get, but there aren't many ways to compete with the challenges, so I wonder if they had something else in mind.

The original Delta Squad symbol in the bottom right of the screen.

Body-armor had a different symbol and was only 100 hit points at first.  The syringe to the left of it is the original self-revive symbol.

They considered offering a lot more perks than ended up in the release.  SitRep is showing here, and it would be a useful perk, but only if you could equip more than one perk.

The wave number was on the right side of the screen along with a timer.

The weapon armory had 9 guns, and the price was different for each one, not like now where each gun type is priced the same.

Self-revive was called "Last Stand" which  makes sense, and when I watch Survival videos on youtube some people still call it that.

Predator missile for $2000.

Helicopters had a $300 payout instead of the current $600.

The MW2 red dot sight in a number of places throughout the video.

Also, in the Jimmy Fallon segment it had Russian militia on Dome, but in the game Dome has African militia.

Jimmy Fallon had the Survival preview on his show in June of last year.  That's about when I would expect the first big news on Black Ops 2.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

MW3 April DLC for Xbox

We finally get something on it, and it doesn't matter.  Comes out in a few hours.

Release date:  April 10


Also, here's the Greek monastary that this map is most likely based on: Meteora.


I forgot, Foundation is probably the "Cement" or "Concrete" map that was leaked back with the collection 1 maps in December.

From Elite and the calendar.

Here's the preview video with Rob Riggle from Elite TV.  I think Riggle is pretty funny.  I enjoy his CoD vids.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Black Box Multiplayer Impressions (MW3 DLC Map)

Black Box looks really good; it's bright and has a lot of color.  But in a 6 vs 6 game it plays kind of slow.  I looked at the heat maps of the games I've played on it so far, and this is about what it would look like if you combined them all together:

Most of the killing happens around the open middle of the map, between the three major houses and the front and middle pieces of the plane.  The red horseshoe contains the majority of the killing, and the green circle has a lot less than you'd expect for an area that funnels up to the top corner.  The yellow square is another funnel area which in my games had an even higher concentration of kills/deaths than the rest of the horseshoe.

The area in the bottom left of the map is kind of a dead area.  Even though that's where the A-flag is in Domination, there's just not that much action going on there.

My guess is that this map will be a lot more fun in Ground War and in Free-For-All.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

MW3 April DLC for PS3: On or Around 4/12

The Call of Duty Content Calendar now shows that PS3 premium subscribers will get Black Box, Black Ice and Negotiator on April 12th.  That is nearly a month after the Xbox drop, and so I think it's safe to say the first content collection will also be a month later, on or around April 19th.

Survival Mode Bonuses Explained

Here's a breakdown of how the bonus at the end of each round of Survival Mode is calculated when you play solo:
(the asterisk * is a multiplication symbol)

As soon as the round starts you have 180 possible time points.  If you kill everyone between 0.0 and 0.9 second you'll receive all 180 points.  At second 1.0 you will only have 178 possible points, and it goes down 2 points per second up to 90 seconds.  At 90 seconds you will receive 0 bonus points for time.

Time bonus = 180 - (wave time * 2)

You get 25 bonus points times the wave number you're on.

Wave bonus = 25 * current wave

You get 10 bonus points for each kill during the wave.  Since the number of enemies is fixed you will always get the same bonus, unless you're playing with someone else, then you will be competing with them for kills.

Kills bonus = 10 * your kills

You get 20 points for each headshot kill during the wave.

Headshots bonus = 20 * your headshots

You get 3 bonus points for each additional 1% accuracy above 25%, up to a total possible bonus of 225 for 100% accuracy.

Accuracy bonus = 3 * (your accuracy - 25)

You start with a possible 400 bonus points for receiving 0 damage.  Each unit of damage you take lowers your damage bonus by 2 points.  Once you're at 200 damage for a wave you will receive no damage bonus that wave.

Damage bonus = 400 - (damage taken * 2)

Here's a hypothetical:
You finish wave 8 in 76.7 seconds with 18 kills, 4 headshots, an accuracy of 35%, and having taken 103 points of damage.  First the game truncates the time to 76 seconds.

Total wave bonus = (wave8*25) + (180-2*time) + (kills*10) + (headshots*20) + [3*(accuracy-25)] + (400-damage*2)

That makes the bonus in this example 712.  But if you killed an AK47 carrying enemy as the last guy of the round the numer 862 would come up on screen right as you kill him, 712 + 150 for that kill.  And if you get a bonus with the last kill add the bonus number into the last number to come up onscreen before the Combat Performance chart comes up.

When you play co-op, the wave bonus is doubled (50 * current wave), and the kills bonus is quintupled (kills * 50).  Everything else is the same.

As few as 4 kills in rapid succession; decreases as time between kills increases.

Kill Streak
4 kills without being hit by any enemy fire; resets if hit.

4 headshots during the same wave; does not reset.

Knive streak
5 knife kills in succession; resets if an enemy is killed with anything other than your knife.

Flash Kill
Kill 5 flashed enemies during the same wave; does not reset if other kills are made between flash kills.

Quad Kill
Kill 4 enemies with the same blast; can only be achieved with explosives, not with guns.

Here is a video showing an example of each type of bonus:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

MW3 DLC Mission Runthrough: Negotiator and Black Ice

New achievements for this mission:

Negotiator is the campaign mission Persona Non Grata run backwards from the building where you get the assault drone up to the beginning room where the helicopter crashes.  There are 35 hostages, and you are supposed to save as many as possible.  The longer you take between stages the more hostages the baddies will execute.  There are 4 breach-and-clear sections, and more than one hostage is right behind a captor, so you can't simply shoot the enemies, you have to wait until the right moment, or get their legs first, or something like that.  You won't fail if you kill a single hostage, but if you kill more than 5 or so hostages yourself, you will fail the mission.  I'm not sure if I'll ever get the Not On My Watch achievo; seems like you'd need to get a one-shot kill on every enemy and run between every stage.

Black Ice is the campaign mission Down the Rabbit Hole and the Spec Ops mission Fire Mission, but the snowmobiling half takes place on the road that circles around the mine down to the building you come out of at the very beginning of Fire Mission.  It's fairly easy on Regular, but on Veteren I had a hard time even getting off the snowmobile.  You basically have to kill everyone while driving in order to make it.  And to get the A Baker's Dozen achievement you just need to slow down and go in reverse back to where there are guys standing to run them all over.

Good luck.

This is probably the diamond mine that Black Ice and its ilk are based on, in Mirny Russia:

Pretty epic.

Survival Strategies: Black Box

Black Box is a Tier 5 map like Overwatch.  Here's the map with the armories marked:

My strategy so far is to buy an ACR after wave 3, in preparation for the helicopter during wave 4.  The first 3 rounds go for the bonuses, and then run around the map and take out the juggernaut and helo during round 4 like you do the first jugg on any map.  Then hole up in the house being constructed in the top-left of the map, on the upper floor, right above the equipment armory.

The small red square is a sentry launcher pointing out the window, and I outlined the arc it swings.  It's exposed to fire from the street which is why I chose an armored launcher.  The goal is to thin out the enemies coming up the street, but there may be a better place for it somewhere else. The red square with a blue outline is me, looking toward the yellow arrows which are the directions the enemies come, up those two staircases and into the room at about the same point.  So for regular waves it's great for funneling everyone into a small space where I can concentrate my fire, but still have an escape route.

The first time I played I just ran the map, exploring a bit, not really holing up anywhere, and got to round 14.  The second time I played I did this strategy and got to round 24.

Juggernaut + Helicopter waves: 4, 9, 14, 19, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40...

The MilitantPo3t will have his strategy posted in the next few days, and I'll update this post with a link to his video as soon as it's up.   UPDATE: Here it is. Go ahead a give it a "like" if it works for you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

List of Waves in Survival

Survival will return in CoD: Ghosts as Safeguard.

I went through pretty much everything in the Tier 1 maps, but the same pattern follows for all of the other tiers, except which waves have juggernauts and helicopters.  So for Tiers 2 and up I just posted the waves with juggernauts and/or helicopters.  Tiers 3 and 4 start with MP5s instead of 1887s.  Tiers 1, 2 and 5 all start with 1887s.

Tier 1
Your loadout: FiveSeven, Self-revive, Body armor, 2 flashbangs, 2 grenades
1 - Model 1887s
2 - Model 1887s
3 - Model 1887s + 2 dogs
4 - MP5s
5 - MP5s
6 - 2 helicopters
7 - MP5s + suicide C4ers
8 - MP5s + suicide C4ers
9 - MP5s + suicide C4ers  + 2 dogs
10 - 1 juggernaut
11 - AK47s
12 - AK47s
13 - AK47s + suicide C4ers
14 - AK47s + suicide C4ers  + 2 dogs
15 - 2 juggernauts
16 - ACRs
17 - ACRs
18 - ACRs + suicide C4ers
19 - ACRs + suicide C4ers  + 3 dogs
20 - 2 regular juggernauts + 1 riot juggernaut
21 - FADs
22 - FADs + claymore placing PM-9s
23 - FADs + PM-9s + suicide C4ers + 1 helo
24 - FADs + PM-9s + suicide C4ers + 1 helo + C4 dogs
25 - FADs + PM-9s + suicide C4ers + 1 helo + C4 dogs
26 - 2 juggernauts, 1 riot juggernaut + FADs
27 - FADs + PM-9s + suicide C4ers + 1 helo
28 - FADs + PM-9s + suicide C4ers + 1 helo + C4 dogs
29 - FADs + PM-9s + suicide C4ers + 1 helo + C4 dogs
30 - 2 juggernauts, 1 riot juggernaut, + FADs + C4 dogs
31 - FADs + PM-9s + suicide C4ers + 1 helo
32 - FADs + PM-9s + suicide C4ers + 1 helo + C4 dogs
33 - FADs + PM-9s + suicide C4ers + 1 helo + C4 dogs
34 - 2 juggernauts, 1 riot juggernaut + FADs + C4 dogs
38 - Juggs
42 - Juggs
Juggs every 4 waves.

Tier 2 
Includes Piazza, Liberation, Decommission and Gulch
Loadout: USP.45, Self-revive, Body-armor, 2 flashbangs, 2 grenades
6 - 2 helicopters + guys
9 - 1 juggernaut + guys
12 - 2 juggernauts + guys
15 - 2 helicopters + guys
18 - 2 juggernauts + guys and dogs
21 - 3 juggernauts + guys and dogs
24 - 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
27 - 3 juggernauts + guys and dogs
30 - 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
33 - 3 juggernauts + guys and dogs
36 - 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
39 - 3 juggernauts + guys and dogs
42 - 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
45 - 3 juggernauts + guys and dogs
Switch between helos and juggs every 3 waves.

Tier 3
Loadout: MP412, Self-Revive, Body-armor, 2 flashbangs
5 - 1 juggernaut + 1 helicopter + guys and dogs
10 - 2 juggernauts + 1 helicopter + guys and dogs
15 - 3 juggernauts + 1 helicopter + guys and dogs
19 - 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
21 - 3 juggernauts + guys and dogs
23 - 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
25 - 3 juggernauts + guys and dogs
27 - 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
29 - 3 juggernauts + guys and dogs
31 - 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
33 - 3 juggernauts + guys and dogs
35 - 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
37 - 3 juggernauts + guys and dogs
39 - 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
Switch between helos and juggs every 2 waves.

Tier 4
Loadout:  M16, FiveSeven, Body-armor
6 - 1 juggernaut + 1 helicopter + AK47s
11 - 2 juggernauts + 1 helicopter + guys and dogs
16 - 2 juggernauts + 1 helicopter + guys and dogs
19 - 3 juggernauts + 2 helicopters + guys and dogs
22 - 3 juggernauts + 2 helicopters + guys and dogs
25 - 3 juggernauts + 2 helicopters + guys and dogs
28 - 3 juggernauts + 2 helicopters + guys and dogs
31 - 3 juggernauts + 2 helicopters + guys and dogs
34 - 3 juggernauts + 2 helicopters + guys and dogs
37 - 3 juggernauts + 2 helicopters + guys and dogs
Juggs + helos every 3 waves.

Tier 5 
Overwatch, Black Box, Sanctuary, Foundation, Oasis, Terminal, Parish, Boardwalk
Loadout: 1887, FiveSeven, Extreme Conditioning, Self-revive, Body-armor
4 - 1 juggernaut + 1 helicopter + guys and dogs
9 - 2 juggernauts + 1 helicopter + guys and dogs
14 - 2 juggernauts + 2 helicopters + guys and dogs
19 - 2 juggernauts + 2 helicopters + guys and dogs
24 - 2 juggernauts + 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
28 - 2 juggernauts + 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
32 - 2 juggernauts + 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
36 - 2 juggernauts + 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
40 - 2 juggernauts + 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
Juggs + helos every 4 waves.

Tier 6 
Off Shore
Loadout: ACR with ACOG and underbarrel shotgun, FiveSeven, Sleight of hand, Self-revive, 750 points of body-armor, 4 grenades, 4 flashbangs, 5 units of C4, Predator missile
4 - 1 juggernaut + guys and dogs
5 - 1 juggernaut + 1 helicopter + guys and dogs
9 - 2 juggernauts + 1 helicopter + guys and dogs
10 - 2 juggernauts + 2 helicopters + guys and dogs
14 - 3 juggernauts + 2 helicopters + guys and dogs
15 - 3 juggernauts + 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
19 - 3 juggernauts + 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
20 - 3 juggernauts + 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
24 - 4 juggernauts + 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
25 - 4 juggernauts + 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
29 - 4 juggernauts + 3 helicopters + guys and dogs
30 - 4 juggernauts + 4 helicopters + guys and dogs
4 juggs and 4 helos every 4th and 5th wave forever after.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MW3 and Elite Premium - Is It Worth It?

I'm going to create a fictional person who bought MW3 for $60 and Elite Premium for $50, assign hours played to certain portions of the game which I think are conservative averages, and compare the time played to other forms of consumption.

John Doe pays $110 for MW3, and Elite Premium for 1 year.  Here are the elements that he gets from this:

(edit: updated with actual DLC August 10)
1 - Campaign
24 - Spec Ops missions
28 - Survival maps
28 - Multiplayer maps
5 - Face Off maps
1 - Game mode (Chaos)
2 - Presitge tokens (so far)
Multiplayer clans, clan operations/challenges

Plus free additions:
1 - Multiplayer map
2 - Face Off maps
4 - Game modes (Infected, Drop Zone, FFA Gunplay, Face Off)

Some people play only multiplayer, some play almost no multiplayer, but here are some numbers for our man John that I think are more than conservative enough to make up for all the variance in play-times across the board:

10 hours - Campaign - 1 complete playthrough on veteren, or 2 times on a lower difficulty (or some mix).
6 hours - Spec Ops missions - 15 min in each mission, about 2 playthroughs per mission
1 hour - Chaos Mode - 15 min on each map
14 hours - Survival mode - 30 minutes on each map
24 hours - Multiplayer - about 1500 kills if someone gets an average of 8 kills per game for 250 games of 7.5 min each (John isn't very good, which is the case for most people)

So all together John gets about 55 hours of playtime for $110.  That works out to $2.00 per hour played. And that doesn't take into account the prestige tokens and the clan stuff.

(So far I've put over 150 hours into the game and bought the hardened edition, making my personal dollar per hour figure less than 0.66)

What is an hour of leisure time worth to most people?  Economists often assign the person's wage rate to their leisure time which is a decent measure (minimum wage is $7.25 per hour), but I'm going to go further.

Most people are willing to go see movies in the theater, and a longer than average movie in a cheaper than average theater will be about $6 for 2 hours worth of matinee entertainment.  That works out to $3 per hour which is more than Joe paid for his MW3 Elite Premium entertainment.

What if you buy a movie on DVD?
A 2 hour movie that you watch a total of 3 times, that costs about $15 for a new release DVD renders a per hour cost of $2.50, which is lower than the theater, but still higher than the game.

Another comparison is reading.
Most people seem to read a Harry Potter book in about a day, and I'll guess that equates to 12-14 hours of reading.  All 7 hardcover (initial release books are almost always hardcover) HP books go for about $100, which gives $0.80-$1.00 per hour. That's a much more difficult comparison, especially if you read the books more than once (which I certainly do for books I really enjoy).

All that being said, a big question is whether Elite Premium is worth the extra $50.  To answer that we'd have to find out how many fewer hours John would have played had he forgone Elite Premium and the DLC.  Also, how much less would John enjoy each hour played without Elite Premium and the DLC?  These are open to discussion, and I don't think anyone can give a definitive answer because it goes into 2 separate universes where each person does and doesn't pay for Elite Premium.

Anyway, I believe that the total cost for MW3 and Elite Premium is more than worth it for most people who play CoD, despite all the complaining that goes on, and that's why it sells a lot.