EB opened our series on MW3 with "you only get one chance," but the first content drop on Elite was the game's (and Elite's) second chance to make a first impression. The rest of the Elite service is technically the icing on the cake that is new maps. This was our first chance to dig in and have some delicious, headshot-laden cake - so how did it go?
Sad to say, our experiences were mixed to poor. The night kicked off with the download - 2 150MB or so map files to add to our collection. This went smoothly, thankfully, although the interface is a bit of a mess. I had to click "confirm purchase" even though I wasn't making a purchase, which was kind of disconcerting - I had to ask myself, "Didn't I buy this already? What am I purchasing here exactly?"
After overcoming the technical and financial hurdles, we dug into the new maps with the new Elite playlist. Or, I guess I should say, we tried to. The new Elite playlists feature all the maps, including the new ones, in rotation. Sometimes there isn't an option to play a new map among the map choices. This is kind of different from the way map pack playlists usually work. I can understand that there's only two, and perhaps people would want more choices, but... come on, we paid $50 to play maps early, so why wouldn't I want a playlist of just those maps? If I want to play the stock maps, I have tons of playlist options. Evidently others agreed with this sentiment, so whenever the voting wasn't going their way, half the players would exit the lobby and start again.
This sort of "jerkwad" behavior should have clued us in and set our expectations, but I was still blindsided by the amount of irritating behavior we encountered. One thing that we failed to think of when signing up for this service is that it caters to the "hardcore" or "pro" crowd, so the people playing these maps on day 1 are going to be the absolute scum of the game - those day-1 level 80 tenth prestige'rs who glitch, exploit, and mod their way to the top. Every cheap move and abusive game behavior imaginable was on display.
EB and I only got through about one round on each map before calling it a day and going back to the regular playlist rotations. My impression of the maps is still a little half-baked. Until I've logged at least a few hours on a map, I can't really get a feel for it. I feel like I'd vote for these if they came up, but I don't know how quickly the novelty will wear off on them.
Looking beyond the current map drops to consider the service as a whole, as it stands today, I think I'm more than a bit disappointed. EB remarked that all the current clan events have been cancelled, and that the Elite website is still in a state of incompetent disarray, even almost 3 months after launch. SpecOps missions were promised, but we're looking at March before we see anything on that front. After playing almost all the way through the survival missions on the stock maps, I can't say that I'm really psyched about playing that mode with more maps. Restricting early access to the maps has sequestered the worst elements of the game behind a paywall that doesn't really provide that much of a benefit. If I knew all of this before I picked up Elite, I'd be very tempted to pass on it.