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Call of Duty Elite: Which bits would you pay for?

A blow-by-blow look at the Premium suite

Much of Call of Duty: Elite is free. Activision's been careful about its debut upon monthly subscription waters, fearful of driving millions of dedicated Modern Warfare fans into the arms of Battlefield and Battlelog. Sign up for a bog-standard account, and you'll be able to upload videos, track your stats, chat with other members, view heat maps - access many of the community features, in short, that you already enjoy when playing blockbuster shooters.

But what of the Premium stuff, the juicy goodies temptingly arrayed across Elite's topmost tier? Will they persuade you to shell out, or are the service's paid options worthy of diehard duty-callers only? To assist the whirring of your decision-making apparatus, we're taking a look at each bullet-point in turn (full list here). Beta participants, feel free to pitch in.

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DLC
Elite users won't have to fork out separately for the inevitable slew of Modern Warfare 3 downloadable content. They'll get 20 "pieces" free, including monthly DLC packs at a rate of one a month for nine months. The DLC in question will encompass new modes, maps, Spec Ops features and "missions" (presumably not single player story missions), and you won't lose a pixel of the content once your membership expires.
Buy or avoid?
Buy, if only because Call of Duty DLC packs are among the priciest commodities on Xbox Live, and we doubt Activision's feeling any more generous with Modern Warfare 3. The last Black Ops pack cost 1200 MP, or roughly £10.28. Multiply that by nine, if you dare.

All year round competition calendar
Elite members will be daily asked/summoned to participate in special events and "Operations". We're still trying to figure out what the hell Operations are - presumably they don't involve scalpels and anaesthetic - but whatever they are, special tactical varieties will contain custom in-game playlists and modes. Full-blown clan events and leagues are also in the offing.
Buy or avoid?
That largely depends on the quality of the prizes: we're not avid tournament-goers as a rule, though occasionally we like to fire up That Pro Evo Video and picture ourselves in The Beast's shoes. The unique modes need to be a cut above Left 4 Dead's Mutations and Gears of War's Mutators, or we'll struggle to care.

Clan benefits
Premium users won't just be able to form clans, they'll be able to level those clans up, unlocking unique, unidentified "benefits" plus in-game gold clan tags, player cards and emblems.
Buy or avoid?
If you're into organised competitive gaming, it sounds like Premium users may have a distinct advantage, both in terms of gameplay features and, far more importantly, in terms of bling. Flag that as speculation till Activision drops concrete detail, though.

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Expert guides
While regular users will benefit from a selection of weapon, perk and gear guides plus tools to quantify their skills with each cannon, Premium accounts get "Pro Video Guides" got every weapon and map, plus a platform for sharing tactics and tips. You can even write your own expert community playbooks.
Buy or avoid?
We like to think we have a knack for entry-level hints and tips features, but when it comes to full-blown map and load-out dissections, our inner children crumple in snotty tears. We also dislike being told how we should be playing, as we seldom manage to transfer that knowledge to the battlefield. Thanks but no thanks, Acti.

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