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First downloadable Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer maps unleashed (hands-on)

I just downloaded and played the new multiplayer maps for Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. Since the game is the best-selling title of all time, you can bet that millions of other premium Call of Duty Elite members will do the same.

Such downloadable content (DLC) is becoming more and more popular, and the release of Call of Duty content is so big that it probably generates as much revenue (in the past, map packs sold for stand-alone prices) as a major game release. It gives loyal multiplayer fans a reason to subscribe to the Call of Duty Elite social network service, which offers free DLC to paying members.

And by bombarding players with DLC every month, publisher Activision Blizzard hopes to keep players in its game on a year-round basis, giving no breathing room to rivals that want to launch their own games and steal away Call of Duty players. Activision Blizzard hasn’t reported how many units it has sold, but it’s believed to be around 15 million.

The first new map is Liberation, which is set in a militarized Central Park in New York. This is the first of nine monthly content releases coming this year. And the maps are two of 20 expected content items coming during those releases.

Liberation has long sight-lines for snipers or light machines guns with stands. It is good for team games like Domination. It has a couple of gun turrets on either side of the map. That lets you hold down locations better. Those turrets  It’s pretty eery to see the landscape of Central Park as a war-torn environment, which familiar places such as statues and buildings in disrepair. In Domination, you have to capture and hold three stationary flags on the map. Pitched battles take place for control of each flag. The map is cool in part because you can use underground or creek paths to sneak up on a flag, capturing it in a stealthy way. Like most of the maps in MW 3, this map is pretty well-balanced and it’s hard for one team to dominate all flags.

The other map is Piazza, set in an Italian seaside village. It has tight corridors and is a vertical map, where you fight up a series of stairs and multi-story buildings in the hillside town. It’s more like a run-and-gun game, where you just fire away with a submachine gun. But you need to have teammates near you to clear paths and watch your six. You have a lot of flanking maps. Bowling said that there will be monthly DLC content all the way through September, with new kinds of game modes and other content as well, Bowling said.

In a short match on Piazza, I saw a huge amount of action. I died 33 times and kill 15 enemies. That’s more than usual for a typical Domination game. I used a submachine gun the whole time and tried not to aim down my gun sites so I could be quicker. But my reaction times were just too slow. A couple of times, I was distracted by how beautiful the ocean looked in the distance and how nice the interiors of the buildings were. But I had to get back to work pretty quickly to avoid getting shot.

To get the maps early, you have to be a member of Call of Duty Elite and pay for premium content with a monthly subscription of $5 a month.

If you have a Call of Duty Elite subscription, get the maps by loading your game into the console. When the game is loaded, hit start. Select “multiplayer” and then “store.” Choose “download Elite content.” Select “confirm purchase” on both maps. Then you can go to “multiplayer.” Then go to Xbox Live and “find match.” You’ll see new “Elite maps.” You can go straight into the new maps by creating a private match with the new maps. If anything isn’t clear, look at the second video below.

To celebrate the new content drops, Call of Duty Elite will run specialized community screen shot events highlighting the new maps through the end of the month, with real-world prizes for winners. The maps are not yet available to PlayStation Network players or those who haven’t joined the premium version of Call of Duty Elite.


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