May 22, 2012 12:28 PM
My question is more to BeachHead Studios. Will Clan Op start times become more diverse in the future (both in terms of start times and objective), and would you consider a new option with Elite 2.0 that allows clan leaders to select a start time within a given day?
I'll explain my line of thinking here. And I would love to hear back from as many members of the community as possible. Elite is a service that on paper should work tremendously well, and I would love to see that happen. I don't feel it's there yet, but I hope BH Studios will take feedback from the community to improve a service I hope someday is absolutely stellar.
While I applaude BeachHead for aiming to have clan ops start at reasonable times of the day and setting them to weekends when a majority of people can play, I have to say I am a little bit discouraged by the fact that in doing so, they have lost valuable diversity and accessibility features.
Currently, as is with the current trend, if you wish to participate in a clan op, in EST you must be available at 2pm on Fridays and Sundays, and at 6pm on Saturdays. These times technically make sense to some people, however, when you schedule ops at the exact same times and days every week, you guarantee that some members will not be able to particpate ever. If these times were more diverse, it is likely people may be upset at not being able to participate in every clan op, but I believe the compromise then is that at least every elite premium subscriber can participate at least at some point.
My personal issue (some issues I share with most clan mates, as our clan is small and includes a group of 10-15 of us that know each other in real life): I work mon-fri from 9-5. This guarantees I will never play a clan op on Friday start times. Nearly all my other clan mates work or go to school at this time as well. On Sunday's, I play in a men's baseball league that guarantees I play every Sunday at 2pm. I can never play Sunday ops. Another clan mate is also in this same league as me and others always have plans on Sunday afternoons! You see, we're also a social and physically active group. On a beautiful sunny day, I guarantee none of us are inside playing CoD. And while I can technically be made available on Saturdays, I have a wife and infant son... so for me, weekends are largely family time and I can't justify locking myself in my man cave for 3 hours on a Saturday until much later in the evening. 6pm is far too early to break off from the family (which should always come first!). Currently, if you look at our clan's page, we have almost entirely bronze medals with only 1 member playing for 10 minutes for 20 or so kills by themselves just to ensure some clan exp. And the silvers we have are won by only 3 people being able to participate. Our only gold didn't even have a full 6 available!
Obviously, as a working man with a family and home to take care of, I absolutely expect to not be able to make every clan op. However, without the diversity of different times, I currently can guarantee I will -NEVER- be able to make them. I'm not big on DLC, as is proven by the fact I did not invest in Black Ops maps, so for me, clan ops, lone wolf ops, and clan challenges (challenges which Elite seems to desperately be hoping we forgot about, by the way) were the reasons I invested in Elite. So if I can't participate, I obviously won't renew my subscription. (And indeed, at this point, I have the auto-renewal disabled as does my entire clan save 2 people).
Since Network Accessibility appears to be the future of gaming, I believe improved accessibility to -ALL- subscribers is necessary. Afterall, any other video game subscription service guarantees you can log on at any time and participate in full and complete access when it is most convenient for the gamer. (Exceptions to scheduled maintenance, of course)
My suggested solutions: (Please provide input, community and BeachHead, I would really appreciate some insight, or at the very least, an idea if BH and Activision would consider more possibilities for improved accessibility)
1) Create more diversity in clan op start times. I would love to see weekday evenings up from time to time, late night weekends (even a midnight start time would be feasable!!), and just a general mix that would accommodate everyone. Even if 70% of the ops are as you currently have them as I'm sure BH stats show that's when the most activity can be found, having 30% of your ops at unique or late times on weekdays and weekends would help. But in short, just more diverse times and options would be very much appreciated.
2) In Elite 2.0, for example with the release of Black Ops 2, if BH could incorporate an option in Elite for clan leaders to select a sort of "start now" button for each op. I'll explain an idea:
Lets say you have a Sticky Fingers op scheduled for May 30. Clan leaders have the full 24 hour window of that date to click their "start now" button. Then, anything within the 3 hour time line that follows would count towards their titles. Some of the potential issues you would already face can be solved already just because of the set up! For example, people can only belong to ONE clan, so it's not hard to follow them around. Also, results are already delayed by a few days so your staff can verify the results, so there's no issue in tracking, anyways. If clans progress is already tracked, it wouldn't take very complicated source code to have the servers indicate the point at which each clan starts. You would generate more traffic to your site as people who participate early would return to check on their rankings as the day goes on, and people planning on playing later on would check regularly to see what scores they need to beat. It would be more competitive -AND- more accessible. Think of the extra discussion and competitiveness that could result from entire days of watching and tracking!
ANYTHING along those lines would be a -HUGE- improvement to service, in my opinion. As long as I have some sort of guarantee that I can actually participate for once, I would -gladly- continue to invest in the service. As it stands now, come december, I'll no longer be a subscriber. Lone Wolf ops begin shortly after I get home from work on weekdays, and the first thing I do when I get home is have supper with the family then spend time with them. I'm definitely not going to come through the door, quickly say hi, kiss the wife on the cheek, then run to the man cave for 3 hours... But that's a different issue. Clan Ops are my priority right now, as the social aspect of keeping up with my friends is ultimately the real priority here.
Once again, BH, thanks for your continued hard work on improving Elite. And to the CoD community, I would really appreciate constructive feedback or additional ideas.