Ok let me start by saying I have been a fan of the Call of Duty franchise since the beginning but lately I have been wanting something different, something fresh.  Like many other professional people who game I want to see something with unparalleled realism.  So I am really looking forward to Battlefield 3 this fall.  I even preordered BF3 along another game months ago.  I have played so much Call of Duty over the last couple years that I am literally sick of it.  I decided I was not going to preorder MW3 and I was not sure if I was even going to purchase the game at all.  So when Cortez and I decided to attend the Call of Duty XP 2011 convention in Los Angeles this past weekend I was not sure what to expect.  I figured if nothing else I could hang out with Cortez who has been a good friend since High School and the trip would not be a total loss.

The first thing I noticed when we arrived at the convention was the long line to get inside, but once the doors opened the line moved fast and before I knew it we were at the main hanger entrance.  Once inside we wandered around the event before the opening presentation and were actually kicked out of a portion of the event.  Well Cortez has never been the kind of guy to take no for an answer so we doubled back into the restricted area and bumped into Robert Bowling, who is one of the founding fathers of the Call of Duty franchise.  We got a picture with him and I remember thinking this might not be a wasted weekend after all.

Fast forward through the opening ceremony (which was bad ass) and I found myself standing in line for the “Modern Warfare 3 Gauntet”  I noticed the guys behind me were dressed in full camo uniforms.  I asked them where they were from and they told me Aspen Colorado.  What a coincidence, I am from Grand Junction Colorado.  I asked them if they are in the military and they told me “No, we play airsoft.”  Oh great a couple of “wanna be warriors.”  Well the MW3 Gauntlet is a four person event and I was alone in line so when it was my turn I was paired with the two weekend warriors and another guy who was unlucky enough to be by himself.  I jumped into the seat and went to work trying to put together a winning setup in the MW3 create a class.  I had about 30 seconds before the match started so I put on a silenced SCAR with a machine pistol as a backup.  Not really sure what perks I had on and there wasn’t enough time to check as the game started.  The game type was a new variant of Team Deathmatch where you have to confirm each kill by collecting the dog tags dropped by fallen enemies.  The catch is that if you pick up the tags of a fallen teammate you can deny the enemy the kill.  We started out doing all right and I bagged a couple of early kills.  Then it went bad for my team and we never recovered.  So in less than ten minutes with the game I was walking towards the exit with my losing teammates while the winning team advanced up to the next platform.  I didn’t get to see much and I realized I realized MW3 handles and feels much more like MW2 than Black Ops.

The next  day Cortez and I decided to get in line for the MW3 Gauntlet together and give it another try.  We ended up teaming with a couple of guys from Tennessee who were standing behind us in line.  We got started and this time the game was a traditional Team Deathmatch.  In the “Create a Class” section I made a quick assault rifle class and selected the “Support” kill streak rewards.  We dropped into the game and immediately started handing the other team their asses.  The new kill streak rewards system in MW3 rewards players for doing more than just getting kills.  If you get assists or capture objectives they start to add up to your next reward.  I died just before another reward was earned and when I spawned I somehow managed to continue where I left off.  I finally earned the “Juggernaut” about half way through the game.  I threw the suit on and my weapon was replaced with a riot shield.  I charged straight across the map and watched as the other team ran for their lives.  They would turn around and open fire on me but it had little effect with that suit on.  After bashing three of them in a row with the shield they finally decided to gang up on me.  I just dug in behind the riot shield and waited while they unloaded with everything they had.  I felt some satisfaction as I tied up their entire time and watched as my teammates flanked them.  All I can say is that I was not sure if I was even going to get MW3 before XP and now I can’t wait for it to release.