Activision are finally trying splitting Call of Duty's many modes into separate games, for folks who are only interested in part or want a cheap way in, though they've started in a baffling way. Last night they released a standalone version of the Cod Blops 3 [official site] ranked multiplayer which costs only £11.59/14,49€/$14.99 - about a quarter of the full game's price. I'd hoped for a standalone Zombies mode, but what's odd about this release is the restrictions. For starters, Activision will only sell this version until the end of February.
First, what it is: the Call of Duty: Black Ops III - Multiplayer Starter Pack contains Cod Blops 3's ranked multiplayer mode, along with the gun-decorating Weapon Paint Shop, Gunsmith weapon customisation, the Arena ranking, the Freerun parkour time trials, the Theater replay viewer, and the Black Market with its bonus cosmetic goodies.
It doesn't include the story campaign, obviously, or Zombies mode, the Nightmares campaign, custom games, access to the upcoming mod tools or anything made in them, the ability to use the upcoming unranked server browser, or the Dead Ops Arcade II mode. Starter Pack players also can't 'Prestige' their profile or use 'Fresh Start' to reset their progress.
Starter Packers can buy DLC to play on their new maps, but they can't play the Zombies mode maps included with each DLC release unless they upgrade to the full version. The upgrade cost is the full price minus the Starter Pack's price.
Check the FAQ if you're curious to know more.
If you're interested, head on over to Steam. Activision will pull the Starter Pack from sale on February 29th. This is a short experiment, then, and... it's a funny one, isn't it?
I do like the idea of portioning modes out, but as fully-featured standalone games. Blocking things like Prestiging and the unranked server browser, and not having discounted DLCs ('cos Zombie maps), makes it feel slightly less than that. I'm sure someone could happily play the Starter Pack for yonks, but it seems Activision intend it to be the first step towards buying the full game rather than a full standalone. That's a shame. But hey, it's £11.59 for a fair chunk of game.