Over in the good old US of A, September's issue of Game Informer magazine has landed and brought with it a whole host of new details on a social space called Headquarters being introduced to Call of Duty: WW2. Apparently the area will let you not only fight to the death against a friend but also watch loot box openings and win prizes. Tonally dissonant, sure, but rather par for the course in a game where you regularly die to W33dKing_99.
Headquarters seems to act as a lobby that up to 48 people can spend time in between online multiplayer matches. One of the things you can do is open the aforementioned cosmetic loot boxes you'll unlock while playing, or you can watch others open theirs in the hopes of winning prizes for doing so. Activision-Blizzard, of course, knows more about loot boxes than any company in the world, and doubtless seeing your friends unlock cool cosmetic gear leads to more purchases overall.
Also featured is The Pit, an area designed for 1-on-1 Call of Duty: WW2 gunfights. Considering the usually cluttered and chaotic nature of CoD online, it'll be interesting to see how those mechanics translate into solo combat.
Headquarters also contains a shooting range for testing out and practising with new weapons, proximity based voice chat, daily and weekly quests, leaderboards, and dynamic gameplay events which will force resting players to defend the area on short notice. The example given of the last is an "aerial scramble that drives players to anti-air guns to fend off enemy aircraft from the base."
Some of this may remind players of Activision's past efforts to build a social space around Call of Duty. But where things like the COD: Elite program suffered from being outside of the game, and therefore only appealing to the truly COD-obsessed, Headquarters being at the centre of the new game's online experience represents a big step forward.
There's more detail in the full Game Informer story, but these are the basics. I for one can't wait to open loot boxes in front of jealous soldiers, while my mates kill each other in the background.