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Infinity Ward Talks Call of Duty: MW3 Content Collection 1 – and Double XP

Dan Amrich's Avatar Posted by Dan Amrich on Apr 19, 2012 // Community Manager, Ubisoft

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Content Collection 1 arrives in the PlayStation Store today, and it brings with it a whole weekend of double XP. This is the biggest DLC collection in franchise history, offering four multiplayer/Survival mode maps – Piazza, Liberation, Overwatch, and Black Box – as well as two all-new Special Ops missions, Black Ice and Negotiator. That kind of content doesn’t just make itself, so I asked Mark Rubin, Executive Producer at Infinity Ward, for some insight into how the studio approaches making add-on content for MW3.

Dan Amrich: Everybody has different tastes in maps. When you put together a collection, are you trying to please different groups of fans with specific maps, or do you try to make every map have something for everyone in it?

Mark Rubin: Any map can come up at any time in any game mode, so we never want to make a map that leaves players thinking “this isn’t for me.” Even when we design a map like Liberation, which snipers enjoy with its long sight-lines, we still create areas for players who enjoy, say, close-quarter combat. The central bridge and underground bunker in Liberation are a great example of this. It’s something for everyone, but we try to really offer something of value to each subset of players.

The locales represented in Collection 1 are literally all over the map – a seaside village in Italy, a swanky neighborhood in California, and the heart of Manhattan. How do you choose where a map will be located, and does that location determine what kind of gameplay works best there?

It’s a brainstorming process. Sometimes we think about the single-player campaign and ask “What’s going on a few blocks over? What’s happening that we aren’t currently seeing?” Other times, it’s dreaming up environments that offer the most tension and danger; it’s hard to beat Overwatch for that in Collection 1 – gun battles on a skyscraper are definitely dangerous. Other times we go for locales we’ve never seen before, or something that the art team wants to try out. I’m really proud of them on this collection; it’s worth stopping and looking around a map like Piazza to appreciate just what a good job all the art teams have been doing. And every now and then, someone will go to a great vacation spot somewhere around the globe and think, “This is gorgeous – and it would be a great CTF arena!”

I know each map goes through a revision process. How long does it take to make a map, generally? And with constant iterations, how do you know when you’re done?

We start a level by prototyping the map geometry. Before we decide on a final theme or setting, it’s more important that we get the level layout locked down – it needs to flow correctly, it needs to offer a lot of interesting engagement points. And that can take several months, with playtesting and polishing. As for how to know when it’s done…it just feels right. When the team agrees, from playing it, that things feel balanced, we know it’s ready.

What makes a map fun?

Player interaction and variety. When you spawn on the map, you want to run into other people – that’s the interaction. Maps with interesting choke points and clear pathways feel very satisfying to most players, because they know they’re going to get into battles in those areas. The tight corridors of Air Force One in Black Box are a good example. Yet elsewhere in Black Box, you have completely different environments – inside fancy mansions, a few construction areas. They look and feel different from the airplane sections, and that’s where variety comes in.

Which map in Collection 1 is your favorite to play, and why?

This is like asking someone to choose between their children, and I won’t fall into that trap. I hope everybody enjoys all four of the multiplayer maps. That’s why we made them.

Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer, and Raven Software all square off in a MW3 lobby. Which studio wins?

Do you even have to ask?

Somehow I knew the answer to that last one. Content Collection 1 is available now in the PlayStation Store for $14.99, and double XP kicks in on Friday – all players, all modes. Enjoy it!

//Add Your Own

142 Comments   44 Replies

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+ poodude on April 19th, 2012 at 1:38 pm said:

I’m pretty happy with the first Content Collection. I prefer larger maps so Overwatch and Liberation were welcome additions. Hope to see more maps of varying sizes in the future, oh and at least one small map like Shipment – need something for when I play FFA :D; Dome just doesn’t cut it!

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 1:39 pm said:

    Oh, I love the smaller maps. Dome and Piazza are both faves of mine. As we’ve said a lot here today, to each their own — I am glad you like the bigger areas.


+ Taznorris on April 19th, 2012 at 1:37 pm said:

I agree with mcbuttz78, people wouldn’t get tired of Activision’s games if they didn’t keep making the same thing over and over again.” Let’s just get rid of overused franchises instead of trying to make them better.” 1 star.


+ PARTEE on April 19th, 2012 at 1:46 pm said:

Yeah, because post #66 says everything we need to know about the network performance.

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 2:18 pm said:

    I don’t have any info on that, as I am not a developer.


+ BESIDEMEYA_BONES on April 19th, 2012 at 1:25 pm said:

Mecha75, there is no Elite Playlist anymore on mine it just shows Standard, Advanced, Community and Collection 1 playlists and where do I look to make sure it says DLC Disabled? The message I get when I try the the Collection 1 Playlist is this, “DLC content is required. Required map Piazza is missing or damaged. Gain access by purchasing a subscription or map pack.” I have downloaded the Piazza over and over again and it still tells me the same thing.

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 1:38 pm said:

    Drop CS a line — @ATVIAssist on Twitter, /activisionassist on Facebook, or They are there to help you when things go crazy like this.


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 1:26 pm said:

Wow.. I feel just as ignored as PARTEE. DAN it is not apples and oranges when you are talking about release times. You could have held off on giving the XBOX content drop 1 until after the PS3 Elite members got all 4 maps and the 2 spec ops missions. That is not a technical issue between two platforms, that is a CALENDAR issue.

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 1:35 pm said:

    See above, my reply to 66.


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 1:28 pm said:

BESIDEMEYA_BONES. Wow that royally sucks for you. You now have to re-install your PS3’s OS and then all your games and any patches.


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 1:46 pm said:

I am sorry Dan, but I really don’t understand that explanation for what I am saying. I don’t mind that the XBOX PREMIUM get it before the PS3 PREMIUM. I am saying that its not really PREMIUM for us PS3 users when the XBOX NON-PREMIUM get maps before us. Pointing to the DLC deal with MS does not good because I know I got Liberation and PIAZZA before the XBOX NON-PREMIUM which tells me that the deal doesn’t truly apply here. However they got Overwatch, Black Box, Black Ice, and Negotiator before the PS3 PREMIUM users. And that just ain’t right and really shows that we have been royally shafted.

It comes down to timing, It is obvious to me that you could have held off on delivering the DLC content to the XBOX NON-PREMIUM users until after the PS3 PREMIUM users could download it. But since you did not do that, it really isn’t Premium for us PS3 users. It is Secondary. Now you still haven’t announced when you are dropping the next Content Drop for XBOX non-premium users so you can adjust this ridiculousness for that time. The question is, will you do so or continue to give us the Shaft?

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 2:17 pm said:

    I don’t agree with your outlook on this one, sorry. I think I have explained the forces at work here, but to reiterate: There is always going to be a delay between consoles, and a delay between Elite and non-Elite within each console. If you want the content as soon as it’s available on your platform, you will want to look into an Elite premium subscription. But PS3 is on its own schedule, and 360’s schedule, while parallel, doesn’t match up. It never could, due to the deal that existed before Elite did, but the timing within each parallel track should be about the same, barring unforeseen circumstances.

    I’m sorry, but you’re asking for something that does not make sense to me. PS3’s getting Elite content as it was promised — you will get it first on your console, as the FAQ states: “All Call of Duty ELITE Premium members will receive a steady stream of content released monthly for 9 months through the Content season, and they will also receive their Content before non-premium members on their console.”

    So, PS3 is PS3, and 360 is 360. Other than the established delay in release, one does not influence the other.


+ BESIDEMEYA_BONES on April 19th, 2012 at 1:49 pm said:

Ok, Thanks Mecha75, Thanks Dan Amrich, will do both, hope it works out for me cause I’m eager to play the new maps


+ Scavengre on April 19th, 2012 at 1:49 pm said:

@Mecha75 You reasoning is flawed when it comes to the release dates for the drops. Lets say that they go with your idea and dont release a Mappack to standard users until AFTER PS3 Elite members have all content from the pack. 360 Elite would get all content, then one month later PS3 Elite would get all content then LATER still 360 standard would get all content, now tack on another month wait for PS3 Standard to get all content that would then translate to a 2+ month wait for PS3 standard from the announcement of the maps. They have a contract, they are working with time frames that revolve around said contract.
Honestly why does it bother people that the 360 gets the content early? Your playing against them you get content early in regards to your console with Elite so you get the advantage over your group that way.

Did you download all pieces of Content drop 4,5,6? Theres an activation code in there that might be causing you issues. I would suggest Deleting the game data and downloading all the content again. There is no need to rebuild the database/OS. Just delete game related data and reinstall that and you should be working again unless the problem is more serious that just the game itself


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 1:51 pm said:

Dan, I don’t like Dome but I do like Piazza

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 2:19 pm said:

    We’ll call it a draw. :)


+ Scavengre on April 19th, 2012 at 1:52 pm said:

**EDIT*** Honestly why does it bother people that the 360 gets the content early? Its not like your playing against them, you get content early in regards to your console with Elite so you get the advantage over your group that way.

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 2:37 pm said:

    This is how I see it too. If I’m enjoying a meal at McDonald’s, I’m not going to let what’s going on at Burger King affect my meal.


+ Megadrixfire_24 on April 19th, 2012 at 1:55 pm said:

Please stop giving horrible not stable framerate sub hd worst graphics port from the 360.


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 1:57 pm said:

Scavengre… I am not saying the XBOX non-premium has to wait 1 month after the PS3 Premium. It can be the same day for all I care, but to get it before me is like spitting in my face after forking over the $45 bucks.


+ Sponge-worthy on April 19th, 2012 at 1:57 pm said:

Guys, timed exclusives are just an industry reality. And in this case CoD4 is an America-centric game built for an America-centric console. It is the McDonald’s of video games, and the Xbox is manning the drive-through window.


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 1:58 pm said:

sorry $50 bucks. I was thinking 3 drops at $15 a peice.


+ Alias03 on April 19th, 2012 at 2:02 pm said:

Dan I feel so bad for you man. I know your just trying to do your job and you have tons of people bash you and your company every time you post here. I just wanted to say that not everyone acts like that (I’m sure you’ve figured that out) Thanks for the information about double XP weekend and have a nice night.


+ PARTEE on April 19th, 2012 at 2:04 pm said:

@79 Yeah, but Mcdonald’s doesn’t tell you to come back in a month for your burger because you have a red car. Oh I’m sorry sir, I know you are a regular customer and spend your hard earned money here, all year, every year, but your either going to have to wait a month, or come back with a blue car.


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 2:07 pm said:

DAN, has double XP weekend started? it says so on the Elite Webpage.

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 2:19 pm said:

    I believe it kicks off tomorrow (Friday) morning.


+ DarkOne_PR on April 19th, 2012 at 2:29 pm said:

btw i will hop on the COD bandwagon on COD for vita! and pls tell activition/sony to create a peripheral that adds the 2 remaining should buttons :)


+ Scavengre on April 19th, 2012 at 2:29 pm said:

Yup Premium is what I meant. Thanks for the info


+ moho-foe on April 19th, 2012 at 2:29 pm said:

@Dan you make it sound like everything is equal. I stopped playing when I learned Xbox Blops had extra trophies/Achievements and unlockable in game avatars in the last DLC for the game… And you say nothing about the poor quality with the ports to the PS3…


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 2:32 pm said:

Thank you Dan. I can understand that and you are wrong. One console does influence the timing of the other. The XBOX gets it first and then the PS3 gets it 30 days or more later. I guess I was just completely confused when I got Liberation and Piazza before the XBOX non-premium users. But I see now that Activision has set the XBOX release dates and then went to the PS3 and added 30 days to each drop. So I will forget about XBOX like Activision forgets about PS3. I love being a second class citizen. I will not be buying Elite Premium for Black Ops 2. Activision will see a drop in resubscriptions on the PS3 side of things, that is a given.


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 2:35 pm said:

Dan, that is when I thought it kicked off. but it is right there in the Elite homepage as an Elite update. says starting NOW.


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 2:36 pm said:

Dan… see this thread.
The double XP hasn’t started but it is being advertised. I figure you have more pull with beachhead then me :P


+ C_Y_P_H_E_R on April 19th, 2012 at 2:37 pm said:

I’ll wait for Black Ops 2. Not including the zombies is BS.


+ Evolution_ten on April 19th, 2012 at 2:42 pm said:

i ask you this why Mr. Dan and don’t tell me “play what you like” BECAUSE I LOVE COD MORE THAN YOU!. Why should i continue playing MW3? its just like feels like a dejavu tell me wheres the creativity? i guess what im saying im dissapointed on how the series is going. although you probably dont care because if it sells good :) people love it right? and if you dont play what you like!!!?

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 2:45 pm said:

    If any game is causing you more grief than joy, switch games. That’s all!


+ Motherboop on April 19th, 2012 at 2:08 pm said:

Thanks Dan! Do Elite members get to keep their maps if they unsubscribe? If so, this is a good purchase for me.


+ Scavengre on April 19th, 2012 at 2:11 pm said:

Why, you still get it before PS3 standard. Like i said earlier, your not playing against 360 users so when they receive content has no impact upon you aside from ‘a sense of entitlement’. PS3 Elite members have been receiving DLC since February so in reality you did have content before 360 Standard it just wasnt all of it. Still when they get it, it doesnt affect you or your gameplay so I dont understand why you are so bothered by someone whom you will never play against playing something earlier than you.
You argument amounts to ‘They have it so I should to!’ People play games/content earlier than others all the time. Do you think that players in EU like the fact that alot of western games release at times almost a week earlier here in the states? What about Japan getting content/hardware a month or more before you. Its trivial to worry about, you get the content earlier than some and later than others.


+ moho-foe on April 19th, 2012 at 2:16 pm said:

Dear Dan why does Activison treat PS3 users like second class citizens, I heard sales are down? Maybe they should rethink treating the community poorly with crappy ports and DLC exclusivity. And when you make a game for “casuals” they are going to leave at some point wile hard core players on on BF3!

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 2:21 pm said:

    Please see my response to 60 regarding players moving on, and 66 for the emotional reaction to a business arrangement.


+ DarkOne_PR on April 19th, 2012 at 2:17 pm said:

while i dont like COD anymore since they are killing the industry… I always come here to see how dan reacts to all the hate their own customers give him… and i sit to think …. if u know u all have been getting the same games over all this years… and u go and buy the game again… WHY would u come here and hate on dan? its ur own fault u have been voting with ur wallets! its not dans fault. He is a very dedicated person on this blogs and i admire that he answer to ether good and bad comments… keep the good work dan… i just wish u worked for other company and not activition :P u should fit perfectly on naughty dog!


+ Kurizamiru on April 19th, 2012 at 2:17 pm said:

i don’t care what anybody says! COD is what started my love for FPS. i can never turn my back on it.


+ Scavengre on April 19th, 2012 at 2:20 pm said:

Ok heres a food analogy for you.
PS3 & 360 both walk into a restaurant. They both are getting the exact same thing. 360 Goes to the counter tells them their name and the clerk hands over the meal to them. PS3 goes to the counter and orders the exact same thing, but this time has to wait until its prepared. The thing is 360 called in the order ahead of time so they were able to get it quicker and be on their merry way, while PS3 needs to be patient and wait for their order to come up.

@Dan Amrich
I have multiple console systems what I would love would be able to link them all to one Elite account. Is this something that will be possible in the future?

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 2:25 pm said:

    You can link everything to one Elite ID now. I actually do this — I have both my PS3 and 360 identities linked to the same Elite account so I can pop back and forth and see my lousy KDR on both at a moment’s notice. :)

    What you may be asking is “can one premium subscription cover both platforms?” That one’s a no, as you are actually buying your subscription through either Sony or Microsoft — their stores for their consoles, so it’s a transaction through them. Since Sony delivers PS3 DLC and MS delivers Xbox DLC, they each have independent subscriptions.

    So…in terms of tracking your free Elite data, yes, you can have your PSN ID and Xbox Gamertag linked to the same login. But in terms of premium benefits, you would need two pay for two subscriptions, one for each content. (But if you do, you only need one login.) Make sense?


+ Dnikzkilawiga15 on April 19th, 2012 at 2:23 pm said:

um do you really have a contract with microsoft saying that they get all the content early and if so y. n if u dont y do u lik the 360 more just wondering becuz i think sony is a nice company n that u should join them n trust if ur doin this with microsoft just for money then sony has wayyy more just saying in a nice way please reply dan n will we see a black ops 2 at e3 2012

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 2:27 pm said:

    There really is a deal in place. I don’t know what happens in 2013, though.

    As I said up in the response to 66, this is just a business deal, and it’s not about “liking one more” or disliking one group of players. I know a lot of people take it that way but I wish they would consider the other perspectives. Every console maker is looking for reasons to encourage people to play on their machine; every game publisher is not, by contrast, looking for ways to discourage people from playing their games. :)


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 2:47 pm said:

When I log into Elite, it shows a big banner that says “Double XP Weekend Begins NOW!” with a giant 2X in it.

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 2:52 pm said:

    Then that is a mistake, because I showed you the source, and I’m playing the game right now, and I am not getting double XP.

    If in doubt…log in. :)


+ cheetosricos on April 19th, 2012 at 2:52 pm said:

AT 99@ i support evo 10
lol switch games you just threw your 60$ to the trash is that what your saying to evo ?he shouldnt have expected new innovation? lol have you even play mw2? see all the hacking!!! LOL but who cares lol right?! hahaha we asking you the same DAn wheres the innovation and if its going to be the same on the new CoD ?!

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 3:44 pm said:

    Time will tell.


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 2:54 pm said:

Yeah I am sure it was. That is why I figured I tell you because you have more Clout with Beachhead to fix it quickly then little ole me does. Am I wrong?

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 3:46 pm said:

    I do not work at a developer. But the Intel post appeared before the Elite graphic, and I highly suspect the latter is a mistake. Someone probably pushed the button too early on that graphic.


+ Mecha75 on April 19th, 2012 at 3:02 pm said:

Dan… Thank you for taking the time for answering my questions. Even if I didn’t quite like the answers, I still respect the time you took to answer them.


+ KidCommando on April 19th, 2012 at 3:21 pm said:

I don’t play CoD but Dan sure is a great community manager.

I give this post 1 red square.

Dan, you get 5 red squares.


+ Vortuminius on April 19th, 2012 at 4:02 pm said:

Peer to Peer MP where I live makes games that use it literally unplayable. At home, I get 1 or 2 bars if I’m lucky. At college, there is so much traffic that the game likes to switch between 4 bars and 1 bar. Of course, this applies to most P2P games… including Uncharted and Resistance.

Shame too… because I wanted to give MW3 a legitimate chance, but I can’t play something that is unplayable.

(And yes, I have played it, you can check my trophies)


+ KiLLaDoNDaDDa on April 19th, 2012 at 4:07 pm said:

I have downloaded all of the collection 1 downloads over & over again & every time i go to play the colletion 1 playlist it says piazza is missing or corupted… ive almost had it with this… what is the issue with this map pack???

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    + Dan Amrich on April 19th, 2012 at 4:57 pm said:

    You should contact @ATVIAssist on Twitter, or /ActivisionAssist on Facebook, or — they are there to help with things like this.


+ red1233 on April 19th, 2012 at 4:36 pm said:

It’s okay Dan they don’t hate you they hate Activision don’t sweat it we all appreciate you replying to some of are comments and giving us your feeling and a calm nice matter you’re an awesome community manger.:D!


+ Tondog on April 19th, 2012 at 5:12 pm said:

I don’t care very much for Call of Duty and haven’t even played MW3. However, I gotta hand it to Dan for being so awesome and responding to crazy people with intelligence. It may fly over their heads, but who knows. Kudos to you sir. Keep up the good work.


+ MOMOKSA_1994 on April 19th, 2012 at 5:23 pm said:



+ MOMOKSA_1994 on April 19th, 2012 at 5:24 pm said:

add me(^__^)


+ KiLLaDoNDaDDa on April 19th, 2012 at 5:26 pm said:

thanks Dan.. ive left a post on there facebook page but havent gotten response… seeing as ive downloaded the piazza map & all the others multipule times now… is there any wy the file on the ps store is damaged.. cause thts the message i get…”piazza is missing or damaged… i know its not missing..any other help would be apreciated..


+ RydogV on April 19th, 2012 at 5:54 pm said:

I have Premium so the maps have trickled in and I played quite a bit of Piazza and Liberation. I think they’re pretty good maps and you can be successful in Liberation even if you are not a Sniper….assault class works just as well if you know how to traverse it the right way.

Overwatch kicks my @ss every time. Not sure what it is about that map but I never seem to get the upper hand. The newest one, Black Box, I havn’t played in a public match. Have not played any of the new ones as much as I wanted because I did not like having to cycle through game modes I did not want to play. Glad they have entered normal rotation and expect to get my fill over DBL XP.

Now that the 1st package is out to all I hope Activition will heed some advise and provide an accurate release schedule for the remainder of the DLC for all the different levels of player. I am over the fact that PS3 Premium Elite Players were basically deceived but I would at least like some hard dates for everyone by the time Xbox Premium players get it. I appreciate the fact that I saved a little money and got some DLC somewhat early but this whole Elite experience has left a bad taste in my mouth.

Love the game…Elite not so much for the price we paid :(


+ KiLLaDoNDaDDa on April 19th, 2012 at 6:20 pm said:

well Activision assist were of no assistance.. ive purchesed the collection 1 map pack from the ps store.. downloaded & installed 7 files.. multi. times i might add & all i get when i go to play them is ” Required map Piazza is missing or damaged, gain access by purchesing subscription or map pack”…. ive already payed for them & downloaded & installed multi times… if it wont work id like a refund to my wallet.


+ drepsx3 on April 19th, 2012 at 6:46 pm said:

Dan whats going on with the Crash Bandicoot franchise?


+ LordRazen38 on April 19th, 2012 at 6:50 pm said:

Battlefield3 is WAAAAAYYYY Better!!


+ KiLLaDoNDaDDa on April 19th, 2012 at 7:06 pm said:

OK it turns out when i purchesed the collection 1 map pack from the PS store i purchesed the one for BLUS-30887 when i needed BLUS-30838… this is very silly of me & PS store & activision.. this sort of stuff leads people to loose money.. i just clicked on the first collection 1 pack & purchesed not knowing there was more then 1… i sure hope i can some how get the one i need without paying anymore.. if i have to buy it over again i sure as hell wont be…. & wont be buying any future ps store stuff…

can these BLUS’s downloads be exchanged? or have i lost $16??????????????

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