Following Evil Geniuses’ victory in Call of Duty Championships 2018, the off-season for the scene has been buzzing with anticipation for the upcoming Black Ops 4 year. While the World War II season has not been the most well received, the Call of Duty scene is coming off potentially one of the most competitive years yet. This time around, the off-season has been shorter than usual. Typically, Activision would release Call of Duty titles in early November. This year, however, the release date has been bumped up to early October.
Despite the earlier season start, the off-season has felt long but packed. Once the CoD Champs hype died down, the community saw the return of a notorious figure. The CODBurner would see their return to the scene and would have inside information on roster moves and industry developments. As it did back earlier in the season, this new “intel” would shake up the scene and cause speculation. Through the off-season, we also saw the return of pro-players such as ZooMaa, Scump, and Crimsix start streaming once again. This coincided with the release of the Blackout beta, Black Ops 4’s new battle royale mode.
Finally, the community got to catch a glimpse of what the upcoming season will have in store. Burning questions such pertaining to franchising and whether the matches turn into five versus five are answered at last. The highly anticipated Black Ops 4 esports reveal show was finally streamed where casters Clint “Maven” Evans and Joe “MerK” DeLuca shared details on the introductions and changes for the new season.
A lot of rumors and speculation were addressed in the Black Ops 4 reveal. Off the rip, we finally have confirmation that Call of Duty would be going to five versus five. It was also confirmed that Treyarch had a group of pros test the new format. Notable pros included Slasher, Clayster, BuZZO, and Bance. No information has been released indicating that the Call of Duty World League (CWL) would be going into franchising. It was revealed that this season’s prize pool would be a whopping six million dollars. Maven confirmed that this was done to compensate for the increase in roster sizes this year.
As well, more information about the first event was detailed. CWL Vegas, taking place from December 7 to 9 will seed eight teams based off last season’s performances. A relegation tournament will take place with the top eight teams based off of pro-points. Four teams will qualify for CWL Vegas through this. As always, four more teams will be able to make it into pool play through the open bracket. More weight has been put on this first event. Making it to the top four of CWL Vegas will immediately qualify teams for the new season of Pro League.
Major changes have been made to the LAN Pro League this season. Instead of having a two-stage schedule, the league will only be a single stage over 12 weeks. This means that there will be no relegation and teams will not have to worry about elimination. It will conclude with a playoff renamed as the CWL Finals. Like with last season, there will be a total of 16 teams in the league. As well, it will be split into two divisions with eight teams per division. Unlike last year, there will be cross-divisional play in order to properly gauge the strength of teams.
As mentioned above, the first four teams will qualify from CWL Vegas. In January, the top 32 from CWL Vegas will be invited to a LAN at the MLG Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The top 12 teams will qualify for the league, to lock in the best 16 teams in the world. The new Pro League will commence on February, broadcast from Monday to Thursday.
While the league remains fairly the same for Black Ops 4, some minor changes have been made. Other changes include additional prize money for simply winning matches. This was done to incentivize teams to always put in all their effort even if they cannot make finals. Additionally, team rosters are no longer restricted by regions. Pro League teams are also required to have a sixth member on the roster to act as a substitute. In order to allow teams more freedom, more roster movement windows will be available this season.
One of the major announcements have been an increased focus on the amateur (AM) Call of Duty scene. Throughout the years, events have always featured an open bracket, where the top four teams qualify for pool play. Unfortunately, these open bracket teams are always outclassed and do not make it far afterwards. This season, a new revamped “path to pro” is being introduced.
This year, amateurs will have their own dedicated circuit with its own prize pool. Aspiring players will be “get their own prize and trophy to play for.” This circuit will occur alongside the regular Pro League season and conclude in its own playoff finals. After CWL Vegas, the subsequent open events will have a dedicated double-elimination bracket for amateur teams. This will allow top organizations to scout the new blood talent more efficiently.
Online play will provide opportunities as well. A combination of CWL Ladders, weekly tournaments, and Pro Points will allow amateurs a platform to hone their skills. Pro Points will continue to be based around three regions: North America (NA), Europe (EU), and Asia-Pacific (APAC). It has been confirmed that weekly ladders will be available and live during game release.
Last year’s CWL National Circuit has been revamped into the CWL National Qualifiers. 16 teams can play in each regional qualifier for the chance to win travel and accommodation to one of the CWL open events. The regions are as follows: United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal, Germany and Netherlands, France and Belgium, Australia and New Zealand. However, rosters are region locked and players hailing from their respective regions are required.
While a lot of questions have been answered, few still remain. What is the ruleset for this year? What are the specific details for the other open events? It appears that Treyarch and CWL are going to release that information at a later date. For now, players get your teams and fans mark your calendars because the Black Ops 4 season is coming. Get more details at the official CWL website.
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Competitive Call of Duty player and Rainbow Six Siege fanatic that sometimes writes about his opinion about video games. Based in Toronto but raised in Asia. When I’m not traveling to events, I’m probably streaming, editing, or doing too much at once.