If you follow any Call of Duty professionals on social media, then chances are you know the term “Gentleman’s Agreement.” If you are unaware, in the Call of Duty esports scene, many pros take it upon themselves to not use any gun/utility that is deemed unfair. Once one of these overpowered items is found, pros make an agreement amongst themselves to not use it in any capacity. Last year in WWII, the M1 Garand was banned among pros because of its uncanny ability to kill in two shots. In Black Ops 4 however, the Gentleman’s Agreement has been taken to an extreme.
It’s no secret that every Call of Duty has overpowered weapons and utility. A game like Call of Duty needs these types of items so it doesn’t become stale over time. Even though some of us would like developers to focus more on competitive, that just won’t happen. An online multiplayer game makes its money by catering to the casual player base. The competitive side is still kept in mind, but a developer like Treyarch won’t tailor-make weaponry to appease professionals. Basically, overpowered items are put in the game to make sure the casual player stands a chance online.
So, because pros tend to use the best weapons and utility available, these overpowered items are often brought into competitive. Something like the Saug 9MM with the Stock 2 attachment is an example of this. The Saug with Stock 2 essentially makes it so Submachine Gun players can out-strafe any Assault Rifle player. This, of course, was extremely unfair to Assault Rifle players. They didn’t stand a chance in close-range encounters with an ICR or a Maddox RFB in their hands.
There are multiple instances of something like this occurring, whether it be a gun, attachment, or scorestreak. Some professionals find an aspect of the game that they believe takes away any competitiveness and call for it to be “G.A.’d.”
G.A. is the short term for Gentleman’s Agreement in the community. If you’ve ever tuned into a Pro League match or CWL event and thought, “Why aren’t they using [insert gun]?”, most likely the gun is G.A.’d from competitive use. This happens several times over the course of any Call of Duty game. An item from multiplayer is seen as overpowered and a group of representatives from each professional team gets together and G.A. it. A majority vote is usually needed for this to work. However, if one or two teams don’t agree, they are blacklisted from online scrimmages, meaning no team will play against them.
Once something is G.A.’d, it is banned from all online scrimmages and events until it is patched. In principle, this is a sound concept. Overpowered items tend to lower the skill gap needed to play professional Call of Duty. Agreeing not to use them makes it so the game is kept as competitive as can be. However, in recent years with Black Ops 4 especially, pros have gone overboard.
As of this writing, these are all of the weapons and items G.A.’d in Black Ops 4:
If that seems like a lot, it is. Some make sense, like double equipment and the Sensor Dart. Those items don’t have a place in competitive play, as they don’t require any skill. However, a majority of these items, like the most recent addition, the Rampart 17, should not be on this list.
At CWL Fort Worth this past weekend, Luminosity Gaming found a great tactic to use in their matches. This tactic was using the Rampart 17 Assault Rifle with the FMJ 1+2 attachments. Mainly used by Nick “Classic” DiCostanzo, this combination was terrific at killing enemies and shooting through walls. While the Rampart by itself packs a mean punch, the FMJ attachments are what sets it aside. It is fair to say that this tactic helped LG win the tournament.
Well, immediately after the pros returned home from Fort Worth, there was talk of a G.A. on the Rampart. It was obvious how overpowered the gun is and some felt like it was an unfair advantage. While it’s safe to say the Rampart+FMJ combo is deadly, it should not be G.A.’d.
This is a recurring issue within the Call of Duty esports community. The second a weapon or piece of utility is found overly successful, pros decide they want it banned from matches. The disdain for this strategy is voiced by fans of COD esports daily since it hinders the viewing experience. However, not only fans are making their opinions about the G.A. problem known.
Luminosity player Jonathon “John” Perez called out his fellow pro players for wanting the Rampart banned. (Warning: harsh language.)
Pros trying to GA the rampart lmao GL to everyone ppl really are mindfucked pic.twitter.com/KI1GJG17AN
— LG John (@John287) March 22, 2019
While there may be some bias here since John is on LG and helped discovered the strategy, he has a point. Pros get comfortable playing a certain way and don’t like it when they are forced to adapt to something new. The same old Maddox, ICR, and Saug meta has been in Black Ops 4 since launch. Now all of a sudden there is a powerful gun that can shoot through walls on the map. Although it may be an inconvenience to adapt, that’s what professionals are capable of doing. Instead of wanting it banned, learn how to use it or find something to counter it.
Unfortunately, It doesn’t seem like the G.A. issue will go away anytime soon. Pros are too set in their ways to suddenly diverge and head in a new direction. However, hopefully, some teams and players will begin to step away from the overall majority and use banned utility. The only reason teams go along with the Gentleman’s Agreement is because they are too afraid of being blacklisted. If a sect of the professional scene veers away from this, the problem will minimize.
What do you think about the Gentleman’s Agreement in Call of Duty? Do you think it’s good or bad for the community? Let us know in the comments below. Make sure to stay tuned to Daily Esports for all your Call of Duty content and news.
Joey Carr is a University of North Georgia Journalism graduate. He has 4+ years experience covering Esports and traditional sporting events, including Dreamhack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.