Maybe you’re new to Call Of Duty eSports or simply want to brush up on the latest details of how the competition plays out?
As far as competitive gaming goes, FPS games tend to flitter in and out of the scene with some proving more popular than others. Call Of Duty has remained a staple for the industry for years, however, and with an expanded tournament this year it seems that’s not going anywhere.
Yet while the core concept is familiar, Call Of Duty has a few differences that make it a unique title for an eSport. As such, we’ve detailed all the things that make CoD such an important competitive game in the industry and why – and how – you should get involved.
Call Of Duty eSports Explained
Call Of Duty is the long-running franchise from Activision with many entries in the series since its first game in 2003. There’s been a game in the series released every year since then, but it wasn’t until Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007 that the series really took off and became a household name.
This was almost entirely down to the game’s multiplayer mode, which refined online gameplay with the addition of killstreaks, customisable loadouts and fast-action combat in a modern military setting.
From then on eSports has become an increasingly significant aspect of the Call Of Duty franchise, beginning particularly with the sequel – Modern Warfare 2 – that would go on to further polish and perfect the multiplayer.
Nowadays Call Of Duty has become one of the most significant eSports titles, especially in the realm of FPS. Its combination of frenetic run-and-gun gameplay and strategic map design has made for an exciting game to watch.
These days Call Of Duty has moved into a modern futuristic, and as a result has enabled a more arcadey style of combat that works as an alternate to the slower pace of the biggest FPS eSport, CS:GO.
CoD enables its players with jetpack jumps, parkour movements across walls and a variety of other feats of acrobatics – meaning its matches are much quicker and the tables can turn in a moment’s notice.
Call Of Duty World League
Each year there is a tournament called the Call Of Duty Championships – more commonly referred to as Champs – which is hosted by Activision and acts as the big event for the CoD eSport scene annually.
For 2016, however, Activision altered the tournament a little by introducing the World League, a league format competition across three different regions where the best teams compete over two series to qualify for the final tournament at CoD Champs.
The three regions competing are North America, Europe and Australia & New Zealand, while the finals is held in Los Angeles.
The recently held event CoD XP is a celebration of all this Call Of Duty, and it’s here where the Champs take place. Additionally there is an open qualifying round where teams can battle against one another for a place in the Champs and, perhaps, even manage to take on the invited pro teams.
A Typical Match Of Call Of Duty
Two teams of four face off against one another, battling over a series of different maps and modes with the victor being the team who earned the most points.
Ordinarily each player in a team will fulfil a specific role, though there is no explicit required role or meta that needs filling. Typically a team will feature two support players and two ‘slayers’, or the marksmen that are looking for kills.
Some players will equip SMGs to be quicker and more agile, others will equip assault rifles for more long-range control and the mix of killstreaks and grenades each player has changes from team to team, game to game and even map to map.
That’s because some maps in Call Of Duty can be traversed or tackled in different ways, and often good map knowledge – and strategic equipment – is important for teams to come out on top.
Often tournaments play in a best of either three or five series format, with different modes and maps being played. Some modes, such as Capture The Flag, are familiar multiplayer modes, while the likes of Uplink are a little more unique.
Capture The Flag
This mode is the same as any other mode with the same name in a multiplayer game, and features two flags and two bases to take them to. More details in the video below.
This mode is similar to the popular multiplayer mode Domination – where three different modes can be captured to score points – but the difference here is that only one area can be controlled, which disappears after its allotted amount of time whereupon another randomly appears in its place.
Think of this as basketball or football with guns. A ‘drone’, or ball, is collected on the map, passed among team-mates and then thrown or dunked in the enemy team’s goal for points. The team with the most points wins.
Search & Destroy
Here is a mode very similar to CS:GO’s standard competitive mode, whereby one team is attacking and the other defending before switching sides. The attacking team must plant a bomb, while the defending team must prevent that from happening – or by disarming an active bomb.
Pro Call Of Duty Teams
It’s impossible to discuss any eSport without giving some attention to the best teams that play them. As ever these usually fluctuate from time to time, but for the most part the key competitive CoD teams will remain the same over the years.
While OpTic is something of a eSports powerhouse, in the world of Call Of Duty it is one of the very best – if not the best – pro teams.
The winners of 2016’s CoD Champs, EnVyUs has had a long history with eSports and with Call Of Duty, having its origins in Modern Warfare 4 and having participated throughout the years and the different CoD games since.
They aren’t a team with a lot of top tier finishes in the tournaments they compete in, but the recent win at Champs should help to solidify the name as a Call Of Duty squad to watch out for.
The UK might not be a consistent region for Call Of Duty eSports, but Splyce is certainly of the squads that is worth paying attention to. In particular its efforts in the World League and during the Championship proved it was a team to watch for.
In fact it made it to the finals of 2016’s CoD Champs, and was a hot contender to take the trophy. This is a determined team, and one well worth keeping an eye on.
Though Australia and New Zealand was allotted its own region for Call Of Duty World League, it has to be said there hasn’t been much competition for Mindfreak.
This is a relatively young squad in terms of Call Of Duty pro teams, but it’s made a significant impact on the sport in the short time it’s been around.
Though the squad has shifted quite often, under the name of Rise Nation it’s managed to post some good results and over the course of 2016’s World League it was often one of the strongest competitors.
Another of Europe’s premier team’s, Millenium has been fairly inconsistent over the last year. It was still a potential underdog to take the 2016 Champs, but a recent and unexpected squad change meant they dropped out fairly early.
Expect to see the team return with renewed vigour over the following season of Call Of Duty competition, however.
Though FaZe now has a few more fingers in a few more eSports pies, it was Call Of Duty where this squad was first born. After creating a successful YouTube channel focused on Call Of Duty, it moved into eSports and has made a name for itself as one of the team’s to beat.