Since the early days of First Person Shooter (FPS) E-Sports, Call of Duty has been one of the leading forces of the industry. The Call of Duty scene was first made official back in 2015 with the addition of the Call of Duty World League (CWL). However, we know that many of us can trace it back further to smaller, local tournaments in Modern Warfare 1 and 2.
Recently, Activision released Black Ops 4, a game with no story mode, completely online and with the addition of a new game mode: Blackout. Now I personally have had a lot of fun playing blackout and the multiplayer modes and there is a lot of potential to have Esports flourish within these modes. The Multiplayer Mode will probably be very standard with the ‘Capture’ mission and the ‘Search and Destroy’ mission being the primary focus when it comes to professional E-Sports. What I am more interested in though, is going to be the ‘Blackout’ gamemode, the newest in a string of Battle Royale shooters.
To be honest, when I heard that Black Ops 4 was announced with a Battle Royale mode, I was very skeptical. The genre seemed to be flooded with games of the sort, and the amount of media attention that the genre was getting was a bit absurd. First was H1Z1, then PUBG, and finally the Fortnite boom that took the industry by storm. However, after playing the gamemode by myself and with others, I have to say… it’s a whole lot of fun. There are different mechanics in the game that set it decently apart from its cartoony counterpart. But that is for a different article.
So what does the future of BO4 look like? Well, I think that the most popular gamemode by far will be Blackout. There will always be a diehard community for the classic modes and matches. With Blackout being new to the COD scene, it will add a new freshness and an opportunity for people who really enjoy Battle Royales to watch COD without getting too bored.
Blackout is going to give Call of Duty more viewership for tournaments, creating a more engaging audience from outside of the standard CWL championships. Bringing in more viewers and content creators for the game means that the game can grow in size exponentially over the coming months. More viewers means more venues, which means more tickets being sold, which could lead to a larger prize pool for some of the teams. Currently there are no official CWL Tournaments planned for 2019 but that could change in the future.
Onto discussing the tournament structure, in October there was a $250,000 prize-pool tournament hosted by Doritos with some of the big names in E-Sports and streaming, including; Ninja, Shroud, and Dr.Lupo. The tournament had four teams enter into a public match and the team with the highest placement/kills were declared the winner. This could work well for side tournaments like the Dorito Bowl, which was hosted at TwitchCon. However, on a more competitive scale with franchises, professional teams and other Orgs like Soesic E-Sports, wanting to get a grab at the Prize Pool, a different approach will have to be taken.
My solution would be a 15 team competitive season with the remaining 5 teams being either buy-ins during each tournament, or you can just let player made teams/other Orgs try for their spot at the prize pool. I play and watch a lot of the League of Legends Championship Series, (LCS) and one thing that they have are splits separating the season between Spring and Summer, with Fall being the World Championships. Having different splits for blackout could be beneficial in a few ways.
One of the ways a split would be beneficial would be split-by-split relegation. Say one team on split 1 just did terribly. Bottom of the leaderboard for the series, not doing well, etc… A relegation period where other teams can play a series of games to earn their place on the 15 team professional scene. This gives other Orgs a chance to prove themselves and show the world their hard work and talent.
No matter how the CWL decides to organize Blackout into a professional environment, i’m sure that there will be many people seriously engaging and growing with the industry.
Author: Dakota “Glacial” Lee