One of the most anticipated features of Call of Duty Black Ops 2 for the eSports community was the inclusion of League Play a new ranked based system that groups and pits players against other players on the same skill level. This produces a more challenging and enjoyable online competitive multiplayer with the hopes of growing the eSports community by introducing players to the eSports community through the highest grossing game franchise in history.
The goals of League Play were high and Treyarch even consulted with Blizzard who had already built one of the most successful rank systems in modern games. Upon launch the community embraced this new feature and quickly started playing League Play in order to obtaining the rank of Master; proving to friends and foes alike that they are truly the best of the best the true Call of Duty Elite.
Soon, however, the new car feel of the game started to wear off and players became disgruntled as long time standards of competitive Call of Duty were left behind in League Play in hopes to appeal to the causal audience. We saw score streaks, equipment, launchers, and other mechanics that have been weeded out by the competitive community make an appearance in what was to be the new skill based league for competitive Call of Duty. The top members of the community, however, willingly worked with Treyarch and Activision to help bring the game closer to the public’s perspective of the game and succeeded with viewer numbers larger then ever.
In time the community in general began to embrace these new changes. However, with the announcement of the Call of Duty Championship, League Play was put back front and center as it was announced that qualifying through League Play would be one of the ways players would secure the chance to compete for their share of a cool 1 million dollar prize pool.
Since the start of the community’s League Play grind some interesting questions have started to crop up in the community. What should be a skill based system is starting to appear nothing more than a grind where some people would argue points are randomly given and the tournament qualifiers now seem to be nothing more than what team can play and win the most matches.
In League Play players play a few placement matches that put them against opponents of different skill levels in order to find out which of the six divisions a player or team should be placed in. After the team or player is placed into a division players then compete against other teams to earn ladder points based on predictions of the games you play in order to climb the division ladder board and advance to higher divisions.
While the system seems sound since the Call of Duty Championship grind began players have noticed flaws in the system. Some players are playing all qualifying matches and getting placed in different divisions, teams beating higher rank teams feel they are not getting the points earned for the match, and players have started to find many ways to cheat and manipulate the system in order to boost their way to the top of the masters division.
Take Team Icons for example, who just a few days ago beat TBA . TBA was a higher ranked team than Team Icons but after Icons defeated TBA, Team Icons received the minimum amount of ladder points allotted to winning when by the way Treyarch and Activision describe the system they should have been rewarded max points. Then there are teams that have roughly the same amount of wins as other teams on the leader boards but are thousands of points behind. Another big League Play question that the community has been asking is how exactly will the top 8 teams be selected when you have multiple Master sub divisions with their own leader boards and ranks? Will the top 8 to qualify for the Call of Duty Championship be based solely off the teams with the most wins, points, or some other way?
Over the last few weeks countless numbers of top teams and community members have reached out for details from Treyarch on the exact mechanics behind the system. However, Treyarch and their publisher Activision have not really communicated or answered any of the questions raised by the community including most of the Pro Players. One of the major factors that lead to success of a title in eSports has been great communication/interaction between the studios and players, at this point it seems that this is not a concept that Activision has truly embraced and with Mike “Hastr0” Rufail no longer consulting Activision on eSports the question is raised of who is actually in control of these efforts.
With Season 3 coming to a close and the Call of Duty Championship right around the corner hopefully the community can start getting the answers to the questions that have been raised when it comes to League Play in order to finally figure out how exactly the system works. Is there an actual method to what appears to be madness with the League Play System?
Do you think the League Play System works? Have you experienced problems with League Play? Do you think League Play is a true test of team’s skill or just another grind fest? Be sure to let us know by leaving a comment and as Always be sure to follow us on your favorite social media sites in order to stay up to date with the latest Call of Duty eSports news.