With the Chicago Huntsmen Home Series having taken place two weekends ago (check the full event recap here), competitive CoD is on hold until this Friday, when the next event (Florida Mutineers Home Series) will start, and it seems like the best time to get started on understanding competitive Call of Duty.
This fortnightly guide will help newcomers to the scene get a better hold on how competitive CoD works, help those who have been away for some time catch up and give the veterans something to remember from the good ol’ days. Every post will cover how each game mode works and its evolution through competitive CoD history.
But first things first: what is the Call of Duty League and where did it come from?
Major League Gaming (MLG)
When the first Call of Duty game first released in 2003, the more competitive part of the fanbase grouped up to create Major League Gaming, which became the first company to shape up competitive CoD. They eventually purchased the website Gamebattles which, in turn, became the biggest competitive CoD platform where the biggest esports teams were born.
When Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came out in 2007, the upcoming pro community started to organise the first LAN tournaments which, in 2009, became the Major League Championship.
As the years went on and new titles were released, the competitive scene grew, and MLG’s tournaments held increasingly more money on the line for the winner. It was during this period that most of the better-known organisations in the game such as Team Envy, FaZe Clan or OpTic Gaming were born. Legendary dynasties, such as those of Fariko Impact and compLexity Gaming, and legendary players such as Damon “Karma” Barlow or Ian “Crimsix” Porter also arose during the first years.
But it was all set to become even bigger.
Call of Duty World League (CWL)
Activision purchased MLG in 2016 and so competitive CoD took a huge leap forward. The previous LAN tournament format moved into a scheduled, professional league: the Call of Duty World League. This also allowed the separation of established pros from upcoming talents to ease the latter’s way into professional gaming.
The format remained similar, having LAN tournaments throughout the year while adding a pro LAN League to the bag, which increased the number of matches per season. This was what really propelled competitive Call of Duty forward, as it gave it a proper esport appearance with a professionally-structured league and well-known teams (even with branches in other esports). It was during the later years that the third dynasty, OpTic Gaming’s, was born.
But, again, it was all set to change.
Call of Duty League (CDL)
Competitive CoD changed format once again for the 2020 season, following the examples of the LCS or the OWL in previous years, and moved into a franchised league. This meant not only team shuffles, but also team births, as most franchise spots were purchased by companies that didn’t previously have a team in the esport. For example, former OpTic Gaming owner Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez joined NRG Esports to form the Chicago Huntsmen, to which he brought former OpTic duo T2P (Time to Pound; Seth “Scump” Abner and Matthew “FormaL” Piper). However, some teams remained the same and just renamed, such as OpTic Gaming Los Angeles (now owned by Immortals Gaming Club).
That’s it for this week: the story of the League and how it came to be. This Friday we have a meeting at what would have been the Florida Mutineers Home Series, but this guide will be back in two weeks to delve into the mechanics (and a bit of the history as well) of the first game mode of every match: Hardpoint.