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The CDL Mid-Season Break Is Pointless

The CDL Mid-Season Break Is Pointless
Images via Sledgehammer Games | Call of Duty League

Written by 

Jonno Nicholson

Posted 

27th Apr 2022 20:08

The 2022 Call of Duty League (CDL) has reached the halfway point. Following the shock victory scored by the Los Angeles Guerrillas at Major 2, a four-week period of downtime is allowing franchises to make roster changes in addition to an expansion of the map pool. On one hand, the break is great for player wellbeing but on the other, the league has lost all of its momentum from the Guerrillas managing to win an event with a substitute on its roster.

While the CDL is filling the downtime with unique events such as a Warzone tournament involving all 12 franchises and the Pro-Am Classic where the top four Challengers teams battle it out against the CDL, the lack of competitive action is causing concern within the community. Without the lengthy mid-season break, interest in the CDL would continue to snowball, but the theoretical snowball has smashed into pieces as attention begins to switch towards the launch of Modern Warfare 2.

Considering a full CDL season lasts between six and seven months, a month-long break combined with a mixed back of mid-season events is far from ideal especially with two more Major tournaments and the season-ending championship to squeeze in a small four-month window. It’s clear the current format needs an overhaul.

Why Is A Break Needed?

A lengthy break might not be preferable from the perspective of the fans but for players and staff, a period of downtime is hugely important for their wellbeing. With hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, the pressure to perform at the highest level on a regular basis is immense. Having a chance to unwind and reset before another period of high-stakes competition is something that needs to be considered, but with a rework of the format, plenty of downtime can be achieved without a huge hole splitting both halves of the season.

In addition, the break has enabled players to expand the competitive Vanguard map pool which is lacking in the number of battlefields that are deemed viable for competitive play. Berlin becomes the latest addition to the Control mode, injecting some much-needed variety into the game.

With two Majors and Champs to fit in before the end of September at the latest, the break is a positive for those competing and working behind the scenes, but for fans it feels like all momentum earned from the Minnesota Major has disappeared.

 

Is Four Weeks Too Long?

A four-week stretch without any kind of CDL action is immensely boring for fans. A month of no matches when interest in Vanguard is already diminishing isn’t ideal for the esport, and it’s problematic for the rest of the Call of Duty scene which is already turning its attention towards the imminent reveal of Modern Warfare 2.

As with most things involving competitive Call of Duty, striking a balance is a key ingredient to achieving success. Perhaps the CDL should take a leaf out of Formula One’s book and take a couple of weeks off before the start of the next Major cycle. Having smaller and more frequent breaks after each week of qualification matches would allow plenty of downtime in addition to the action taking place without such a lengthy break in the middle of the season where the stakes begin to increase.

A Momentum Killer

As mentioned above, the timing of the mid-season break couldn’t have been worse. The LA Guerrillas shocked the CDL by running the gauntlet of the Elimination Bracket to win the second Major of the season with a substitute on its starting line-up and rather than the action resuming a couple of weeks later, the community and any kind of interest was halted in its tracks.

Compared to other seasons of CDL competition, it’s fair to say viewing figures aren’t where many expect them to be after two full seasons. The obvious factor is the somewhat chaotic state of Vanguard making it difficult to watch, but a large amount of downtime also plays a part in seeing the interest fall away.

Potential Format Changes

The format in Call of Duty esports often changes with every season and there are a number of modifications to the current format that can prevent prolonged downtime from taking the sting out of any interest in the CDL and its tournaments. The seasons start far too late, often at times of the year when interest in the latest release is already slowing down.

Rather than the mid-season stoppage, use the F1-esque bi-weekly breaks and begin the season in December. This will allow the competitive scene to cash in on the white-hot interest that engulfs Call of Duty fans when a new title is launched, and it opens the door for potential expansion in addition to maintaining regular breaks to avoid any kind of burnout.

Instead of four Major tournaments rounded off by Champs, why not five Majors prior to the season-ending spectacle? Fans get more chances to attend events and see their favourite players on the main stage, and it prolongs the season rather than it coming to an end in August where interest in the entire franchise is at its lowest.

If the season ends in October, interest doesn’t die off completely and there’s still enough time for a lengthy break before the new title launches.

 

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