The Gentlemen’s Agreement: What is it and how can it be eradicated?

The Gentlemen’s Agreement: What is it and how can it be eradicated?

Written by 

Jonno Nicholson


28th May 2020 13:00

Throughout the history of competitive Call of Duty, the gentlemen’s agreement has seen players opting not to use certain weapons, attachments and more despite the official rules enabling them to be used for competitive play.

The hotly debated topic first surfaced during the World War 2 season, where some players bought the M1 Garand assault rifle into the competitive meta while others called it to be nerfed in order for it to become competitively viable, much to the dismay of the casual community.

After a relatively calm Black Ops 4 season, discussions surrounding the agreement have resurfaced once again, with various weapon attachments and movement mechanics called into question. In recent Call of Duty news, it appears that three new additions to the agreement have been implemented in time for the Minnesota Home Series taking place from June 5th-7th.

What is the Gentlemen’s Agreement?

Simply put, the GA is decided upon by all 12 teams in the Call of Duty League. It restricts any items that are deemed overpowered or provide players with an unfair advantage and on Modern Warfare, there are a total of three items that have currently been added to an ever-growing list – The Merc Foregrip, the use of Auto Tactical Sprint and Snaking.

There is nothing in the rules that officially restricts the use of any of the above but players have taken the rules into their own hands due to the lack of support for the competitive scene by Modern Warfare developers Infinity Ward.

Click to enlarge
The Gentleman's Agreement Bans Weapons, Perks and Movement Settings | Image via Bizjournals

Why is it in place?

The GA is in place to provide a fair and more competitive version of Modern Warfare, a game that features various exploits in order to get the upper hand over opponents. It was recently uncovered that a glitch in Domination enabled players to respawn a second faster than the five-second delay set out in the official rules.

Considering that Infinity Ward has a poor track record when it comes to providing support for competitive Call of Duty, it comes as no surprise that players have taken the rules into their own hands once again.

Although the unwritten agreement does make Modern Warfare a much more competitive game for players, it does undermine the official rules that have been created by the CDL as many of the items on the GA are not covered by the official ruleset.

The recent additions to the GA do come as a surprise considering that the season has now entered its second half. Several players have revealed that these changes could have been implemented earlier in the season but many decided against the change.

Initial thoughts on the change

The change to the metagame has been met with lots of positivity. The lack of automatic Tactical Sprint has forced players to slow down before engaging with an enemy rather than flying around a corner with increased movement speed thanks to the setting. The restriction of snaking comes as a no-brainer for the professional scene too. First seen during the Infinite Warfare season, the person standing and crouching quickly behind cover was able to gain information with the opponent having no chance to eliminate him.

With two weeks until the next Home Series event, all eyes will be firmly locked on teams and their practice as they attempt to adapt to the new metagame. If there was an ideal time to make some form of change then just after an event is the best as it enables teams to get some form of practice with the new restrictions before they battle it out in a competitive environment once again.

The lack of input from the developer and league operators does seem to be worrying, however. In an ideal world, Infinity Ward would have eliminated snaking just like it did on Infinite Warfare, nerf the effectiveness of the Merc Foregrip and tweaked auto Tactical Sprint in such a way where it didn’t offer players such an advantage. How exactly are you going to prove that a player isn’t using auto Tac Sprint? Ask for each player to take a screenshot of their settings before a game?

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Merc Foregrip has been banned through the GA | Image via Gamewith

How can it be eradicated?

The short answer is an increase in developer support. They’re the ones with the tools to balance all aspects of the game and Infinity Ward has already shown that it can do this having tuned several in-game settings for respawn game modes to make them competitively viable.

The next release in the franchise is being developed by Treyarch, synonymous for its support of the competitive scene so there is a lot of hope for plenty of co-operation between Treyarch and the players in order to create a balanced competitive title, even if that does mean creating entirely different settings from the casual game.

Rumoured to be the fifth instalment in the Black Ops sub-franchise, there is a lot of hype beginning to circulate around the next release in the Call of Duty franchise. Black Ops games have widely considered to be some of the most balanced competitive titles and in order for the gentlemen’s agreement to be completely removed, Treyarch must work with the players and the league to create a consistent and balanced game.

For more Call of Duty news, stay tuned at GGRecon

Image via Call of Duty League

Jonno Nicholson
About the author
Jonno Nicholson
Jonno is a freelance journalist at GGRecon, specialising in Call of Duty and its esports scene. His work can also be found on Esports Insider, Gfinity, Millenium, and a range of other esports publications.
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