The Call of Duty League needs to address some major problems before the 2020 postseason.
The ongoing controversy around the Call of Duty League’s online format came to a head at the most recent event. CDL London featured some great matchups but the tournament was marred by mishap after mishap. While issues surrounding the new format have been known for some time, this was the first event where all of the problems collided into one fiery social media explosion. It’s clear that the players and community want the league to make some improvements before the $4.5 million postseason begins. So, what are some improvements the CDL can make in a short amount of time?
Changes to the CDL before the postseason
With Call of Duty Championships being a month away, it’s hard to imagine any drastic alterations being made to the current format. However, this wasn’t the league’s intentions for the 2020 season. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, every esports league was thrown into a state of chaos and was forced to design a new online format. While some might think the CDL hasn’t done anything right, it could have been much worse.
Still, things have been far from perfect and there were certain things the CDL could have improved upon during the course of the season. To start, the replay system should be figured out by now and not still causing massive issues this late into the year. We’ve seen several instances of players and teams being affected by faulty Internet connections or poor communication between themselves and the league. This was bound to happen with an online league, as it’s difficult from a player’s side to understand what’s happening when they’re in the pre-game lobby. We saw an instance of a London Royal Ravens player leaving his set-up without knowing a match was about to start. This led to the Ravens playing 4v5 for a brief spell but they weren’t granted a restart even though the match was still in its early stages.
However, that pales in comparison to what happened to the Seattle Surge at CDL London. Due to an Internet outage, Josiah “Slacked” Berry disconnected from a game four Hardpoint against the Royal Ravens. Although, the match wasn’t restarted and Seattle was forced to play 4v5 for the entire game. After the series concluded, the CDL stated that the players are responsible for their own Internet connection and thus a restart wasn’t granted.
Obviously, this policy needs to change. It’s absurd to hold a player accountable for what their Internet provider does. We’ve seen too many non-restarts occur and if this policy isn’t addressed, it could spell disaster for the postseason. Say that two teams are fighting for their lives in the postseason bracket and one player disconnects from the game five Search and Destroy due to an Internet outage. According to the CDL, that match would continue on as a 4v5 and one team’s chances at advancing were cut short because of that. This policy needs a rework, which the league can take from the now-defunct Call of Duty World League.
During the Black Ops 3 season, the CWL held Pro League matches online in a format almost exactly like the one the CDL has implemented for 2020. However, the CWL took restarts much more seriously than the CDL has. If a match was still in its early stages and a player disconnected or wasn’t present at the start of the match, the referees would end the game. This is something the Call of Duty League needs to at least try during the upcoming postseason, as life-altering amounts of money are on the line.
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The start of this changing process should begin with a better line of communication between the players and the league referees. A lack of communication has resulted in more than a couple of issues in the past but is easily fixable. If a team is calling out to a referee to end the match, chances are it’s in the league’s best interest to end that match. The CDL should also release some kind of statement prior to the postseason to make the replay system's policies a little clearer. Hopefully, the CDL can look at some current aspects of the online format and make a few changes before the postseason rolls around in late August.
Images via Call of Duty League