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Call of Duty Esports

Value of pro player input in Call of Duty WWII

Scrolling through Twitter this morning, I saw a Tweet by Patrick “ACHES” Price stating that he had been working on the upcoming CoD title with Sledgehammer. He went on to hype his followers up by saying he was extremely excited about the future because of it.

Whilst reading through the replies I noticed two people arguing about how Call of Duty is changing. Changing in its efforts to become a top esport and how the developers are forgetting about the more casual fan base by only inviting competitors to test the new game out. This got me thinking about how esports players helping to develop the game not only helps competitive but also the casual fan base. So here I am writing an article about it.

Why esports players and not casual players?

This argument is mostly redundant since the recent E3 gave many casual CoD fans the chance to test the game out and give feedback. Although many of the attendees might have been YouTubers or celebrities and their feedback is useful, they don’t play the game at the level of esports pros or invest the same amount of time into it.

Esports players are more qualified to give their input on the game than the more casual player. Aches, for example, has been competing in Call of Duty since Modern Warfare and probably played long before that. To reach the highest level someone has to dedicate all of their spare time into playing the game. For most professional gamers I would assume that to be anywhere between eight to twelve hours a day.

ACHES is one of the most successful Call of Duty professionals of all time. [Source: MLG]
In my opinion, someone who spends that much time playing Call of Duty probably knows more about the game than any other player or even developer. Why shouldn’t they have the chance to voice their opinions and concerns? Sadly, the more casual player would most likely disagree, but let me explain.

They only use one gun though?

I have seen players use the argument that professional players only use a minute amount of the arsenal available. However, this is another misconception from the casual community on the competitive scene. On the game’s release, competitive players spend hours upon hours grinding the game in an attempt to figure out the best weapons and attachments. It’s only in recent years that we’ve been restricted to few weapons because they are simply a cut above the rest of the options.

For example, back in Call of Duty Ghosts the main assault rifle was the Remington R5. It was almost pin point accurate with a moderate rate of fire and strong time to kill. For those that can remember, if you ever tried to use one of the other options, such as the SC-2010, against a competent player you would lose almost every time. While the SC-2010 was more accurate and had a faster fire rate it’s time to kill was much longer and therefore was never used in professional play.

Infinite Warfare’s NV4 [Source: thejackalgaming.com]
In Infinite Warfare, we are lucky that we have two competitive assault rifles in the NV4 and the KBAR. They are both used in competitive play because the latter allows for more mid-range gun fights with its higher fire rate, meaning it can be used in and around the hardpoints. Furthermore, the NV4 holds its own place even though it has a slightly lower time to kill it is more accurate, meaning it can easily be utilized to lock down favorable spawns. Although, the submachine gun category is not so lucky with just the ERAD being a viable option.

In public matches, the players who want the best kill death ratio or a nuke will also use the best guns. I’m sure any casual player has been repeatedly killed by the KBAR while trying to use the Karma submachine gun. This is where pro players come into the equation – they also want more variation just for a different reason.

By having these players test the weaponry before the game is even out, we are more likely to end up with a balanced choice on release. Players like Aches will be able to tell when a gun is too overpowered in comparison to another and will be able to suggest realistic changes to balance the weapon.

Having balanced weapons leads to a more competitive game as it means players are on a more even battleground and can use what they feel comfortable with to win, whether that be in multiplayer or competitive.

Competitive doesn’t mean esports

This leads onto another point in that competitive and esports are also two separate things that players confuse. I’m sure one idea pro players are pushing is the addition of a rewarding ranked playlist. We haven’t had a competitive playlist that felt both fun and rewarding to play since Black Ops 2 and is something I think has been sorely missed.

The old League Play system provided some of the most fun I’ve had with Call of Duty and it was with a bunch of friends who didn’t care about MLG or Gamebattles because at the heart of any player is the will to win because winning is fun. Whether that be in Team Deathmatch or on the main stage at the World Championship. Quite an extreme example, but you get the point.

Climbing League Play’s various ranks made Black Ops 2 a hit. [Source: callofduty.com]
Ranked play is somewhere in the middle where you can head into a game easily but know that everyone is playing to win. The professional players can help develop the mode since it leans towards their area of expertise and can input various ideas of their own and ones they have seen from other esports and suggest what would work best in Call of Duty.

These are just some of my thoughts on the situation you can add to the discussion by letting me know some of your own points.


You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles. You can find me on Twitter at @JackWrightIGL. Feature images courtesy of activision.com and MLG.

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