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Call of Duty Esports Shake Up: 5v5, CWL, Blackout and much more - Esportsranks
Call of Duty Esports Shake Up: 5v5, CWL, Blackout and much more

Call of Duty Black Ops 4 is now out and with it a renewed interest in the game. With the introduction of the Battle Royale game mode – Blackout, a retooling of the competitive mode and core gameplay changes, we thought it would be a good time to look over the sweeping changes that have been made heading into what will be the biggest Call of Duty Esports season yet.

Gameplay Changes

First, let’s have a look at the game. Call of Duty Black Ops 4 looks set to be a return to glory for the franchise. While fans of the game didn’t hate WWII, interest had been on the wane going back a few years. With many feeling that the game had lost its way around the time of 2016’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

But with Treyarch back in the driving seat and a well-received beta test fans are optimistic for this year’s instalment.

Treyarch has been hard at work implementing several features that are going to drastically increase the skill gap in the competitive game.

There is a new fog of war system that works similar to that seen in League of Legends and Dota 2. Players will now need to have clear and precise communication throughout the game to keep a track of their opponents.

Another big change for the franchise is the introduction of a predictive recoil pattern as seen in CS:GO – one of the standout features of that game. Essentially this means that gun recoil can be learned meaning the top players to master these weapons and there spray pattern moves the game away from a spray and pray to something much more skilled based.

On top of that, the game is moving away from the “Army of One” vibe. With more importance giving to specialist roles and attachments for guns meaning players can rock different playstyles which will keep things interesting in the long term.

All of these features bode well for the esport scene.

Format Changes

Call of Duty Esports

The COD season kicks off with the Las Vegas Open.

In September during a CWL live stream detailing the upcoming season, a number of changes were announced for the esport scene.

The headline news was the move from 4v4 to a 5v5 game mode. This was a long rumoured changed and organizations have begun looking for their 5th player. Luminosity was quick out the blocks, recently announcing the signing of 3 times major winner Peirce “Gunless” Hillman. 

The league itself is going through drastic changes. The prize pool has increased from $4.2 to $6 million plus the introduction of win bonuses for each match. This will give every game a competitive edge even when its a dead rubber.

The first live event will be the CWL Las Vegas Open which will take place on the 7th-9th of December. This will be a multi-stage affair. Some teams are being grandfathered in from COD: WWII, others will fight it out in Open and Pool Play brackets over the weekend in an attempt to get a place in the top 32. The top 4 will book their place automatically in the CWL Pro League. While those that finished 5th to 32nd will take to have to wait until January. When they will head to the MLG Arean in Columbus, Ohio to fight for the remaining 12 places. 

After that is settled the season will start a proper in February. Where over 12 weeks the 16 teams will battle it out for cash prizes and a chance to go to the Call of Duty World League Championship.

Something to note is that rosters will also no longer be region locked. A welcome change that puts Call of Duty in line with other top esports.

The culmination of the entire season will be the Call of Duty World League Championship. Where the 16 Pro League teams and the 16 best amateur teams will battle it out to take home the Championship.

Amateurs To Get A Shot

There are more ways than ever to get involved in competitive Call of Duty. (image: CWL)

Treyarch really wants to grow the amateur scene. With a number of avenues for amateur teams to compete this year in tournaments that run in tandem with the pro calendar.

Last year’s National Circuits has been rebranded as the CWL National Qualifiers. 16 of the top amateur teams will compete in online tournaments with the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to a CWL LAN event. CWL National Qualifiers will be held on a country by country basis with the roster being locked to that particular region.

Getting to a CWL LAN event could be a huge boon for these players. Because whenever there is a CWL Pro League LAN being held a parallel “Open” Amateur tournament will also be played. These amateur tournaments will have their own prize pool whilst also giving players the opportunity to showcase their skills in the vicinity of top orgs. And it doesn’t end there, there is a new rule in place that says Pro League teams have to roster a 6th player and they have to come from this amateur circuit.

There will also be online only tournaments where teams can earn Pro Points. This will give teams an opportunity to get their name out there and put themselves into consideration for LAN events.


While Blackout isn’t the esport mode there is certainly an appetite to see this mode played competitively. So much so that the first tournament will take place before the official season kicks off. The Doritos Bowl tournament taking place at TwitchCon on the 28th of October. A host of top pros are already confirmed including Ninja, Dr.Lupo, Shroud and Call of Duty legend Courage. Rules and format have yet to be announced but with the Fortnite Fall Skirmish Week 8 taking place in the same venue, it’s set to be a crazy weekend of competitive Battle Royale action.

So what do you think of the new season? Are you looking forward to competitive Blackout? Is 5v5 going to improve the game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.