Call of Duty: Modern Warfare brought fans a plethora of changes this year. The biggest change though has to be the complete restructure of the Call of Duty League (CDL). This massive change has not been the smoothest one. Professional players, the community, and even some team owners are voicing their opinions in hopes of making the structure better, and it seems they have been heard.
After much criticism, the CDL has decided to return to a format that resembles the one the Call of Duty community has grown to love over the years, but it comes at an understandable cost. Before this change, there were going to be CDL matches just about every weekend from the end of January to July, but this will be changed due to tournament organizers feeling extremely overwhelmed with the new “tournament”-style weekends and their frequency. There hasn’t been a new schedule released as of yet, but due to the season starting in three weeks, I imagine it won’t be too much longer before we have set dates.
The old and the new
Before Modern Warfare, the Call of Duty World League was made up of Pro League qualifiers, invitational events, and amateur events. These events throughout the year led up to the Call of Duty World Championship, which was a vastly larger event than all the rest and often regarded as the most important. This format is the way competitive Call of Duty had always worked, with a few exceptions in Black Ops 4.
Then comes Modern Warfare, and along with it the new Call of Duty League or CDL. The CDL is a franchised system where teams have home cities much like traditional sports or the Overwatch League do. These teams will all host a series of home games and travel to away games to compete throughout the year, with a few open events sprinkled in there. This is an exciting change for a number of reasons, but it is also one that changed the soul of Call of Duty esports.
The biggest criticism surrounding the CDL had been the ticket prices of events versus how much content would be available. Tickets to the home games started around the $150 mark, which is significantly more than the tournaments last year with way less content. Before the CDL, tournament weekends were jam-packed with matches that promised a victor at the end, but the CDL format doesn’t present the same promise nor a reasonable number of matches. Thus, the change Infinity Ward is making with the CDL is a smart one.