Call of Duty Roster Mania Has Implications

Roster Mania sure is interesting, but I personally believe it needs to stop or at least slow down.

With the conclusion of the largest Call of Duty tournament of the year (CoD Champs), teams are changing up their rosters. We have already witnessed some of the biggest news in Call of Duty history, with Nadeshot stepping down and Karma taking his place on Optic Gaming. There have been a flurry of trades in the MLG Pro League since then, with some players being traded more than once in the matter of days. Roster Mania sure is interesting, but I personally believe it needs to stop or at least slow down.

Besides a few of the top teams, entire rosters change after events. After one single event! Do you realize how many events there are per year? We experienced Roster Mania when the 2015 Call of Duty Championship was announced and when it ended. We will experience it when Season 2 of the Pro League ends after the playoff at the XGames, and we will experience it at the conclusion of Season 3, before the launch of the next Call of Duty title. In the meantime, I am 100% certain that some teams will make trades.

Some of you are probably thinking, “So what? Professional sports teams make trades too.” Yes, that’s true. Professional sports teams also sign players to a contract for a year or more. The turnover ratio from season to season (where one season occurs per year), is much smaller than in eSports. By turnover ratio, I mean the number of players that have changed on a team from one season to the next.

Denial after winning the 2015 Call of Duty Championship. The team remains intact.
Denial after winning the 2015 Call of Duty Championship. The team remains intact.

Player Contracts

It is not always the players decision to change teams. It used to be that way, before organizations and owners had more control. Now, owners can make trades, which we have witnessed a lot of. It also seems that players can just up and leave their team and become free agents, and there is really nothing stopping them from doing that.

I’ve heard the rumor of player contracts with organizations, but have no evidence to prove it. Unlike professional sports, where such information is often disclosed, it is not easy to tell when a player is being paid by his organization. Do they usually have a contract? The only obvious contract a player has is with MLG for the Pro League, where participating players are compensated for their time playing.

Player Obligations

There are certainly expectations an organization has of its players. They must play in online tournaments, they must be active on Twitter or YouTube, they must travel to events. Usually, organizations have some sort of sponsorship and players are expected to rep the gear they are given (for free) by the organization. Unfortunately, it often seems that players are not grateful for the opportunities that they are given. They sometimes fail to follow through with their obligations and leave the organization as soon as an event is over. Clearly, some players just enjoy the free things they are given. Now, I know this is not true for all and of course they like free things. Who doesn’t? However, I often find that players are more interested in branding themselves than helping the organization that is clearly going all out for them.

These sentiments were recently shared by @Orbit_Boss

The TwitLonger reads:

” I’ve been in the eSports scene for over 2 years & 3 different games (not as long as most) when i first came into it i had no clue how things worked or how to handle every situation on twitter or with young competitive players.But one thing i did see was young players who had respect for organizations & managers and just wanted a chance to play for an organization that would simply fully fund them.Now days player’s aren’t as loyal to the orgs and org’s to player’s that give them so much & will simply settle with a org/player’s just so they can go compete only to come back from an event and start over rebuild aka sketch.I get it.I understand MLG has made it a “League oriented community” and if you are a player or a organization that aren’t in “the League” then why do we even try? Right? What’s in it for the one’s outside of the league? How about hard work & being able to be apart of something building something from scratch when nobody wanted you for starters.How about staying somewhere the owner/s manager’s treat you like you are valuable regardless of past accomplishments or failures.I sit back and look at the most successful organizations & see 1 thing they all have in common.They have that 1 player or that true duo that has stuck with them through it all.Winning/losing ALL OF IT.You know who i am talking about!!The guys who could care less about a roster change unless it was bringing someone to the org that was good to them.Not leaving them.And this also goes out to the orgs who drop those loyal type of players or sell league spots out from under kids who bust their ass to qualify & bring talent to you only to be traded or sold out.Quit being scumbags to good players who will literally do anything to help a org until they’re shit on by the org & refuse to ever give 100% or trust another one. My advice is this let’s all try not only being better gamer’s/manager’s/owner’s but better friends and people.Try keeping your word …try not tweeting /saying the N bomb every other tweet or time you are on stream especially you young white kids ..the time i’m from you would get smacked in your mouth if not worse for even thinking that word ..STOP IT Your org has sponsors ..try wearing a organizations jersey that reps their sponsors you know the one’s that paid for your shit..maybe use their controllers/headsets whatever sponsor your organization has a contract with that pays your org thousands upon thousands of dollars monthly…respect it & do your best to represent that company UNLESS you are paying for your own airfare/hotel/team passes.Then do whatever you want no one would care what you wear or do.I’m not claiming to be the most responsible or loyal person in this community by any means..but i do think it’s time we all tried to be better humans. To actually try and grow the COD community for a change and not think ME ME ME all of the time…Thanks for reading. “


After the Call of Duty Championship, the entire Orbit squad disbanded and went their own ways. Now, after meeting them personally I can confirm that they are cool guys just looking to make an impact in the community, but I do not agree with their decision. From first-hand knowledge, I can tell you that Orbit was willing to give them anything they needed. I feel that this is probably true for many professional organizations.

As Boss mentioned, the most successful organizations seem to be built around a few key players. With Optic, it’s Nadeshot (well, not anymore). With Team Kaliber, it’s Sharp. These particular organizations clearly become successful not only as a team, but as a full organization. Yes, organizations are more than just the players! They have staff! There are owners, there are designers, there are writers, player managers, and organizers. When a group of players completely leaves a team suddenly, they not only put themselves into a toss-up situation, they screw over the staff of the organization they once represented, who then have to scramble to find a new roster. I honestly don’t think the players actually consider that very often, but I would love to know their opinion on the matter (if I can get any to read this).

Boss then goes on to talk about organizations treating players wrong, which is just as bad or worse. One very obvious example is the owner of Aware selling the league spot for Season 2 to TCM Gaming, a European team who recently came over to America before Champs. The Aware players were left out to dry after expecting to make several thousand dollars a piece during the season.

The last major point he brings up is a biggie. Organizations work hard to secure sponsorship deals with companies, and those companies often supply players with free gear. This is the same as a basketball player being sponsored by Nike and being given Nike shoes, sweatbands, etc., and then the player is seen in public and during games not wearing any Nike brand, but wearing Adidas instead. Ooooh he would lose that Nike contract so fast! In eSports, this behavior hurts the organization players represent most of all, pouring all the hard work down the drain.


Now, what can be done? I think that as Call of Duty evolves as an eSport, we all need to improve our behavior and be more professional. This may be hard to ask of a community largely comprised of teenagers and young adults, but I ask that anyway. If you want to make something of it, you better be willing to try!