One Month Away – eSports Recap

We take an in-depth look at the eSports reveal for Call of Duty®: Black Ops III since we are one month away from the release of the next installment in the Call of Duty franchise.

Thirty-one days. Just one single month away from the day that Call of Duty fans have been anxiously waiting for; the release of Call of Duty®: Black Ops III on Nov. 6, 2015.

While most casual fans of Call of Duty will be excited for a new game to play, the eSports-side of Call of Duty is even more eager about the release of Black Ops III.

It’s no secret that most of the competitive Call of Duty community was disappointed with Call of Duty®: Advanced Warfare. This, combined with the past success of Treyarch’s last game, Call of Duty®: Black Ops II, has everyone rife with anticipation for Black Ops III.

Back on Aug. 5, Treyarch developers hosted an eSports reveal at gamescom 2015 in Cologne, Germany and most of the community tuned in to see what the future of competitive Call of Duty will look like.

Over the next few weeks following the eSports reveal for Black Ops III, all of us here at @eSportsNation wrote daily articles discussing a multitude of different topics about the Black Ops III beta and general expectations for the next installment in the Call of Duty franchise.

To begin the eSports reveal, David Vonderhaar, the studio design director for Treyarch, introduced a lot of the new features implemented in Black Ops III. Vonderhaar reintroduced the new momentum based movement system and specialist system, while also introducing “Arena” as the ranked playlist that will be replacing League Play from Black Ops II.

Vonderhaar then went into detail about the new Bans and Protect system. Similar to other major eSports, the Bans and Protect system will be a way for each player in the match to vote on either banning or protecting certain guns, equipment, perks or other in-game items prior to the start of each map.

After the votes for the Bans and Protect system are completed, players will then go to the Specialist Draft, where each player gets to pick their specialist ability one-by-one, with only one player on each team being allowed to use one particular specialist ability.

During the eSports reveal, it definitely seemed like this Bans and Protect system will be a good addition to competitive Call of Duty. For example, if you know that an opposing player is really good with a particular gun, your team can vote to ban it right away. On the other hand, if you know that one of your own players is very good with that same particular gun, then you can vote to protect that gun and prevent the other team from banning it. This will definitely bring a new strategic element to the pre-game of matches that has not yet existed in Call of Duty.

Another new addition to Call of Duty that has been previously integrated into other major eSports is a live event viewer built directly into the game. This will allow fans to be able to watch all of the major LAN events for Black Ops III right in the actual game.

In terms of the actual gameplay from the eSports reveal, fans were treated to a quick three map series of thrilling Call of Duty action. Eight of the best players from around the world got to showcase competitive gameplay in Black Ops III for the first time. We got to see Team TeePee and Team Kivi go head to head in a best-of-three series on the following maps.

  • Hardpoint on Combine: Team TeePee won 250-116
  • Search and Destroy on Hunted: Team Kivi won 4-2
  • Uplink on Evac: Team Kivi won 9-2

Fans were able to see three competitively-viable maps in three great competitive game modes. However, with the release of every new Call of Duty game, the aspect of the game that fans are most concerned about at first is the new guns. In Black Ops III, it seems that there are a multitude of weapons, both assault rifles and submachine guns, that will be suitable for competitive gameplay.

For competitive assault rifles in Black Ops III, the M8A1 from Black Ops II is returning to Black Ops III as the M8A7. This burst fire rifle will definitely be utilized by AR players, especially if the anchor role makes a return in Hardpoint. The Man-O-War seems like it will also be a reliable assault rifle in this game, and it might be the strongest and best overall fully automatic AR in the game.

In terms of competitive submachine guns in Black Ops III, the Razorback appeared to be a very dominant SMG in the beta. While this gun is most likely going to be patched prior to the release of Black Ops III, it was a dominant SMG in the beta that almost felt like it had the range of an assault rifle. The Kuda is another great SMG that gives players a more traditional MP5 feel as a reliable close-range weapon.

While the sniping in Black Ops III was somewhat questionable in the beta, the potential is still there. Some players complained about the sniping but not every sniper was unlocked right away in the beta, so we’ll just have to wait and see if sniping will be viable in competitive Call of Duty once again.

Aside from sniping, the only other major complaint was the strength of concussion grenades in Black Ops III. Many players were arguing that concussions might be overpowered at this point in the beta stage, but this issue could be easily fixed.

Nevertheless, the hype surrounding this game is astonishing. Treyarch brought Call of Duty to its peak from a competitive standpoint in Black Ops II, so most fans and players have very high expectations for Black Ops III. After a disappointing year with Advanced Warfare, many people are looking at Black Ops III to be the game that helps Call of Duty get back to where it was as an eSport three years ago.

The tools and essentials are definitely there for this to be a great game. All of these new features, along with a more traditional Call of Duty feel and gameplay, will combine to make Black Ops III the next best Call of Duty eSport.

Again, just 31 more days. It might seem like the longest month of your life, but this game will undoubtedly be worth the wait. As many players and fans say in the competitive Call of Duty scene, “In Von we trust.”

What are your expectations for the competitive scene in Call of Duty®: Black Ops III? Let us know by commenting below or tweeting us @eSportsNation.