To the disappointment of many Call of Duty esports fans, this year’s iteration of the Call of Duty Championship, renamed to the Call of Duty World League Championship, may feature pool play leading into a single elimination bracket, according to a league administrator. The proposed tournament format was first shared by active Reddit user and Call of Duty World League (CWL) administrator /u/cwl-rob at the conclusion of the Stage 2 playoffs.
Game publisher, Activision, increased their involvement in the esport this year with the CWL but has been involved in Call of Duty esports since the first Call of Duty XP in 2011, which carried over to the Call of Duty Championship in subsequent years. The format changed very slightly between years but generally remained the same: 32 teams competed in a double elimination bracket. Starting in 2013, pool play was implemented that then led into a double elimination bracket, giving every team attending an ample number of matches to play. This format makes for long tournaments, requiring four or more simultaneous streams to catch as much action as possible for fans watching at home. Some may see this as a downside, but as history shows, it also allows for great comeback stories.
This year, many tournaments have had single elimination brackets. It actually began with the first tournament of the year, the Totino’s Invitational, where eight teams competed at MLG Arena a week after Black Ops 3 came out. Then, the first large open tournament, UMG South Carolina, had a single elimination Champion Tournament bracket that saw several top teams eliminated after only playing one or two matches. The Stage 1 and 2 CWL playoffs both had single elimination brackets as well. On the other hand, MLG has remained traditional with their pool-play-to-double-elimination tournament format, something players and fans who have relied on MLG for so many years respect. The news that the Call of Duty World League Championship will be single elimination has put a damper on things.
In reaction to the news, players and fans have spoken up. Multiple discussions have started on Reddit and OpTic Gaming jumped into the mix with a single tweet reading “#DoubleElimination”, prompting many fans to follow suit.
Though the #DoubleElimination crowd appears to be in the majority, cwl-rob says otherwise: “When we spoke to all the pros this weekend about pool play to single elimination, they were fine with it.”
This comment and others like it have been attacked with downvotes. Between a strictly single elimination tournament and a double elimination tournament, adding pool play to a single elimination bracket does seem like a fair compromise, but it still strays away from a format that Call of Duty esports has been successful with for years. Due to the poor reaction from the community, CWL admins may be reevaluating their decisions.
“There are a few things in flux as we are listening to the feedback provided here and scoping out a few different options. Once things are fully confirmed, we will provide clarity on the format. Give us some time to make sure that any change in the format works with the broadcast schedule and all the other plans that may be affected,” cwl-rob said in his most recent comment.
There are pros to both tournament formats.
Single Elimination Pros:
- Easier to follow for viewers, especially new fans
- All matches can be streamed
- More time efficient
Double Elimination Pros:
- Provides more action for viewers
- Teams get a second chance (OpTic Gaming, for example, are famous for having a bad first day)
It’s easy to see why CWL admins would want to simplify the tournament format, but it still doesn’t seem necessary. It has worked in past years, why would it not be the same this year? Luckily, there is still time to make a final decision on the matter.
What do you think about the proposed tournament format for the Call of Duty World League Championship? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @GAMURScom.