Updating the CWL Ruleset
First, we’ve huddled with the Call of Duty World League team as well as pro players and some members of team management to evolve the CWL ruleset. Our goal is to more closely match how the pros play, while embracing the diverse toolset of Black Ops 4 that allows for those big, exciting plays that make the game so damn fun to watch. We believe these carefully-considered updates will improve the future of competitive play for the pros on stage, and more widely, for our ranked players at home.
This updated CWL ruleset will go live in Black Ops 4 later this week, and includes the following new restrictions (with all previous restrictions listed here still in place, including the full restriction of Nomad):
- Fully restricted
- Fully restricted
- Reactor Core
- At roughly one-month intervals, League Play seasons were too long, resulting in a high volume of inactive players and “dead ladders”, watering down the feeling of competition.
- Players who missed out on significant portions of seasons felt like there was no way for them to catch up to other players in their ladders, leading many to stop playing and thus exacerbating the “dead ladder” problem.
- League Play is a lower-population playlist relative to the rest of Multiplayer, and it’s the only portion of Multiplayer that relies on skill-based matchmaking. As such, time to find matches can be lengthy with the League Play population subdivided by skill ranges.
- Ladder groupings were too large, leaving many participants feeling disconnected from most of the players they were competing with for position.
- League Play Division ranks were directly tied to each player’s skill rating under the hood, which meant that most players “settled” into a rank early on, and it was frustrating not being able to change that skill rating over time.
- Running League Play events more frequently and in shorter duration makes ladders feel like meaningful competitions with constant movement against a smaller pool of competitors.
- Events are condensed and timed to drive the highest player counts and achieve healthy matchmaking with faster time to find matches.
- Shorter-duration events more closely match how pros compete in weekend tournaments, like 2Ks. Our intent is for events in the World League Hub to feel closer to how the pros compete.
- Ladder competition will feel familiar – climb the ladder by winning ladder points, but lose ladder points and you may drop position. The goal with each League Play event is always to end as high on the ladder as possible.
- Over the course of your competitive career, you’ll advance a permanent rank that reflects your performance across all events. Performing better in events and participating more often will result in faster rank progression.
- Final placement in ladders determines how you advance your overall rank, giving ladder events a competitive tournament feel with the most credit given for reaching 1st Place and winning a League Play event.
- Place 1st in a League Play event, and your rank will be upgraded to permanently reflect your victory. Further upgrades are possible for multiple 1st Place finishes over time, and a streak indicator that is displayed when you place 1st in back-to-back events.
- Matchmaking in the World League Hub will always be prioritized by skill, so competitors will always feel competitive at their skill level.
Additionally, Zero’s Ice Pick and EMP Disruptor, and any new Specialist content that we release in the future, will remain out of competitive play by default until or unless deemed viable through the CWL organization.
With these new restrictions in place, players who choose Prophet, Firebreak, or Seraph will still be able to equip the Trophy System, Combat Axe, Frag, Molotov, or Concussion in their Equipment slot. These changes are a direct result of feedback and coordination with the competitive community, and we can’t wait to see how it all plays out in ranked play and at future CWL 2019 events.
The Evolution of League Play
Aside from the new CWL ruleset, we’re also making fundamental changes to how we’re approaching League Play and the World League Hub based on feedback from the competitive community – particularly the ranked fans at home who gave us detailed responses on what they enjoyed about previous iterations of League Play, and how Black Ops 4’s competitive offering could change for the better.
We know many of our competitive players loved League Play in Black Ops 2, and some still consider it to be the gold standard. We’re big fans, too. However, we’re also aware of the problems that were inherent in the design of our very first in-game competitive feature set that launched back in 2012:
With every new design of a system, we start by identifying the problems to solve from previous iterations, and the League Play system in Black Ops 4 has been designed to avoid these shortcomings and accomplish some new key goals:
We’re also introducing a new progressive rank system that persists across all individual League Play and other World League Hub events. Here’s how it will work:
Against this backdrop, we want our fans to know that we’ve heard them loud and clear on the desire to have ranked play available all the time, as opposed to having 3-4 day events with downtime in between. This is a good time to mention that the intervals between League Play events were designed to be filled with a different type of ranked play called World League Gauntlets, a feature which will not be ready to launch alongside the World League Hub, hence the reason for the initial announcement of a “Scrims” period of downtime during these breaks to fill the gaps.
Due to popular demand, League Play at launch will now include events that span across the full week, removing Scrims from the ranked schedule until we’re ready to go live with World League Gauntlets, which will also allow you to contribute to rank by completing a longer series of wins before striking out with three losses.
You’ll also earn Multiplayer XP and Black Market Tier progression as you play ranked matches, so there’s never a moment lost as you compete for rank. Support for Teams and Clans will also follow later in the 2019 season as feature additions to the World League Hub.
World League Hub: The Fourth Pillar
Because we’re investing the additional time and development into making Black Ops 4 competitive play as robust as possible, the World League Hub will serve as the fourth pillar of Black Ops 4’s core gameplay offerings going forward. This means you’ll see a new main menu when you boot up the game, with “World League” as its own showcased mode between Multiplayer and Blackout when it launches.
We’re also moving CWL Custom Games over from Multiplayer to the World League Hub, so that players won’t need to go into Multiplayer Custom Games and change settings to play with the new official ruleset. This means competitive games will be faster and easier to play, and it consolidates all Pro Series competitive gameplay into one location. This feature will go live alongside the launch of World League Hub.
Given these changes to the League Play structure, we’re taking a few extra weeks to implement and test the new changes, and the launch of the World League Hub and League Play is now slated for our next major game update planned for mid-February, first on PS4. Because this is a part of a larger game update with a lot of moving pieces between developer, publisher, and first-party platforms, the specific day of the release is still being finalized with all parties in the release process and will be announced as we get closer to it. League Play will be an even better experience for ranked play and pro players with the new competitive ruleset, the addition of CWL Custom Games, and ranked play progression for every day of the week.
To get everyone prepped for League Play until then, we’re planning to launch a limited-time Pro Series Moshpit public match playlist later this week, where all players use the updated competitive ruleset. Restrictions on Specialists, maps, modes, weapons, Equipment, Attachments, Perks, Scorestreaks, Wildcards, and Gear will reflect the rules governing League Play, so this is the perfect time to set up your favorite new competitive classes before our first League Play event kicks off.
Because this is a playlist for public matches and not a part of the World League Hub, it will use public matchmaking rules: it will be unranked, will not support skill-based matchmaking, and will allow players to join matches in progress.
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