The most significant change to Call of Duty esports since the introduction of the Call of Duty World League was officially announced on September 19, as the change from 4v4 to 5v5 was confirmed.
In an announcement that was expected after numerous leaks and rumors, the change was a decision taken by Activision, Treyarch and the CWL.
It is hoped that it will improve the interest in Call of Duty esports for casual players, by lessening the difference between the casual and competitive experience, which will now both be 5v5 by default.
Nonetheless, it is a controversial decision, and one that a number of professional players have been vocally against in the lead up to the announcement.
Two-time world champion Patrick “ACHES” Price led the calls for 4v4 to remain, posting for consecutive days demanding that the CWL retain the team sizes that had been in place since the inception of CoD esports.
But, with traditional public matches in Black Ops 4 also switching to 5v5, this was the perfect opportunity for the competitive community to make the compromise in an attempt to appeal more to the casual community.
David Vonderhaar went into more details of the decision making process for the change to 5v5, explaining it was planned from early on in the development of the game.
He reiterated their ambition to make the casual and competitive experience more similar, as having the two communities separated is not what anyone wants.
The first competitive event of the season, CWL Vegas on December 7-9, will be the first time fans will get to see 5v5 play out in a tournament setting.
But with Black Ops 4 releasing on October 12 – a month earlier than typical CoD releases – there is more time for the community to adjust, and for competitive rosters to form, before the first event.