The ruleset for competitive Call of Duty always seems to be a battle between the wants of the developers and the professional players, and Treyarch senior designer Matt Scronce has explained why the process isn’t always straightforward.
With a new title released each year, competitive Call of Duty players must adapt to a new game come every November, and after a few weeks, an initial ruleset is put in place.
The ruleset attempts to turn an otherwise casual shooter into more competitive experience, by limiting the amount of ‘cheap’, overpowered or generally less skill-based elements of the game.
In the past, this has included certain scorestreaks, perks, weapons, attachments like rapid fire or high caliber, and of course maps, with maps which are deemed less ‘competitive’ in their structure or balance, removed from the pool.
For Black Ops 4, the ruleset has been a particular point of contention, largely due to the new specialists and their abilities. Ajax for example, was a major concern, due to his Riot Shield ultimate, which has since been restricted in the competitive rules.
But often, professional players will highlight issues with the ruleset, and go as far as to ‘GA’ (gentleman’s agreement) those items, but these changes are not always reflected in the official ruleset – at least not right away.
Scronce explained in a Reddit post why they do not simply make changes immediately, as soon as pro players and the community voice a concern.
There has already been a number of updates to the initial ruleset, most of which is based on feedback from professional players and the competitive community at large.
- More: Black Ops 4: Treyarch reverse Maddox nerf following pro player feedback – February 20 patch notes
The complaint is often that it can either take too long for these changes to be put in place, or that changes are made at inconvenient times – right before a major event for example – not giving teams time to adjust.
For example, during the CoD: WWII season, pro players made a gentleman’s agreement not to use the M1 Garand, but it was some months before the weapon was finally added to the official list of restrictions.
Treyarch just released a major balancing update to Black Ops 4 on February 19, along with the Grand Heist operation, which made major adjustments to various weapons, just as Division B of the CWL Pro League begins.
Thankfully, they quickly reversed the changes to the Maddox RFB, which pro players quickly noticed had been overly-nerfed – so it’s a sign that the developers are still listening, and are becoming more responsive.