Black Ops Cold War leaker claims to reveal when League Play will be released

Theo Salaun
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For months now, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s fans have been wondering if, and when, League Play would finally be coming back to CoD. And, according to a reliable leaker, its return is near.

Amidst the drama surrounding skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) in Call of Duty, casual and hardcore fans alike have been desperate for any information about a dedicated competitive mode. Since Treyarch debuted League Play in 2012, Infinity Ward has never included it in their titles, so the last time CoD fans got to enjoy a ranked playlist was in 2019 with Black Ops 4.

Now, following a year of Modern Warfare, fans were disappointed to find out that the competitive mode wasn’t returning upon the November 2020 release of Treyarch and Raven Software’s Black Ops Cold War.  

Instead, sweaty and chill players have been grouped together in open lobbies that become restricted by an SBMM algorithm that the developers keep tightly under wraps. Fortunately, though, noted leaker and CoD insider, Tom Henderson (formerly known as Long Sensation) claims the ranked mode is scheduled to arrive in Q1 of 2021.

As shared in a recent YouTube video, Henderson’s sources haven’t given the insider a firm date that he is willing to share with the public, but he does have an estimate. And he explained the boundaries of that estimate during a January 3 livestream: “League Play is scheduled for this quarter, so between now and March.”

Furthermore, he put the expectations into seasonal terms by elaborating that League Play should be available in “Season 2, could be halfway through Season 2 and then, obviously if not, it will be Season 3.”

This timeline generally fits previous iterations of the franchise, as Black Ops 4’s League Play released on February 21, 2019, around four months after the game’s release on October 12, 2018. With BOCW’s November, 2020 launch, a four-month wait would mean League Play’s release sometime in March, right at the tail-end of Henderson’s estimate.

black ops 4 league play
League Play was a beloved feature in Black Ops 4.

With months of controversy surrounding Modern Warfare and then Black Ops Cold War’s SBMM dynamics, many arguments have centered on the absence of a traditional ranked mode. 

Just as in other competitive shooters, like Overwatch for example, both fans and professional players have argued that there should be a dedicated ranked mode alongside more casual playlists with looser SBMM restraints.

To the delight of fans, Henderson’s sources suggest that this solution could be coming soon. If the leak holds true, players will be able to grind the leaderboards sometime between now and March.