Call of Duty

CDL Playoff matches apparently being played off-stream to combat booters

by Albert Petrosyan

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With player disconnects dominating the headlines at the Call of Duty League Playoffs, it appears that the CDL has decided to play matches ahead of time before showing them on their official broadcasts.

The CDL Playoffs are underway, but instead of the attention being on the intense competitive action and the $4.6 million prize pool, everyone's been talking about the sudden increase of cases where players are disconnected from matches mid-map.

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It started on day one, when OpTic Gaming LA's Kenny 'Kuavo' Williams lagged out twice during their match against LA Guerrillas, ultimately forcing the Green Wall to sub in benched star Brandon 'Dashy' Otell.

This followed into the next day when London Royal Ravens' Trei 'Zer0' Morris similarly disconnected from their game four Hardpoint against Toronto, which the Ultra won to seal the 3-1 series victory. In both cases, the players felt that they were being targeted by "booters," or those who intentionally try to knock someone's internet connection offline.

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On August 21, the third day of competition, fans noticed that the official CDL Playoffs website was already showing the final scores for the first two maps of the Chicago Huntsmen's second-round series vs the Subliners before the match had even begun on-stream.

The league quickly took down the page but not before it had become clear that they'd called an audible and allowed the two teams to start their series early and then broadcast it with a delay, which would essentially mitigate the threat of booters since they wouldn't be able to target any of the players live.

Surely enough, when the stream began showing the match, the first two maps ended with the same result that had been shown on the website, confirming that they had already been played.

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It's no coincidence that this sudden sharp increase of player disconnects is happening all on Hardpoint matches, with each one taking place after the point in time which the CDL allows the maps to be replayed.

In his post-match Twitter rant on August 20, Zer0 insinuated that they were being targeted as a result of the league's "Perfect Bracket" challenge, which awards $100,000 to anyone who is able to predict the playoff bracket down to who wins each series and by what scoreline.

"I don't give a f**k about a fine or anything, there is zero chance the tournament can f**king go ahead," he wrote. "You have allowed a $4.6 million tournament to go ahead online with a $100,000 prize to someone who predicts a bracket right. F**king brainless, I'm sorry."

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The CoD League's decision to try and address this by playing matches prior to them being shown on the broadcast is probably the smartest move they had to go with, but the issue with most fans was the fact that their website was showing the map results too early.

This, of course, can directly affect the betting on these matches, since the online gambling sites, unaware of the CDL's change of plans, were still basing odds on the series being scoreless.

Players who were privy to the early information could simply bet on the scores already knowing what they would be ahead of time, taking advantage of the situation.

At the time of writing, the league has not made any announcements regarding the matches starting early off-stream other than taking the page down, presumably because they probably didn't mean for the public to find out via their auto-updating website.

You can follow all of the action live via our Call of Duty League Playoffs and Championship Weekend hub, which includes streams, brackets, scores, and more.