Hot off his victory at the CDL Championship Weekend, now-former Dallas Empire star James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks has suggested that some top professional players are no longer playing to win, and instead just to collect a paycheck.
Now a three-time world champion, joining the very exclusive 3-rings club with Ian ‘Crimsix’ Porter and Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow, the trio appeared on the TrainwrecksTV Twitch podcast to discuss the current landscape of CoD esports.
This was the first season of the new franchised league for Call of Duty, and Clayster believes that “inflated” salaries and limited roster spots is changing the approach players have.
For next season, the league is reverting rosters to 4v4, rather than 5v5, after two years of the new team sizes. This had a very direct impact on Clayster, who was axed from the Empire lineup almost immediately after winning the world championship.
With roster spots now becoming even more limited, Clayster thinks it has put pressure on players to play for themselves, rather than the team. “Everyone is keeping their job now, so they don’t get dropped or maintain a roster spot,” Clayster explains.
“[It’s] just because our salaries are so large right now, and so inflated, that everyone doesn’t need to win to pay rent. They’re just like, ‘f**k it, I need a roster spot’, so I’ll just ‘killwhore’ and ‘statwhore’, put up a 2.0 K/D but literally lose my team the game.’ ”
Devin Nash suggests that a similar trend has been spotted in LCS – North American League of Legends – which is also a franchised league, and for the same reason.
Clayster thinks that this is why so many young and hungry players got their shot in the 2020 season, who otherwise wouldn’t have. “That’s why this year, you saw a bunch of amateur Call of Duty players come up, who have never even been considered before.”
“These kids actually came in trying to win, and get better, and win tournaments. Not just sit there on a bench or on a roster spot and take salary every month, and be like ‘playing with my friends, cool.'”
- Read more: CoD pros split on move to 4v4 in CDL
Clayster is now on the hunt for a roster spot of his own, following his exit from Dallas Empire. The Call of Duty Rostermania season is now starting, and major changes have already taken place. Seattle Surge dropped their entire roster except for one player, for example.
You can keep up with all the moves in rostermania with our dedicated transfers hub.