CoD Mobile taking over the CDL in 2022 isn’t actually a far-fetched idea

Brad Norton
CoD Mobile artwork

Call of Duty: Vanguard is in no state to feature as the competitive title for this year’s Call of Duty League season. With game-breaking bugs aplenty, a baffling lack of a third game mode, and an outright negligence of the competitive scene, it’s only fair that CoD Mobile takes the reins in 2022.

There’s no sugar-coating it. CoD Vanguard has been an embarrassment for the community in every sense. An endless stream of game-ruining issues since launch, combined with the broken promise of ranked play, all serve to showcase an unfinished product.

So why should we be forced to endure a full year of this, simply waiting for the game to be improved? Just because it’s tradition? Drudging through the next eight or so months with Vanguard in the spotlight doesn’t sound like a fun time and could end up doing more harm than good for the CoD scene. 

From the top pros to the casual player base, most have already passed through the ‘honeymoon’ phase. Very few seem to actually enjoy playing this installment and well, the less said about struggling viewership the better.

To salvage this year’s competitive season, the answer is right in front of us. It’s time for CoD Mobile to get the respect it deserves and take over as the sole title heading into the next CDL season. 

CoD Mobile is a functioning game ripe for competition

CoD Mobile artwork
CoD Mobile has quietly become the best CoD title in years.

As it stands today, CoD Mobile is the most stable and content-rich title the franchise has seen since the CDL was established. This was made possible because CoD Mobile’s developers have a luxury no other studio working on the series can afford. Their tireless effort isn’t cycled out every 12 months for the next rushed project.

When the handheld port launched in 2019, was it instantly a hit? Not quite. But over the past two years, the dev team has been able to take their time refining every aspect of the experience to get it there. 

From balancing weapons to fine-tuning competitive game modes, day by day CoD Mobile has only improved. Meanwhile, the past few mainline CoD titles have been marred by abysmal launches, updated over the following year, only to be discarded at their most polished state when it’s time for the next game to launch.

CoD Vanguard Bocage map
We could have a year with CoD’s all-time great maps in focus. Instead, we have Bocage.

Giving credit where it’s due, CoD Vanguard launched with a considerable 16 multiplayer maps in total. The only downside being a vast majority of said maps are unfit for professional play.

The same can be said when it comes to weapons, attachments, perks, equipment, and field upgrades too. GA lists this year are more extensive than ever.

In contrast, CoD Mobile features a satisfying mixed bag full of the best content from previous years. Classic competitive maps and fan-favorite guns are all accessible as the game all but sets itself out as ‘CoD’s greatest hits.

Rather than struggling against the limitations and setbacks of Vanguard, there’s no better game to feature as this year’s competitive title than CoD Mobile.

The most accessible CoD title on the market today

Outside of gameplay itself, the single biggest advantage CoD Mobile has over CoD Vanguard is accessibility. Anyone with a phone or tablet can pick up and play the handheld title without having to spend a dime.

With no price tag, there’s no barrier to entry. This paves the way for an ever-growing fanbase and better yet, said fanbase has good reason to stick around.

Unlike its console and PC counterpart, CoD Mobile values competition. A full-fledged ranking system fit with exclusive rewards and worthwhile incentives is right there as you boot up the game.

It’s not awkwardly hidden in the menus, it’s not a different version of the game to what the pros play. It’s not rocket science, it’s just competitive CoD.

CoD Mobile ranked
CoD Mobile’s ranked system is far superior to any form of ‘League Play’ we’ve seen in recent years.

This ranking system also integrates directly into the broader esports scene, helping players transition from online casuals to aspiring pros if they so desire. The biggest competitions, including last year’s $2m World Championship, often start in ranked play, allowing anyone and everyone to stand out, join a team, and make it big.

Comparatively, regular CoD couldn’t be more restrictive and confounding if it tried. Not on a CDL lineup? Wondering how to rise to the top? Unlucky for you because there’s no effective pathway.

If you’re not already looped in, there’s no direction in-game to help you out. The only way to start your competitive journey is to jump on social media, manually find where tournaments are hosted, and register a team… all to compete in weekend-long brackets that lead absolutely nowhere.

Challengers, the League’s secondary circuit, has been disregarded from day one. No academy teams, an alarming lack of reputable organizations in the mix, a dull structure with minimal prize pools, and an inexcusable lack of promotion have all led to an unhealthy amateur scene on the brink of collapse.

In fact, the former head of Challengers even described it as a “low-to-no priority” venture for Activision after abandoning the project.

With no clear vision and an unwillingness to do better, there’s never been a better time for a collective swap. Alongside the CDL, Challengers should also make the switch to CoD Mobile and reap the benefits of a thriving competitive ecosystem.

Developers that care about more than just profit margins

CoD Mobile gameplay
CoD Mobile’s player count is only growing thanks to regular updates and community support.

Over the past few years, competitive has been an afterthought at best for mainline CoD developers. Busted spawns persisted all year in Modern Warfare. Awkward map designs were replaced by classic remakes during the Cold War season. Now with Vanguard, Krampus arrived in custom lobbies as the painful cherry on top.

We can’t get highly requested features like Trophy Systems due to a lack of realism while glowing guns with skulls on them feature in the store. We get laughably bad CDL skins that no one asked for while other games shine with their stunning esports cosmetics. 

That’s just scratching the surface on what the competitive scene has to put up with. Demanding change and being loud across social media is on par with screaming into a pillow. We’ve been at it for years hoping for even the simplest improvements yet nothing ever changes.

On the other side of the coin, CoD Mobile’s developers are constantly in-tune with the community. Whether it’s massively detailed blog posts every week, frequent replies to players on Reddit and Twitter, or rapid balance updates to address new issues before they get out of hand, it’s night and day to the teams working on Vanguard.

That’s not to say they’re a flawless company incapable of doing wrong. They’ve certainly made a fair share of mistakes too. But active communication sets them miles ahead of every other CoD studio today. 

If something is wrong, they’ll be among the first to address it. You don’t have weeks of radio silence as game-breaking flaws just have their way.

There’s a genuine feeling those working on the game actually care. They want players to enjoy their time and to that point, they want to see the community thrive as much as anyone.

Festive Fervor Vanguard Warzone
Krampus alone goes to show how out of touch today’s CoD devs are with the community.

A clear example of this arrived at the tail end of 2021 with CoD Mobile’s Season 11 update. For the first time in franchise history, popular community figures now have their own skins on the way. Custom bundles designed around three of the biggest content creators will soon be available for fans to grab.

In just a few months on the market, CoD Mobile has done something players have been wanting to see for years. Regular entries are lucky to get generic sticker packs to support the community’s top names, let alone full-blown skins.

It’s a different level of support and something we may never see from a AAA CoD game.

CoD Mobile is everything mainline CoD should aspire to be. Having a singular, accessible title with an emphasis on competitive play is the next step Activision has to take if our competitive scene is to survive a few more years.

But there’s no good reason to wait for that potential day to come. Instead, now is the opportune time to make the swap and not look back. Port CoD Mobile to PC with appropriate controller support, let it take the reins and lead the community through 2022, and watch CoD esports bounce back from what’s unquestionably its lowest point.