David Vonderhaar weighs in on franchising in Call of Duty esports - Dexerto
Call of Duty

David Vonderhaar weighs in on franchising in Call of Duty esports

Published: 14/Feb/2019 17:55 Updated: 14/Feb/2019 18:04

by Calum Patterson


Treyarch Studios design director David Vonderhaar has briefly discussed the plans for Call of Duty esports to become a franchised league, and the challenges it may face.

Vonderhaar is likely the most recognized Call of Duty developer, having led the Treyarch design team on making World at War, Black Ops, Black Ops 2, Black Ops III and most recently Black Ops 4.

Treyarch have long been considered the most supportive of the three Call of Duty developers when it comes to competitive play, and the CoD World League was launched alongside Black Ops III, which helped provide stability and consistency for the esport.

The CWL will be a city-based franchise league for the 2019 season.

The franchised league for Call of Duty will not be launching on a Treyarch title, and instead will be in place for Infinity Ward’s 2019 offering, meaning Vonderhaar will be able to observe more from the outside looking in.

After the 2019 franchised league was confirmed by Activision on February 12, Team Envy and Dallas Fuel owner Mike ‘Hastr0’ Rufail, who started his esports career with Call of Duty, discussed the plans on an Envy podcast.

Touching on the viability of a city-based Call of Duty franchised league, when compared specifically to Overwatch, Hastr0 had uncertainties, particularly about retaining the ‘Envy’ branding, which has been tied to Call of Duty for its entire existence.

Vonderhaar replied to Hastr0 on Twitter, complimenting Envy on their ‘social assets’ and brand management, before touching on the future of CoD esports and the franchised league.

The developer explains that challenge facing Activision and league organizers MLG, is how to create a “viable/self-sustainable professional league”, that will also remain true to the “deep legacy and glorious grassroots/punk rock nature” of Call of Duty esports.

Given that Infinity Ward will be behind the next Call of Duty release, this is perhaps not a challenge that Vonderhaar will be involved in tackling directly.

The 2018 season is not even half through though, and there is still a lot to focus on for this year before looking ahead. Treyarch specifically have been under fire from the competitive community due to the lack of League Play, which despite being announced in May 2018, is still not available as February 14, 2019.

The news of the franchised league was met with both excitement and concern, as whether the ideas implemented with the Overwatch League can be executed with Call of Duty, remains uncertain.

Call of Duty

Clayster addresses “hate” over Black Ops Cold War’s Control mode

Published: 30/Nov/2020 3:18

by Brad Norton


Black Ops Cold War’s Control game mode has come under fire lately but 2020 Call of Duty League champion James ‘Clayster’ Eubanks has explained why the “hate” is overblown.

Each and every year in competitive CoD there are three modes in rotation. Both Hardpoint and Search and Destroy are often staples with each annual release. However, the third mode is usually in rotation depending on what’s available. The 2019 season saw Domination make a return, for instance.

This time around, Control is that third key playlist. This means all pro competitions throughout the upcoming season will feature the mode across an assortment of maps. It’s just the second time in CoD history that Control has appeared after its introduction in 2018’s Black Ops 4.

While it was received well throughout its initial run, leading to some of the most exciting moments of the year, it’s relaunch in Cold War hasn’t been received quite as well. After a few days of backlash on social media, Clayster has explained why the “hate” isn’t justified.

Black Ops 4 gameplay
Control first appeared in Black Ops 4, and now it’s back in Cold War.

Now that the community is settling into Treyarch’s new release, a proper meta has started to emerge. Assault Rifles outright dominate the game in its current form. As a result, Control can be challenging and players have been quick to voice their frustrations.

“If there is no way to fix how hard it is to win Offenses, why wouldn’t a game mode like demolition or CTF be a possibility for mode three?” Reddit user ‘jaydubb2’ questioned. With so many ARs set up on Defense, it can be extremely tough to break into capture points on Offense.

However, Clayster believes the “hate” for the mode is a bit too much. Rather than complaining, players should instead “figure out how to win Offense,” he stressed. “Not just say it’s chalked, Defense wins. There are methods.”

If these issues are patched over time, with spawns being dialed in and the capture time adjusted, Control could be back to the explosive mode it was in Black Ops 4. “Control I feel like is a competitive game-mode from the core up,” Clayster added.

The mode isn’t perfect in its current state, but with a few simple tweaks, it could be better than ever, according to the three-time world champion. “Honestly, there’s a couple Narnia spawns that will be (hopefully) cleaned up and with 45s capture time, offense becomes much easier.” 

Early impressions have clearly been negative towards the mode. However, there’s still plenty of time for things to change ahead of the CDL 2021 season.