Call of duty

Everything you need to know about League Play in Black Ops 4 - World League Hub, how it works, and more

by Albert Petrosyan

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The long awaited League Play mode will finally made its debut in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on February 21, and here is everything you need to know about it.

After months of patiently waiting, Call of Duty players were finally be awarded with League Play, which came as part of the brand new in-game World League Hub.

For those who may be unfamiliar with League Play, and even competitive CoD as a whole, were are providing with all of the information you'll need in anticipation of tomorrow's release.


When did League Play go live?

League Play officially went live in Black Ops 4 at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET / 6 PM GMT on February 21, but will only be available on PlayStation 4 for now.

Thanks to Sony's exclusivity agreement with Activision, Xbox One and PC players will get League Play a week later on February 28, with the launch time being presumably the same. 

Daily Star
Daily Star
Black Ops 4's League Play will be first available on the PS4 for a week before going live on other platforms.


How does League Play work?

League Play is a ranked competitive mode in Multiplayer that will be modeled after the Call of Duty World League, which is the official CoD esports organization.

This means that all of the matches played will follow the official ruleset used by the CWL, meaning the game modes will be limited to Hardpoint, Control, and Search & Destroy, and the choices of weapons, attachments, perks, scorestreaks, and Specialists that players can use will be placed under restrictions.

Treyarch
Treyarch
League Play will be modeled after the CWL, following the official ruleset used in competitive CoD.

Here is a comprehensive overview of how League Play, as provided by Treyarch:

PRO SERIES AND LEAGUE PLAY EVENTS

In the World League Hub, you will compete in the Pro Series playlist using the same game modes, rules, maps, and restrictions that the pros play. These are the same updated CWL rules that we recently implemented in the Pro Series Moshpit playlist in public Multiplayer and in CWL Custom Games, which has moved from Multiplayer to the World League Hub to make it faster and easier to jump into a competitive match.

League Play Events will be run in tight, competitive time frames of 3-4 days using the Pro Series rules with no gaps between events to allow you to play for rank all week long. These events may be shorter or longer depending on the introduction of other types of competitive events later in the year. For the launch of the World League Hub, League Play Events will be the only events running.

LEAGUE PLAY DIVISIONS

Once a League Play Event starts, you will be placed in a Division of up to 50 players around your same skill level to compete for top position in the Division Ladder. What you are competing for in this Division Ladder, just like in the original League Play in Black Ops II, is Ladder Points. Win matches to earn more Ladder Points; lose matches, and your Ladder Points are reduced. The goal is to finish as high as possible in the Division Ladder by the end of the event by earning more points than other competitors in your Division.

Your Division has no bearing on who you are matched with when competing, as you will always be matched with players from the entire global population in League Play who are closest to your skill level. This allows League Play matches to stay as competitive as possible. Note that matchmaking times may take longer than standard Multiplayer matches, as the system searches for the best skill match, and matches only start once full teams with the same number of players on each team have joined. Of course, League Play is the only mode in Black Ops 4 Multiplayer that utilizes skill-based matchmaking. 

LADDER POINTS AND DAILY BONUSES

A base Ladder Point value is awarded for a win, with increased points for every win in a streak up to a 4-game win streak. A loss will deduct penalty points from your Ladder Points and reset your win streak.

In addition to wins, you will earn an initial placement bonus of Ladder Points when placed in a Division, and a Daily Bonus is available every day. The Daily Bonus is a pool of Ladder Points that can be earned across your initial victories of the day. The Daily Bonus will be reset each day, and unearned points do not carry over to the next day, so be sure to get in every match you can to maximize your earnings.

WORLD LEAGUE RANK

You’ll notice this time around that we’re approaching the ranking system with a brand-new philosophy. In the past, League Play displayed a divisional rank based on a player’s skill bracket and Arena displayed a rank based on a player’s performance in the current season. We found that this type of system was unrewarding for most players because they would settle early into a rank that would become stagnant for the duration of the season. Even for the highest-ranking players, this could feel unrewarding because there was no persistence of their accomplishments across seasons, and that was a missed opportunity.

To address this, we’ve created a new permanent, progressive rank system focused on a combination of both lifetime and recent performance, called your World League Rank. The new system progresses players higher in ranks based on final placement in events, and it permanently reflects personal best milestones that players achieve, such as placing in the Top 10 or 1st Place, along with streaks of getting multiple 1st Place finishes in a row. As such, the rank displayed in Black Ops 4 is based on a more rewarding persistent rank system that always allows players to progress from event to event. The higher you finish in events, the faster you will progress through the system, and your success will always be reflected in your rank. 

RANK REWARDS: GEMS

Compete in a League Play Event, and you can earn Gems based on your final position in the Division Ladder. Earn enough Gems, and you’ll advance your rank. Gems are rank rewards that are granted based on your final place at the end of a League Play Event. Make it to the Top 25, and you earn 2 Gems. Finish in the Top 10, and you’ll earn an additional Gem for a total of 3 Gems. Finish 1st, and you’ll earn another Gem for a total of 4.
 

RANKS

There are 20 ranks to achieve in the World League Hub. Each rank requires a number of Gem slots to be filled before the next rank can be earned. Once a rank is filled with Gems, the next Gem earned will advance the player to the next rank, and will be applied to the new rank.  
 

The Gem requirements start at 3 per rank and increase to 4 per rank once you reach Rank 11.

  • Ranks 1-10: 3 Gems per Rank
  • Ranks 11-20: 4 Gems per Rank

PERFORMANCE TIERS

Your permanent rank will also reflect if you’ve ever placed in the Top 10 or won a League Play Event. This means everyone who sees your rank will instantly know how high you’ve placed in any League Play Event. Place 1st in enough League Play Events and you’ll become a Champion, which will be reflected publicly with a new Diamond rank.

  • Finish Top 10: Rank permanently upgraded to Silver.
  • Finish 1st Place: Rank permanently upgraded to Gold.
  • Finish 1st Place in 7 League Play Events: Rank permanently upgraded to Diamond. 

VICTORY FLAMES

Victory Flames reflect the highest level of performance for players at the top of their game. 

Gold flames will appear after you place 1st in a League Play Event, and will last for one event unless you place 1st again in the next League Play Event. The cosmetic state of your flames will advance to higher tiers with consecutive 1st Place finishes, up to 3 in a row.

Victory Flames are temporary and must be maintained across League Play Events. For each League Play Event where you don’t finish 1st, your flames will drop a tier in color or disappear completely if your flames were previously Gold.

  • 1st Place: Gold Flames
  • 1st Place Streak x2: Blue Flames
  • 1st Place Streak x3: Purple Flames


What is the World League Hub?

The World League Hub will be the 'fourth pillar' of Black Ops 4, in addition to Multiplayer, Zombies and Blackout. League Play will be located in this hub, along with CWL Custom Games and pretty much anything else related to competitive CoD and esports.

Prior to launch, images of the World League Hub's main lobby were being leaked after a glitch in the game was allowing players early access into the menus.

Treyarch
Treyarch
The World League Hub will be the 'fourth pillar' of Black Ops 4.

What is the current CWL ruleset?

As mentioned above, League Play will be modeled after the CWL, which means that all matches will follow the most recent version of the official competitive ruleset.

You can check out that ruleset in its entirety down below, although it is subject to change at any time.

Maps and Modes

For this year, all competitions will be played on three game modes: Hardpoint, Search and Destroy, and Control.

Control is a new signature game mode that brings out the best in Black Ops 4 team tactical gameplay. It brings together some elements of S&D and Hardpoint in a way that feels completely unique. Like S&D, teams alter between attacking and defending two pre-determined objective areas on the map. Like Hardpoint, these objectives are hills where attackers must stand in to capture them.

Each team gets a collective 25 lives per round. A team takes a round when they either capture both hills on offense, run out the clock on defense, or expend all of the other teams’ 25 lives on either side.

Our initial slate of maps may be reduced ahead of CWL Las Vegas. We want to make veto strategy an important element this season but have kept the map pools for each mode purposefully larger to allow us to adjust in the future.

At this time, Control will be our third game mode – replacing Capture the Flag from the previous CWL season.

Here are the maps and main settings changes for Control:

Maps: - Updated November 15

—   Arsenal

—   Frequency

—   Gridlock

—   Seaside

Settings:

—   Two second respawn delay

—   Three-second suicide penalty

—   15-second pre-match timer

—   Five second pre-round timer

As for the other two modes, here is the initial map pool and settings changes for Hardpoint and Search and Destroy:

Hardpoint Maps: - Updated November 15

—   Arsenal

—   Frequency

—   Gridlock

—   Hacienda

—   Seaside

Hardpoint Settings:

—   Two second respawn delay

—   Three-second suicide penalty

—   15-second pre-match timer

Search and Destroy Maps: - Updated November 15

—   Arsenal

—   Frequency

—   Gridlock

—   Hacienda

—   Payload

Search and Destroy Settings:

—   Time limit decreased to 1:30

—   Round Win limit increased to six rounds

—   Select Spawn disabled

—   Silent Plant enabled

—   15-second pre-match timer

Five second pre-round timer

Specialists - Updated January 29

The following Specialist is restricted from use in CWL competition:

—   Nomad

—   Torque

—   Ajax

Specialists in the game can be used by one player on each team, just like in regular Multiplayer lobbies.

Specialist Equipment - Updated January 29

The following Specialist Equipment is restricted from use in CWL competition:

—   Tac-Deploy 

—   Seeker Drone

—   Reactor Core

Sensor Dart has been removed from the restricted Specialist Equipment list and has been re-enabled in competitive play (Updated 11/15)

Following CWL Las Vegas, special attention will be paid to the tuning of specific Specialist Gear (specifically for esports competition), adjusting elements like the damage dealt and durability of some offense-based equipment as well as the active time and impact of persistent support items.

Some equipment the studio would like to try adjusting – specifically for Esports Modes – include how Tac-Deploy operates and how many spawns it can generate, Reactor Core’s strength and radius, the damage and durability of Torque’s gear and more.

Weapon Restrictions

The following will be restricted for competitive play.

—   Titan

—   Hades

—   VKM 750

—   MOG 12

—   SG12

Hellion Salvo has been removed from the restricted weapons list and has been re-enabled in competitive play (Updated 11/15)

Rocket Launchers have traditionally been restricted from competitive Call of Duty due to free fire functionality and the damage that they apply to other players. However, they will be permitted in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 competitive play after a tuning adjustment has been made to significantly reduce damage to players.

The ultimate goal of keeping Launchers in play in competitive is to serve as a tactical counter to equipment and scorestreaks exclusively, and not affect player-to-player combat.

For that reason – specifically when selecting Esports settings in custom games, which will be added to the game in the near future – damage to players from Launchers will be dramatically reduced, such that it will be insignificant.

Other Restrictions - Updated January 29:

The following will be restricted for competitive play.

Attachments:

—   High Caliber

—   High Explosive

—   Laser Sight II

—   Max Load

—   Rapid Fire

—   Rocket Cache

—   Steady Grip

Optics:

—   Fast Lock

Perks:

—   Gung-Ho

—   Skulker

—   Team Link

—   Tracker

Wildcards:

—   Overkill

—   Primary Operator Mod

—   Secondary Operator Mod

Scorestreaks - Updated January 29:

—   UAV

—   Care Package

—   Counter-UAV

—   Sentry

—   Mantis

—   Dart

—   RC-XD

Gear:

—   Acoustic Sensor

Lobby Settings

In all modes, some standard game settings will be changed, including:

—   Friendly Fire enabled

—   Battlechatter disabled

—   Revenge voice disabled

—   3rd Person Spectating Disabled

—   3rd Person Gestures Disabled

—   Gesture Camera Controls Disabled

—   Team Assignment – Open

—   Announcer – Enabled