Call of Duty

H3CZ and hastr0 implore future CoD devs to help build CDL esports scene

by Brad Norton

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Hector 'H3CZ' Rodriguez and Mike 'Hastr0' Rufail, two of the faces of Call of Duty (CoD) esports, have outlined how future releases in the huge FPS franchise can help the competitive scene boom like never before.

While the inaugural season of the Call of Duty League (CDL) has seen viewership growth over previous years, according to hastr0, there’s supposedly a lot more that CoD developers could be doing to build out the esports scene.

The Chicago Huntsmen and Dallas Empire owners recently came together with Christopher 'MonteCristo' Mykles on talkshow Essential Esports to discuss how future CoD titles can push the competitive scene in all-new ways.

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H3CZ and hastr0 have been friendly rivals in the CoD scene for many years, but they both agree more can be done to promote the scene in-game.

“The biggest difference in esports that are successful and ones that aren’t, are the ones who are constantly promoting esports to their casual player base,” hastr0 explained. “With Overwatch and CoD, we haven’t even started that yet.”

Players are able to access CDL skins in 2019’s Modern Warfare, but beyond that, teams and events aren’t promoted a great deal. The Huntsmen owner continued: "We haven’t even leveraged the game that much."

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The relevant topic begins at the 21:18 mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvXzNcayhGs

“Imagine in the next CoD title, when you log in to the game, you’re creating a profile and it says pick your favorite CDL team," H3CZ said. "Then they start creating content for our teams in the game, advertising the league in the game."

With different dev teams working on their own franchise titles, we’ve seen a wide array of ideas come and go. Sledgehammer’s WWII had in-game theater, Treyarch’s numerous Black Ops titles had league-play implemented directly. H3CZ and hastr0 argued, however, that the series hasn't even scratched the surface.

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The veteran Call of Duty owners pointed to another thriving esports ecosystem in League of Legends as a leading example for in-game support for esports. Riot's title has skins, banners, and client alerts for when big matches are being played.

“If we are able to get the support that we need to promote the game the way it should be promoted, the way that [Riot Games] promotes theirs, our possibilities are endless,” H3CZ added.

“This isn’t something you just brush off and let it go and watch it grow. You gotta water this thing, bring your own pale, and dump that water in yourself. That’s what the league is working towards as well.”

“If you’re a game developer or publisher and you want your game to be successful in esports, advertise it in the f***ing game. It’s that simple,” hastr0 said. 

There’s no telling if the next title will have many of these desired features right out of the gate. Perhaps we’re still a few iterations off. But it’s clear that team owners are pushing for esports to be a major focus directly in CoD titles down the line.