Co-CEO of Chicago's Call of Duty franchise, Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez, has pinpointed what he believes to be a key moment in the success of Call of Duty esports, and it harks back to the days of Black Ops II.
While CoD esports dates back to before 2012's Call of Duty: Black Ops II, few titles have done as much as Treyarch’s near-futuristic installment did in terms of propelling the esport forwards.
Black Ops II received widespread community and critical acclaim, with many touting its nonlinear campaign as one of the best in Call of Duty history. On top of this, public matches had a replayability that has not been replicated since, and Zombies provided countless hours of easter eggs and undead secrets to explore.
Away from the casual side of things, League Play provided an opportunity for all players to experience the competitive side of CoD, but this is not the feature H3CZ thinks had the most significant impact on esports.
During a segment at the Black Ops 2 throwback event at the Esports Stadium, H3CZ was asked about Black Ops II’s impact on the competitive Call of Duty scene.
“If I was to identify the specific impact that Black Ops II had on the competitive scene, it would have to be the return of killstreaks,” he replied. “(David) Vonderhaar decided that was gonna be a thing, and everyone was up in arms about the whole situation.”
H3CZ explains that there was initial backlash to the inclusion of killstreaks in competitive CoD as many people perceived killstreaks as too casual to have a place in the professional game.
“The second that (killstreaks) started becoming a thing and it became a part of the strategy,” he continued, “as to how it pushed that particular game forward, it blew it all up.”
He goes on to relay the excitement and accomplishment of being able to call in a Lightning Strike on Slums, and how it rewarded successful play and communication.
Killstreaks have not gone anywhere in competitive play, and have a vital role in all game modes played. They can often decide rotations in Hardpoint, or provide openings in Search and Destroy.
While killstreaks technically featured as scorestreaks in Black Ops II - in an effort to encourage greater objective play - they return as traditional killstreaks in Modern Warfare, but will undoubtedly have a similar impact on competitive play as they have always done.
Regardless of the form in which they take, H3CZ should be listened to as one of the pioneers of competitive Call of Duty.
Disclaimer: Hector 'H3CZ' Rodriguez is a minority shareholder in Dexerto Ltd.