In a far-reaching interview with the Seattle Surge’s Sam ‘Octane’ Larew, Chicago Huntsmen CEO Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez revealed rumors surrounding the Call of Duty League’s format for 2021.
H3CZ and Octane each have a wealth of Call of Duty experience, the former especially on the industry side and the latter especially on the playing side. In a recent episode of H3CZ’s Eavesdrop Podcast, they tackled the issues with the CDL’s format and touched on how it’s rumored to continue involving online play in 2021.
(Topic starts at 01:16:16.)
Given H3CZ’s standing in the Call of Duty scene, rumors he’s privy to are particularly noteworthy. In this instance, he describes preliminary structuring for the CDL’s 2021 season surrounding “rumors that … we’re going to continue to be online and that there’s apparently going to be three homestand events or something like that.”
This is the first time that the public has been made aware of any CDL format discussions for next season, and it bears significant weight — especially in relation to Octane, as he has been one of the players most vehemently opposed to online play continuing for the next league campaign.
For the love of God can I get through this year I cannot handle this stupidity any more.
— Surge Octane (@OctaneSam) July 17, 2020
Octane has worn his heart on his sleeve in recent weeks, following a controversial incident in which his bottom-ranked Surge squad had to play out a match 4-vs-5 due to the inability to replay a map after a player disconnected.
But, when faced with the possibility that online play may be required in 2021, he seemed surprisingly open to it, should certain improvements pass: “I just hope that we learn from all the things that have happened this year ... If the ability to play on LAN does come up, even in a restricted setting … that’s fine with me. I just think that the competitive atmosphere of this year hasn’t really been the best and I think that a lot of players are starting to get a little antsy.”
Both H3CZ and Octane are adamant that online play is better than no play at all, while respecting the difficulties of that transition. But, of those learnings from this season, aspects like an online pause feature are likely to be chief amongst their concerns.
As for players already getting “antsy,” the two alluded to both Damon ‘Karma’ Barlow’s retirement, and OpTic Gaming Los Angeles’ Austin ‘SlasheR’ Liddicoat recent critiques.
Baring a miracle the league will more than likely be online next year I have a lot to think about more than likely will take time off. I will not put myself thru this anymore. we suffer because their central south servers cant work properly
— Austin Liddicoat (@SlasheR_AL) July 19, 2020
Like Octane, SlasheR is a prominent CoD veteran who seems to be nearing his wits’ end when it comes to online play. In his post suggesting he will temporarily retire if the league doesn't return to LAN, he noted the “central south servers.”
Like the necessity of a pause feature, server options are another possible way for online play to be improved in 2021. Increased veto options for CDL Champs haven’t satisfied players, so it will be interesting to follow whether or not players think other improvements can make another online season survivable — or if they’ll push for an offline bubble, akin to the NBA’s current system.