Scump & Formal explain how Cold War League Play could be fixed

Theo Salaun
scump formal vs league play
YouTube, heczTV

Reactions to Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’s League Play have been unenthused, but OpTic Chicago’s Scump and FormaL have singled out some ways to fix the unpopular system.

League Play did not exist at all in Modern Warfare 2019, although the game did have some Call of Duty League ruleset options. Understandably, the CoD community was very excited for Treyarch’s return and hoped that the competitive mode would be available to play in BOCW.

When discussing how the ranked system should best be implemented, fans of the franchise had specified CoD WWII’s as the optimal version, with some noting Black Ops 2’s. Instead, not only did League Play launch months after the game’s release, but when it did, it was essentially a clone of the widely disliked Black Ops 4 system.

During an OpTic Gaming roundtable, brand forces Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez and Davis ‘Hitch’ Edwards discussed the League Play problem with the team’s renowned veterans, Seth ‘Scump’ Abner and Matthew ‘FormaL’ Piper. Together, they raised some interesting solutions.

Incentivize casuals with League Play rewards

As the group discussed the players invested in League Play, they all agreed that the mode catered to the competitive base and does little to interest casuals. While Scump said he’s been enjoying it, it became clear that no one thinks it provides many incentives to less-competitive players.

As an example, Hitch brings up “cool ranks,” which FormaL exemplified with Valorant’s Radiant and Immortal ranks — part of an Elo system he says “people are grinding for.” Past that, FormaL elaborates that cosmetic and in-game rewards like “gear” and “double XP” could make casuals more interested in the grind.

Introducing a refined Elo system

cod wwii leaderboards
Reddit, u/Fereday7
A leaderboard from WWII, with some of CoD’s biggest players at the top.

The running theme for the conversation is fixing the Elo system, with critiques ranging from the placement system to ranking and de-ranking opportunities. FormaL and Scump brought up early Halo and CoD: WWII as better options, with the latter proved by how valuable earning a top rank was for visibility in the community.

Noting that WWII had a clearer system that changed your rank depending on wins and losses while weighing strength of opponent, Scump expressed obvious confusion: “I don’t understand. Everyone was saying like, ‘this is how it needs to be or it’s not going to be a ranked playlist’ and then they just dropped Black Ops 4 copy/paste.” 

In general, the group agrees that the current placement and ranking system fails to incentivize grinding as team success and strength of opponent are discounted and the mode doesn’t dynamically reward players with exciting ranks.