The competitive Call of Duty scene is once again in turmoil over 'gentleman's agreements', with some pro teams reportedly refusing to practice against teams that don't conform - notably OpTic.
Gentleman's agreements have been used in previous Call of Duty titles to allow professional players to have more say in what is banned in competitive play, by simply agreeing in private not to use it.
Technically, it is against the rules of the CWL to do so, but it is a difficult rule to enforce, and so gentleman's agreements against certain weapons, attachments and perks have been a common feature for years.
With the re-introduction of specialists - and new specialist equipment - there is more than ever up for debate in competitive play. Version 1 of the CWL ruleset has left all but one specialist in play, but professional players perhaps feel this is not limiting enough.
Discussions of gentleman's agreements are typically kept in private, but due to frustrations about lack of practice as the debate over what should and should not be in play, these discussions have spilled over on to social media.
OpTic's Thomas 'TJHaLy' Haly and Brandon 'Dashy' Otell first hinted at issues with tweets stating that 'slow AR' players want to remove all entertaining aspects, and have 'another year of WW2.'
mind blowing bro they wanna play another year of ww2 🤣— OpTic Dashy (@DashySZN) November 17, 2018
The gentleman's agreement is believed to be over the 'grapple hook' - the specialist equipment only available to the 'Ruin' specialist. It allows players to zip quickly to almost any spot in reach by grappling toward it.
OpTic's Seth 'Scump' Abner later directly mentioned the grapple hook as the reason certain other teams were refusing to play them.
all this hatred over a grapple hook. Couldn't be me— Seth Abner (@OpTic_Scumper) November 17, 2018
Later on November 17, OpTic scrimmed against Team Envy, with the grapple hook in play, but beforehand Scump speculated that other teams 'despised' them, and were refusing to play them.
On stream, Scump says "I don't know if we're GA'd. So we might not have a scrim. Everyone literally despises us. Just don't understand it."
Of course, not every team has 'blacklisted' OpTic from scrims, but it seems there is a handful of players and teams who do not want to scrim other teams with the grapple hook in play.
Amid the controversy, many fans pointed the finger at 100 Thieves player Austin 'SlasheR' Liddicoat, however he later denied that he had called for gentleman's agreements on anything.
A false narrative consistently gets spread to thousands of fans.. getting super annoying to deal with— 100T SlasheR (@SlasheR_AL) November 17, 2018
Me either bro! allow everything.— 100T SlasheR (@SlasheR_AL) November 17, 2018
It seems that there is confusion even among the pro players themselves as to what is being discussed as potentially agreed out, and what is 'false narrative' as SlasheR claims.
With less than a month to go until the first event at CWL Vegas on December 7, the top level of players in Call of Duty don't have long to get things in order before they are truly put to the test in a LAN environment.