Spratt column: SBMM could ruin CoD 2020 but Warzone can save it - Dexerto
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Spratt column: SBMM could ruin CoD 2020 but Warzone can save it

Published: 14/Aug/2020 18:01 Updated: 8/Sep/2020 15:07

by James Spratt


In his first Dexerto column, Call of Duty sniping legend James ‘Spratt’ Spratt takes a look at Modern Warfare, Warzone, and how to make the next CoD — heavily rumored to be named Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War — the best yet.

Within Call of Duty, they’ve mastered battle royale. It fits incredibly in the Call of Duty world, and it’s so successful because it’s so familiar. The looting aspect is so simple and knuckled-down, and it’s a new area of gaming that people love to both watch and play.

It was hard for me to transition from regular Modern Warfare multiplayer to Warzone. I’ve built such a huge audience on multiplayer over the years; that’s kind of my bread and butter. But I’ve been trying to break into that world, because the audience for Warzone is way bigger than it is for multiplayer. It’s magical. I’ve been having a blast.

Now, Warzone has changed how we see things and what we expect from a Call of Duty game. We’ve got the battle pass, seasons, it’s free-to-play… It’s added an extra layer to the game, that we never had before.

Warzone can help multiplayer, especially in CoD 2020

One area they’re not really pushing enough, though, is the idea of ranking up weapons and attachments and getting to that higher level so you can succeed more in Warzone. If they did that and made multiplayer free-to-play, they would have an incredible amount of growth on both sides because people are itching to rank up new guns or their favorite weapons.

Moving into the new game, I have this vision of them just nuking the whole map. In an incredible world they blow up the whole map with a nuke and you end up on the new game, whatever it’s called, and you’ve got similar mechanics, same format, Warzone’s still there, you’ve got a brand new map and a brand new multiplayer.

I always recall back to Black Ops 2. When I look back at that game it had literally everything, for everybody: If you enjoyed sniping, the game was good for sniping; If you enjoyed running around with a knife, it was good for that; trickshots, it was good for that; using regular guns and pubstomping, it was good for that. Whatever it was that you liked about Call of Duty, that game had. I think ever since then, every game has had certain aspects of that, but they’ve never had the whole thing.

I think with the new game, they need to figure out a way to have all of those creators, all of those different types of players, succeed. With Modern Warfare, they’ve kind of missed out the middleman. People that are really aggressive can succeed in that game, people who are slower-paced can succeed at that game, but I think the average, running-around-casually players are punished.

For me, it comes down to the skill gap. I see it in esports now. I’m not really a big follower of the competitive scene as much as I used to be, but I just see at the moment it’s a different team winning every time, and it kind of showcases that the skill gap isn’t really as high as it used to be.

I think that also works within multiplayer. You can see that if you’re at the top, you’re still not thriving as much as you would be on different games because of that smaller skill gap. I think in the next game you need the opportunity, a platform, a game in general, that allows the really good players to thrive and, if you’re on that level, you can’t be touched. If you put time in, if you put the hours in, and you’re a lot better than someone else, you should be rewarded for that skill.

It’s happening in Warzone right now. You see players coming out of nowhere, who are absolutely ridiculous, and I just think “They’ve only just started doing it and they’re way better than me!” That’s amazing to see. I love to see that. That’s what the new CoD needs to do within multiplayer as well.

SBMM and making CoD 2020 more fun

The thing that I hope, and my fingers are crossed for, is that they remove skill-based matchmaking from CoD 2020. When it comes down to it, the actual execution, it just doesn’t allow for much creativity. It doesn’t allow for any unique gameplay because, at the end of the day, if you’re playing against people who are just as good as you, you have to use the best guns in the game to compete.

It’s the same with Warzone, too. SBMM is there as well, I don’t know if it’s as harsh, but I still struggle. You’ve got to use the meta weapons, especially in all these different tournaments. Moving forward, they need to remove SBMM and allow more creativity and unique gameplay from both creators and just people trying to have fun, whether you make videos or not. If you want to run around with something that’s a bit weird, then you can. That’s what I hope for.

I don’t think they’ve ever had SBMM within the Black Ops series, so I’m definitely looking forward to that side of things.

As long as it plays like a Black Ops game, like a Treyarch game, then I’m happy.

Call of Duty

Scump says “a lot could go wrong” with CDL switching to PC next season

Published: 21/Oct/2020 0:06

by Albert Petrosyan


With the Call of Duty League switching from console to PC for the 2021 season, at least at the professional level, Chicago Huntsmen’s legendary CoD pro Seth ‘Scump’ Abner has detailed some of the potential issues that could arise.

The Call of Duty League’s switch from console to PC was inevitable, but that doesn’t mean the transition will be without its faults; one major concern, of course, has been hacking. Maybe not in the competitive scene, but the growing presence of PC in CoD this year (with the addition of cross-play and Warzone) has exposed Activision’s inability to handle the issue on a large scale.

Add in the fact that the CDL’s Challengers circuit and in-game ranked mode(s), for example, will support both console & PC, and suddenly the concern is heightened. And while it’s unlikely that anyone in the pro ranks would cheat, if the 2021 season starts out online, there’s a chance that, at the very least, accusations could start flying around.

Scump was asked about this switch during one of his recent streams and, uncoincidentally, hacking was the first thing he brought up: “The one thing that could go wrong – if there’s hackers, any kind of competitive playlist is chalked. That’s definitely something to worry about.”

“That is going to be very annoying if hackers just run rampant in all the ranked playlists,” he went on. “If there are hackers, it’s chalked. There’s supposed to be anti-cheat in the works? Hopefully, they do a good job with it and hopefully, everything is good.”

The veteran also brought up the potential situations where the gaming rigs experience issues during competitions: “‘PC crash during a tournament is bound to happen,’ more than likely, yeah. There’s a lot of things that could go wrong, definitely a LOT of things that could go wrong.”

There was one positive bit of news that Scump revealed during this discussion: the CDL is working on adding a ‘pause feature’ that would allow them to stop and start matches if need be.

The lack of such a feature really became apparent during the 2020 campaign, especially the CDL Playoffs, when teams like OpTic Gaming LA and London Royal Ravens had players booted offline mid-match.

As a result, since the disconnections occurred too late into the respective Hardpoint games, both teams had to play the round a man down, 4v5, which inevitably led them to lose.

Needless to say, had a pause feature existed, the whole situation could have been avoided. Instead, the CDL was forced to stream all matches with a massive delay so that viewers with ill-intentions couldn’t hit anyone offline.

CDL Hardpoint restart rules
Call of Duty League
Without a pause feature, the CDL installed these unpopular rules for if/when Hardpoint matches needed to be restarted.

Ultimately, the Call of Duty League’s switch to PC is a “step in the right direction,” as Scump remarked, but there are definitely potential problems that could stem from the transition. We’ll just have to wait and see.

For more information about the upcoming campaign, make sure to visit our CDL 2021 season hub.