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esports
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Treyarch announces CWL ruleset changes

We also find out that World League Hub and League Play are getting delayed as Treyarch needs extra time to implement changes.

Earlier this month the qualifiers for the new season of the Call of Duty World League (CWL) Pro League wrapped up to determine which teams would be competing, and now Treyarch has revealed some key changes to the ruleset heading into this year's tournament.

These changes are based on CWL feedback regarding League Play too, which means updating the entire game to make everything better from the casual players to the pro scene. The CWL ruleset is the first part of this, including some updates that will roll out into Black Ops 4 later this week. The following restrictions will now apply:

Ajax: Fully restricted
Torque: Fully restricted
Prophet: Seeker
Firebreak: Reactor Core
Seraph: Tac-Deploy
Scorestreaks: Dart, RC-XD

Zero's Ice Pick and EMP Disruptor, as well as any new Specialist content released in the future, will not be in competitive play by default unless deemed okay from the CWL team. Players who choose the semi-restricted operators like Prophet, Firebreak, and Seraph can still equip the trophy system, combat axe, frag, molotov, or concussion.

League Play and the World League Hub are getting major changes too, again based on feedback. Treyarch explains that, while many players loved the League Play in Black Ops 2, there were still some issues with it:


  • At roughly one-month intervals, League Play seasons were too long, resulting in a high volume of inactive players and "dead ladders", watering down the feeling of competition.

  • Players who missed out on significant portions of seasons felt like there was no way for them to catch up to other players in their ladders, leading many to stop playing and thus exacerbating the "dead ladder" problem.

  • League Play is a lower-population playlist relative to the rest of Multiplayer, and it's the only portion of Multiplayer that relies on skill-based matchmaking. As such, time to find matches can be lengthy with the League Play population subdivided by skill ranges.

  • Ladder groupings were too large, leaving many participants feeling disconnected from most of the players they were competing with for position.

  • League Play Division ranks were directly tied to each player's skill rating under the hood, which meant that most players "settled" into a rank early on, and it was frustrating not being able to change that skill rating over time.

League Play in this game has been designed to avoid these issues, so there will be more frequent League Play events in shorter durations to make ladders feel more meaningful due to constant movement against smaller competitor pools. Events are also condensed and timed to drive the highest player counts and good matchmaking. Short durations for events also match how pros compete in weekend tournaments, and Treyarch is trying to get League Play to emulate the pro scene. Ladders will feel familiar though, because you climb it by winning points and the goal is still to climb as high as possible.

A new progressive rank system is introduced as well, persisting across League Play and World League Hub events. As you play competitively you'll get a permanent rank that reflects all your performances, and final placements in ladders affect how you advance your overall ranks, meaning you get more credit for doing well in these events. Placing first in a League Play event will grant a permanent rank upgrade, with further upgrades possible for more wins and a streak indicator appearing if you win back-to-back events as well. However, matchmaking will be prioritised by skill, so that these players can compete with one another.

League Play will include events at launch that span across a full week, removed scrims from the ranked schedule until Treyarch goes live with World League Gauntlets. These Gauntlets also help to increase your rank if you complete a long series of wins before getting the maximum three losses. Ranked matches will give you multiplayer XP and Black Market Tier progression too, and support for Teams and Clans will also come later in the season.

World League will sit as a fourth option in the main menu alongside the three modes, and CWL Custom Games is moving there too. That said, Treyarch needs a few more weeks to implement these changes, meaning World League Hub and League Play will be coming with the next maor update in mid-February, coming first to PS4. The specific date is still being finalised, but we'll be updated on this soon.

Will you be getting competitive with the World League Hub?

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Photo: Call of Duty World League