Written by Paul Hunter.
Over the last decade, Call of Duty eSports has exploded worldwide as professional and amateur gamers alike battle it out to see who has the greatest tactics, sharpest reflexes, and most cohesive team play at the highest competitive level.
With the launch of the Call of Duty World League last year, the competitions are only getting larger, the prize pools bigger, and the competition fiercer.
If you’re thinking about making the leap into Call of Duty eSports, I’ll explain 5 of the most important rules you should know as you begin this exciting journey.
The rules I’ll be going over with you come straight from Activision’s Call of Duty World League handbook, the official source that governs CoD eSports.
What’s awesome is these rules are identical to the ones used for the Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championship Series for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
So if you’ve registered for the regional qualifiers, you’ll want to pay special attention as these rules can help focus your training, improve your game, and make your experience even better.
And, if you win the National Finals, you and your team will earn a spot in the 2017 CWL Anaheim Open taking place June 16-18, 2017—so you’ll be putting these rules into practice!
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There are specific eligibility requirements you need to meet for the Call of Duty World League, such all entrants being 18 years of age or over to participate.
Note: For the Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championship Series you need to be 18 years of age or older, however if you are 18 and live in a province where the age of majority is 19, you’ll need permission from a parent or legal guardian.
There are hardware and membership requirements too, including all participants having their own PS4 console, a PS4 copy of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, a PlayStation Network Account (PSN), and maintain an active PlayStation Plus membership.
The CWL further mandates that all individuals must be members of a Team of 4, and each team must designate one member as the Team Captain.
These Team rules are exactly the same for the Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championship Series, and keep in mind that you’re only allowed to be a member of one Team that qualifies for the Online Playoffs.
Every year the CWL establishes “Rules” presets that must adhered to in every match. These presets come in three main categories:
For this season, competitive play is focused on three different game modes within Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and there are 3-4 possible maps for each.
The combinations are as follows:
Knowing the map and game mode combinations is extremely crucial since they are the ones you’ll want to train on, and discuss battle strategies within your team.
It’s imperative that you and your team explore every square inch of these maps to learn the choke points, discover advantageous positions, and test out various tactics.
In addition to the objectives changing with each game mode, the Call of Duty World League also has game setting presets for each. You’ll want to pay very close attention to these presets, as they vary quite a bit between the modes.
For example, in Uplink every round time limit is set at 5 minutes, you’ll have unlimited lives, and the payload score modifier is set at Normal.
Compare that to Search and Destroy, where the time limit is 1.5 minutes, you’ll only get 1 life, and the payload score modifier is x8.
The different game settings can make a huge impact on how you approach matches, so you’ll want to review presets one-by-one.
Lastly, make sure to review all CWL rig, item, and weapon restrictions.
For example, one restriction says that each member of your team must use a different Combat Rig in battle. There are also restrictions on your loadout, including Payloads, Traits, Lethals, Tacticals, Perks, and Wildcards you’re able to equip.
The Call of Duty World League prohibits specific weapons in competitive play as well, including the M1 Assault Rifle, Mauler LMG, Reaver Shotgun, and more.
The Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championship Series adheres to the exact same restrictions as CWL, and you can see the full list of restrictions in Schedule A of the official rules.
Over the course of a season, the CWL reserves the right to update restrictions at any time (they will give proper notice.)
This actually happened recently when the CWL introduced the following four new restrictions on February 1, 2017:
You might be wondering why the Call of Duty World League introduces new restrictions mid-season.
The reality is, as much as Activision strives to make the most balanced rules as possible pre-season, it’s virtually impossible for them to fully anticipate how gamers will utilize weapons and perks.
Thus these new restrictions are put in place to fine-tune competitive play and make matches as fair and balanced as possible.
To keep an eye on CWL rule updates, it’s best to check the official Call of Duty World League website often, and also know that the Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championship Series will update its own rules accordingly (again, check Schedule A of the official rules.)
At live events, CWL provides most of the equipment you’ll need, including the software, monitors, consoles, and headsets.
For the Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championship Series, you may bring your own controller, in-ear headphones.
Keep in mind that while you need to bring your controller, it cannot give you any unfair advantages in-game and the CWL rules state that tournament organizers have the right to inspect your equipment.
That means modified controllers that alter in-game character’s abilities or influence other in-game mechanics are strictly prohibited.
You are, however, allowed to cosmetically change your controller so long as the modifications are within the rules (e.g. no prohibited logos or inappropriate language)
The last rule I want to point out to you is how Tiebreakers are handled.
If the tiebreakers can’t break a tie for 1st place or 2nd place, the tied Teams will be scheduled to play a best of 1 game round robin tiebreaker. This will determine which team will be in 1st or 2nd place as there can be no tied 1st placeholders.
The tiebreaker game mode that will be played is Search and Destroy.
After each Team has played all of the other tied Teams in the tiebreaker game, their records of games won and games lost will be used to break the tie.
However, if there is still a tie that can’t be broken by the tiebreakers, an additional best of 1 game round robin tiebreaker(s) will be played until the tie can be broken.
For the Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championship Series, the tiebreaker map will always be Retaliation. Whichever team wins the tiebreaker game will be considered the winner of the Match. While we all strive to win, when playing at the highest level of competition, ties can and do happen.
Make sure you know the tiebreaker game mode and map(s) well in advance of the tournament so you can practice your tactics should it come down to the wire.
By remembering these five important rules above and you’ll be well prepared for your exciting journey into Call of Duty eSports.
Remember though, there are more rules you’ll need to follow so be sure to check out the official CWL rule set, as well as the Cineplex WorldGaming Canadian Championship Series Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare rules.
Rules can change too, so keep an eye on the CWL website for the latest news.
Good luck in the competition!
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Paul Hunter has been reporting on the video game industry since 2006 as an entrepreneur and freelance journalist, specializing in the latest gaming news, previews/reviews, and live event coverage.