Gambling in eSports appears the most in the PC game Counter Strike: Global Offensive, often involving hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout major events. Other games like League of Legends and Dota have their fair share as well leaving the question: Where is Call of Duty betting?
The answer is quite complex and involves many points of views. Gambling as of now is not available in CoD for a multitude of reasons; however, this does not mean it did not have a history. In fact, Call of Duty bets were lucrative to those who were able to choose wisely and play smart, but nonetheless, they were eventually put to a halt.
Betting in CoD has taken place as far back as 2015 in the Advanced Warfare competitive season, where gamblers were able to bet on Major League Gaming (MLG) pro-season league matches using online sportsbooks. In 2015, OpTic Gaming (OG) were by far the favorable odds and many gamblers choose this team to place money on with hopes to multiply their investments.
Another popular team in the mix was FaZe Clan, who at times were able to beat OG in league matches thus created favorable odds themselves. As these two teams continued the pro-season, they marginalized other teams and forced the betting odds down on any team FaZe and OG played against.
In the event of an upset, those who bet on the opposing crews would win huge earnings, often quadrupling initial investments. This caused major turmoil in the Call of Duty community as people began to control the outcome of a match as DDoS’ing (Distributed Denial of Service) started its run into the competitive pro-scene.
DDoS’ing involves taking a victim’s IP address, commonly obtained through instant messaging applications like Skype, and overloading it by sending “packets” which forcefully disables internet service to the victim. In MLG pro-league matches, all were played online, therefore no internet meant no play. OG and FaZe were frequent victims of DDoS attacks, as their odds were so high, where they would be forced to play a three versus four match across a five game series resulting in an inevitable loss.
This would cause those who bet on the opposing teams to win huge returns. It ended up creating a cycle DDoS’ers who would simply bet on any squad, and launch attacks on the other no matter the match throwing off the league results. In the 2015 season, OpTic gaming started off in first placed out of twelve teams and then dropped to dead last place by the middle of the season due to such frequent attacks.
MLG was slow to resolve the issue and did not act until it was imperative to do so. Initially, Hector Rodriguez, the CEO/Owner of OpTic reached out to MLG to prompt action, to which they responded by recording league matches ahead of time instead of broadcasting them live so DDoS’ers would not be aware of when the match was being played to launch an attack. This did not last long as viewership plummeted, therefore MLG responded by ensuing legal action on Call of Duty betting. While the lawsuits were mostly kept private, it is unsure whether legal implications have stopped CoD bets, and it is unsure whether it will continue onward in the future.
Call of Duty Offline League
Whether CoD betting will make a return or not is something that is in the air, but what is set in stone is the fact that there will be an offline local area network (LAN) league for the 2016-2017 competitive season meaning there will be no worry of inaccurate results due to DDoS’ing or internet connection or anything in between.
The announcement of an offline league came at the PlayStation Experience event (PSX) in December of 2016 with very vague details to work with. One thing we can be sure of though is that it would be the prime time for betting sites to reopen Call of Duty eSports and integrate it into their existing platforms.
Offline leagues currently exist for major eSports competitive games like CS:GO and League of Legends who, as mentioned previously, offer a multitude of gambling options so it would not be surprising to see the Call of Duty community to hop on board with the rest of eSports in the gambling world. This raises many questions, though, would the legality of CoD gambling be questioned, in direct reference to the MLG lawsuits? Would established sportsbooks bother with such a small eSport as Call of Duty?
Answers to these questions can only be found once MLG implements the LAN league, rumored to be put into full effect in the coming months. The community can only wait to find out whether betting will be reinstated.
Bets in Call of Duty eSports have a long history and a complicated relationship with the gaming community. We see the opportunity to implement gambling across an eager competitive platform that has been deprived for almost two years. Critics have argued that it takes the fun out of the eSport and puts too much focus on profiting rather than the sport and give room for abuse. Regardless, the future of CoD betting relies heavily on what is to come shortly.
Rules and Guidelines of Competitive Call of Duty eSports
As Infinite Warfare kicks off, competition organizers such as MLG, UMG, and Activision will begin hosting LAN (Local Area Network) events with hundreds of thousands of dollars in tournament prize pools. Because there are numerous companies that host various contests, the rule set and organization tends to vary in between one organizer to the next. At times, this variation has caused some major controversy, but overall, the tournament ruleset has been established and various teams are moving forward into the season with MLG: Vegas to look forward to.
The competitive Call of Duty rule set has always been put forth by the developers prior to the game being released and are usually shown off in a competitive gameplay showcase introduced days before launch. In Black Ops III, conflict arose as developers introduced a regulation that did not create a competitive environment, forcing players to create their own rules eliminating non-competitive aspects such as light machine guns, explosives weapons, and certain score streaks.
For Black Ops III, player Patrick “Aches” Price created a framework known as “Aches Rules” which the betting Call of Duty community adopted in the form of “gentlemen’s agreements”. Gentlemen’s agreements consist of each team agreeing to abide by a modified rule set that goes beyond the regulations given officially by the developers. For the entirety of Black Ops III, the community operated on “Aches Rules” to create a more even playing field that harbors competitive gameplay.
Fast forward to Infinite Warfare, the developers took a new approach into the ruleset by flying out eight professional CoD players to Activision Studios to create a guideline that is fair and equal to all. In the 2016-2017 competitive season, the rule set is created by professional players in a liberal playstyle setting meaning more weapons, score streaks, and equipment that available to allow for organic gameplay, the way the game was intended to be played.
At MLG: Vegas, the event format will employ a best of five, double elimination knock-out style arrangement where teams will get an equal opportunity to progress on through the contest. A format known as “pool play” will also be used in which different crews will be split up into various segments known as “pools”.
There are two ways to get into a pool at a competition, one way is being on an established professional squad in which the tournament organizer sends out an invitation for you automatically. There are three of these spots available meaning one pool consists of three pre-determined crew and one undetermined, which enters through an alternate route.
This alternate route to get into a pool, and subsequently claim the 4th spot, is claimed by playing in an open bracket available to the public. The top teams left in the public open bracket are given spots in the pools to progress through the contest while those who fail to get out of the open bracket will be sent home.
After each group is determined, the tournament can officially begin as teams battle against each other in their respective pools one time before the final win/loss record is tallied up for each crew. The top two squads in the four-team group move into the winners’ bracket of the tournament, while the bottom two move down to the losers’ bracket.
In the winners’ bracket, if you lose in a best of five series, you get bumped down to the losers’ bracket while if you lose a series in the losers’ bracket, you are eliminated completely from the competition. Overall, pool play serves a significant role in any event as it creates the most even playing field possible, giving numerous paths to victory.
For comparison, in previous tournaments, like Gfinity, a European region contest based in London, single elimination matches were played forcing crews to play with little to no error at all. In the Call of Duty World League (CWL) Season Two stage finals for Black Ops III, OpTic Gaming lost to a lower tier crew in a single elimination match sparking controversy as many saw single elimination as not being competitive and allowing room for fluke wins by lower skill squads. Nonetheless, tournaments for the Infinite Warfare season will be double elimination.
Even though competitions have double elimination, teams try their absolute hardest to leave the safety net they have of losers’ bracket till the final stages of the event where they will need it. Being knocked down to losers’ bracket early in the competition puts a squad at a huge disadvantage. Statistically speaking, no crew that has lost in the first round of a major tournament being put into losers’ bracket has ever made it to the grand finals in the last two years of competitive CoD.
Roles of play
Teams must orchestrate themselves to perform at the highest level and the most successful crews do this by establishing roles for each player. In Infinite Warfare, there are two main roles a player chooses from: a sub-machine gun (SMG) role, or an assault rifle (AR) role. The SMG and AR roles simply establish what weapon type a guy will use.
Those who excel using an SMG will adopt the SMG role in a squad, while those who excel with an AR will adopt the AR position(s). A third role does existed in the previous Call of Duty titles known as the objective (OBJ), but it has lost its place due to the necessity of every guy on a crew being required to play an objective role because of the fast pace gameplay CoD has evolved to.
Apart from weapon roles, one last important component in a team is the in-game leadership. The in-game leader is the guy who makes play calls within a match to guide the entire squad in one unit towards victory. For example, the winners of Call of Duty Champs in 2016, Team EnvyUS, arguably won because of the in-game leadership of the player Jordan “Jkap” Kaplan, the crew captain.
It was long debated that nV did not have the gun skill required to win a competition of such caliber, and skeptics agreed that if they were to win, it would be based on the team chemistry and leadership “Jkap” could pull together from his squad. Low and behold, EnvyUs won, while their kill/death ratio’s (K/D’s) ranked low in the event leaderboards.
The Best Call of Duty Teams
Competitive CoD has seen an expansion in activity over the past few years with increasing viewership, developer support, and most importantly, talent across a wide variety of players and teams. As a new game cycle commences with the release of Infinite Warfare, we see professional crews scrambling to jump ahead of the curve and learn the tactics and strategies it takes to claim the number one spot among the rankings. Meanwhile, many established organizations are joining the Call of Duty eSports scene as each organization battles it out to stay on top. Below are the top five CoD competitive juggernauts that are revolutionizing the eSports industry.
OpTic Gaming (OG) is the icon of eSports being founded in 2006 earning its title to being the biggest organization in the CoD community. OG experienced shortcomings at Call of Duty Champs taking a 7th – 8th place finishing, two years in a row; however, the CoD titans are expected to make a rebound using their natural and raw talent as they transition from Black Ops III into the new title.
OG has arguably been the best team for two years in a row, dating all the way back into Advanced Warfare where they experienced nine major event wins in a single season, with an additional three major event wins in Black Ops III. Whether that success continues or not will be determinant on their performance in the upcoming months, where fans will quickly be able to tell how successful OG will be.
Team EnvyUs (nV) established itself shortly after OG in the year of 2007 where it was founded as a Call of Duty organization by “FoRePLayy” and “StaiNViLLe” in the original CoD 4 title. Since then, the squad has grown to a variety of games that span from CS:GO and Smite, to League of Legends. Their CoD roster is famously known for winning Champs, taking home $800,000 in the single biggest event to date.
Their rivals for the Black Ops III season have been OG as they battled each other in the online league known as the CWL which translated into LAN events as the two teams paired up against each other usually in the final matches in tournaments. Team nV is without a doubt one of the hottest crews of eSports at the moment with their roster breaking up a dynasty claimed by OG.
Elevate (eLv) Team is quite an underrated organization in the Call of Duty betting scene. Typically, this crew’s rosters tend to get overlooked in the playing field with squads like OG or nV which tend to dominate the competitive scene.
What’s interesting to note is the fact that Elevate has chosen to drop their NA (North American) roster for an EU (European Union) roster introducing a connection between the two regions. With rumors of an offline league for competitive CoD, it would require all four EU players to move to the US to participate, meaning a relocation and transition from EU to NA.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen something so drastic. Player Callum “Swanny” Swan made a name for himself on the European scene and moved to a NA organization to continue his career given the opportunity. Elevate’s choice to overthrow their NA crew for a EU roster has turned some eyes, but they hope to put up a fight in North America representing Europe from back home.
Cloud9 (C9) is a major eSports organization that entered the Call of Duty scene in early Black Ops III with the introduction of their first roster. Since then, they’ve remained on the scene with various rosters with little to no avail.
C9 has always been an underdog team, and they are notoriously known for beating OG at CoD Champs in a Round 11, Game 5, Search and Destroy showdown proving themselves as a force to not be reckoned with. C9 hopes to find success in the upcoming season with Patrick Price leading the squad to victory as their Captain.
Last, but certainly not least, FaZe Clan. FaZe originally started as a sniping team that shined through the years of 2009-2011 primarily during the Modern Warfare 2 era as their subscriber base on YouTube grew exponentially. Since then, they have expanded into the esports scene expanding the brand outwards.
In the Advanced Warfare season, OG and FaZe were the infamous rivals that fought hard LAN (Local Area Network) matches at national events often meeting each other in finals of tournaments. Since then, FaZe has failed to win an event in over a year spanning the entire Black Ops III lifetime. Talks about a roster change have arisen heading into Infinite Warfare as their lack of success has been daunting on the crew. Despite the adversity, the squad has chosen to stay together, and currently are the team with the most practiced hours into the new game. Whether that will show progress is up for debate, but what is not questionable is the dedication these four players show to their crew.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you, see you next time. Good luck!