Call of Duty League is set to return with an online format starting this Friday, April 10, with the previously scheduled Dallas Empire homestand fixtures, as announced by the CDL organisers today.
The inaugural season of Call of Duty League began on January 24, 2020, with the Launch Weekend in Minnesota, where CoD fans from all over the globe got a chance to tune in and see all 12 teams compete against each other in the first-ever franchised Call of Duty competition.
Shortly after the Launch Weekend concluded, Call of Duty League announced a change in its competitive format, which moved away from the initially planned format to a more tournament-like schedule, a change which was greeted with open arms from both players and fans, as it made travelling across the globe to attend the home series more reasonable and worthwhile.
Unfortunately, even CDL was no immune to the COVID-19 outbreak, which not only affected the everyday life of every individual but also heavily affected the esports scene. Many major esports tournaments ended up cancelled, postponed, or in other way changed due to the global pandemic, which included IEM Katowice, which was played without a live audience for the first time in history, ESL One Los Angeles Dota2 Major, which was postponed and later switched to an online format, as well as ESL Pro League Season 11 and FLASHPOINT League 1 CS:GO tournaments, which were both moved to an online format.
CDL's last Home Series event before COVID-19 spread from China was played in Los Angeles, between March 7-8, where we saw Dallas Empire claim the spoils with a phenomenal performance, which saw them defeat the likes of New York Subliners, OpTic Gaming Los Angeles and Minnesota RØKKR in the grand finals. After winning their first event of the season, Dallas were eager to repeat their success on home soil, as it was Dallas Empire's Home Series which was next on the schedule.
Slated to take place between March 28-29, the event ended up cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which at the time already spread to the United States, and it continues to do so, with well over 360,000 confirmed cases of infection and almost 11,000 deaths in the US alone. Due to the nation-wide quarantine. Call of Duty League were eventually forced to change the format of its competition from LAN events to online, with the inaugural CDL online Home Series slated for April 10-12 as a part of Dallas Empire home event.
The nine remaining home events will be played Friday through Sunday starting with April 10. Although the matches will start at the same time, it was unveiled Friday and Sunday matches will begin at 3:00 pm CT, while Saturday matches will begin at 12pm CT.
Call of Duty online Home Series schedule:
Dallas Empire: April 10-12
Chicago Huntsmen: April 24-26
Florida Mutineers: May 8-10
Seattle Surge: May 22-24
Minnesota RØKKR: June 5-7
Paris Legion: June 19-21
New York Subliners: July 10-12
London Royal Ravens: July 17-19
Toronto Ultra: July 24-26
At the same time, it was also unveiled Call of Duty Challengers will proceed online as well, featuring two-day Challengers events, each with US $50,000 in the pot, however, it's worth noting that the competition will be separated into three regions as to avoid any latency issues that could arise due to the online format.
“Although the shift to online tournaments may not be what we imagined at launch, we are deeply grateful to be able to continue to spotlight our incredible teams in a new way, and to give our cities and fans more reasons to cheer,” CDL's announcement read.
It remains to be seen how the format change will affect the performance of the teams, however, it's a well-known fact that some teams, namely Dallas Empire, tend to perform much better online as compared to LAN events. The topic was already touched by Seth "Scump" Abner before the CDL 2020 league kick-off, when he talked about how Dallas Empire's dominance in online scrims mean nothing. Having said that, Dallas Empire won the last LAN event of the season, so perhaps Scump slightly underestimated his former teammate Iam "Crimsix" Porter and his crew.
Nonetheless, the format change is bound to cause some chaos in the standings, which might give some teams who performed poorly up to now a chance to prove their worth in an online environment.