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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Opinion – Black Ops Cold War’s League Play is a colossal failure

Black Ops Cold War’s League Play launch has been nothing short of a heartbreaking failure for a blossoming esports community.



Black Ops Cold War’s League Play launch has been nothing short of a disappointment among the fanbase it was created to please.

It has been no industry secret that the release of Black Ops Cold War has been a shaky one for developer Treyarch, who had to step in to finish the development of Sledgehammer Games’ Call of Duty title.

With one less year under their belt for development of their next title (two compared to the usual three) Black Ops Cold War was off to a shaky start. Unfortunately for Treyarch, the responsibilities would continue to amp-up with the success of Infinity Ward’s Warzone, which was due to be handed down to them and Raven Software during Black Ops Cold War’s year as well.

As a result, Multiplayer in their premium title feels all but a side-piece in the larger picture. Black Ops Cold War has all of the customization and gunplay of a standard Call of Duty title, but doesn’t do anything particularly different from previous titles, nor offers much variety in launch content.

Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer Launch - Miami Map

With the passing of time, Treyarch is adding more free DLC to Black Ops Cold War, which has included some remastered multiplayer maps, small gunfight maps, and maps for the oddball “fireteam” mode. Fireteam is rumored to be using a similar strategy in content delivery to Infinity Ward’s “Ground War” mode, using pieces of the much larger Battle Royale map – due to drop in the coming months.

As you can clearly see, Treyarch has a lot of work on their plate – this isn’t including the various bug fixes and optimization for a total of five gaming platforms as well. (PS4, PS4 Pro, PS5, Xbox Series X|S)

Unfortunately, this has shown up clear as day in the newly added “League Play” mode to Black Ops Cold War, which has disappointed many esports fans on launch.

Black Ops Cold War's League Play/Ranked Play start screen

League Play’s Failed Launch

Fast-forwarding to day 1 of the official League Play launch, disaster is possibly the best term. “Playing like the pros” has never felt worse, and core issues with the modes ruleset and ranking were quickly brought to light by the community.

Unfortunately, due to the unrestrictive and outdated nature of the CDL league ruleset, professional players have opted to play on a “Gentlemen’s Agreement” or “GA” system to restrict access to equipment and streaks in-game that are considered to have low competitive integrity.

This list includes the Jammer field upgrade, Molotov lethal, Perks Gearhead & Gung-Ho, and the Wildcard Perk Greed. The full GA list is quite tedious and large, but many players will agree a large portion of the list is acceptable to be banned in competitive play.

At launch, all of these aforementioned items were usable in-game, which transitioned to a mess of an experience, to say the least.

Worst of all, scorestreaks persisted between deaths – which means all players can get powerful scorestreaks at least once with ease, each and every game.

Black Ops Cold War's League Play skill divisions explained

A Horrid Ranking System

The cornerstone of any effective ranked system is a fair and exciting skill rating system that awards players for improving at the game. In Black Ops Cold War, the League Play system feels like it goes against these very principles.

Instead of opting for skill rankings that go up based on overall performance, players are hard-locked into their placement ranks for a set amount of days. These are called “events” and last four days each. Players are put into a division against 49 other players and grind out League Play to fight for the top of their division to take a set amount of gems to advance their rank.

If players place first place in six separate events, they’ll be permanently placed in the top “Diamond” rank for the season. Sound confusing? That’s because it is. The whole system is centered around grinding for more wins than your fellow competitors rather than judging your individual skill. As players progress, the true competition at the top level lies in time played, and not player skill.

Even worse, the placement games seem to be either bugged or just random in nature, with some professional-level players getting placed in Competitor League – the bottom 50% of players.

This system prioritizes quantity over quality and seemingly does not take any player metrics into account besides wins and losses. For a video game with a $25 million esports franchise buy-in, this system crumbles when compared to ELO based systems in games like Blizzard’s Overwatch and Valve’s Counter-Strike.

Simply put: You shouldn’t need a PhD in Call of Duty to understand your League Play rank, and as an individual player you should feel like you’re being judged by your individual skill in-game vs your time played. It should not take several weeks (events) for you to reach a proper rank.

Worst of all, the Black Ops Cold War League Play ranking system is a complete copy/paste of the unpopular Black Ops 4 system, which is even more of a slap in the face to the competitive community.

Black Ops Cold War League Play menu

The Future Of League Play

With all the negative player reception, Treyarch acted fast in order to restore some competitive integrity to the playlist. While overhauling the ranks in just a few days, or even a few weeks is an unrealistic expectation – they did what they could, changing the ruleset.

Just one day after the launch of the mode, Treyarch banned many GA’d items from League Play – including some scorestreaks, weapon attachments, perks, and equipment.

This update is far from making things perfect, but at least it worked as a quick band aid fix for the mode. While debates regarding the ranks were up in the air, games were playable yet again and were not nearly as messy compared to its first day.

Unfortunately, the scorestreaks persisting on death was not removed (and has yet to be removed), so expect games to be filled with RC-XD’s and mid-tier streaks like Napalm Strikes.

This update is most certainly a gesture from Treyarch that they are determined to fix this mode and is supported by Treyarch Studio Design Director David Vonderhaar, who took to Twitter to collect feedback and comment on League Play.

In a response to a tweet regarding the overall ranking system, Vonderhaar replies “Keywords: Scope. Accessibility. Deadlines. Franchise.” perhaps hinting that time was partially to blame for the porting over of the Black Ops 4 League Play system. In addition he states “We got some work to do IMO to evangelize how it works after we clean up some of the obnoxious bugs”.

Vonderhaar also reached out CDL player for Dallas Empire, Crimsix for feedback on the ranking system for League Play as well. It’s unknown if this means he is set on overhauling the League Play system, but this could possibly be good news for the future. If anything – it shows dedication to the hardcore community from a high-up developer at Treyarch.

With Black Ops Cold War still being in the early stages of its year-long Call of Duty cycle, there is still time for the League Play to receive some well-deserved love. Unfortunately, with all the responsibilities piled on Treyarch’s plate, we could be waiting several months for any meaningful change to the core ranking system.

For now, if you’re looking for a “competitive-like” experience, League Play at least accomplishes just that. There still are a few more ruleset tweaks it needs, but after those changes are in place, the ranking system will be the bigger issue in the future for Treyarch.

Image Credits: Treyarch/Activision

Call of Duty League

How to watch $500k CDL Stage 1 Major

The $500k Call of Duty League Season 1 Major is finally here, with all 12 teams in action. Check out the stream, results, schedule, and bracket.



Shotzzy and SlasheR

After weeks of competition in Stage 1 of the 2021 season, the first Call of Duty League Major is underway, and we’ve got all the information you need to catch the $500,000 tournament.

  • CDL Stage 1 Major runs from Wednesday, March 3 to Sunday, March 7.
  • $500,000 prize pool, all 12 teams will feature. Seedings based on Stage 1 results.
  • Seattle Surge and London Royal Ravens eliminated on day one.

Call of Duty League 2021’s Stage 1 is drawing to its epic conclusion, with all 12 teams competing in the $500,000 Major tournament. A new addition to the 2021 format, the double-elimination tournament is the first time we’ve seen knockout action this year, with Seattle Surge and London Royal Ravens already eliminated after the first day of competition.

Day Two sees the start of Winner’s Bracket play, with LA Thieves facing their local rivals LA Guerrillas, while Chicago OpTic square off with New York Subliners.


Just like CDL Home Series events, all the action from this week’s Major will be broadcast on the official Call of Duty League YouTube channel, which is embedded below.

This is also the last chance to earn special Stage 1 rewards by linking your Activision and YouTube accounts.


Day 2: Thursday, March 4

RoundTeamsPSTESTGMTAEDT (Mar. 4)
Winners R1LA Thieves vs LA Guerrillas12:00 PM3:00 PM8:00 PM7:00 AM
Winners R1OpTic Chicago vs New York Subliners1:30 PM4:30 PM9:30 PM8:30 AM
Losers R2Paris Legion vs TBD3:00 PM6:00 PM11:00 PM10:00 AM
Losers R2Minnesota ROKKR vs TBD4:30 PM7:30 PM12:30 AM11:30 AM

Day 3: Friday, March 5

RoundTeamsPSTESTGMTAEDT (Mar. 4)
Winners R2Dallas Empire vs TBD12:00 PM3:00 PM8:00 PM7:00 AM
Winners R2Atlanta FaZe vs TBD1:30 PM4:30 PM9:30 PM8:30 AM
Losers R3TBD vs TBD3:00 PM6:00 PM11:00 PM10:00 AM
Losers R3TBD vs TBD4:30 PM7:30 PM12:30 AM11:30 AM

Day 4: Saturday, March 6

RoundTeamsPSTESTGMTAEDT (Mar. 4)
Losers R4TBD vs TBD12:00 PM3:00 PM8:00 PM7:00 AM
Losers R4TBD vs TBD1:30 PM4:30 PM9:30 PM8:30 AM
Losers R5TBD vs TBD3:00 PM6:00 PM11:00 PM10:00 AM

Day 5: Sunday, March 7

RoundTeamsPSTESTGMTAEDT (Mar. 4)
Winners FinalTBD vs TBD12:00 PM3:00 PM8:00 PM7:00 AM
Losers FinalTBD vs TBD1:30 PM4:30 PM9:30 PM8:30 AM
Grand FinalTBD vs TBD3:00 PM6:00 PM11:00 PM10:00 AM


Day 1: Wednesday, March 3

Losers R1London Royal Ravens 2-3 Toronto UltraTOR 250-142
LRR 6-3
TOR 3-0
LRR (250-202)
TOR 6-4
Losers R1Florida Mutineers 3-1 Seattle SurgeFLA 250-235 (Crossroads)SEA 6-5 (Checkmate)FLA 3-0 (Garrison)FLA 250-157 (Raid)

The Stage 1 Major ended at the first hurdle for the winless London Royal Ravens, who put up a valiant effort in a tightly-contested affair with Toronto Ultra. Dealt another major blow after the loss of Alexx, who returned to the UK to deal with a family emergency, the Ravens pushed the Ultra all the way to Game 5, but fell 6-4 to Ultra on Moscow.

Seattle Surge joined the Ravens in the following match, with Owakening putting on a sublime showing for the Florida Mutineers to give them a series lead in the Control, before a dominant Raid Hardpoint sent them through to the Losers Round 2.

CDL Stage 1 Major brackets

The Call of Duty League used the Stage 1 standings to determine where teams would start in the Major, with Dallas Empire and Atlanta FaZe receiving a bye in the Winner’s Bracket after winning their respective groups.

The bottom six CDL Stage 1 start in the Loser’s Bracket, with Paris Legion and Minnesota ROKKR receiving a pass through to Loser’s Round 2.

CDL Stage 1 Major bracket

Format & Info

  • Location: Online
  • Prize Pool: $500,000
  • Format: Double-elimination bracket
  • Seeding: Determined by Stage 1 standings
  • Maps & Modes:
    • Hardpoint: Checkmate, Crossroads, Garrison, Moscow, Raid
    • Search & Destroy: Checkmate, Garrison, Miami, Moscow, Raid
    • Control: Checkmate, Garrison, Raid
  • Match format: Best-of-five (HP, S&D, Control, HP, S&D)

Prize Pool and CDL Points Breakdown

PlacementTeamPrize ($USD)CDL Points
11-12Seattle Surge$00
11-12London Royal Ravens$00

CDL Stage 1 rosters

All 12 teams will be taking part in the CDL Stage 1 Major, as teams jockey for position in hopes of becoming the Stage 1 Winners, and taking the top prize of $200,000.

Dallas EmpireCrimsix, Shotzzy, Huke, iLLeY
Atlanta FaZeSimp, Cellium, aBeZy, Arcitys
Florida MutineersSkyz, Owakening, Slacked, Neptune
London Royal RavensZed, Dylan. Seany, Zer0
LA ThievesKenny, SlasheR, TJHaly, Temp
OpTic ChicagoScump, FormaL, Envoy, Dashy
Minesotta ROKKRAccuracy, Attach, Priestahh, MajorManiak
LA GuerrillasSiLLY, Assault, Apathy, Vivid
New York SublinersClayster, Asim, Diamondcon, Mack
Paris LegionAquA, Classic, Fire, Skrapz
Seattle SurgeOctane, Gunless, Prestinni, Loony
Toronto UltraMethodz, Bance, Cammy, CleanX
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Call of Duty

Every Call of Duty creator code: Streamers, pros, more

Call of Duty’s Support a Creator program allows players to support their favorite content creators and pros, so here’s every code you can use.



Call of Duty Creator Codes

Activision is enabling fans to support their favorite Call of Duty pro players and content creators with the ‘Support a Creator’ program, so here’s everyone you can support through the Store.

With some of the biggest names in gaming playing and promoting Call of Duty, Activision has launched the ‘Support a Creator’ program. Here, CDL pro players, streamers, and YouTubers receive a cut of the profits made from purchases in the Call of Duty Store.

Across Modern Warfare, Warzone, and Black Ops Cold War, these creators and pros will receive $5 for every 10,000 CoD Points spent with their code inputted.

How to use CoD Support a Creator code

To support your favorite Call of Duty content creator or pro, you need to enter their code in the Store.

black ops cold war support a creator

After purchasing CoD Points, make sure you have inputted one of the creator codes below before purchasing any bundles from the Store.

To select a creator to support:

  1. Launch Modern Warfare, Warzone, or Black Ops Cold War
  2. Navigate to the Store tab
  3. Select “Support a Creator”
  4. Input one of the creator codes below
  5. Purchase a Bundle or Battle Pass with your CoD Points
  6. Your selected creator or pro will now receive a portion of the profits from your purchase

These codes will expire after two weeks, so make sure to double-check you have a code inputted before making a purchase.

And as a reminder, enter these creator codes in all caps.

Twitch and YouTuber creator codes

The Support a Creator program was released in August 2020, and as it continues to develop, more and more creators are receiving codes.

Call of Duty Warzone players deploying

Here are the creator codes for some of the biggest and most recognizable names in Call of Duty:

  • FaZe Swagg: “SWAGG”
  • TimTheTatman: “TIMTHETATMAN”
  • TeeP: “TEEP”
  • Spratt: “SPRATT”
  • Symfuhny: “SYM”
  • NuFo: “NUFO”
  • NoisyButters: “BUTTERS”
  • ShawnJGaming: “SHAWNJ”
  • Vikkstar123: “VIKK”
  • Michi: “MICHI”
  • GoldGloveTV: “GOLDGLOVE”
  • Drfit0r: “DRIFT0R”
  • JackFrags: “JACKFRAGS”
  • MarleyThirteen: “MARLEY”
  • CouRage: “COURAGE”
  • Chaos: “CHAOS”
  • HusKerrs: “HUSKERRS”
  • PrestigeIsKey: “PRESTIGE”
  • KRNG Espresso: “ESPRESSO”
  • Tejbz: “TEJBZ”

Call of Duty League players creator codes

bocw league play

A selection of “all-star” CDL pros have received creator codes. With the program continuing to develop, expect more players to be added as the 2021 Season develops.

Here is a list of the 2020 and 2021 Season’s CDL pro players creator codes:

  • aBeZy: “ABEZY”
  • Apathy: “APATHY”
  • Arcitys: “ARCITYS”
  • Attach: “ATTACH”
  • Blazt: “BLAZT”
  • Crimsix: “CRIM”
  • Cammy: “CAMMY”
  • Cellium: “CELLIUM”
  • Clayser: “CLAY”
  • CleanX: “CLEANX”
  • Dashy: “DASHY”
  • Denz: “DENZ”
  • Enable: “ENABLE”
  • Envoy: “ENVOY”
  • FormaL: “FORMAL”
  • GodRX: “GODRX”
  • Huke: “HUKE”
  • iLLeY: “ILLEY”
  • Kuavo: “KUAVO”
  • Mack: “MACK”
  • Methodz: “METHODZ”
  • Octane: “OCTANE”
  • Scump: “SCUMP”
  • Seany: “SEANY”
  • Shotzzy: “SHOTZZY”
  • SiLLY: “SILLY”
  • Simp: “SIMP”
  • Skrapz: “SKRAPZ”
  • Skyz: “SKYZ”
  • SlasheR: “SLASHER”
  • Vivid: “VIVID”
  • Owakening: “WAKE”
  • Wuskin: “WUSKIN”
  • ZooMaa: “ZOOMAA”

If you have a creator code and aren’t included here, please Tweet us @CharlieINTEL, and we’ll be delighted to add you to this list.

Image Credit: Activision / Zippo / Vikkstar / NICKMERCS

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Call of Duty League

How to get Call of Duty League Stage 1 rewards

You can get in-game rewards such as calling cards and double XP.



CDL Stage 1 rewards

Call of Duty League 2021’s Stage 1 Major event takes place March 3-7 and offers viewers a ton of free in-game items to earn, so here’s how to unlock the CDL Stage 1 viewership rewards.

Following the CDL Kickoff Classic, the Call of Duty League will officially kick off on February 11 with the Opening Weekend hosted by Atlanta FaZe.

With Dallas Empire looking to defend their title, the return of H3CZ’s OpTic, and newcomers LA Thieves looking to prove themselves, it’s shaping up to be a great year for competitive Call of Duty fans.

While watching the narratives of the year unfold, you can also earn free in-game rewards such as calling cards and double XP just for watching. Here’s how to get the CDL Stage 1 rewards.

How to earn CDL Stage 1 rewards

black ops cold war gameplay

To earn the free in-game rewards for the CDL launch weekend, you must have an Activision account. If you don’t have one already, you can create one on by heading to ‘register’ in the right-hand corner.

Link CoD account to YouTube

Rewards are earned by watching CDL Stage 1 through a YouTube account linked to Call of Duty.

To link your account on PC and mobile:

  1. Open or the YouTube app
  2. Select your profile photo and hit ‘settings’
  3. Click on ‘Connected Apps’
  4. Locate ‘Activision’ and hit ‘connect’
  5. Sign in to your Activision account

While signed in with your linked YouTube account, watch CDL matches on YouTube,, or the COD companion app to earn the rewards.

CDL Stage 1 Major in-game rewards

CDL viewership rewards

And as you watch matches throughout Stage 1, you’ll earn Double XP and Double Weapon XP tokens to redeem for Black Ops Cold War and Warzone.

For watching at least three hours of the Stage 1 Major in the first week of March, you can earn three competitive CoD themed calling cards and an emblem. With these, you can channel your inner Cellium by rocking the ‘Snaked’ calling card and taunt your opponents with the ‘salty’ emblem.

Image Credit: Activision

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