That was just the beginning for Warzone esports, according to Activision’s Head of Leagues Johanna Faries.
“We’ve taken a lot of the time in the off-season to think about, what does the next-level proposition for Warzone look like for CDL and the broader Call of Duty esports community?” Fairies said. “In the next few months, I think we will have exciting things to share around what that means for us and what fans can look forward to, not just in 2021, but beyond. We’re really, really happy to think that CDL is stretching entrepreneurially into the Warzone conversation in ways that I think will be quite exciting.”
The CDL is preparing for its second season, following a debut marked by a global pandemic and myriad technical issues as the league quickly transitioned to an all-virtual format. Throughout 2020, pro games were marred by server issues, dropped players and rushed substitutions, even stretching into the Championship weekend.
Take the London Home Series finals between the Dallas Empire and Paris Legion in July as an example: Teams were able to test and veto certain servers beforehand, but the only available sources were in California, Texas or Illinois. The teams ended up playing on Texas servers, lending a clear potential advantage to the Dallas team in terms of latency. Dallas Empire won that series, but even team star James “Clayster” Eubanks called it “so unfair.”
Hey, we won, so I can’t get roasted for being salty, but it’s completely unfair that the server selections vs Paris are CA, TX, and IL. We veto CA ’cause they’re 4 CA, they veto IL because it’s the furthest away from all of them, and they’re stuck playing on a TX host. So unfair.
— NYSL Clayster (@Clayster) July 19, 2020
Faries didn’t get into details about server locations or speeds, but she said the league is working closely with teams to build a more robust ecosystem for the 2021 season. It all officially begins on February 11th, but first there’s the Kickoff Classic on January 23rd and 24th, featuring six fan-voted, preseason matches among top teams.
“There’s been a considerable increase in server support,” Faries said. “And again, I think a good work-plan flow, if you will, on everybody knowing where the servers are, what the contingency plans look like should something happen midstream. All signs point to being very ready for that.”