After two seasons of play and MLG’s premiere event right around the corner, the MLG Pro League stands with the praise, and against criticism after its second go-around. For many, the Pro League is a step in the right direction for professional gaming and Call of Duty eSports. On the other side, there are some who believe that the Pro League creates issues in many different areas of competitive Call of Duty. It is difficult to argue against that point that the Pro League is one of Major League Gaming’s best assets when referring to their Call of Duty product. In its simplest form, the Pro League exists as a way for Call of Duty streams to become more competitive with teams having a common goal in mind.
In Season One of the Pro League, we saw ten of the best Call of Duty teams competing in online matches in hopes of maintaining a high seed for the Season One Championship. Season One eventually came to an end at PAX East when team compLexity Gaming, now known as Evil Geniuses, won the Season One Championship. Prior to Season Two’s commencement, the entire Call of Duty professional scene experienced some extreme roster overhauls. With the exception of Complexity, nearly every team’s lineup was altered in some way due to an official roster lock that would take place leading into Season Two. Whilst all of Season Two’s teams were in search of satisfaction within their rosters, adjustments to the format of the Pro League were made accordingly. After all changes and adjustments were made, MLG were ready to begin Season Two, which would lead up to MLG Championship Anaheim. This time around it would be twelve teams going up against one-another in a similar format as before. In this instance, the top eight best records from the season two teams would be granted a position in the Championship Bracket at MLG Anaheim. The other four teams who place outside of the top eight would be forced to play their way through the open bracket at MLG Anaheim. This decision by MLG effectively surrounded the Pro League with that much more importance than in Season One.
Criticism was expected, and almost encouraged for both Seasons One and Two of the Pro League. MLG is clearly doing their best to create a legitimate league for professional Call of Duty teams to compete in. The roster lock forces teams to work through their personal and professional issues. Having teams earn their position in the Championship Bracket at a major event makes streams entertaining, and the competition itself even more vicious than it would be otherwise. As in any other sport, some form of a regular season is necessary to create a consistent flow of content and competitive matches. A drawback for competitive gaming in its current form is that fans are made to wait until major tournaments to see their favorite teams play for something that is realistically important. The MLG Pro League attempts to correct this unfortunate circumstance by having the best professional teams play each other on a nightly basis. One of the biggest outcomes of the Pro League is that the open bracket teams are granted an opportunity to qualify for the Championship Bracket at the MLG Anaheim event. The four open bracket teams that make it to the Championship Bracket will be placed into Season Three of the Pro League. Clearly MLG is working out the kinks, and creating an official league for competitive Call of Duty is easier said, than done.
With all the positives that surround the Pro League, along with those come the negatives. One of the most notable complaints among the competitive Call of Duty community is the fact that the Pro League is conducted in an online-only format. Players tend to feel that playing their matches online creates inconsistencies in results. Internet connections are often awarded when they are strong, and punished when they are not. If there is one aspect of Call of Duty: Ghosts that has been made clear, it is that the host advantage is powerful. Unfortunately for these players, this is unavoidable as online is the only viable option for the Pro League. Another negative that comes to mind deals with the situation between VexX Gaming and Team Kaliber. Going into the MLG X Games Invitational, these two teams were neck-and-neck in the standings for the MLG Pro League. VexX and Team Kaliber were both in position to potentially clinch and Championship Bracket seed at MLG Anaheim. VexX Gaming were the victims of circumstance as the schedule for the remainder of the season pitted Team Kaliber against Strictly Business, JusTus, and Curse Orange respectively. The unfortunate part for VexX was that the three aforementioned teams were already eliminated from Championship Bracket contention going into the last few days of Season Two. With essentially nothing to play for; Team JusTus, Curse Orange, and Strictly Business forfeited their matches to Team Kaliber, and tK were able to take the eighth spot at MLG Anaheim over VexX Gaming. The players for VexX Gaming were unhappy to say the least. One would imagine MLG will have to eventually address issues like this in the future. In their defense, not much could be done on MLG’s end to rectify this dispute between VexX Gaming and Team Kaliber. Both teams played well throughout the season, and VexX could very well have earned the eighth seed had Team Kaliber been scheduled against teams other than the three that could not qualify. Now VexX Gaming is put into a situation where they are forced to play through the gauntlet that is the open bracket, with the hopes of grabbing one of four Championship Bracket positions.
The MLG Pro League is a working process, and the powers that be will likely do their best to correct what went wrong during Season Two. In terms of the VexX Gaming and Team Kaliber situation, a possible schedule rework could be possible to give a team that may be put in a similar situation as VexX a better chance to qualify. In other words, if a team has no chance of qualifying, eliminate them from the schedule and come up with all new matches. The internet issue is another major concern, and the solution is really unclear at this point. With MLG Anaheim coming up and Season Two at its end, what did you think of Season Two’s format? In what ways do you think Major League Gaming can adjust it to make it better for the viewers, and the players alike?
MLG Anaheim will be held at The Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California from June 20-22.
Published on 17. Jun 2014
- Written by Matt "CRUM" Pryor - @TPC_CRUM
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