How will CoD Vanguard Affect The Esports Scene?

Every year like clockwork, we’re treated to a new edition of the Call of Duty series. However, since Warzone was introduced, there hasn’t been as much interest in the single-player campaigns or their multiplayer modes, because everyone is still riding the Battle Royale hype.

Warzone has been one of the biggest successes in recent years for the Call of Duty franchise, doing well with both critics who reviewed the game and fans alike. So it was always going to be difficult for another game to come and replace it, especially when it has attracted over 100 million players since its launch.

That didn’t slow down or even stop the production of another Call of Duty game though, and so Vanguard was released back in September 2021. Set in the midst of World War II, Call of Duty: Vanguard takes place at various points of time, starting in August 1941, right through to the end of the war in 1945. Although it tells the tale of what is going on a little confusingly in a non-linear order, meaning there are jumps in time back and forth.

You can check out the reveal trailer for the game below:

There are a whole host of new gameplay features that Vanguard introduces such as allowing the player to blind fire from behind cover, as well as making the environment more destructible than ever before.

Allowing players to destroy walls and buildings in order to forge new paths to reach their objectives. We cover more about these features and other new inclusions in our article here if you care to read more about them.

How does Vanguard impact Call of Duty esports?

After receiving mixed reviews following its release, the future of Call of Duty esports has been brought into question for some. With the expansion into Battle Royale with Warzone, and such a large audience still playing it, the push to get players to switch to Vanguard multiplayer is failing somewhat.

That’s because usually, when a new Call of Duty game is released, everyone jumps from one title to the next. And it has been the same for such a long time. Sure, there have been a few titles such as Call of Duty 4 that lead the way for many years as the premier version that would see it as the core title for the competitive scene, but with games adapting and changing each year, and esports becoming a growing trend, each game seemed to get its own scene to replace the previous, much like sports games such as EA Sports’ FIFA series.

However, in 2022, the main competitive scene for Call of Duty players, the Call of Duty League, will be split between Vanguard and Warzone. Vanguard will be the main feature of the tournament, in which 12 teams will play four regular season majors on a hybrid LAN/online model. Although that could change depending on how developments around COVID-19 progress.

Each of the majors will feature a variety of game modes, which will be Hardpoint, Search and Destroy and Control. Meaning that there will be no Team Deathmatch mode, which is popular amongst fans. But that’s where Warzone covers the gaps left by Vanguard, because the whole idea is to kill everyone else on the map, so you or your squad, if playing as a team, are the last one standing.

Locations of the four majors aren’t fully revealed as yet, although OpTic Texas are going to announce the first one. It’s likely that with avenues opening up in New York, that could be a location for one of the other majors, especially as they have legalised sports betting in the State recently. Which means there are opportunities for tournament organisers to increase revenues for the esport by taking the event there. 

In fact, DraftKings NY Sportsbook app will have betting lines for Fantasy Call of Duty and bonuses up to $500. So there is already a lot of focus on the Call of Duty esports scene in the area, and that interest only looks to grow.

It’s not quite at the stage of where traditional sports betting is right now, but with the growth of esports, it won’t be long before it catches up. Especially if we enter further lockdowns or face more restrictions due to COVID-19 that would see traditional sports halted. Because esports has the advantage of being able to operate purely online in order to keep people isolated and safe.

Back to the event itself, we’ve discussed how Vanguard’s core content is planned out, but what about the inclusion of Warzone? Well, for the first time in Call of Duty League history, there is going to be a Pro-Am tournament, in which professional esports stars, streamers and other influencers will team up with celebrities, including a Call of Duty: Warzone event.

When does it all kick off?

To get the Call of Duty League started this year, there will be an introductory tournament, the 2022 Kickoff Classic presented by Zenni Gaming. This takes place from January 21st-23rd, and will feature all 12 teams to feature in the Call of Duty League. It will be a LAN tournament as long as restrictions permit, and will take place in front of a live audience at the Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Once that gets everyone’s juices flowing, the official 2022 Call of Duty League season will begin on the weekend of February 4th-6th. These matches will solely take place online and be streamed to those who wish to watch it, which may seem a strange decision considering the warm-up tournament will be competed over LAN in front of live crowds. It will only be then that we see how well Vanguard does in the esports world, as pro players finally get to grips with the game and compete against the best players in the world.

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