Fans and professional players alike were overjoyed when the details of MLG Vegas, the first $100,000 tournament of the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare season, were finally released.
What the EU and APAC regions weren't prepared for was the news that it would be an NA only event.
Following the announcement of MLG Vegas, the first EU regional event of Infinite Warfare was revealed, Insomnia59. While Insomnia have held dozens of CoD LANs over the years, this event's prize pool sits just over $3,700, leaving EU pros less than impressed.
During the Infinite Warfare reveal in late October, it was explained that this year's Call of Duty World League would see both global and regional events, similarly to last year. However, MLG referred to Vegas in their announcement as the "kick-off" event to the 2017 CWL season, which has left some EU pros confused as to why they were left off the invite list.
The EU pros seem to be concerned about not only the current financial gap between events, but how this could also broaden the divide between the NA and EU regions once again.
"It's disappointing after such strong performances in America by EU teams last season," Orbit EU's Joe "Joee" Pinnington told theScore esports. "I would have really liked to get out there again and prove that it wasn't just lucky results and [that the] EU has finally 'caught up' with American teams."
In September, the EU region launched themselves into the spotlight when FAB Games eSports and Splyce claimed two of the top four placings at the Call of Duty World League Championship. Considering that the CWL was just introduced last year, it seemed like Activision had finally made the right strides to close the regional gap, as this was the first year of Champs that non-NA teams placed in the top four.
Previous years of competitive CoD saw few events where the different regions could compete against each other, which left EU teams at a disadvantage as NA have historically been the stronger region. The CWL, however, gave the different regions more opportunities to experience each other's playstyles and learn from each other.
"When we look at the Call of Duty World League, the goal here is to find the best players regardless of where they're at, or where they sit or live and find them and be able to give them a platform and a stage where they can shine," Jay Puryear, Treyarch's director of brand development, told theScore esports in October.
"You've got NA in the EU and the EU in the NA, and they're all playing one another," Puryear continued. "I think it's really helped overall the competition and the players skill levels by being able to play a lot of these teams more than they have in the past."
Given the emphasis on how beneficial international competition has been for the different regions, it was surprising that the CWL kick-off would be NA only. theScore esports reached out to MLG for comment on why Vegas was an NA only event, but were told they could not discuss the details due to upcoming events that have yet to be announced.
Despite the region's overall reaction to MLG Vegas, EU caster Alan "Bricey" Brice understood the reasoning behind its exclusivity and urged players to be patient.
"When you look at the raw numbers of [$100,000] to [$3,700], it's easy to see why they would be upset," Bricey told theScore esports. "However, the key thing here and what the players have come to realize is that MLG Vegas and [Insomnia59] are two very different things.
"MLG Vegas is the start of the CWL season and [Insomnia59] isn't even a CWL event, [which] means that a major tournament for the CWL in Europe should be on the horizon, it just hasn't been announced yet. When it does this will all be forgotten.”
Olivia Da Silva is a news editor at theScore esports. She likes piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and dank no-scopes. You're eligible for free high fives if you follow her on Twitter.