The Call of Duty World League 2017 will officially be a LAN league taking place at MLG Arena in Columbus, Ohio, according to an announcement made during the PlayStation Experience Invitational Saturday. It will feature a $4 million prize pool.
Referred to as the CWL Global Pro LAN League, the competitive season will feature nine NA teams, six EU teams and one APAC team, with Stage 1 set to start in April 2017.
The announcement also included information about two confirmed LAN events on the horizon, the CWL Atlanta Open and the CWL Anaheim Open. CWL Atlanta will run from Feb. 10-12, while the Anaheim event will take place between June 16-18. Both events will be open to all three regions: NA, EU and APAC.
Teams will earn a chance to compete in the Global Pro LAN League by earning CWL Pro Points, which will be obtainable through open ladders and tournaments taking place on Gamebattles, as well as the aforementioned LAN events. The free open ladders start on Dec. 7, while Pro Point tournaments will start on Dec. 11. The 16 teams with the highest number of pro points across the three regions will then compete in the Global Pro LAN League.
Jay Puryear, the director of brand development in esports at Treyarch, also said that the Call of Duty World Championship will be returning in the fall. He said that all 16 teams who make it to Stage 2 of the 2017 season will automatically earn a spot at Champs.
Puryear also hinted at future LAN events that have yet to be officially announced, and said that there were plans to “nail down” events set to take place in the EU and APAC regions.
On the development side of the announcement, Infinity Ward's community manager Ashton Williams said that the weapon draft has been removed from CWL competitive play. The weapon draft restricted each player to two primary weapons and prevented players on the same team from using duplicate primary weapons, which received a large amount of backlash from casual and pro players alike.
“At this stage, we really want players to pick the best weapon that’s going to lead them to success in the matches, lead their team to victory,” Williams said. “So with that we have decided to remove the weapon draft and only focus on rig draft going into the season.”
Williams also said that the rig draft has been reduced to 30 seconds, which will allow for matches to start faster. She went on to say that the spawns have been adjusted for Hardpoint play on Precinct so the teams would have “more of an even playing field right at the start”.
Uplink was also tweaked on Throwback, Retaliation and Frost to adjust the uplink goals and bomb sites. Williams said that these changes will soon be in effect for both casual and competitive players. She also said that the Infinity Ward team took feedback from pro players along with the rest of the community into consideration for these changes.
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.