Looking Back at Black Ops 2's League Play: Season One

Looking Back at Black Ops 2's League Play: Season One

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The start of the new year officially drew Call of Duty: Black Ops 2's first season of League Play to a close. We look back after a solid month.

Another problem is that skill-based match making disallows players joining mid-match, even to fill out unbalanced teams. This season showed numerous instances of players quitting games only to doom their remaining teammates to an uneven loss. In these cases, what was arranged for fairness was kept unfair because of the system’s inability to react. While I was never on the opposite side, I can imagine those other players being justifiably frustrated at their loss. Against such odds, there is little hope of saving lost points or being anything less than accountable for match-droppers.

On the opposite side of the rankings coin, once you have a decent lead on other players, it is extremely easy to hold and widen, giving top-spot players a big advantage in the standings. The system is designed so that earning points is easier than losing them, so given a couple wins in the #1 spot, losing no longer mattered. With the weekly bonus, a win would give reward 270 points when even the worst loss would cost -170. By the end, I had a 1500 point lead and, short of losing 10 matches in a row, losing my spot was not going to happen. Even in climbing the ranks, getting into the top five came down to a little more than a winning a match or two a day.

The biggest problem facing League Play is the amount of participating players. Even when there are half a million people playing multiplayer, it is rare to see more than several thousand playing league. While it is strangely neat to see familiar faces over the course of a month, the lack of uptake is a concern if the mode is to have legs. Treyarch could and should be doing more to encourage players to take part. It is no exaggeration to say that League Play is one of the best additions to multiplayer since the original Modern Warfare. It breathes new life into a pastime that began to stagnate even before the original Black Ops.

Rounding out these issues is that players earned nothing for taking part. No new player card, no special emblem, not even a mention on the combat record. It is baffling that in a game so predicated on persistence that Treyarch failed to include any at all in League Play. Playing league is fun and even exhilarating, but it begs the question: what exactly is the point? That the developer remained tight lipped throughout the season was an indicator that players should be concerned; however, when a studio with such resources ignores something so obvious and key to the franchise as persistence, it can be seen as nothing less than dropping the ball.

After Season One concluded, the multiplayer MOTD informed players that Treyarch had listened to their feedback and planned to continue development and improve the game mode. While I was personally never asked for any feedback, I am glad to hear that they listened to someone. League Play is filled with promise. I can easily chalk these hiccups up to a new pillar finding its legs. If they want the mode to thrive rather than exist in squalor, that extra development must occur and soon. Call of Duty-players are not known for being adventurous or forgiving.

If you have not tried it yet, jump in for Season Two. Push through the meat grinder that is the five placement matches and duke it out with players at your own level. It is rewarding and addicting in a way you simply do not find in normal multiplayer.