The Call of Duty League's Launch Weekend was full of upsets, surprises, and high intensity action that gamers have come to expect from Activision Blizzard. Joining Overwatch this year with the decision to franchise its teams, many fans did not know how successful the launch would be.
A lot of hype has been building for this event and it certainly did not disappoint. Several long-awaited matchups featured story lines and rivalries that had been building for years. Fans saw players from the old OpTic battle the new OpTic, former teammates duel as a result of the off-season "rostermania," and an absolute beat-down in the weekend's Marquee Matchup.
Launch Weekend had it all; featuring dominance from both the Atlanta FaZe (2-0) and the Chicago Huntsmen (2-0), surprise upsets from the Paris Legion (2-0) and Minnesota Rokkr (2-0), and even a few tough losses from the highly anticipated Dallas Empire (0-2). Fans watched the weekend's events unfold on the official Call of Duty League livestream, shown exclusively on YouTube. There was no shortage of drama as Patrick "ACHES" Price's LA Guerrillas lost their first match 3-1 to the hometown Minnesota Rokkr, after having to forfeit the second game when their use of an ineligible perk came to light. The Guerrillas voiced their frustrations with an official statement on Twitter after the match.
To nobody's surprise, many stars showed up well-practiced and ready to go. From Seth "Scump" Abner, also nicknamed "The King of CoD," to Chris "Simp" Lehr. These big time players repeatedly made big time plays. A fan favorite, the sniper rifle, also made several appearances during Search and Destroy games, which added to the drama and excitement of each match.
With high powered professionals like Gary Vaynerchuk and Hector "HECZ" Rodriguez behind the scenes, expectations were high for the CDL's Launch Weekend, both in quality and excitement. There was no shortage of high pressure moments and incredible plays, coupled with a vast improvement in broadcast quality compared to years past. It was apparent which teams had put in the hours and what game modes they practiced as close Search and Destroy games were few and far between. The livestream peaked at around 100,000 viewers while the Huntsmen were playing, then faded to roughly 50,000 concurrent viewers for the remainder of the weekend. Although lower than years past, the hype is only beginning. As the more familiar bracket style play resumes on February 8th in London, viewership and fandom should continue to grow.
As the league's Launch Weekend wraps up, a bright future lay ahead for fans of the popular esports shooter. Despite some room for improvement, fans were greeted with an exciting first impression and should be ready for many more intense moments in the coming weeks. Looking ahead to London, it will be interesting to see who can stay on top, who can bounce back, and who will fall to the bottom of the pack.
Source: Call of Duty League
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