In a series of tweets late last night star player Seth “Scump” Abner expressed his frustration at the Call of Duty League and their control over players voicing their opinions. It started with frustration over the lack of a ranked play feature in Call of Duty games at release, with the player stating “it should be a staple, but it gets ignored.”
Lead Treyarch designer David Vonderhaar responded saying his team was working as hard as possible to get the mode working as soon as possible and to give them time and support. It’s worth noting that very few games, COD or other, ever launch with a ranked play feature as it takes some time for developers to iron out the rules and fix any bugs based on post-launch data.
This interaction appeared to be the end of the situation, however soon after Scump started replying to tweets with annoyance of how the CDL handles situations such as this, stating that he and other players are “censored” and unable to express their opinions on the game without risking receiving a fine from the CDL.
The revelations soon became more unbelievable when the player disclosed that he was fined earlier in the year, during the COD esports off-season, for doing a sponsored stream on a game other than Call of Duty.
The level of control the CDL appears to have over the players in their league is enormous and many would say ridiculous, a sentiment which is clearly shared by Scump in this case. For the organiser of the game’s competitive scene to have such strict restrictions on players sets a dangerous precedent and may even result in driving many of the popular professional players away from the scene.
It has been suggested in the past that Scump could make more money and be more successful than he already is by moving away from competing in Call of Duty and instead focusing on the content creation side, including streaming and making regular videos. This strategy has proven incredibly beneficial for many personalities, with ex-pros such as Nadeshot able to branch out and develop powerful brands in esports.
These restrictions imposed by the CDL are also disturbing and potentially harmful for the scene for another reason. Scump also mentioned that he and other players could potentially be fined for giving negative feedback about the game, even if their intention is for that feedback to be used to improve the game for players and viewers. Exercising such a level of control that players feel they are unable to express their opinions about aspects of the current game may well lead to the professionals feeling disenfranchised, and could even result in them deciding to move on and focus solely on their own brand.
As a player and personality who has and continues to drive the competitive Call of Duty scene forward, it’s disparaging for fans to see Scump, along with other players, feel frustrated with the CDL over it’s handling of these situations. No one in the scene wants to see a legendary player retire from competing as a result of feeling pushed out by the restrictions of the league they’re a part of so fans will be hoping this situation is not repeated in the future.
For a more in-depth breakdown of the situation, see TacticalRab’s video: