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How Black Ops 4 is handling the return of serious competitive play

Ranked COD is getting a huge upgrade with the new World League Hub

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - soldiers behind barricade in Blackout mode Activision
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

When Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was first announced, one of the standout features that developer Treyarch announced was the return of League Play, a popular competitive feature from Black Ops 2.

League Play doesn’t have much of an analogue in traditional console shooters; instead it finds its roots in more competitively-focused PC games like League of Legends or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The return of a more focused ranked mode in Black Ops 4 was a sign of Treyarch’s bigger plan to create a competitive ecosystem that exists entirely inside Black Ops 4 called the World League Hub.

Though the World League Hub won’t launch until December, Treyarch has already announced some of the competitive features that it will include, from the game modes and events players can participate in themselves, to professional matches that anyone can spectate.

The largest of these modes is called the Pro Series. The Pro Series is an in-game playlist that features the same rules as the Call of Duty World League. From the maps to team set ups to game types, everything about this playlist will mirror what pros are playing. From here, players can create teams and have competitive scrimmage matches to practice against other similar teams. All to prepare for weekend events that will grant in-game prizes.


For players interested in more consistent ranked experience there are going to be new League Play Events, which will make up the bulk of the game’s competitive infrastructure. Instead of the old system, which placed players on a ladder allowing them to climb or drop in rank over a long period of time, Black Ops 4 will feature three-day limited events for League Play — these events will likely happen once or twice a week. After your first match in the system, you’ll be placed in a ladder and you’ll play other players of similar skill ratings either in Solo Ladder or with friends on the Team Ladder. These events will award players points for winning and deduct points from players for losing all with the goal of ending the event in first place on your ladder.

For players that are interested in something with a bit less pressure than League Play, a new event called Gauntlets is also coming to Black Ops 4. Gauntlets will be limited-run events that will task players with getting a certain number of wins before they reach a certain number of losses. Each loss is a strike and after a certain number of strikes, you’ll have to restart the process. Each of these Gauntlet events will also grant an in-game reward for players that reach a certain number of wins.

All of these new competitive features will also work alongside Black Ops 4’s clan feature which will let players gather up to 100 friends in a social setting. Within these clans, players can form teams of up to seven players that they can compete in World League Hub events with. Each player can be a part of up to three teams so there’s no need to worry about locking yourself into just one group. The clans feature will also act as a social hub for friends who want to play together across any of Black Ops 4’s various modes, like Blackout and Zombies.

The World League Hub is set to release for Black Ops 4 sometime in December to go along with the start of the Call of Duty World League Series, which players will also be able to watch from inside the Hub. While this isn’t the first time that a Call of Duty has featured a ranked mode, the World League Hub looks to make competitive games modes a central part of the series for the first time ever.

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