Joe Griffin looks at the possibility of cross-region rosters in competitive Call of Duty in the future.
It is that time of year again. The off season is upon us and after an enthralling year of Call of Duty, the excitement continues as rostermania is in full flow.
However, this rostermania could see a huge change in the way we look at competitive Call of Duty and may come as a shock to many members of the community.
Back in April of this year Irish Pro Player, Jurd, was in conversation on Twitter voicing his struggles in acquiring a North American visa to play for an NA team. This is when Head of League Ops at MLG, Adam Apicella, stepped in and stated the following:
Not truly accurate. You have to declare a region at the start of the season after which you are locked in for the remainder of the season to that region. That said, definitely looking into more agile rules for next gear as we assess feedback
— Adam Apicella (@MrAdamAp) April 29, 2018
Various organisation owners/managers, including Marty Strenczewilk of Splyce, have publicly tweeted recently looking for players of all regions. Marty stated: "If you're a top player, you're on the radar of Splyce, regardless of region."
This is great news for Call of Duty fans worldwide as we will very possibly be seeing our favourite European and North American players competing on the same teams in the near future.
For Call of Duty pros worldwide, wanted to make it clear we are going to build the best team IN THE WORLD
If you’re a top player, you’re on the radar of Splyce, regardless of region. DM’s are open
Our infrastructure next year will be second to none.
— That guy Marty from Splyce (@Lazerchickenzzz) August 29, 2018
But what could this mean for European Call of Duty? With North America dominating the CoD scene for many years, a big NA player moving to a top EU team could attract a greater fanbase towards European CoD, seeing the popularity of teams like Splyce and Red Reserve grow not only in Europe but in North America too.
To see how far European CoD has come is quite astounding. With big NA orgs after EU players, the future can only become brighter as we approach the new season. Could we see a mixture of nationalities on that main stage competing for the titles and European CoD on par with North America?
In the past, there have been instances where a European pro has played on a North American team and vice versa. One example being the famous English veteran, Swanny, who had a short stint with OpTic Nation playing alongside the likes of Proofy, TeePee and Karma.
With the ever-increasing amounts of money involved in Call of Duty and a lift on region restrictions this year, cross-region rosters could soon become the norm as team houses are available, players are paid hefty salaries and opportunities to succeed abroad are there for the taking.
"With the ever-increasing amounts of money involved in Call of Duty and a lift on region restrictions this year, cross-region rosters could soon become the norm."
Of course for a player to join a team of a different region it is a huge commitment as they will be leaving friends and family behind to pursue their dreams elsewhere. But as Call of Duty esports is advancing, the players should be willing to travel to achieve success and take note from other esports like CSGO and Overwatch, with a variety of nationalities in their rosters. Language barriers could be overcome with plenty of bonding and practicing within the team.
Earlier in the season, Red Reserve player and fan favourite, Skrapz, was reportedly linked with a move to NA giants, Team Envyus, but the deal fell through due to unknown circumstances. He has also been keen to get involved with former pro Nadeshot's 100Thieves roster, which is making a return to Call of Duty next year. However, Esports News UK understands he's signed a deal with Red Reserve for next season.
Many members of the CoD community, including the players, have felt as though they have been left in the dark over situations regarding rosters in previous years. Back when roster changes were taking place within Splyce, European veteran Tommey tweeted:
Glad I've got no idea what's happening with all the roster changes. Saves all of the stress from snakey business and pettiness.
Going to sit back and see what happens. If nothing comes of it, so be it.
— Tommey (@Tommey) April 29, 2018
Many other pro players have expressed their opinion on social media, and with a lift on various restrictions, we may well see greater transparency between players and organisations in future negotiations.
As cross-region rosters undoubtedly become an increasing possibility this year, we should expect many surprises in the coming months. With the Splyce team already beginning to disband and Team Kaliber dropping their roster, the door is open for players and organisations worldwide to form their desired teams ready for the much-anticipated release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
The community could well be in for some shocks by the time we get to the first event of the year, but don't be surprised if you hear a strong Mancunian accent calling out to a Canadian during a main stage listen-in!