Examining Call of Duty World League's controversial decisions

OpTic Gaming, from left to right: Matthew "FormaL" Piper, Damon "Karma" Barlow, Ian "Crimsix" Porter, and Seth "Scump" Abner Rico Mejia

Following yet another battle plagued with lag, OpTic Gaming fell to Luminosity 3-1 on Tuesday, June 28. Denied a replay by an admin, Damon "Karma" Barlow and Ian "Crimsix" Porter had enough, taking to social media to express their frustrations.

Complaining on social media, however, is a violation of the Call of Duty World League's policy. So it came as no surprise on July 1 when both Karma and Crimsix announced they would be fined by the CWL and suspended for the next game. However, the CWL has yet to make a formal announcement in regards to the suspensions.

At the time of the announcement, OpTic Gaming was set to face off against Dream Team, which has struggled and sits in eighth place. With no substitutes available, OpTic Gaming was unable to replace either suspended player, leaving Dream Team to claim a 3-0 forfeit victory.

On July 2, a separate announcement made on Reddit by a representative of Activision, the creator of Call of Duty, the CWL has opted to reschedule Week 12 to "enhance the competitive spirit of what will be the most important day of competition before Stage 2 playoffs."

This means that matchups and schedules will be switched up just before playoffs this week.

While the schedule change had reportedly been in the works for weeks, the timing of the announcement couldn't have been any worse. On the surface, the decision to alter the schedule makes sense. With a climactic battle for the final spot in the playoffs hanging in the air, and with matches that could drastically alter the final seeding, the move to put the best games on "prime time" is a brilliant way to ensure quality competition from both teams. After all, the CWL reserves the right to flex any game to the "main event" and has done so throughout the season.

However, a schedule change like this can happen only if each team's situation stays the same from one game to the next, something that would not be the case for OpTic Gaming and its prospective opponents in Week 12. This is how a move to "enhance the competitive spirit" suddenly becomes a move that determines who makes the playoffs, something only the players should have the ability to control.

On top of that, this decision has implications beyond playoff positioning. CWL Stage 1 and 2 awards each team championship points based on their seeding within the stage playoffs. Those points in turn decide which teams will directly qualify for the 2016 Call of Duty World League Championship in September. For a player like Dream Team's Adam "Killa" Sloss, the ramifications of the scheduling change have forced him to question whether he intends to continue his Call of Duty career.

The idea to change the schedule in order to create a climactic simulcast battle determining the entire seeding of Stage 2 will likely make for a compelling end to the regular season. But the timing of both announcements is yet another stumble for Activision.