The stage is set, and the players are ready, so let the games begin! We had the privilege of attending the Call of Duty World League Dallas Open this year, and it was certainly a sight to see! The teams came from all around the country to compete in this tournament, and their competitive juices were flowing the whole weekend.
The season kicked off in Dallas last weekend. Pro players competed at CWL Dallas for a prize pool of $200,000 and 25,000 CWL Pro Points, while this season’s overall prize pool will be $4.2 million – the largest in Call of Duty eSports history.
Hundreds of gamers and non gamers alike packed the Kay Bailey Hutchison convention center for an uncharacteristically cold Dallas winter weekend, and they weren’t disappointed with the competition presented.
The official games were presented at the front of the convention center, with the teams themselves sitting on a stage with three large screens above the games displaying gameplay views of different players. In addition, live commentary came from the back of the center by several commentators, most memorably the hilarious Jack Dunlop. Thy were well versed in gaming and provided insightful observations of the action as it occurred.
In addition to the gaming occurring on the big stage there were plenty of other stations to see, like the smaller open bracket playing of the more amateur players, and Sony had a station dedicated to demoing their new Virtual Reality rig, also known as Project Morpheus.
There we were able to play short demos of three new games that made great use of the VR technology and transformed the way those games would be played. What’s more, even with the headset and close exposure of the screen to my eyes, I never felt any eye pain or headaches during or after playing, so it should be an enjoyable experience for all.
Going into the tournament, the heavy favorite was several time champion Optic Gaming, and they were predicted to win as several event-goers shared with us. However, we thought it would be nice for a change, and to see a new team take the gold.
When it came to the winner’s bracket finals, Optic Gaming played a good game but got eliminated and was sent down to the losers bracket, leaving Team Kailber the winner of the winners bracket, and move on to the Grand Final. Optic Gaming still had a chance to redeem themselves but shockingly were eliminated in a sweep by European team Splyce, who went on to fall to Team Kaliber as well. This left Team Kaliber their first Grand Final victory in history, an especially triumphant win after coming up short in four previous appearances in a Grand Final.
It was a tough competition and these players have a die hard dedication to their team and the game. I give my utmost respect to these players for their time and sportsmanship. Many of the players in their early 20’s and I’m truly impressed and what I saw when the odds are on the table.
The convention center also had a great size to it, so even with the packed nature of the gathering it never felt short on space, or suffocating. There were plenty of seats to take if you needed to sit down, and plenty of room to walk around in despite the high attendance.
The thrilling finish of Optic Gaming being upset by Team Kaliber was only the cherry on top of a great weekend, and a surely great rivalry should form for the championships to come.