Post by KostaAndreadis @ 05:03pm 11/04/16 | 1 Comments
This past weekend the lavish Palms Showroom at Crown Melbourne was the setting for the ANZ Challenge Division of the Call of Duty World League. Presented by PS4. And sponsored by the funny to say (and tasty to eat) Schnitz. With recent North American and European Stage 1 winners OpTic Gaming and Millenium both scheduled to take part in the competition alongside local teams the stage was set for whatever the Call of Duty equivalent of ‘action’ is to take place. Which is probably, ‘action’.
Search & Destroy is the mode most played in competitive events
Anyway let’s break any façade of yours truly being up to speed with the competitive side of Call of Duty: Black Ops III before this weekend’s showcase. That’s not to say that the name conjured up an imaginary phone call between a jewel thief called Duty and his friend Johnny “Ops” in a fictional movie of the same name. Like many of you, Call of Duty multiplayer has been an integral part of winding down after a busy work or school day. But back then we played Call of Duty 4. And before that Call of Duty 2.
So needless to say, witnessing the sheer speed of Call of Duty: Black Ops III was an eye opening experience. And with the ease of streaming, spectator modes, and other functionality Call of Duty: Black Ops III is also the most eSports friendly game in the series so far. And one perfectly suited to the competitive gaming scene. The game is fast, pure and simple. And the fluid movement that includes power slides, rocket boost jumps, and wall running from building to scaffolding and then back to building is both visceral and exciting. Especially when it comes from a seasoned player, someone whose skill is not only on a different level to the rest of us, but errs on the side of freakish.
In the best possible way.
Pictured: one such player. Scump from OpTic Gaming
Judging by the number of OpTic Gaming shirts, jumpers, and caps roaming around Crown Melbourne over the weekend, the main draw card to the event for a lot the people was getting to witness a team that they consider to be one of the best in the world. That being, North America’s OpTic Gaming. A veteran Call of Duty team that was also fresh off of winning the North American Stage 1, err, stage.
But hey, hold on a second. Isn’t this the ANZ Challenge Division? What about the local teams? Forget the poms and the yanks, go Aussies. And err, New Zealanders that we’ll co-opt as our own if they happen to win. Taking place over two days, the majority of the event was indeed centred around local teams like Mindfreak and Tainted Minds. So before the debut of teams like UK’s Millenium and OpTic Gaming the question was who exactly, from the local pool of teams, will get to face off against the international teams.
And hopefully, stand toe-to-toe with them and perhaps even being about an upset or two.
OpTic Gaming put their literal game faces on
Now, judging by the title of this piece you can probably guess that this wasn’t the case, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Or heart. Or skill. Leading up to OpTic Gaming’s debut in the Semi-Finals the Quarter Final decider between Tainted Minds and Chiefs went all the way to a tense Game 7, with the game mode Search and Destroy ending in Tainted Minds favour 6-5. It was tense to say the least, and featured a performance that would put a lot of the crowd behind Tainted Minds. The whole match-up was pretty epic, and went for almost an hour too.
And with almost no time to revel in their victory, Tainted Minds were then matched up almost immediately against OpTic Gaming. No pressure.
It’s at this point on Day 2 of the event that the crowd naturally kicked it into high gear. Prior to the matchup the casters were going on and on about how good OpTic Gaming is, and that Tainted Minds based on their performance over the weekend could possibly give them a run for their money. Or more precisely the largest slice of the $70,000 AUD prize pool. But probably not. Having never witnessed OpTic Gaming before there was a sense, from the perspective of a competitive CoD initiate (or noob), that it couldn’t get much better than the matchup between Tainted Minds and Chiefs.
Millenium take to the stage in the Grand Final
The answer is yes. Yes, it could. After a slow start that can be measured in seconds, OpTic Gaming went on to convincingly dominate and take the series 4-0. Now, one-sided affairs can be somewhat boring but getting to witness the high intensity of OpTic Gaming’s playstyle was infectious, and the crowd enjoyed the superior display of skill wholeheartedly.
With the main drawcard of the event being the presence of both Europe and North America’s best teams, the chance that audiences would get to see an international Grand Final, here in Melbourne, was starting to look very likely. After the first, and decisive semi-final victory by OpTic the stage was set for the debut of Millenium matched up against Mindfreak. And although Millenium would also win this match-up in a similarly convincing 4-0 result, the biggest surprise was in the very different style of play. Apart from a slower and more measured approach, which is still very fast, there was a sense of focused teamwork. In addition to a wonderfully action-packed individual performance from Jurd.
So for the crowd, the dream came true. OpTic Gaming (US) versus Millenium (UK) in the Grand Final. From the outset the match-up was everything you could have hoped for, close, tense, with the two teams almost taking turns taking control over the map and the opening round of Hardpoint. In the end OpTic Gaming proved to have the edge, and many were wondering if the series would shift completely in their favour. This wasn’t the case, with Millenium taking the next Search & Destroy round 6-1 in a very convincing manner. Including a part where one of the players rocket jump from behind a wall and tree-line to take out an opponent in the most stylish manner possible.
The Grand Final between OpTic Gaming and Millenium starts at the 8:35:00 minute mark.
After this promising showing Millenium ultimately lost the series 4-1 to OpTic Gaming, who again proved their place as one the best Call of Duty: Black Ops III teams in the world. Millenium's performance in the later games of the match-up was a little shaky, especially when players began falling off the map whilst wall-running. More than once too.
But even so, it was great that fans got see such a stellar showing from both local and international teams across two days of competitive CoD. And for an eSports initiate (or noob), it was both a learning experience, and a genuinely exciting one.
Now if someone could explain what Heat Wave does exactly.