How To Watch Call of Duty Black Ops III

Call of Duty one of the most played FPS franchises in gaming history, but watching professional teams play is a far cry from playing with your pickup clan in Team Deathmatch on the weekends. There are specific rules to follow, a ban and protect system for weapons and auxillaries, and the level of play is generally far higher than than of a public match.


Teams of four players play in four game modes, each with various maps assigned to said modes.  In the Call of Duty World League and similar leagues and tournaments, the map set is determined by the tournament organizers, but the game modes compose the following Best of Five set:  Hardpoint, Search and Destroy, Uplink, Capture the Flag, and an additional Search and Destroy.

In Best of 7 matches, typically add one more respawn map (Hardpoint, Uplink, or Capture the Flag) and a final map of Search and Destroy.

The team that wins the most maps wins the game.


Game Modes

Hardpoint – The teams fight over “Hardpoint” locations on a map to earn points for their team.  Which ever team is closer to 250 points before five minutes elapses on the timer will win.  Each Hardpoint location lasts for 60 seconds before moving to a new location.  The timer will run down when no one is in the Hardpoint, so teams have to rotate from locations efficiently to save or waste time.

One point is earned for each second that a team has a location under their control.  If an enemy team member enters the Hardpoint, the area is contested, and no points are earned.

The mode is similar to the traditional “King of the Hill” game mode in past Call of Duty games, so players and casters refer to the Hardpoints as “hills”.

Search and Destroy – Played in a “first to six rounds” format, teams alternate between offense and defense.  The team on offense will have a designated bomb carrier (decided by the teammates) who will attempt to plant the bomb at either the A or B bomb site.  The objective for this team is to kill all of the other players or let time run out and let the bomb blow up the other team.

The team on defense will have to choose which bomb site to attack, not knowing where the other team is choosing to plant the bomb.  The objective for this team is to defuse the bomb or kill the bomb carrier.  If the offensive team is unable to plant the bomb, the defensive team wins.

If the bomb has not been planted, teams can quickly win rounds by killing all of the other players on the team.  This type of gameplay requires a lot of team work and strategy, and it is popular in its own right as a tournament staple.

Uplink – A relatively new gametype introduced during the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare season, Uplink is a bit like basketball – but with guns.  Teams fight around a neutral position where the satellite drone (ball) is located.  Each team tries to grab the drone and help their teammate run through the opposing team’s base and score by getting the drone into satellite site.  Players can score either by a one point throw, or a two point “dunk”.

Capture the Flag – In two five minute halves, each team alternates sides, defending its own flag while also attempting to grab the opponent’s flag and plant it at their base.


Player Roles 

In Black Ops III, the roles are typically broken down into two categories:

Slayer– The flashiest player on the team, and typically the one with the best movement and gunskill.  In Hardpoint, these players kill around the hill, pushing out lanes, and forcing bad spawns for the other team.  Their role is essentially to kill everything that moves, and make sure they put their teammates in a position to complete the objective work.  In Black Ops III, slaying players will also have to pick up some of the objective work for their teammates.

Current slayers: Scump, Saints, Attach

OBJ/Support– The OBJ role was more of an individual role in previous Call of Duty titles, but since Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s uptick in movement speed for players, players who do ONLY objective work (bomb planting/defusing, running the flag, scoring with the drone) have been phased out in favor of hybrid players who provide support by holding spawns in Hardpoint, slaying when necessary, and also doing the traditional objective work.

Current OBJ/Support: Crimsix, ACHES, MiRx


Sample Match:

NA Call of Duty World League: OpTic Gaming v FaZe Clan


Platform/Age Restriction

Professional Call of Duty is currently played on the Playstion 4 console.  Leagues and tournaments exist for the Xbox One, but Activision owns the main professional league, the Call of Duty World League, and it is sponsored by Sony Playstation.

Players must be 18 or older to participate in officially sanctioned events due to the “M” (mature) rating for the game.  At many events, spectators must also be 18 or older.



Professional teams are backed by organizations, which unlike “clans”, may pay their players a salary, their travel expenses, apparel costs, and event provide them with a team house where they live, work, and practice, in exchange for taking a cut from the team’s tournament winnings, merchandise sales, or team sponsorships.


Online vs LAN

Online play is online.  LAN play is in person, and played over a Local Area Network.


League and Tournament Organizers

Activision’s Call of Duty World League sponsored by Playstation: the primary professional league for Call of Duty.  Online league play is weekly and divided into two stages.  At the end of each stage, teams can be relegated out of the league depending on their position in the league standings.  Relegated teams will play against amateur teams in a LAN competition to determine whether they can regain their spot in the league, or whether a new team will take their place.

The top 8 teams at the end of each stage in each region play in a LAN tournament to determine the overall stage winner.

The league is divided into three regions, listed largest to smallest: North America, Europe, Australia/New Zealand.

Throughout both stages, teams earned CWL points (or pro points) to qualify for the Call of Duty Championships in September.  Amateur teams could also earn CWL points by playing in online tournaments on select weekends, and also playing in LAN tournaments.  The points go to the players themselves, not the teams.  The teams with the players who have the most points will qualify to play at Call of Duty XP, where the Call of Duty Championships will take place.

Major League Gaming (MLG): A stalwart of the Call of Duty scene, after holding an online CoD league for years, the group is now primarily a tournament organizer for the Call of Duty scene, and working with Activision and Playstation.  The first MLG event of the Black Ops III season was MLG Anaheim.  The second event is MLG Orlando.  MLG has hinted about starting up another Call of Duty pro league independent of the Call of Duty World League.  Holds regular online tournaments through its Gamebattles system.

Gfinity: Call of Duty tournament organizers in Europe.

ESL: Call of Duty tournament organizers that primarily work with Activision to put on their online and LAN tournaments for the Call of Duty World League.

MES: A smaller, amateur friendly event organizer based out of Michigan, USA.

UMG: Holds regular online tournaments and also organized UMG South Carolina, the first open LAN of the Black Ops III season.