It was an eye-opening experience at the Call of Duty: Ghosts Championships in LA. South Africa wasn’t the only international team to get knocked out in the group stage. In fact, the entire tournament was dominated by the Americans, with some Europeans making the cut. Is there such a big difference in the gameplay from country to country?
I spoke to a bunch of teams at the championships about the differences in gameplay, a couple of which I managed to snag on camera. It appears that the main difference comes down to Search and Destroy. Jay Negron, Owner/Founder of Strictly Business, put it quite nicely:
For the non-video viewing among you, he explains that the Europeans are really different when playing Search and Destroy.
They’re really really aggressive, they’re always up in the American’s faces. It just seems like that’s their style of play. [...] All pro teams pretty much play the same, it just seems like the European teams are really aggressive no matter what. They play differently from how the American teams play.
Hector Rodriguez of Optic Gaming, aka H3cz, explained that it’s also a difference in practice. The European and American teams don’t face off against each other as often. He states that you will only be as good as your competition; because American teams get more opportunities to face each other, they improve and grow as a result. The other international teams simply don’t have as many opportunities to do the same, which means that the caliber of players simply isn’t pushed to rise to the same degree.
This is particularly relevant for our local COD players. For us to grow and develop on the international eSports stage, we have to play more teams from around the world. It’s about pushing our limits, learning new techniques and gaining new skills. American players may be better across the board, but we could also learn a lot from playing with European teams, particularly when it comes to Search and Destroy matches.
It’s also important to take Negron’s point to heart – you need the right chemistry to grow as a team. Stick together and build that cohesion; without it, you can never reach the same level of play. Many players tend to chop and change between teams. Sure, players need to find the right home, but they also need to foster strong relationships with their team mates.
I think this is another difference between the American and international teams. Most of the international teams seem to have only gotten together recently – while the franchises may be mature, the actual players have only been playing together for a short time. This means that they simply don’t have the same map awareness, communication or teamwork. They may be able to manage this in Search and Destroy, but when it comes to Blitz it can all fall apart.