Ranked Play in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II — An Overview
This Is Ranked Play
Ready to become the best in the world in Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® II?
Presented by Treyarch in partnership with Infinity Ward, with the support of the Call of Duty League™, Ranked Play will officially launch at the start of Season 02. Following their foundation of Ranked Play in Call of Duty®: Vanguard, Treyarch set out to build upon this system, streamlining an authentic online competitive experience for players while offering more rewards to the franchise’s most skilled and dedicated players.
These innovations include a Rank system overhaul that puts more weight and reward on winning matches, as well as how Rank and Skill Divisions are represented, and the introduction of features such as Skill Rating (SR) Forgiveness and Demotion Protection.
For those unfamiliar with Ranked Play, check out what it has to offer:
Ranked Play is the official competitive 4v4 Multiplayer experience for Modern Warfare® II, using the official rules, restrictions, maps, and modes from the Call of Duty League, which can be read here. Whenever the Call of Duty League rules are updated, expect changes to the Ranked Play rules to follow suit.
Players must be at least Level 16 to access Ranked Play but will have all unrestricted items – including weapons and attachments – automatically unlocked within this mode to ensure that all players are on the same competitive footing.
Just like in the Call of Duty League, each Ranked Play match will take place on a map and mode from the following list:
- Al Bagra Fortress
- Breenbergh Hotel
- Mercado Las Almas
- Zarqwa Hydroelectric
Search & Destroy
- Al Bagra Fortress
- Breenbergh Hotel
- El Asilo
- Mercado Las Almas
- Al Bagra Fortress
- Breenbergh Hotel
- El Asilo
Playing matches grants Skill Rating (SR), which determines what Skill Division out of the eight you belong to:
Bronze – 0-899 SR
Silver – 900-2,099 SR
Gold – 2,100-3,599 SR
Platinum – 3,600-5,399 SR
Diamond – 5,400-7,499 SR
Crimson – 7,500-9,999 SR
Iridescent – 10,000 SR minimum
Top 250 – 10,000+ SR (see below)
Your Skill Rating is based mainly on the result of every match you play – simply put, win the match to gain SR, lose the match and lose SR. Individual performance and your team’s overall performance will impact the amount of SR you gain or lose each match. In higher Skill Divisions, more emphasis will be put on team performance to ensure all winning playstyles are appropriately rewarded.
Every Skill Division below Iridescent has three Tiers to progress through. These Tiers provide additional granularity to each Division and help players feel a sense of progression as they climb. Think of these as additional SR subcategories within each Skill Division, separating the range of SR in each Division into thirds.
Returning from the Vanguard Ranked Play system is the Top 250 Skill Division, which is above Iridescent. The 250 best players with the highest SR above 10,000 will be put on the Top 250 Leaderboards for all to see.
This year, the Top 250 will be active at the beginning of each Season and start to fill as the best players climb above 10,000 SR and qualify. The race to Top 250 is on – who will be the first player to qualify in Season 02?
Also new to the Top 250 this year, something to help everyone keep track of their favorite CDL Pros who qualify for the Top 250 Leaderboard; each Pro who reaches this Leaderboard will have their CDL team affiliation and player profile displayed on their ranking. Will a Pro finish Season 02 on the #1 spot? Or will a future League player make it to the top instead?
In Modern Warfare II Ranked Play everyone will start out as a Bronze Ranked player. That means you will get to play at any time you want with no placement matches, allowing you to compete with everyone else across Ranked Play the second it goes live. Yes, even kings and tiny terrors had to start somewhere — play well enough, and you will move up through the available Skill Divisions in only a few matches. This nets out to a simpler overall experience with the removal of Ladders and Ladder Points, allowing you to just focus on winning and getting that SR up.
As for squadding up, you are allowed to bring up to three squadmates into matches if they fall within a certain Skill Division threshold, with the highest Skill Division in the party determining the restriction rules:
Bronze through Platinum players can party up with no restrictions.
Diamond and Crimson players can only form parties with and play against other players within two Skill Divisions.
Iridescent and Top 250 Players can only form parties with and play against other players within one Skill Division.
At the end of each Ranked Play Season, your highest Skill Division placement for the Season determines what rewards you earn, as well as where you start for the next Season:
Bronze through Crimson players will start one Skill Division back (save for Bronze, which will begin with Bronze Tier I) with Demotion Protection enabled for your first 3 matches (see Additional New Features).
Iridescent and Top 250 will start at the Diamond Tier I Skill Division with Demotion Protection enabled for several matches.
Rank, Seasonal Win Challenges
Winning a Ranked Play match also counts toward two additional systems: your Rank and Seasonal Win Rewards.
The Rank represents your cumulative progress in Ranked Play, starting at Rank 1 and going through Rank 50. Advancing through Ranks is as simple as winning matches – every Ranked Play win awards a Star. Earn enough Stars and you'll progress to the next Rank in your journey to Rank 50. Every five Ranks awards a new symbol that appears in the color of your Skill Division, such as a Wolf for Ranks 11–15 or the mighty Silverback Gorilla for Ranks 31–35. Unlike Skill Divisions, Ranks do not reset between Ranked Seasons.
Each win also counts toward a Seasonal Win Challenge, which will offer new rewards each Ranked Season.
In other words, no matter your Skill Division, you still get rewarded and the next Rank up is only a few wins away.
Additional New Features
Ranked Play competitors know some of the most frustrating times are when a random teammate decides to quit at the beginning of a match or right in the middle of the action. While it is impossible to prevent players from disconnecting, there are a few new features being introduced with this version of Ranked Play to make those moments more manageable:
First, Ranked Play matches will not start if teams are uneven. If a player disconnects or quits before a match begins, all remaining players will return to the lobby and the match will not count.
Then there is SR Forgiveness: if a player disconnects or quits in the middle of the match, all team members outside of that player’s party will not lose ANY SR. Basically, if that 4v4 becomes a 3v4 due to a teammate quitting, SR can still be earned if you manage to overcome the disadvantage and win the match, but losing while shorthanded won’t deduct any SR.
Like previous Ranked Play iterations, penalties and suspensions can be given to those who quit, disconnect, sit idle, or commit friendly fire too often. Players who show repeated bad behavior will be handed more severe punishments. The system used to evaluate repeated bad behavior has been overhauled in Modern Warfare II to punish bad actors and avoid harsh punishments for players who consistently play the game the right way, or who change their ways after being penalized or suspended more consistently.
Another new feature is Demotion Protection, which will help all players avoid immediate relegation after advancing to a new Skill Division. After advancing to a higher Skill Division, players will not lose any SR within the first three games in the new Division. Following that initial protection, if players do lose enough SR to risk relegation, players must lose two consecutive matches to be demoted out of their Skill Division. Demotion Protection also applies to the first three matches of every Season.
Two additional features of note are Hot Streak Flames, which rewards players who can rack up 3+ game win streaks over a 72-hour period, and the addition of Ranked Play Icons in Social Profiles, allowing you to show off that Skill Division and Rank across Modern Warfare II and Call of Duty®: Warzone™ 2.0, no matter what mode you play.
To the Victor — and the Most Dedicated — Go the Spoils
Whether you’re in the Top 250 or have only ranked up a times, there is plenty that comes with winning Ranked Play games. And all of them can be shown off within Ranked Play, in Modern Warfare II Multiplayer, or even in Warzone 2.0.
First, there are several Seasonal Win Rewards for this first Ranked Season, starting with a Sticker at 5 wins and a Pro Issue SMG Blueprint, which includes attachments that are fit for competitive play, that is awarded at 10 wins. Additional rewards up this progression path include a Charm, Decal, and Loading screen all the way up to a Weapon Camo, which can be used on any weapon and is awarded after winning 100 matches.
In terms of Rank Rewards, there are a few key items outside of a new Calling Card every five ranks and some additional, competitive-focused cosmetics:
Rank 5: “Ranked Competitor” Operator Skin Pack, one “Home” version and one “Away” version awarded for both the Male and Female CDL Operators
Rank 15: Pro Issue Sidearm Blueprint, which has similar attachments to what is used at the highest level of competitive play.
Rank 30: New Gun Screen that tracks Ranked Play wins.
Rank 40: Pro Issue Combat Knife Blueprint, which is another popular competitive Secondary weapon.
Rank 50: “Ranked Veteran” Operator Skins (Home and Away) awarded to Male and Female CDL Operators, proof of your commitment to Ranked Play no matter your Skill Division
As for Skill Division Rewards, it’s not about where you finish the season, but rather the highest Skill Division reached during it.
Reaching Bronze and Silver Ranks awards a new Emblem, while reaching any other Skill Division — including the Top 250— grants two new special Operator Skins, an Animated Emblem, and a Weapon Charm. You can earn the other Skill Division rewards by finishing at a higher (or lower) Division in the following seasons.
Iridescent and Top 250 members also get an Animated Calling Card, while the #1 Ranked Play player will receive a special, one-of-a-kind exclusive Animated Calling Card and Emblem, which can be considered the ultimate bragging rights from Ranked Play.
With all these rewards on offer starting in Season 02, you better start up a few new voice channels and start scrimming for Ranked Play — it’s your year, after all.
Tips from the Pros
Outside of playing the game and learning from experience, how else can you prepare for the start of Ranked Play?
At Major II hosted by the Boston Breach, where Atlanta FaZe took home $200,000 and 65 CDL Points, we asked a Call of Duty League pro players for some advice on mastering the game’s competitive modes.
Cameron "Cammy" McKilligan of the Minnesota Røkkr, a 2020 Call of Duty League All-Star and one of Scotland’s greatest pro players, broke down what it takes to win Search and Destroy:
“Search and Destroy is very situational. The best thing you can do is to just play it as much as possible and get familiar with the maps, find angles to watch routes your opponents will be taking to get information and kills. The more you play the more you pick up the little things that are important for Search and Destroy. You get more experience in all those situations like 1 v 1s, 1 v 2s, 2 v 2s, and learn how to handle them.”
Amer "Pred" Zulbeari of the Seattle Surge, last year’s Call of Duty League Rookie of the Year, had this to say about Hardpoint:
“Every hill on Hardpoint is 60 seconds but you should start to rotate to the next hill when the timer gets to 30 seconds. You’ll want to keep people on the hill soaking up the time but whoever is going to rotate should start to head towards the new hill around the 30-second mark. The first guy going to the new hill should take the longest route.”
And finally, there is no better way to study up on competitive play than by watching the Call of Duty League in action.
Qualifiers for OpTic Texas’ Major III begin on February 17, with all games to be streamed on the official Call of Duty League channel. Tune in to watch Cammy, Pred, and the rest of these incredible pro players battle for positioning as we reach the 2023 regular season’s halfway mark.
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