With 2011 now upon us and the new year's celebrations ended, I thought it would be good time to take a look back at 2010 from a Call of Duty perspective as well as whipping out the crystal ball to see what the next 12 months could mean for Call of Duty. January/February - Height of Modern Warfare 2 January and February ended up being Modern Warfare 2's greatest months and I don't think many people can or will dispute that, particularly Power Gaming (JaCk B, Uni7ed, ShAnE, n1Kz) and TCM-Gaming (DopedGoat, Gunshi, DevilZ, XLNC, Swanny). After placing in the top 2 of the European Gamestop tournament, they had the oppurtunity to travel to San Francisco to compete against their American counterparts for the chance to win $10,000. While TCM had no such problems in their team, Power had to make some changes in their lineup as n1Kz and ShAnE were unable to attend meaning that Tobi and Mak had to replace the duo. In the tournament itself, TCM overcame the ammended Power Gaming team to face North American outfit Art of eXecution in the final. After an extremely tense series, TCM were crowned global champions and pocketed the $10K prize money for their efforts. That wasn't all for this short period of time. The DutchGameCon (now EGE) hosted their first event in Haarlem, Netherlands. A meagre 14 teams turned out for this including the newly crowned champions of the world TCM, a solid SK-Gaming (Tobi, Pacino, WarDy, Mak) side and strong Dutch outfit eMpathy (UniKz, KniFer, Strict, FLEX). There was also various mix teams from the UK, France and the Netherlands. Inevitably, TCM won this event beating the surprise of the tournament French side Ech3lon.Black (zlwR, JeeZy, MeziaH, AzoX) in the final. eMpathy held off a challenge from SK Gaming to take 3rd place for themselves. Gunshi, Swanny, DopedGoat and XLNC (Left to right) were quickly becoming the dominant quartet on MW2. Picture courtesy of SK Gaming. March-May - Plight of Modern Warfare 2 After the dust had settled following the DutchGameCon, teams were chopping and changing in preparation for the next event which was to be ECL Liverpool. In terms of online competition, there wasn't a great deal to be actively involved in which perhaps slowed the growth of the game down, but what provided the killing blow was the announcement that ECL would host a Call of Duty 4 event, instead of a Modern Warfare 2 tournament, citing that tight legislation in the UK regarding age restrictions spelled the change which disappointed many of the newer faces to the competitive scene. Although the MW2 players at the time may disagree, the game probably died at this point. Why? Well, the LAN attendees naturally made the move over to Call of Duty 4 in order to compete at ECL. What LANs, hell, what online tournaments did the MW2 community have to look forward to? I felt somewhat disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm shown by some of the newer faces about attending LAN, even on a game which they had less experience on compared to some of the 'veterans'. It seemed like people weere looking at LAN like an investment with the hope of achieving some financial return when instead it should be the opportunity to meet the people you play with online in real life, as well as the chance to play against the best teams in the fairest environment which should have driven more people to attend. June/July - Call of Duty 4 & The ECL The end of July would see the ECL open up with their first event in what some people were describing as an MLG-esque presentation. They hosted several tournaments alongside a Call of Duty 4v4 and a Free-for-all which in all boasted a £4500 overall cash prize on top of several hardware prizes including Astro headsets and Iiyama monitors. Of course, a COD LAN event wouldn't be the same without teams replacing players the weekend before the event. The weekend kicked off in normal style and a Free-for-all which involved almost all of the Call of Duty players there. In the end, it would be consistent FFA performers VintaGe, Mak and Revenge taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively, VintaGe managing to take £250 and an Astro A40 Audio System in the process. The 4v4 side of things managed to pull up a few shocks. Surprisingly, SK Gaming (Sowerz, LukeJS, DaNcaKe, Kermz) were swiftly eliminated from the tournament after initially losing to Team GamerHut (MickyD, Stevo, NecroMe, Macca) in the winners bracket and then eMpathy (Amnesia, UpRise, Sheep, ProPlus) in the losers bracket. Team GamerHut were to stomp through the winners bracket, defeating Royalty (Crookz, VapeZ, VintaGe, Jolly) and fnaticMSI (DopedGoat, XLNC, Gunshi, Mak) on their way to the grand final. It wasn't to be though for TeamGH as Fnatic would come back from the losers bracket to win the grand final 6-4. Fnatic took home £2000 and TeamGH took £1000. Royalty ended up placing 3rd and walked away with £500. A frantically created Power Gaming team (South, U4EA, Swanny, Pacino) went away with 4th and £250. Liverpool-based Team GamerHut (Left to right, NecroMe, Micky, Stevo, Macca) were the surprise of ECL. Picture courtesy of The ECL August-October- Doom and Gloom? In terms of Call of Duty competition, these three months were extremely dry. While some MW2 tournaments appeared in an attempt to formulate some interest, many people seemed to show a real lack of desire to continue playing a sub-par game which had no real future LAN potential. Having said that, the EGE announced that they would be hosting a MW2 to truly end the game, but unfortunately they decided to pull out and reschedule their events for next year. To avoid disappointment and perhaps even hostility towards mainland events, the ReflexGT team decided to host a smaller LAN event on the same weekend as the cancelled EGE event, which proved rather successful with Fariko.Yin (UniKz, Knifer, StricT, FLEX) placing 1st. It was such a success that ReflexGT are going to be hosting a 16 team tournament for Black Ops in January 2011. In amongst all of this, Treyarch were preparing to launch their next title in the COD series by slowly releasing details on the new multiplayer 'experience' with huge rumours from influencial figures, that finally we'd have LAN lobbies. November/December - Black Ops Mid-November saw the release of Black Ops, the 7th instalment of the Call of Duty series. While there were some initial balance issues that needed ironing out, the game generally felt better to play than Modern Warfare 2 and on top of that, began to include some of the LAN functionality that is required to make a COD game viable for major LAN events. While it is still missing some features, it is obvious that the developers have taken an interest in the competitive side of the game and are listening to the organisers of major events to help put the game on the professional circuit. Black Ops has really taken off since its launch in November. While the game hadn't fully kicked into gear, there were some tournaments that had started and some even finished. Most recently, Team Divinely (QuiCky, Tapout, Raiden, miniQ) of Germany overcame the new TCM-Gaming squad (trainee, MaRC, Don, Ting) in the final of the Steelseries Challenge hosted by Myliga which has helped them gain 1st place in the most recent edition of the Decerto Rankings, the first German team to achieve this. What about 2011? It seems like we say this every year, but 2011 could seriously be the year that will make or break competitive Call of Duty. While it seems that MLG will pick the game up on their circuit, it appears more likely to appear on the PS3 rather than the Xbox 360. Over here in Europe, again it seems more than likely that ECL will run at least one Black Ops tournament providing they can navigate around the legislative issues that proved problematic when attempting to run a MW2 tournament last year. The only problem I can foresee is the attitude of teams and players; but perhaps it will be different as the current generation of players seem to be taking an interest in LAN events. Look at the Dutch event Reflex GT, who have secured the allocation of 16 paid teams in under a week, with only 5 of the squads from the Netherlands. We have to wait for the imminent announcement from the ECL team but we could see our biggest event turnout out yet. So let's look forward to 2011 with some renewed optimism as we have a game that works, players who want to attend events and organisations putting faith in us. Hell we could even see Noiz open his wallet. All I know is that Decerto will be there to cover the entire thing. Happy New Year.