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In 2017, the Call of Duty World League Australia/New Zealand region will be expanded and renamed to the Asia-Pacific region, Treyarch director of brand development and esports Jay Puryear announced Wednesday. Starting in December, the online qualifiers for the region will be open to teams from China and SEA as well as those from ANZ.

Puryear spoke on a livestream held by Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare developer Infinity Ward, which revealed some details about CWL’s plans for 2017. He said CWL will hold more regional and global events in the coming season, with the first North American regional event set for MLG Las Vegas in December, but did not give details about where and when the regional events would take place.

The broadcast also introduced a major change to the competitive Call of Duty ruleset for Infinite Warfare. The 2017 CWL season will no longer use the protect-and-ban draft for weapon and ability selection in competitive matches; instead, there will be a base list of items that are banned in competitive play, and players will select two weapons and a combat rig (similar to a Black Ops III specialist class). Unlike in Black Ops III, the two weapons each player chooses will remain locked in for the entire match, and cannot be chosen by any other player on either team.

“Basically what’s going to happen in your 4v4 environment is you’re going to be drafting two weapons for the entire series,” CWL caster Tyler “TeeP” Polchow said on-stream. He said the change would force teams to consider the impact of their weapon choices throughout the match, and players would have to think about “developing a sort of strategic role within each team.”

CoD pros had mixed reactions to the change on Twitter. Team Infused’s Mark “MarkyB” Bryceland said it was a “great idea,” since teams won’t be able to specialize their loadout for specific gametypes like Search and Destroy, but will have to take a more balanced approach.

Others were less enthusiastic about the new draft:

Team EnVyUs’ Jordan “JKap” Kaplan tweeted that whether or not weapon draft was an improvement on protect-and-ban, the base item bans would have a much bigger impact on competitive play.

According to TeeP, CWL plans on releasing a tentative “Version 1” competitive item ban list with IW’s launch on Nov. 4, but may make changes to it ahead of the start of the CWL season in December depending on feedback from pros.

“I know there’s a lot of players that are a bit antsy for the rules to come out. They’re ‘unsure’ is the biggest word I say,” TeeP said. “We have your back. Infinity Ward has been working with me, a dedicated team and many other professional players to make sure we do things right for CWL this year.”

Jeff Fraser is a supervising editor at theScore esports.

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