The Golden Era of competitive Call of Duty in Malta!

Esports tournaments in Malta can be traced a while back, and LAN-based competitions as we know them today probably started somewhere around 2002. The gaming community back then revolved around a number of forums as well as IRC channels, eventually leading to the development of gaming community websites with integrated forums, including the likes of playREACTION and LucidLAN. The competitive titles at the time which were popular amongst the Maltese community including Counter-Strike, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Enemy Territory, Unreal Tournament, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Quake 3 Arena.

The franchise that most of us local competitive gamers remember most fondly, however, is Call of Duty released in 2003. The competitive community was extremely well-knit back then, with players meeting each other on a daily basis on public servers and Ventrilo voice servers, and blasting each other on forums all day (Facebook was only released in 2004 – Ok, Boomer)

Private Clan Forums

Private clan forums on Lucidlan.com. SAG, D2K, CBK and XTC were all CoD clans, whilst FU was an Enemy Territory clan, however, clans often played multiple game titles.

MEPALogo

MEPA was the first multi-gaming organisation in Malta, starting off originally as an Enemy Territory team, and eventually expanding into numerous other games.

MEPA Roster

2004 CoD team for one of the first Maltese multi-gaming organisations: MEPA (Malta Elite Patriotic Army – replace Patriotic with Porn for the less affectionate version)

The first competitive LAN event for the original Call of Duty however actually only happened in October 2005: VunderLAN 1.0, held at the Vivaldi Hotel in St Julian’s, and where CoD was only second or third fiddle to the likes of Enemy Territory and Counter-Strike: Source. Well known teams competing in the Call of Duty tournament at this LAN included SAG (Special Assignment Ghosts), XTC (Xtreme Corpz), MEPA, CBK (Cold Blooded Killers), Team KM@ (Kiss My @ss), SAS Gaming (Special And Spectacular Gaming) and eXe (eXecutors).

Fourteen years later, and a few players from these teams are still active in the local gaming community. eXe’s AnGrA and Manowar are part of the GMR and Gamers Lounge management respectively, whilst Kamadake from CBK is an active member of the local Tekken community. Others still play games such as World of Warcraft, Apex Legends and Escape from Tarkov.

Xtreme Corpz VunderLAN 1

Xtreme Corpz’ CoD1 team – champions of VunderLAN 1.0 in 2005

All of this preceded two cataclysmic events in the local and international gaming scene: the launch of World of Warcraft, and the launch of the ‘Next-Gen’ consoles. Both events fractured the competitive community, giving gamers new and exciting multiplayer experiences.

A Call of Duty 1 PCW between two Maltese teams in December 2005.

However, these challenges did not stop Call of Duty 2, released in 2005, from becoming the most influential competitive game title in the history of Maltese esports, with events running from as far back as July 2006 until the last local event in November 2017. Regrettably, most of the information covering competitive events happening in Malta up and until 2012 are no longer publicly available, as all websites reporting on these events, such as playREACTION, LucidLAN, Malta Cyber Games are no longer available and neither is the mecca of competitive CoD2, ClanBase.

Xtreme Corpz COD2

Part of the Xtreme Corpz CoD2 team, featuring Matli, Underdog and Brutal, probably at the 1337Xtreme LAN in February 2006.

I will try and publish information on Call of Duty 2 events in Malta from old Spreadsheets and screenshots that I still have in my old back-up discs, with the hope of making sure that all of this information is not completely lost to the passage of time, and that some of you may reminisce on the good old times when the Orly Owl was the epitome of meme culture, when HLSW was the best tool for spying on rival teams, when Park was to go-to place for all gamers in Malta, and when slapping people with a smelly trout was a thing.

MEPA New Roster

MEPA CoD2 & ET teams during VunderLAN 2 in August 2006. From top left: Yancho (ET), Soulkilla (CoD2 & ET), Sphinx42 (ET), Badboy (ET), Sharkilla (CoD2), Painkiller (CoD2), Hex4 (ET), Maldman (ET), Toxic (ET), Oneball (ET). Bottom left: Burning Sniper (CoD2), Mikk (CoD2), Blakz (CoD2), Minu (CoD2), Sniperboy (CoD2), AnGrA (CoD2).

Posted by Michele Magro on 24th January 2020, 13:27

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