Activision’s online multiplayer title Call of Duty: Warzone has not had an easy time since it launched in March 2020. The game has been beset with a range of bugs, many of which greatly hamper a player’s enjoyment, and inundated with cheaters who have ruined the experience for more honest gamers. The problem has become so severe that many people, including popular content creators like Nickmercs and FaZe Kalei, temporarily stopped playing the game or suggested that people switch from Warzone to Apex Legends instead.
Warzone isn’t the only entry in the Call of Duty franchise to experience a seemingly never-ending flow of cheaters, and Activision hasn’t sat idly by and let it happen. The publisher has successfully shut down the websites of a number of cheat resellers and stopped some creators from releasing their cheats entirely. Even after the introduction of the anti-cheat system Ricochet into Warzone and Vanguard at the beginning of December, Activision filed a lawsuit against Warzone cheat provider EngineOwning, seeking $2,500 for each violation.
Unfortunately, Ricochet anti-cheat seems anecdotally to have been somewhat ineffective in combatting hackers and cheat programs, to the point that popular YouTube personality Dr. Disrespect has accused Activision of false advertisement. While playing Call of Duty: Warzone during a livestream, another player took out the Doc with apparently little effort. After reviewing the kill cam footage, the content creator asked in disbelief, “The guy’s hacking, right? Hundred percent?” He then read chat for a moment before stating, “So they did lie to us about Ricochet. That’s false advertising, huh?”
Ricochet is a multi-faceted anti-cheat system that targets cheaters in various ways. The software monitors analytics from the server side for cheat-like behavior, tracks and reports third-party software that interacts with Warzone, and also offers enhanced investigation processes. According to Activision, Ricochet has already been extremely effective, and the company announced that 48,000 Warzone and Vanguard cheaters were banned in a single day thanks to the new system. However, numbers like this have been touted before with other games, and yet players saw only a momentary improvement before the anti-cheat protocols were circumvented.
That seems to possibly be the case with Ricochet as well. Before the anti-cheat system was even implemented, Warzone cheaters were mocking Ricochet by changing their in-game usernames to things like “NiceAnticheat,” “@YesImHacking,” and “ITz-NoT-LUCK.” In October, the kernel driver code for Ricochet was leaked online, though Activision stated that the final version of the code would be different. However, some hackers have been able to bypass the system, perhaps thanks to the leaked code. A few viewers in Dr. Disrespect’s chat stated that, while they enjoyed a brief hacker-free period in Warzone when Ricochet was first launched, they have noticed a resurgence. Others affirmed that there are fewer cheaters than there used to be, and other viewers pointed out that no anti-cheat system is 100 percent foolproof.
Call of Duty: Warzone is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.