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Call Of Duty Ricochet Anti-Cheat Has Led To A “Significant” Drop In Cheaters, Activision Says

Activision has released a new blog post that provides an update on Call of Duty’s anti-cheat tool, Ricochet, detailing how it’s performed so far and what’s to come in the future for Vanguard, Warzone, Modern Warfare 2, and Warzone 2.0.

Activision said it has seen a “significant” drop in cheaters in Call of Duty since Ricochet launched in 2021, along with “some unfortunate increases” in cheating in some cases. This is the “expected ebb and flow that is a frustrating reality in game security,” Activision said.

Activision said it expects people to continue to create new cheats to get around the existing systems–Activision can anticipate some of these and plan ahead, but others will come out of the blue and will require new systems, the publisher said.

“Let’s assume that, today, we know all the nefarious ways cheaters try to impact the game to ruin your experience. Our team uses that knowledge to protect against that bad behavior and punish bad actors,” Activision said. “While our team has been able to establish systems that can quickly detect and respond to bad behaviors, we know tomorrow will continue to deliver new and evolving threats.”

The focus is instead on improving the speed at which Ricochet can detect bad behavior and deploy one of the game’s many “mitigation” techniques. By using these techniques, the studio can learn what they can do to better protect the game in the future, Activision said.

“Day-to-day, that’s what we do. We continuously strengthen our systems as we’re capturing new data, dissecting it, and implementing additional changes. Simply put, we’re always working to combat cheating,” the publisher explained.

Activision started using “mitigation” techniques to help learn what cheaters are doing so as to prevent similar situations in the future. Right now, when a cheater is detected, Activision lets them stay in the game, but with their capabilities significantly diminished. Keeping cheaters in the game gives Activision’s Ricochet team more time and means to analyze their behavior.

“Cheaters, for some reason, feel superior using software to win games they have no business winning. Hitting them with mitigations transform those euphoric feelings of being fake-best into glorious pangs of annoyance. We’ve seen the clips,” Activision said.

One of the mitigation techniques is called Damage Shield. The player determined to be a cheater can still shoot at you and do damage, but the non-cheating player gets a damage buff. Another is called Cloaking, and this makes the non-cheating player being shot become invisible and the cheater is left spinning around looking for their target, making themselves vulnerable in the process. Disarm is another mitigation technique. As its name suggests, this takes away the cheater’s weapons, including fists.

“As cheaters change tactics, we see a slight spike but, according to this data over time, our mitigation systems and other anti-cheat initiatives can quickly get back on track so you can focus on your experience,” Activision said.

The publisher teased that it has other mitigation techniques in the works; some are live in the game now and others will be released later. In addition to combating unfair play, Activision said its secondary goal is to simply “annoy as many cheaters as we can” to help drive them out of the game.

Activision is also banning Warzone and Vanguard cheaters. The publisher said it banned another 180,000 players across Warzone and Vanguard combined since the end of April 2022.

Looking ahead, Ricochet will be available in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2.0 later this year. Players will encounter cheaters in those games, Activision said, but the company will not stop in its pursuit to stamp out bad behavior.

“Will you encounter cheaters? Sadly, perhaps yes, but we are working endlessly to be faster and better to get them out of the game (by force or by annoyance) and let you focus on fun,” the company said.

Modern Warfare 2 launches on October 28 while Warzone 2.0 will be out by the end of the year.

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