Activision has released a new blog post which provides an update on Call of Duty’s anti-cheat tool, Ricochet, detailing how it has worked 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’s release in 2021, along with “some unfortunate increases” in some cases. This is the “expected ebb and flow that is a frustrating reality in game security,” Activision said.
Activision said it hopes people will continue to come up with new tricks to bypass existing systems. Activision can anticipate some of these and plan ahead, but others will come out of nowhere and 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 such bad behavior and punish the bad guys,” Activision said. “While our team has been able to establish systems that can quickly detect and respond to bad behavior, we know that tomorrow will continue to present new and evolving threats.”
Instead, the focus is on improving the speed at which Ricochet can detect misbehavior and deploy one of the game’s many “mitigation” techniques. By using these techniques, the studio can learn what it can do to better protect the game in the future, Activision said.
“Day by day, that’s what we do. We continually strengthen our systems as we capture new data, analyze it, and implement additional changes. Simply put, we’re always working to combat cheating,” the publisher explained.
Activision started using “mitigation” techniques to help learn what cheaters do to avoid similar situations in the future. Right now, when a cheater is detected, Activision allows them to 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 don’t have to win. Hitting them with mitigators transforms those euphoric feelings of being fake betters 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 cheating can still shoot you and deal damage, but the player not cheating gets a damage buff. Another is called Cloaking, and this causes the non-cheating player who gets shot to become invisible and the cheater is left running around looking for their target, making themselves vulnerable in the process. Disarming is another mitigation technique. As the name suggests, this takes away the cheater’s weapons, including fists.
“As cheaters change tactics, we see a slight increase, but based on 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,” he said. Activision.
The publisher teased that he 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 gaming, Activision said its secondary goal is simply to “annoy as many cheaters as we can” to help get them out of the game.
Activision is also banning cheaters from Warzone and Vanguard. The publisher said it banned another 180,000 players in Warzone and Vanguard combined from 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 won’t stop in its quest to root out bad behavior.
“Will you find cheaters? Sadly, maybe yes, but we’re constantly working to be faster and better at getting them out of the game (by force or annoyance) and letting you focus on the fun,” the company said.
Modern Warfare 2 launches on October 28, while Warzone 2.0 will be available later in the year.
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