Call of Duty: Warzone’s anti-cheat efforts are most often in the form of ban waves, where developers clean up houses — at least briefly — on thousands of cheaters at once. But the system relies on data: you can’t launch a banwave until you know who to ban, right?Newest Ricochet Anti-Cheat Update Reveals how developers can get that information without benefiting cheaters in the process.
Warzone developers use a number of different “in-game mitigations” to prevent cheaters from making a mess for legitimate players when they think about how to deal with it. The latest one is called Damage Shield, which is an interesting in-game trap that doesn’t kick players when they’re caught cheating, but prevents them from doing “serious damage” to other people in the game. An Activision representative clarified that this means their overall damage output is significantly lower.
“This mitigation makes cheaters vulnerable to real players and allows #TeamRICOCHET to gather information about cheaters’ systems,” explained the anti-cheat team. “We track these encounters to ensure the game does not randomly or accidentally apply damage shields, regardless of skill level. To be clear, we will never interfere in gunfights between members of the law-abiding community. Damage shields are now out of beta and has been deployed globally.”
See the system in action in a TimTheTatman video:
It’s a fun (and, honestly, fun) way for Warzone developers to study cheaters in the wild, but I can also see that it could be an effective anti-cheat measure on its own. Starting from the server sucks, but it’s also straightforward and explicit – you’re out and can move on to other things. However, your damage is severely nerfed mid-flight without notice, which is not something you can foresee, making it very frustrating and a waste of time. It reminds me of some of the heroic Sam 3’s anti-piracy scorpions: not only does it keep you from cheating, it annoys you. It makes you angry. Call me the bad guy if you want, but I thought it was funny.
Now that Ricochet’s damage shield is public knowledge, I’m curious to see if the world’s cheaters will find a way to bypass it. Despite Ricochet’s fancy new defenses, some cheaters are still creaking as dedicated cheat makers keep trying to thwart the latest anti-cheat measures. Hopefully it’s a hurdle they can’t cross.
Other mitigation systems are already in place, and more are under development. The anti-cheat team said reports of cheating had dropped since the systems were activated a few weeks ago, “but we know the job was never done.”