For the first time in a long time, give or take a month, you can play Call of Duty: Warzone without too much risk of bumping into cheaters. Things got pretty bad for a while there, but Activision and Infinity Ward's response was decisive - and delightfully ruthless.
At the height of the game's cheating related issues, the developers enabled additional security features and made reporting hackers easier. They also rolled out a much more advanced anti-cheat system, as well as a double whammy of creative countermeasures.
What we imagine proved to be the actual ultimate solution to stemming the tide of hackers ended up being a relatively simple one - make two-factor authentication a requirement.
Players must now link an active phone number to their Warzone account in order to play. Getting a new number isn't as easy as a new email address, especially with more and more countries introducing laws that make burner phones impossible to acquire.
Even during the problematic weeks, Warzone had effective cheat-detection. 70,000 cheaters got banned back in April and the number has definitely increased since. However, since you can play the game for free, the cheaters just made another sock account and kept at it. Now, making a new account means using up another phone number, and most people don't have dozens of those kicking around.
The anti-cheat also identifies specific hardware markers and serials, particularly on the storage drive the game is installed upon, so not only do you need a new phone number, but an entirely new system, or at the very least a new drive and a spoofer, to play again.
This means the account you have is probably the one you need to stick to, and if it gets banned, it's the end of the line.
This brings us to the second, less important but all the more satisfying layer. Call of Duty: Warzone employs "shadowbans" - a form of account banning where you don't get a notice telling you of the punishment.
Accounts that have been detected as cheaters can still log into the game, but when they search for a match, they'll search forever. The game simply will not ever matchmake these accounts, and the player who used cheats may have no idea why.
The result? Besides Warzone being infinitely more enjoyable, cheat users will be extremely salty... and it is delightful to see. Forums on cheat sites, game-related subreddits and other platforms have seen an influx of players upset that they can no longer break the game's TOS and completely ruin the experience for everyone else with wanton abandon.