Call of Duty: Vanguard, Warzone and the recent games in the franchise overall have been fighting a long and well documented battle against cheats being used in multiplayer matches. Now, after years of attempts that only yielded limited results, Activision has rolled out the rather drastic Ricochet anti-cheat for Season 3.
While there are other games out there grappling with worse cheater situations, Call of Duty is one of the most visible cases of major AAA studios trying to counteract - and often failing - hackers gaining unfair advantages in their games and building businesses off of it.
Selling access to Call of Duty cheat engines is a pretty big market, with a lot of different providers. The unreliability and untrustworthiness of these providers - one recently got implicated in cryptocurrency theft - hasn't dissuaded buyers, and many still use paid cheats in Vanguard multiplayer and Warzone.
The situation has been worse in the past than it is now, with hackers ruining major content creator livestream events and collaborations frequently at the issue's peak, but it is still the main issue the franchise is currently facing amid the worst player-bleed it has experienced in years.
However Activision has wheeled out their strongest response yet, and have finally implemented Ricochet anti-cheat in Vanguard multiplayer. Ricochet was announced a while ago, and tested in Warzone, to much controversy - in order to achieve its effectiveness, Ricochet is a kernel-level program which gives it vastly more access to your device and data than is usually expected.
While pretty much everyone agreed that stronger measures are needed, a lot of players expressed concerns about letting software from Activision - or any video game corporation, really - run anything on the kernel level on their devices.
Regardless of some skepticism, Activision went ahead with Ricochet at full steam, and now the anti-cheat is live in Call of Duty: Vanguard multiplayer, sniffing out cheaters. Some of the measures the software applies beyond the usual bans is turning other players invisible for cheaters, allowing legit players to easily spot and eliminate any cheaters wandering around cluelessly.
Ricochet also uses a damage shield feature, which renders users with cheats detected unable to deal any amount of damage to non-cheater players. All the while, the anti-cheat system collects all kinds of information about the device of infringing users, allowing the bans to be tied to hardware and other specifics beyond accounts.
Ricochet has technically been active in Warzone for a while now, however this is the first true full release of the anti-cheat. Only time will tell truly how effective it turns out to be, though initial numbers are promising. With Warzone 2 on the horizon and a new Call of Duty game due later this year, the battle against cheaters is one Activision dearly needs to win.