Call of Duty: Vanguard and Warzone will receive kernel-level anti-cheat tech this year

Polycount

Posts: 2,934   +588
Staff member
Forward-looking: Kernel-level driver-based anti-cheat methods are a concern for privacy-conscious PC gamers, and yet they continue to grow in popularity across an increasingly wide variety of new and existing titles. Valorant was one of the most notorious games to include kernel-level anti-cheat technology known as "Vanguard", but now, Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Vanguard (confusing, we know) are receiving similar tech.

However, the keyword here is "similar." While this tech will likely be controversial no matter what, since kernel-level access could always pose a security risk, Activision's "RICOCHET Anti-Cheat" will not be always-on like Valorant's was at first.

Instead, it will switch on when you boot up a game of Warzone or Vanguard (it's unclear if singleplayer or offline matches count), and then turn itself off again when the respective games are exited.

RICOCHET's rollout is part of a broader focus on combating "unfair play" in the competitive scene of its games, according to Activision. Other components of this strategy involve new "server-side tools" that can monitor analytics to identify cheating (whatever that means), an "enhanced investigation process" when someone is suspected of cheating, and improvements to user account security.

The entire RICOCHET Anti-Cheat initiative will arrive with the launch of Call of Duty: Vanguard on November 5, 2021. Warzone's RICOCHET implementation doesn't have an exact release date yet, but Activision hopes to implement it "later this year" with the game's Pacific update.

It's tough to determine how effective RICOCHET will be. Cheaters and game developers will always be locked in a never-ending arms race. So long as the former group exists, there will be demand for sophisticated, often paid software to circumvent game rules. As a result, game devs will continue to be left playing whack-a-mole. Perhaps one side will come out on top in the future, but for now, the battle continues.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 1,340   +2,627
I remember managing rampant cheating wasn't an issue for Call of Duty games many, many years ago when at least for the PC Version people had to run and more important, manage their own servers for em: Turns out the community was very good at self regulating and quickly getting rid of cheaters on their servers or catering to them if there was a crazy "just for fun/all flags on" server kind of thing (Bonus point if you remember the days of "flags" or modifiers for servers in FPS games)

But then CoD went peer2peer for multiplayer just like the consoles and all CoD eventually get plagued with cheating. The community can't do anything about them other than ineffectual reporting to a company that isn't concerned with maintaining healthy environment before worrying about micropayments which is kind of the reason why you'd need to restrict players away from running their own servers.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,229   +577
I remember managing rampant cheating wasn't an issue for Call of Duty games many, many years ago when at least for the PC Version people had to run and more important, manage their own servers for em: Turns out the community was very good at self regulating and quickly getting rid of cheaters on their servers or catering to them if there was a crazy "just for fun/all flags on" server kind of thing (Bonus point if you remember the days of "flags" or modifiers for servers in FPS games)

But then CoD went peer2peer for multiplayer just like the consoles and all CoD eventually get plagued with cheating. The community can't do anything about them other than ineffectual reporting to a company that isn't concerned with maintaining healthy environment before worrying about micropayments which is kind of the reason why you'd need to restrict players away from running their own servers.
The real reason, $$$. Consoles dwarf pc players. CoD was only ever meant for PC. They like any company they saw big $ signs when they could get CoD to consoles. Been making BILLIONS ever since.
The real reason Warzone didn't have a good anti cheat, $$$. Activision is making crazy amount of money on a free game. 2 years to come up with a anti cheat that has actually been around in game like Valorant for awhile. Yeah they don't give 2 ***** about any players, it's all business. $$$
Oh and the anti cheat is for Vanguard. Warzone will get it a few weeks after Vanguard releases is the current projection. That'd assuming nothing is or goes wrong. So the real reason a anti cheat is coming, is actually for a new CoD game not specifically for Warzone. Which is also why it's not releasing right away.
 

Hexic

Posts: 1,084   +1,633
TechSpot Elite
Blizzard has had Warden for many years performing API calls on client hashes, this kernel-level anti cheat is nothing to worry about.

Every time a piece of software like this is released, the same privacy advocates pretend the sky is falling, without understanding how harmless (yet typically more effective) this methodology is.

It’ll be fine, this has been done before and will continue to be done for years to come.
 

merikafyeah

Posts: 268   +218
I'm actually quite curious how far cheating can go. There should be some kind of cheat tournament where everyone is a cheater and everyone knows that everyone is a cheater. What would a match look like if everyone expects everyone else to be able to see through walls and use aimbots etc.

When everyone is a cheater no one is? At least I think some cheaters are more creative than others. Who can cheat the best is an interesting question I don't think has been answered before.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,869   +1,920
The real reason, $$$. Consoles dwarf pc players. CoD was only ever meant for PC. They like any company they saw big $ signs when they could get CoD to consoles. Been making BILLIONS ever since.
The real reason Warzone didn't have a good anti cheat, $$$. Activision is making crazy amount of money on a free game. 2 years to come up with a anti cheat that has actually been around in game like Valorant for awhile. Yeah they don't give 2 ***** about any players, it's all business. $$$
Oh and the anti cheat is for Vanguard. Warzone will get it a few weeks after Vanguard releases is the current projection. That'd assuming nothing is or goes wrong. So the real reason a anti cheat is coming, is actually for a new CoD game not specifically for Warzone. Which is also why it's not releasing right away.
How do you make money off a live service product everyone is saying is rampant with cheaters resulting in people leaving or threatening to stop playing the game? And with the biggest Warzone streamers saying it publicly?

Warzone is the cash cow, not CW and Vanguard. The biggest Warzone streamers are complaining. Nickmercs, timthetatman etc. They've been complaining for the last couple years. Timthetatman spectated a cheater live on his YT channel on a 165ft screen at Cowboys AT&T stadium. Nickmercs announced he was leaving Warzone for Apex. Cheaters being a big factor. He uploaded an announcement video before his departure. Not things you want to see and hear as the developer of a massive game (Warzone).

Anti-cheats take time and it makes total sense that is why it took so long. In the beginning, sure they didn't care. Money. I get it. But that's because they were praying it didn't get worse so they wouldn't have to spend money on an anticheat. A money grab would be using an off the shelf anticheat. They didn't do that. Kernel or hqrdware level anticheat was maybe acknowledged as the way to go, and the reactions seen in these comments is probably why they didn't put a rush on it. You can't please everyone and some are just never happy.

It's cool people hate big companies and run to the comments to hate on them, but the constant speculation is lazy imo.
 
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texasrattler

Posts: 1,229   +577
How do you make money off a live service product everyone is saying is rampant with cheaters resulting in people leaving or threatening to stop playing the game? And with the biggest Warzone streamers saying it publicly?

Warzone is the cash cow, not CW and Vanguard. The biggest Warzone streamers are complaining. Nickmercs, timthetatman etc. They've been complaining for the last couple years. Timthetatman spectated a cheater live on his YT channel on a 165ft screen at Cowboys AT&T stadium. Nickmercs announced he was leaving Warzone for Apex. Cheaters being a big factor. He uploaded an announcement video before his departure. Not things you want to see and hear as the developer of a massive game (Warzone).

Anti-cheats take time and it makes total sense that is why it took so long. In the beginning, sure they didn't care. Money. I get it. But that's because they were praying it didn't get worse so they wouldn't have to spend money on an anticheat. A money grab would be using an off the shelf anticheat. They didn't do that. Kernel or hqrdware level anticheat was maybe acknowledged as the way to go, and the reactions seen in these comments is probably why they didn't put a rush on it. You can't please everyone and some are just never happy.

It's cool people hate big companies and run to the comments to hate on them, but the constant speculation is lazy imo.
Nickmers was gone for 2 weeks n went back to warzone, Apex had its time. As much as most can't stand cheating, we all live with it. It can be controlled much better than what warzone has done. That could finally change at the end of Nov.
Warzone is popular still cause of consoles but pc is what makes it hyped cause of streamers. The downside is pc gamers cheat.

How does a free game with so many issues make money. Paid camos/content n pc streamers keep hyping it up, even the ones that complain.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,229   +577
How do you make money off a live service product everyone is saying is rampant with cheaters resulting in people leaving or threatening to stop playing the game? And with the biggest Warzone streamers saying it publicly?

Warzone is the cash cow, not CW and Vanguard. The biggest Warzone streamers are complaining. Nickmercs, timthetatman etc. They've been complaining for the last couple years. Timthetatman spectated a cheater live on his YT channel on a 165ft screen at Cowboys AT&T stadium. Nickmercs announced he was leaving Warzone for Apex. Cheaters being a big factor. He uploaded an announcement video before his departure. Not things you want to see and hear as the developer of a massive game (Warzone).

Anti-cheats take time and it makes total sense that is why it took so long. In the beginning, sure they didn't care. Money. I get it. But that's because they were praying it didn't get worse so they wouldn't have to spend money on an anticheat. A money grab would be using an off the shelf anticheat. They didn't do that. Kernel or hqrdware level anticheat was maybe acknowledged as the way to go, and the reactions seen in these comments is probably why they didn't put a rush on it. You can't please everyone and some are just never happy.

It's cool people hate big companies and run to the comments to hate on them, but the constant speculation is lazy imo.
Anti cheat don't take long. All Activision is doing is using the Valorant version. It's modified but in the end it's still the same. It's not some groundbreaking nonsense, it can't be when games have used this type before.

Why did it take so long then? Cause they don't care. It's about making money. They gave a free game n ppl should be happy. They are making billions but 2 years to incorporate a decent anti cheat to slow down cheating is ridiculous. Now that they've made their billions n know they will be able to have a cash cow for awhile, they give a anti cheat. On top of that, Warzone only gets it not because it needs it but because a new cod is coming. Vanguard even gets it first which is a joke.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,869   +1,920
Nickmers was gone for 2 weeks n went back to warzone, Apex had its time. As much as most can't stand cheating, we all live with it. It can be controlled much better than what warzone has done. That could finally change at the end of Nov.
Warzone is popular still cause of consoles but pc is what makes it hyped cause of streamers. The downside is pc gamers cheat.

How does a free game with so many issues make money. Paid camos/content n pc streamers keep hyping it up, even the ones that complain.
Technology gets better just like cheats do. Have you seen all the diff cheats hackers are using? Crazy stuff. Cheats are preordered before the game is released now. Your logic is just deal with it. That's insane on so many levels.

Nick going back a few hours a week is not going back. He still trashes the game on stream. Apex is his game now. Warzone isnt a short term project like a CW or Vanguard. It's one of the biggest BR's out there.

Gamers aren't just talkers are they? Are they just annoying little gnats? Nothing gets done? If so then that's even more reason to just stop with the Us vs Them script readings isn't it?

Halo got sent back for a year because of the . A YEAR! How often does that happen? Almost never. Devs didn't just push that one out did they? For easy money? Yea companies are scummy, but they can't always be scummy or they'll go out of business and games die. Constant booing makes people look like weirdos to me, because it'slazy and not helping.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,869   +1,920
Anti cheat don't take long. All Activision is doing is using the Valorant version. It's modified but in the end it's still the same. It's not some groundbreaking nonsense, it can't be when games have used this type before.

Why did it take so long then? Cause they don't care. It's about making money. They gave a free game n ppl should be happy. They are making billions but 2 years to incorporate a decent anti cheat to slow down cheating is ridiculous. Now that they've made their billions n know they will be able to have a cash cow for awhile, they give a anti cheat. On top of that, Warzone only gets it not because it needs it but because a new cod is coming. Vanguard even gets it first which is a joke.
It's one of the better ones out there. Not something a company that doesn't care would use.

Your comments are clearly anti-big company 24/7. If you haven't noticed by now, that's not how I roll. No one should roll like that.

Take care.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,229   +577
It's one of the better ones out there. Not something a company that doesn't care would use.

Your comments are clearly anti-big company 24/7. If you haven't noticed by now, that's not how I roll. No one should roll like that.

Take care.
Anti what LOL ... I call it like I see it. Apex uses easy anti cheat which uses a kernel driver, cheating still takes place. Valorant is the only version of a kernel driver that seems to be working. While nothing stops all cheating
Valorants is working better than most.
Battlefield does too with there version n cheating was in the beta.

Will these versions work? For some games, yes but for massive AAA, to early to say but doesn't look great. Especially with Warzones new anti cheat kernel driver being leaked to cheat devs supposedly by a employee. Ouch. How you talk n hype up a anti cheat then less than 24 hrs one of your own employees basically gives you the finger n leaks the freakin kernel driver. Game is not in a good state n this is very bad news.