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Call of Duty’s new anti-cheat tools make legit players invisible to cheaters

‘Cloaking,’ announced earlier this week, seems to have been in place for a while

a player in call of duty vanguard swings a hatchet at a downed opponent Image: Sledgehammer Games/Activision
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Call of Duty’s latest measure to thwart cheaters is rather novel: Legitimate players will be made invisible to cheaters. Developers told the community of the Ricochet anti-cheat system’s new feature, called Cloaking, in a blog post on Tuesday.

“With Cloaking, players that are detected to be cheating can find themselves unable to see opposing players in the game world,” Team Ricochet said. “Characters, bullets, even sound from legitimate players will be undetectable to cheaters.”

Legitimate players, however, can still see and attack cheaters. “Generally, they’ll be the players you see spinning in circles hollering, ‘Who is shooting me?’” Team Ricochet wrote. Fair players are encouraged to “dole out in-game punishment.”

Ricochet is a kernel-level (meaning, very high-level access to software and applications installed on a PC) anti-cheat system that rolled out in Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Vanguard’s multiplayer when the latter launched in November. Ricochet is on the watch for applications that attempt to interact with or manipulate the Call of Duty client.

The Verge noted that, although Team Ricochet has announced Cloaking only now, it or some form of it has been seen in-game since at least mid-February.

Team Ricochet noted that Cloaking will complement another mitigation technique, Damage Shield, introduced back in February. With Damage Shield, once Ricochet detects a player is tampering with the game, it disables their ability to inflict critical damage on others while still collecting data about what they’re doing and what’s on their system.

Elsewhere, Team Ricochet said that studios responsible for maintaining multiplayer leaderboards are now deleting cheaters from them. The deletion comes after “any security enforcement that results in a ban to a player.”

The team also reported that, since March 18 (when they reported that 90,000 cheaters had been banned that week), another 54,000 have have their accounts removed. “While we may not announce all bans as they happen, know they occur both daily and in waves,” Team Ricochet said.

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