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Activision announces Ricochet, kernel-level anti-cheat for Warzone and Vanguard

The new Ricochet anti-cheat system will first be introduced in Warzone in November and it will be mandatory in order to play the game on PC.
Since the release of Warzone back in 2020 the game has been plagued by cheaters, and that burning issue has only become bigger as time has passed.

The situation escalated this summer when the game became practically unplayable due to rampant cheating, which resulted in many high-profile players switching to other games, including the game's biggest streaming stars TimtheTatman and NICKMERCS who both found Apex Legends a more enjoyable experience.

The Warzone community had had enough of cheaters and the sporadic ban waves were far from enough, so for the last few months, Activision and Raven were under tremendous pressure to act and find a solution for the problem.

A new anti-cheat system was promised alongside the announcement of Call of Duty: Vanguard in August, and we now have a chance to learn more about it, as Activision has officially revealed Ricochet, the new Call of Duty anti-cheat system.

Warzone's new anti-cheat will have kernel-level protection

Activision announces Ricochet, kernel-level anti-cheat for Warzone and Vanguard
Ricochet's kernel-level anti-cheat driver should ban cheaters before they even get a chance to ruin your games. (Picture: Activision)

Activision describes Ricochet as a "multi-faceted approach to combat cheating" which is supported "by a team of dedicated professionals focused on fighting unfair play."

The Ricochet anti-cheat system will have two layers of protection. One will work on the servers' side, with numerous new tools which will help automated processes to monitor games and identify cheating, and it will be able to purge cheaters from matches much faster and more efficiently than before. It will also help with the overall account security of players.

The other part of the Ricochet anti-cheat system is a far more important one, but potentially more controversial. Ricochet will include a new PC kernel-level driver, which is developed internally for the Call of Duty franchise, and which will be mandatory to run if you want to play Warzone.

Kernel-level drivers have been a topic of controversy in the past, as they have the highest level of access, and in theory, they have the freedom to do whatever they want on your PC. Riot Game's employed a similar system for Valorant, coincidently named Vanguard, which initially saw pushback from the community and was also the source of some hardware failures.

Still, Activision promises that no such thing will happen with the Ricochet anti-cheat system, claiming that Ricochet will only work while Warzone is running, and it will not start on startup, which is how Riot's Vanguard operates.

According to Activision, Ricochet will only monitor the software and applications that "attempt to interact and manipulate Call of Duty: Warzone" and will not report any other activity which is not related to the game.

Activision announces Ricochet, kernel-level anti-cheat for Warzone and Vanguard
While efficient, Valorant's Vanguard anti-cheat was highly controversial due to its kernel-level driver which is always turned on. (Picture: Riot Games)

Ricochet will be directly integrated into Warzone and will operate only while the game is running (it turns on when you start Warzone), and the driver turns off immediately when you shut down Warzone.

While this definitely seems less intrusive compared to some other kernel-level anti-cheat systems, it remains to be seen how effective it will be in removing cheaters from Warzone games, as well as if it will pose any kind of security threat to those who install it on their PCs, which is always a possibility when this level of access is given.

The Ricochet anti-cheat system is set to be implemented into Warzone alongside the Pacific update for the battle royale, which is slated for release when Vanguard launches on 5th November 2021. The system will not immediately be implemented into Vanguard itself, where the kernel-level driver will be added at a later date.

For everything else Call of Duty players might desire, check out our dedicated section filled to the brim with gun guides, news, leaks, and much more.

Featured image courtesy of Activision.