Whatever you might think of Call of Duty, you can’t accuse its anti-cheat team of lacking imagination; having previously caused chaos for multiplayer cheaters by whisking away their weapons and turning opponents invisible, it’ll soon be cutting their parachute cords and causing their bunny hops to launch them 10,000ft into the air before a very messy end.
This latest bit of mischief is the work of the team behind Call of Duty’s server-side and kernel-level anti-cheat solution, officially known as Ricochet, which outlined its latest steps in the war against online ne’er-do-wells – particularly the role Machine Learning plays in improving its anti-cheat systems – in a timely blog post coinciding with today’s launch of Modern Warfare 3.
“Combining everything [we have] developed over the course of the last two years with new Machine Learning advancements,” it wrote, “Richochet: Anti-Cheat is preparing for the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 with a stronger and faster process to combat cheating.”
The short of it all is that the team has been focusing on the “efficiency and strength” of its anti-cheat efforts, and its Machine Learning model – which is trained to identify suspicious behaviour like wall hacks or raging then alert a human for immediate review – is now able to generate around 1,000 clips of suspicious behaviour per day per PC.
Team Ricochet says Ranked Play is currently a major focus in its work – specifically, preventing players from leapfrogging up leaderboards unfairly – and it also outlined a few of the new tricks its development to keep cheaters in check. The flashiest of these, it admits, are mostly just “for fun” and seemingly mainly intended to annoy cheaters so that they know that Richochet knows, if you know what I mean.
Previously, Ricochet has turned on God Mode for all opponents when verified cheaters are detected in a match, or enabled Damage Shields to prevent cheaters from inflicting critical damage. Other initiatives – technically referred to as “mitigations” – include the aforementioned invisible opponents and disappearing weapons, but the team is also now introducing Splat.
Splat will randomly disable cheaters’ Warzone parachutes if they’re caught before they deploy, sending them careening into the ground. And for those instances where cheating is detected after deployment, that’s where the superhuman bunny hop comes in, shooting the offending party 10,000ft into the air so they have 10,000ft to think about what they’ve done as they come hurtling back to the ground and a sticky fate.
The developer says these new mitigations will be deployed in Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer, as well as Call of Duty: Warzone, while retaining old favourites like Damage Shield. However, it notes some mitigations will be administered privately (and thus less spectacularly), specifically to keep cheaters in a match and absorb as much information from their behaviour as possible.
“While it’s fun to annoy cheaters that make it into games,” the developer adds, “our aim is to prevent them from ever getting near a match. Prevention is key to the continued evolution of Ricochet: Anti-Cheat.”
Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer is now live, of course, following the game’s release today. Eurogamer hasn’t had enough play-time to formulate an opinion on this side of Call of Duty’s latest instalment, but Chris Tapsell was decidedly not impress in his campaign review. “Clearly rushed to market,” he wrote, “Modern Warfare 3’s campaign tapes together ill-conceived open areas, underwhelming linear missions, and a meaningless story.”
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