Activision continues to turn up the heat on Call of Duty: Warzone cheaters in 2021. Following a massive ban wave last month and a recommitment to thwarting hackers, Raven Software issued another wave today targeting cheaters on PC. Activision confirmed to PC Gamer that today's bans penalized over 30,000 accounts.
If you add up the ban waves since the start of the year with others that happen outside of specific waves, Activision has likely removed around 100,000 accounts in 2021 so far. That's a pretty huge number on its own, but it's not clear if the community is feeling the impact of it. Warzone attracts millions of players every day. A big chunk of that playerbase is on PC, where installing Warzone hacks and cheats is remarkably easy, and crossplay allows cheaters to put console players in their crosshairs.
#Warzone anti-cheat update.New banwave earlier today! 🚫More to come…March 16, 2021
Prior to today's ban wave, anecdotes from players on the game's subreddit and Warzone streamers suggest it's still very common to run into cheaters. Like with other FPSes, your likelihood of encountering hackers will likely vary based on your skill. A streamer that can reliably drop eight kills in a game and win daily is probably more susceptible to a cheater's ill-gotten gains than my unimpressive record.
It's also worth noting that banning a cheater's account doesn't do all that much to stop them. As long as the programs players employ aren't immediately detected upon use, all a banned player has to do is bake up a new email address and create another account. Back in September 2020, Infinity Ward promised it was "continuing to deploy additional security updates and added backend enforcement tools." A popular cheat distributing website still reads its programs as "Undetected." Activision bans can apparently target a machine's unique hardware ID, but even that can be automatically spoofed by a cheats program.
Warzone remaining free-to-play has been one of its greatest strengths since it launched last year, but it's also the reason why fighting determined cheaters will always be an uphill battle.
Adding more authorization factors is one genre-standard I'd love to see implemented. CS:GO, another free-to-play FPS, somewhat deters cheaters with its Prime Status designation. Prime Status is the only way to reasonably matchmake with other players in the ranked mode and you need to reach level 21 or pay $15 upfront to acquire it. Essentially, this means banned cheaters wanting to jump back into their antics have to pay for it or sink dozens of hours into a new account first. CS:GO still has its own struggles with hacks, so it's no perfect solution, but it's a deterrent.
As one of the most popular multiplayer games in the world, there's always something happening in Warzone. Over the weekend, one player noticed that an emblem in Warzone appears directly inspired by a logo for a far-right Ukrainian nationalist regiment.