The RICOCHET Anti-Cheat team details what’s coming next, as well as examines what’s worked, what hasn’t, and what we’ve learned during the Modern Warfare II Open Beta.
With the Open Beta of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II In our rear view mirror, #TeamRICOCHET has been examining data and trends focused on cheating and hack attempts to ensure readiness for the first day of Modern Warfare IIwhen RICOCHET Anti-Cheat™ will be fully deployed.
Throughout the Beta, a limited level of RICOCHET Anti-Cheat™ protections were activated, but the full scope of our security infrastructure – such as the various detection systems and in-game mitigations – will not go live until official launch of Modern Warfare II on October 28.
Before we get into the Open Beta security overview of Modern Warfare IIwe would like to outline our goals for the next release:
For the first time, RICOCHET Anti-Cheat and its kernel level driver for PC will be released on the same day as a new title in the universe Call of Duty. The next release combines a year of learnings and updates with new features and mitigations to protect our games.
Starting with the release of Modern Warfare II and following the release of Call of Duty®: WarzoneTM 2.0 on November 16, RICOCHET Anti-Cheat will operate on a new unified security platform. This new system gives #TeamRICOCHET more protection: better detection capabilities, additional access to develop and deploy new mitigation techniques, and greater freedom to update our security more often than ever.
RICOCHET Anti-Cheat and its kernel-level driver for PC will be present in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II Y Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 worldwide to users on launch day.
Although not activated in the Beta, all existing mitigation systems will be active at launch for both Modern Warfare II like war zone 2.0, including concealment, disarm, damage shield and others. Cheaters can also look forward to a new series of in-game enforcement measures. For more information on our in-game mitigation measures, please see the Progress Report Q&A Blog.
server vs. Client
#TeamRICOCHET, in collaboration with studio partners Infinity Ward, Raven Software, Demonware, Sledgehammer Games, and Treyarch, among others, is transforming the way the game client and server communicate, migrating certain processes to be performed on the server side, in addition to the client. What this means is that #TeamRICOCHET can maintain authority over more gaming systems, providing even more protection for the game.
Kernel-level driver updates
#TeamRICOCHET is developing updates to its kernel-level driver for PCs for the release of Modern Warfare II. These updates will help facilitate some of the processes mentioned above, as well as provide better prevention systems against cheaters. In addition, the driver will provide more information to our security teams in case cheaters enter the game, feeding data to our detection and mitigation systems. For more information about the kernel-level driver for PC, see the Player Support FAQ.
SMS security policy
to play to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II on PC requires a mobile phone number with text messaging capability. The current players of Call of Duty®: Warzone™ who have previously verified their account will not have to provide any additional information to access Modern Warfare II Y Warzone™ 2.0.
The SMS policy for Modern Warfare II Y war zone 2.0 on Battle.net is the same as the requirement for Call of Duty: Warzone on PC, which was implemented in May 2020. A mobile phone number must be linked to your Steam account to play Modern Warfare II on that platform.
SMS verification is critical to our anti-cheating enforcement efforts, addressing illicit account creation at its source. This helps our security team maintain account and game security to provide a safe, fair and fun gaming experience for all of our players. In August 2022, we update the SMS policy for new players of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019), requiring a text message-enabled mobile phone number to play the game. Before this change, new accounts Modern Warfare could access war zone without an SMS security check. As the illicit account market adjusted to our security enforcement, #TeamRICOCHET began to see more cheaters trying to access war zone since Modern Warfare to bypass the SMS policy, so the security team recommended the update to further combat the illicit account market.
The SMS requirement to access the game is used for security purposes only. Call of Duty does not use SMS verification data for marketing purposes.
Open Beta Overview Modern Warfare II
The advantage of a Pre-Launch Beta is being able to test new methodologies and systems before launch to see what is viable, as well as retaining the full scope of RICOCHET Anti-Cheat to show the cards little by little.
Fighting cheaters is an ebb and flow process. There is no simple solution to prevent cheating from occurring. Although only partial anti-cheat systems were deployed for the Free Beta, the security team learned valuable lessons about what worked and what didn’t.
Bans and detections
Bans from the Open Beta of Modern Warfare II they can be divided into two categories: accounts that were removed before entering the Beta and accounts that were detected and removed during the beta.
In preparation for the Beta, #TeamRICOCHET banned over 60,000 illicit accounts from our system, denying them access to the event. During the beta itself, over 20,000 bans were issued, kicking cheaters out of participation.
Examining the data, we found that 72% of players caught cheating were reported before they played a single match. For those who were able to play normally (assuming every game they played involved cheating), our systems were able to detect and remove them from our ecosystem – on average – in five games played.
Questions about bans and expulsions
There were a small number of players reporting Beta crashes that seemed to cause their accounts to be permanently banned. We have thoroughly investigated this and have determined that the crash issues did not cause unfair bans. The game itself cannot cause a ban. Additionally, our security and data engineers have confirmed that there were no possible bugs that would allow this to happen during beta.
One system that did unfairly affect players was a system that kicked (not banned) users from matches for friendly fire, either accidentally or on purpose. While we certainly appreciate how much our security systems play into it, this issue only persisted for a brief period on Sunday before being resolved. We hope to have fixed this for launch. Also, and only generally, don’t shoot your teammates.
While we’re excited about our progress and system updates, the fight against cheaters will continue to be a constant battle. Every step we take forces cheaters to take more drastic measures in an attempt to circumvent the system. As always, your in-game reporting is critical to helping #TeamRICOCHET and we want to thank you for helping us keep our games fair and fun for everyone.