Cheating in Call of Duty has become kind of a meme. According to fans and critics alike, cheaters are just everywhere in CoD, and you probably won't play more than a few games without being bothered by somebody hacking something. This may have been true at one point, but it's not anymore. So, in this article, we'll explain why cheating in Call of Duty isn’t as big a problem as you think.
Ricochet Does More Than You Think
Ricochet is Call of Duty's anti-cheat software, introduced with Vanguard. On a technical level, on PC, Richochet works to detect and remove cheaters from Call of Duty as all anti-cheat software does. However, the Ricochet development team is also taking further steps to fight cheating, employing some more fun, interesting tactics.
Once the Call of Duty system detects your cheating, there are a variety of changes that can be dynamically applied to you in-game. These include making cheaters' weapons do very little damage, making people cheaters fire at turn invisible, and all kinds of fun ways to make being a cheater miserable without an instant account ban.
No, not every cheater will have these effects applied to them, but the fact that this is a system at all and can happen is going to help fight cheaters. See, people cheat because they want to win without having to bother to put in the effort to actually get a win. They want to feel like gods, even if they aren't actually gods. So if you can mess with that sensation, cheaters will be less likely to bother cheating if they have to be constantly paranoid that the game is going to detect and punish them behind-the-scenes.
Plus, Richochet is only going to get better in time as its detection gets more advanced and gets better at identifying cheating players. This isn't to say that all cheaters will be eliminated, of course not, but more and more will be over time, which is good news for the future.
Warzone Has Warzone Problems
Cheaters in Warzone are still a thing, but the problem with the cheating problem is that even if you have a great anti-cheat software, Warzone is still going to have more cheaters than games like Valorant or Battlefield, inevitably. This comes down to the nature of CoD as a gaming franchise.
First, unlike Battlefield, Warzone is free-to-play, so cheaters can simply make new accounts if they get banned for free. Then, CoD has built up a reputation over decades for being an experience primarily concerned with shredding people and racking up as many kills as possible, unlike Valorant, which helps to incentivize cheating.
Yes, cheating can cut down on and it should be, but even if Activision is extraordinarily proactive about cheaters in Warzone, there's only so much they're going to be able to do. Ultimately, an extraordinarily popular free-to-play competitive game is going to have a sizeable population of people willing to cheat, and that aspect of human nature isn't going to change.
But if you look at other CoD games like Modern Warfare, Black Ops Cold War, or Vanguard, cheating isn't much of a problem at all, though your personal mileage may vary. In general, if you play any of these games, maybe everyone once in a while you run into a cheater, but that's about it. It's hardly a big deal or even something particularly distracting, as it doesn't happen all that often.
Call of Duty Was Worse in the Past
What's more is that many people don't realize that cheating in Call of Duty was actually a much, much bigger problem in the past as compared to today. Throughout the PS3 generation, for example, CoD games like Modern Warfare, World at War, Modern Warfare 2, and Black Ops would routinely have their servers get hacked a year or two after launch.
If you decided to go back and play an older CoD game, chances were you'd load into a hacked lobby with people floating around and weird music playing or you'd load into a game with someone obviously aimbotting and racking up ridiculous amounts of kills. This was so prevalent that certain games were just unplayable not even that long after release. But this was just a fact of life for gamers back then. Cheaters were gonna cheat, and there was always a new CoD game with fewer cheaters.
This isn't to excuse CoD performance in the past, that level of hacking and cheating is obviously unacceptable, but it is to say that the idea that cheating is so bad in CoD today that it's a significant reason not to play is kind of silly in comparison to how bad the problems used to be and how little people actually cared about them.
Not Everything That Seems Like Cheating is Cheating
This is an age-old insight, especially with Call of Duty. The thing is that when you've got a game with controller aim assist that also supports mouse and keyboard running on servers that aren't built to have an esport level of technical accuracy and precision, lots of stuff that looks identical to cheating isn't actually cheating.
For example, seeing somebody snap to and lock directly on heads might seem like an aimbot, but it could just be a PC player. Or, you can watch somebody, for example, just magically lock onto you through smoke and kill you in a killcam but on the actual other player's screen when he was killing you he saw you through the smoke. Lots of stuff like this happens all the time.
Controller players will see the huge boost to accuracy afford to FOV-increasing mouse and keyboard players and see that as cheating, while mouse and keyboard players will see the sticky-aim aim assist given to controller players as unfair cheating, too. Depending on your input method, what you see as cheating can change drastically, even if little of it is actually cheating.