On October 12th, 2021, Activision teased a new anti-cheat initiative with an ominous warning to cheaters. The following day, it was announced that this would come in the form of Ricochet anti-cheat. Ricochet is a new anti-cheat system for Call of Duty, featuring an internally developed, kernel-level driver to help identify cheaters.
COD Ricochet anti-cheat
The Ricochet anti-cheat system is a new, “robust” anti-cheat initiative which will endeavour to curb the problem with cheaters in Call of Duty games. From what we know about the system so far, it does sound like it should make a huge difference to what is becoming an environment dominated by cheating.
The multi-part approach will include server-side tools, improved investigation procedures, and will be continually tested and updated following launch. In other words, Ricochet is the full system, encompassing software, machine learning, and the human team behind it to tackle cheating harder than ever before.
Call of Duty’s kernel-level driver
While separate from the overall Ricochet system, one of the most crucial elements is the COD-developed kernel-level driver for PC. A kernel is a program that has access to your computer system, while the driver for it will be able to monitor your system and the activities carried out on it. The driver has been developed as it will be more secure than the usual user-level software which can be easily hacked by cheaters. It will monitor the activity on your PC, and feed this information back to Activision, thereby picking up any suspicious activity.
Making the kernel driver safe
The driver will be required to operate Call of Duty: Warzone on PC. As such, Activision has addressed important concerns about safety and data protection.
Most importantly, the driver will only operate while Call of Duty is running. Therefore it won’t pick up any activity on your PC while Call of Duty: Warzone (or Vanguard, once the driver is eventually launched on Vanguard as well) is not running. As soon as you close the game, the driver stops.
Also, the kernel driver will only interact with software and applications that interact directly with Warzone.
Due to the way the driver works, it will allow the information to be used on a long-term basis, with Call of Duty teams investigating suspicious behaviour, and implementing changes to the overall anti-cheat system.
While the driver is only available for PC, this software will benefit console gamers who crossplay with PC players, as it will be cracking down on those cheating on PC, hopefully eliminating them from matchmaking for good.
Player feedback is still crucial
Despite the new elements to this anti-cheat initiative, Activision are still clear that lawyer feedback of suspicious behaviour is still crucial to the overall anti-cheat drive. This way, the Ricochet team can accumulate all of the information provided for the most accurate and intensive anti-cheat programme possible.
Call of Duty Ricochet – Release date
The Ricochet system will first be launching alongside Call of Duty Vanguard on November 5th, 2021. Ricochet will then come to COD Warzone later in the year with the launch of the exciting Pacific map update.
The Call of Duty-specific PC kernel driver will launch separately, first on Warzone, then on Vanguard. There are currently no dates for when this will be available to players.