Activision introduces Ricochet Anti-Cheat for Call of Duty games

A new plan to combat Call of Duty cheaters is being put into action, but is that protection worth running potentially invasive software on your PC around the clock?


If you play enough online games on the PC, chances are that you’ve come across a cheater or been in a lobby where a cheater was harassing others. The everlasting fight against those who choose to cheat at competitive video games has long been a black mark on the eye of PC gaming, though some developers have managed to keep their player bases happy thanks to innovative anti-cheat measures. Today, Activision announced that a new anti-cheat system, known as Ricochet, will be coming to Call of Duty: Warzone and Call of Duty: Vanguard.

The official announcement boasts that Ricochet is a collection of tools, including server-side monitoring and a kernel-level driver that is capable of probing to the deepest depths of a PC’s operating system in order to detect undesirable behavior. Call of Duty: Vanguard will be the first game to get Ricochet support, with Call of Duty: Warzone scheduled to receive the update as a part of its Pacific update towards the end of this year.

While many parts of Ricochet will apply to all versions of these games, the kernel-level driver will be exclusive to PC players. While this sort of approach to anti-cheat is not exactly uncommon, it does not come without controversy. In the simplest terms, a kernel-level driver is planted as deep into the system as possible. It will load alongside the operating system and has the ability to view or alter anything, including the files and processes at the core of the operating system. Virtually all applications and games on a PC are prevented from accessing or interacting with the system kernel as a matter of safety.

The Call of Duty team will explain that this level of intrusion into your machine is necessary to fight against the most dastardly of cheat exploits. Other competing games have used similar approaches, such as Riot’s Vanguard anti-cheat system for Valorant. Critics of such approaches will point to Valve’s system for cheat detection in CS:GO that does not need the lowest-level access to your operating system files to function.

Cheating in the last few Call of Duty games on PC has been especially bad in recent years and the fanbase has been begging for help from Activision. Time will tell if these fans are willing to potentially trade privacy and/or security in the name of stopping aimbots.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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