Call of Duty's Team RICOCHET embraces machine learning and torments cheaters in Warzone and Modern Warfare 3

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer reveal trailer shows off remastered maps, new kill streaks, and combat movement.
(Image credit: Activision)

What you need to know

  • Activision's Team RICOCHET has shared details about anti-cheat efforts for the upcoming Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer launch, as well as ongoing efforts for mitigation in Call of Duty: Warzone.
  • Team RICOCHET will utilize an AI model that has been trained to identify suspicious behavior like wall hacks, which will then alert the team to review submitted replays.
  • Players confirmed to be cheating in Warzone will have their parachute disabled, sending them hurtling to the ground in a new mitigation known as Splat

A new update from Activision's Team RICOCHET provides players some fresh insight into anti-cheat mitigation efforts coming in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Warzone. Earlier in 2023, Team RICOCHET announced the Replay Investigation Tool and revealed that captured gameplay data was converted into videos internally, where the team could then review player matches and spot problematic behavior.  

While the Replay Investigation Tool has been effective, it is not necessarily a timely way to deal with potential cheaters. In a press release, Team RICOCHET revealed the team was reviewing approximately 700 replay clips on any given day. While some hacks, such as "rage hacking", are easy to spot the Replay Investigation Tool made it easier for the team to pinpoint more stealthy cheat mechanics, such as wall hacking.

To speed up the process of reviewing suspected cheating replays, Team RICOCHET has utilized machine learning to identify suspicious behavior. While a teammate can review around 700 replays a day, just one PC with Team RICOCHET's Machine Learning model can review up to 1000 clips per day. 

While machine learning will be utilized in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 it will also expand to all Call of Duty titles that are currently protected by RICOCHET: Anti-Cheat. This is not the first AI algorithm to be used as a moderator tool by Activision, as the Call of Duty enforcement team previously announced a partnership with Modulate to bring AI-powered voice chat moderation to the franchise.

In addition to machine learning and AI, Team RICOCHET also employs amusing and humiliating mitigation tactics to deter cheaters in both multiplayer and Warzone. In the past, the team has discussed using tactics such as hallucinations and cloaking. These tactics allow the cheater to stay in the game longer so that data about hacking and cheating efforts can be collected by the team without the player being able to affect the game's outcome for others. 

The newest trick in Team RICOCHET's bag of tricks is called Splat. When a player launches into Call of Duty: Warzone with confirmed cheats active, they are typically kicked out immediately. However, for those who do slip through the cracks, Splat will randomly disable the player's parachute in the game. This results in a rather humorous instant death when they hit the ground without a parachute. If a cheater manages to deploy without their parachute disabling, then Splat can adjust player velocity. An innocent bunny hop becomes a 10,000-foot drop of doom.

Call of Duty: Warzone post MW3 changes

(Image credit: Activision)

As with all mitigation tactics, Splat will only turn on when a player is verified to be cheating, and other players can not trigger Splat by false reporting. It can not be accidentally activated, either. So if you're watching your favorite Twitch streamer load up Call of Duty: Warzone this week and they randomly plummet to the ground — their controller batteries probably didn't die.

According to Team RICOCHET, more than 80,000 accounts have been banned across Call of Duty: Warzone and Modern Warfare 2 in the lead-up to the launch of Modern Warfare 3. The team reiterated that these bans are from confirmed cheaters who are using hacks and that spam reporting does not result in an increased likelihood of action being taken against a player's account. When a player files a report, the system only considers the first report and further throttles additional reports from that player to prevent spam reporting.

While reports can raise a red flag for Team RICOCHET, it does not result in action without other confirmed cheat detections. Spam reporting is also a violation of the Call of Duty Security and Enforcement Policy.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 cross-gen bundle | $70 at Best Buy

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 cross-gen bundle | $70 at Best Buy

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Cole Martin

Cole is the resident Call of Duty know-it-all and indie game enthusiast for Windows Central. She's a lifelong artist with two decades of experience in digital painting, and she will happily talk your ear off about budget pen displays.