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Warzone Ricochet anti cheat system explained

Warzone Ricochet anti cheat
(Image credit: Activision)

The Warzone Ricochet anti cheat system is a Call of Duty kernel-level anti cheating system that's been added to Vanguard and to Warzone itself that looks set to restrict and restrain certain accounts associated with cheating. And from what we understand, it'll also pair suspected cheaters together so they all end up playing together, a process known as shadowbanning in Call of Duty Warzone

It's a big change for Warzone and Vanguard, which have been affected by hackers, cheats and aimbots for a while, and which sounds like it should be a good thing for the games overall. But how does it work? In our guide below we'll explain everything we know about the new Warzone Ricochet anti cheat system, and what the implications of it might be for your game and potentially your privacy.

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Warzone Season 6

(Image credit: Activision)

What is the Warzone Ricochet anti cheat kernel-level system?

The new Call of Duty Warzone anti cheat set up is a new way of preventing cheating in the game by monitering the PC playing it.

Put simply, the Ricochet system is a kernel-level driver system that matches and even pairs up suspected cheaters with each other in Warzone's multiplayer. This means that if the Ricochet system thinks you've been cheating, it may put you in games with others who it also suspects have been cheating. Meanwhile, the honest non-cheaters can spend wholesome time backstabbing and bombing each other in their own games, just as god intended.

Warzone Season 6

(Image credit: Activision)

How does the Warzone Ricochet kernel-level driver work?

'Kernel-level; means something very specific for the new Warzone anticheat system and how it interacts with a PC running it within the game.

It's a little complicated and the developers have a full explanation available, but a kernel-level driver is a part of the game's software that checks your computer or console for certain data or information that might indicate that you've been cheating. As the explanations says "Kernel-level drivers are given a high level of access to monitor and manage software and applications on a PC", that means the system can check applications that try to interact with Warzone. If it finds code or files associated with cheating or hacking the game, this information is sent back to the developers.

What happens if Warzone Ricochet says you're cheating?

Warzone Season 5

(Image credit: Activision)

If the Ricochet system marks you as a cheater, it's not exactly clear what the ramifications are. Warzone has historically been more than happy to ban accounts associated with cheating in the past, but a Q&A between Activision and content creators recently revealed that Ricochet would create matchmaking pools separating "trusted" and "untrusted" accounts (thanks CharlieINTEL), which may mean that those who have suspicious files but aren't officially confirmed as cheaters may end up in the untrusted pool? Activision have said they don't plan to share the details of their rating system, so we may not know at all going forward. 

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Is Warzone Ricochet safe to use for privacy?

Warzone Season 6

(Image credit: Activision)

Kernel-level systems like Ricochet have been viewed pretty unfavourably by many, owing to the fact that their function is basically to go through your computer or console and send data back to the creators - something many view as an infringement of privacy.

That being said, Activision have made these claims regarding privacy safety while using Ricochet:

  • RICOCHET Anti-Cheat's kernel-level driver operates ONLY while playing Call of Duty: Warzone on PC.
  • RICOCHET Anti-Cheat's driver is not always-on.
  • RICOCHET Anti-Cheat's driver monitors the software and applications that interact with Call of Duty: Warzone.
  • When you shut down Call of Duty: Warzone, the driver turns off.

Activision have also stated that "player privacy is extremely important", and emphasise that protection of that privacy is a priority. However, don't consider this guide either an endorsement or renouncement of Warzone and the Ricochet system - we don't have it yet, so we don't know to what extent it interacts with your computer.

Do you have to download Ricochet to play Warzone?

Warzone Season 5

(Image credit: Activision)

Yes, Activision have made it clear that the Ricochet anti cheat driver will be an integral part with this statement: "Once the kernel-level driver is deployed; it will be required to play Warzone." 

Will the Warzone Ricochet system be on consoles? 

Call of Duty Warzone

(Image credit: Activision)

No, at time of writing it appears that the Ricochet anti cheat driver will be exclusive to PC, though Activision have said that "by extension, console players playing via cross-play against players on PC will also stand to benefit." Whether PC players will consider this a victory over console players remains to be seen.

Warzone Ricochet release date

Warzone Season 6

(Image credit: Activision)

Activision have stated that the Ricochet anti cheat system will launch for Warzone as part of the Pacific update coming later this year; and will presumably be the point where the system becomes mandatory to play the game. Though there doesn't appear to be an official release date for the Pacific map at time of writing, Warzone Season 7 is expected to start on Thursday 2nd December, owing to the end date of the Season 6 Battle Pass. Whether these two events are synonymous remains to be seen, but it seems likely, considering that Seasons in Warzone are usually marked by major changes to the game.

Joel Franey

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist and podcaster with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. Consequently he chooses to spend his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.