Warzone shadow bans explained, what shadow banning looks like and how to get unbanned

Warzone Season 6
(Image credit: Activision)

Getting a Warzone shadow ban isn't an easy thing to tell because shadow banning is by definition, a secret thing. Expect to see more of it when Warzone Ricochet anti cheat arrives, too.  Making a player shadow banned is a way of dealing with Call of Duty Warzone and Call of Duty cheaters by grouping them all in a lobby together. By putting all the hackers and aim botters in one place they can only bother each other, leaving the rest of us to enjoy a peaceful, fair, island-wide shoot out. 

However, it has appeared in the past that innocent players have got caught in the cheat net, and some popular streamers and players seem to have been shadow banned without cheating. Given the big cheating problem in Warzone it might be hard to tell if you are in shadow banned lobby full of hackers, or it's just a usual match. So, with that in mind here's what you need to know about Warzone shadow bans, including what it looks like if you are shadow banned and how to get unbanned if that happens.

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Warzone shadow bans explained

Warzone shadow bans

(Image credit: Activision)

What is a Warzone shadow ban? Being shadow banned essentially means you're "banned", but you're not explicitly told that or given a ban message. That's because you aren't stopped from playing Call of Duty Warzone, but instead you get placed into special lobbies that are different from the usual game.

Essentially, every lobby you get put into while shadow banned will only consist of other players that have also been shadow banned. This is Activision's method of ensuring all cheaters and hackers are unable to ruin the game for legitimate players. There's no warning for this however, so it can take a while for cheaters to realise they've been hit with a shadow ban in Warzone.

How to tell if you've received a Warzone shadow ban

Warzone shadow bans

(Image credit: Activision/Raven Software)

If you think you may have received a Warzone shadow ban for one reason or another, there are certain clues you can look for to try and work it out. The most obvious of these is the long queue times you'll be facing thanks to the small pool of fellow shadow banned players. Of course, you could also be facing long queue times thanks to a slow internet speed, narrow search parameters, or another external factor, but it's something to consider if you're concerned you've been shadow banned.

Apparently, when you get shadow banned, your ping will skyrocket to north of 300. So if you're in a match, you have reason to believe you're at risk of a shadow ban, and your ping starts causing you some serious grief despite your internet connection seeming stable otherwise, then it's another clue.

Finally, and perhaps the damning clue of them all, is if you're coming up against an obscene number of hackers and cheaters in your matches. It goes without saying that if you find every death suspicious and you're struggling to get any kills, you might be playing in a shadow ban lobby. Or you're just incredibly paranoid.

How to get unbanned in Warzone

False positives do happen with Activision's ban detection system. It sucks but if it has happened and your ban hasn't been automatically lifted after two weeks, you can use the official Activision ban appeal (opens in new tab) system to try and get it sorted. Now it goes without saying that if you were hacking in Warzone, you're highly unlikely to get unbanned, but you can give the appeal a shot nonetheless. Good luck!

Give me a game and I will write every "how to" I possibly can or die trying. When I'm not knee-deep in a game to write guides on, you'll find me hurtling round the track in F1, flinging balls on my phone in Pokemon Go, pretending to know what I'm doing in Football Manager, or clicking on heads in Valorant.