How to tell if you've been shadow banned in Warzone 2 and how to get unbanned

Warzone 2
(Image credit: Activision)

A Warzone 2 shadow ban sees players accused of cheating grouped together in a special lobby. The idea is sound but seems less than perfect with everything from bugs, to getting too many kills reportedly triggering a shadowban. Not to mention players can simply report other players, leaving an easy way for people to abuse the system.

While the idea of locking away all the cheaters, hackers and aimbotters in one place so they can only ruin each other's game sounds like a great thing for Warzone 2, the system seems to regularly catch innocent people in its net. Whether that's via glitches or abuse. Coming up we're going to take a look at what can trigger a Warzone shadowban, how to tell if you've been shadowbanned and what you can do about it. 

What is a shadow ban in Warzone 2

Essentially a Warzone 2 shadow ban is an "account under review". Officially, according to Activision, accounts being reviewed will be matched with other accounts also under review. So shadowbanned Warzone 2 players can only play with other shadowbanned people, whether they've ended up there from legitimate cheating, accidents, or player reports. Once the review is completed, a shadow banned account will be returned to normal matchmaking if no wrong doing is found. If the account is found to have broken the rules then it could be temporarily or permanently suspended.

warzone dmz tips

(Image credit: Activision)

How do you get shadowbanned in Warzone 2? 

Currently the main ways of getting a Warzone 2 shadow ban appear to be: 

  • Report spamming - the current report system seems to shadow ban players if they're reported repeatedly in a short space of time. 
  • Getting 10 kills - incredibly, numerous streamers and high level players have reported getting a shadowban the second they make a tenth kill. 
  • Actual cheating - This one should be obvious.

Obviously, two out of the three options being wrong isn't ideal. The Warzone Ricochet anti cheat system is meant to detect cheaters and hackers but it appears that player abuse and glitches can also trigger a ban. There's a comprehensive list of things that should trigger according to Activision, so definitely avoid any of that. 

How to tell if you've been shadow banned in Warzone 2

It's hard to tell if you've been given a shadow ban in Warzone 2, as there are no notifications. Being disconnected suddenly without warning should be your first clue though - if the game was running fine before it insta-booted you from a match that could be a shadow ban kicking in.

The main things to look out for if you think you've been shadowbanned in Warzone 2 are: 

  • Were you suddenly disconnected from a game without warning? (Especially if everything was running fine before hand).
  • Is your Ping high? This measures how long it takes messages to be transmitted to and from your game and shadowbanned servers seem to have a high Ping. 
  • Does it take a long time to get into a lobby or match? Queue times seem to be much higher in shadow banned servers. 

Obviously, if you're just having a terrible time and it feels like everyone you meet is clearly cheating, that can also be a giveaway but that might not always be as obvious as you think. So Ping and queue time seem to be the main ways of spotting if it's happened. 

Warzone 2

(Image credit: Activision)

How to get unshadowbanned in Warzone 2

There are two main ways to get unshadowbanned in Warzone 2: 

  • Wait it out - Shadowbans last around 7-10 days, during which time your account will be reviewed. Assuming you weren't actually cheating, you should be unbanned after that time. 
  • Use the Activision ban appeal system - By using that link you can "appeal an account penalty". Again, if you haven't actually been cheating, that should get you back into the real game quickly.
Leon Hurley
Managing editor for guides

I'm GamesRadar's Managing Editor for guides, which means I run GamesRadar's guides and tips content. I also write reviews, previews and features, largely about horror, action adventure, FPS and open world games. I previously worked on Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website.