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Everything We Know About Call Of Duty's New Anti-Cheat, Ricochet

The "Call of Duty" franchise has long been plagued with cheaters, especially in the modern era. These pesky players all but ruined "Call of Duty: Warzone" before heading to "Call of Duty: Vanguard" during its beta, essentially making a mess of the game before its release. At this point, "Call of Duty" gamers are sick and tired of the continued presence of hackers, including big names in streaming like NickMercs and Dr Disrespect.

However, it looks like the tide may finally be turning against cheaters. On Oct. 13, 2021, Activision announced via a blog post that the brand new RICOCHET Anti-Cheat initiative is on the way. This upcoming tool promises to deliver "a robust anti-cheat system supported by a team of dedicated professionals focused on fighting unfair play." RICOCHET Anti-Cheat will take "a multi-faceted approach to combat cheating," including tools to suss out cheaters and boost security at multiple levels.

There's a lot to unpack with RICOCHET Anti-Cheat, especially given all the details the "Call of Duty” staff has shared so far. Here's what "CoD" fans need to know to get up to speed.

RICOCHET Anti-Cheat Launch Date

As it turns out, there's no single launch date for RICOCHET Anti-Cheat. Instead, the developer will be rolling out various facets of the initiative at different points.

According to the update shared on the official "Call of Duty" website, backend security enhancements are slated to release with "Call of Duty: Vanguard" on Nov. 5, 2021. "Call of Duty: Warzone" will receive similar enhancements sometime before the end of 2021 when the Pacific map update drops. A major component of the RICOCHET Anti-Cheat initiative will be a kernel-level driver, which is set to launch for "Warzone" first, around the same time as the aforementioned backend security enhancements.

As for the "Call of Duty: Vanguard" kernel-level driver, all that's known now is that it's coming "at a later date." This feature will only be available on PC, though the "CoD" team makes it clear that console players cross-playing with PC gamers "will also stand to benefit." Never heard of a kernel-level driver? Here's a breakdown.

Kernel-Level Driver

The function of the upcoming "Call of Duty" kernel-level driver is to keep cheaters from manipulating the game or others' computers. As explained by Activision, "Kernel-level drivers are given a high level of access to monitor and manage software and applications on a PC, such as your PC's graphics card driver." This offers a deep level of protection by keeping tabs on any computer functions that are interfering with "Call of Duty." 

Though it might seem a bit intense (and although similar anti-cheat programs have caused an uproar in the past), a high level of security might be necessary when faced with the insufferable lows hackers "Call of Duty" have gone to, including spreading viruses to players. By going deeper than standard user-level protections, the kernel-level driver is meant to more effectively stop cheaters and transmit relevant data to the developers so that security measures can be further enhanced.

The kernel-level driver will also be required in order to play the game. And players can rest assured that it's not always-on, since the driver only runs when "Call of Duty" is running. Beyond that, gamers with privacy concerns will likely be comforted to know thta "the kernel-level driver only monitors and reports activity related to 'Call of Duty,'" according to the announcement. This new protection offers a deeper level of monitoring than had previously been available, and it's clearly the cornerstone of the RICOCHET Anti-Cheat initiative.

Further Security Protections

Though the kernel-level drive is bringing much of the heat to RICOCHET Anti-Cheat, the "Call of Duty" team still had some additional security updates to share. As thorough as the coming protections seem, the company also emphasized the continued need for players to keep their eyes peeled for any and all suspicious activity. Player reporting is actively encouraged, as well as two-factor authentication to protect hackers from breaking into private player accounts.

Beyond that, the "Call of Duty" staff updated gamers on "the evolving use of machine learning (ML)." Basically, ML uses algorithms to sort through data and "identify suspicious behavior trends." Given the increased amount of data that will be available to the team thanks to the kernel-level drive, it seems each piece of the RICOCHET Anti-Cheat initiative will bolster the others.

Hopefully, this host of new security enhancements will finally take a bite out of the "Call of Duty" cheating problem.