Call of Duty: Warzone players are too fed up with cheaters to protest kernel-level anti-cheat

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The new Call of Duty: Warzone anti-cheat system called Ricochet will include a kernel-mode driver that lets Activision access any memory on your PC. reddit user t_hugs3 A lot of Warzone players seemed to speak for themselves when they said that that kind of power “doesn’t fit” Activision — and they’ve been smitten by so many cheaters that they can “honestly give a shit at this” point. “

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“I play Call of Duty to relax, not get bullied by a kid who spent $30 on an aimbot…” wrote another user. “If a kernel level driver prevents this, pay attention to it.”

Riot Games would have expected a similar reception to its Vanguard anti-cheat system, which also uses a kernel-mode driver. When Vanguard was announced as mandatory anti-cheat software for FPS Valorant in 2020, the discourse didn’t give it that much slack. Many saw this as an aggressive and dangerous overstep, and some said it was a bad sign for what was to come – the widespread use of kernel-mode drivers we are seeing now. Genshin Impact and Doom Eternal have had their own kernel disputes since then.

Why kernel-mode drivers are controversial


When Riot announced Vanguard in 2020, using kernel-mode drivers in anti-cheat systems was not new. Easy Anti-Cheat also uses a kernel-mode driver, as just one example, but Vanguard raised the first major controversy over the issue. In part, that’s because Riot publicized its use of a kernel-mode driver, introducing many players to a concept that’s not hard to figure out.

Normal user-mode software is isolated from the rest of your PC and cannot send instructions directly to the CPU or mess with the memory used by Windows and other software. On the other hand, kernel-mode drivers can do whatever they want.

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On top of that, Riot made it clear that Vanguard’s kernel driver boots with Windows to ensure that cheats can’t launch next to it and disguise themselves, making it more of an all-seeing eye. Gives frightening character that never blinks. It didn’t help either, as Vanguard quickly became known for interfering with non-cheat software it believed to be unsafe, such as some CPU temperature monitors.

(image credit: Hertzsprung)

Anti-Chinese sentiment also contributed. Riot is owned by Chinese conglomerate Tencent, which also owns parts of Activision Blizzard and Epic Games, and theories about new Cold War espionage were mixed with threads about everyday PC security concerns. Riot has said that Vanguard’s driver “doesn’t collect or send any information,” and it wouldn’t require a kernel-mode driver to do so anyway, but that didn’t stop internet posters from posting it.

Riot added a taskbar icon that made it easy to exit or uninstall Vanguard, but stuck to its guns saying it had to fight cheaters on its turf. Many people eventually accepted the deal, and while Valorant isn’t completely cheat-free as a result of its aggressive anti-cheat strategy—not a popular competitive game—it certainly looks as good as Call of Duty: Warzone. I am not prone to cheaters. .

welcome to ricochet

Activision has now had the advantage of following the path that Riot took off the most thorny brush. Players are accustomed to the idea that kernel-mode drivers mean more effective anti-cheat, and it helps that Activision says Ricochet will only run when a Call of Duty game is running. In practice, it probably doesn’t make much of a security difference, but it sounds better.

And Call of Duty: Warzone players are so tired of cheaters that some of them will probably tell Activision to use their PCs to perform a satanic summoning ritual if it means fewer hackers. While there are still vocal opponents of kernel-mode anti-cheat—a popular comment Says Activision has “no business messing with kernels” – I don’t see signs that the Warzone playerbase is rebelling. Ricochet related only I can find the petition on demands that Valve announce a sequel to Ricochet game.

There’s a complication involving the community of artists ripping Call of Duty assets to create custom 3D renders and videos. Ricochet may interfere with the equipment they use grizzly dog. Ashley Wise, who handles the Call of Duty influencer relations, says she is looking into the concerns, but cannot currently guarantee anything in any way.

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Otherwise, if Call of Duty players are on board, the big question is how well Ricochet will work. Just because it includes a kernel-level driver, doesn’t mean that software cheats won’t come from it, and there are other ways to cheat, such as using a hardware controller emulator like the Chronus Zen, which is programmed to let players There can be an advantage with automatic input.

Like Riot’s Vanguard, Ricochet is much more than just its kernel-mode driver. Activision calls it “multifunctional” and says it is also using “new server-side tools that monitor analytics.” This may be the way to detect nonhuman input, but as is the case with 3D render artists, capturing controller emulation can affect non-cheaters in unexpected ways, so something to keep an eye on as well. Is.

Ricochet’s anti-cheat kernel driver will come to Call of Duty: Warzone first, releasing along with its new Pacific map in the next few months. It will also come to Call of Duty: Vanguard sometime after it launches on November 5. (What makes things really confusing is that the next Call of Duty game has a similar anti-riot cheat system.)

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