Ricochet anti-cheat won't just ban cheaters in Modern Warfare 3.
A soldier in a skull mask holding a slegehammer and eyeing another soldier that is on his hands and knees on the ground.

With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 set to release mere hours from now, the developers and Activision took to the Call of Duty Blog to talk about improvements to Ricochet. Ricochet being the name given to the anti-cheat service used in the previous few Call of Duty releases.

First up is the more mundane improvements that are coming to Ricochet ahead of Modern Warfare 3's launch. Activision notes that they have implemented machine learning in order to "help with efficiency and speed in prevention, detection, and removal of cheaters." Specifically, Activision notes that they are using machine learning to enhanced their anti-cheat team's abilities in three key areas:

  • Examining client and server data to find new cheat behaviors
  • Issuing account challenges to validate abnormal behavior
  • Collecting and collating problem accounts for action
In short, Machine Learning helps us anticipate behavior better and operate with more effectiveness, with our team validating for accuracy.

Machine Learning works in concert with our team, providing information to make account decisions – but Machine Learning systems do not issue bans.​
Furthermore, machine learning will speed up another existing feature that the anti-cheat team utilizes. That is the feature where they can capture gameplay data and convert it into video internally for them to review. With machine learning aiding the process, the average number of replay clips a Ricochet team member could look at in day is around 700. With machine learning, a single PC can review up to 1,000 clips per day. They say that the number of clips looked at per day could grow "exponentially when multiple computers are tasked with operating this specific replay machine learning investigation model."

Beyond machine learning being added to their toolset, the Ricochet team is also implementing something they call Splat.

With Splat, if a cheater is discovered, we may randomly, and for fun, disable their parachute sending them careening into the ground after they deploy.

But what if we catch them after they’ve deployed? Well, Splat can also adjust player velocity, which transforms a bunny hop into a 10,000-foot drop taking them out instantly. This is one of many new tricks we’ve developed – and we’ll talk about more in the future.

Like all mitigations, Splat won’t randomly turn on for a player that isn’t verified to be cheating. Player reporting won’t turn it on, and the game can’t accidentally activate it.​
Months ago, the Ricochet team added the Ricochet anti-cheat logo to the kill feed to inform the players in a lobby when someone got banned for cheating. This same logo will also appear when cheaters are the victim of the Splat system. Activision says that this visual feedback to the other players is a way of instilling "confidence" that the anti-cheat system is doing its job.

Finally, the Ricochet team notes that in 2023 they identified over 110,000 player accounts that were posted to the dark web. These accounts were "parsed from reused email and password combinations." While they have reset these accounts to the original owners, Activision stresses the importance of not reusing passwords across multiple accounts and setting up two-factor authentication for your Activision account and just in general.