Anti-cheat developers have a history of implementing interesting solutions to deal with cheaters in games. Other than issuing outright bans, we have seen cheaters being pit against each other, messing with their input latency, and tricking them with honeypots. In the ongoing battle between developers and cheaters, Call of Duty's Ricochet anti-cheat team has implemented a brand-new method to detect and mitigate scripting players.
Dubbed Hallucinations, this mitigation method creates decoy players that only cheaters can see and lock on to due to the software being used, both flagging them as bad actors and keeping normal players from harm.
"Hallucinations look, move, and interact with the world like a real player," says Team Ricochet in its latest progress report. "These are not AI but a clone of an active user in the match, mimicking their movement to trick a cheater into believing the character they see is a real-life player."
As for why these detected cheaters are not banned straight away from titles, the developer said that keeping scripters active and playing gives them the opportunity to gather more data on the cheat being used, leading to better detection later.
As these scripting players are also being kept from affecting regular players, it doesn't harm the general game experience, and only serves as anti-cheat guinea pigs.
An older Call of Duty cheat mitigation method named Quicksand has been retired as the new implementation comes into effect. Quicksand's purpose had been to mess with cheaters' movement by adjusting their connection delay to servers as well as inverting mapped keys for maximum annoyance. While it was effective, Quicksand-affected cheaters had been jarring for regular players to witness in their games, leading to its removal, for now, in an effort to reduce visual distractions.
Ricochet is also being used to detect and penalize players using third-party hardware devices to cheat while on consoles. Moreover, going forward players using false reports to target others will also face account penalties that begin with warnings and may end up with permanent suspensions.