A number of Call of Duty content creators, streamers, and regular players believed they have been “shadowbanned” or “blacklisted” in Warzone, being forced into lobbies full of hackers, simply for being reported by opponents.
Cheating has been a constant thorn in Warzone’s side since day one, as crossplay makes aimbots, wallhacks, and other unfair advantages prevalent even for console players.
There is an in-game report function, allowing any player to report any opponent for cheating in only a few button presses. The rise in cheating has made many players overly-suspicious, and so false reports are very common.
Now, some players are claiming that despite not cheating, they are being reported as cheaters thanks to naturally good aim – especially with the incredibly overpowered DMR now dominating Verdansk.
Warzone shadow bans for suspected cheaters
It appears – though cannot be confirmed – that if your account is reported frequently for cheating, you may be placed into lobbies with a lower trust factor (i.e. with other players also frequently reported for cheating).
If true, it would mean good players, playing fairly without any cheats, may find themselves in an endless loop of facing hackers, simply because they were reported. The issue was raised by popular YouTuber Tomographic, who explained his own experience.
“Essentially, my account has been blacklisted from the matchmaking system, and I’ve now been moved into a ‘cheater bracket’,” the YouTuber explains. “I am running into countless cheaters now. And it sucks I can’t play with my friends, because all my games are occupied by cheaters. The matchmaking system sees me as one of the bad guys, and that ruins the game for everyone else.”
He claims that while playing with friends, fellow YouTubers Aculite and JackFrags, they were running into constant cheaters. But, after Tomographic left the party, the other duo said they were no longer running into cheaters at all.
And it’s not just cheaters. One of the other downsides to this problem is much longer queue times. Tomographic reports waiting up to 20 minutes to find a match. And, even once a match is found, the connection is poor, with high ping, and rampant with cheaters.
Previously, players have reported similar ‘shadow bans’ in base Modern Warfare multiplayer. In October, another YouTuber, Expel, claims he had a similar experience, with matches full of cheaters and very bad connections.
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Warzone players banned ‘for no reason’
On the Activision forums, players are claiming to also have shadow bans, with no helpful responses from the support teams.
One player complains of “200 ping matches” and “even if you find a game you’re matched against hackers.” They continue: “It’s a shame that this is the way the game works now, normal player gets shadow ban for no reason and stuck with malicious people who prefer to cheat the game.”
There is no response on the forums from Activision Support – nor is there likely to be one forthcoming. For a system like this to work, it must be kept under wraps, to avoid anyone trying to abuse it.
But, in its current implementation, it seems players could maliciously target an opponent with false ban reports, or just mistakenly believe they are cheating. This could result in that account being ‘blacklisted’ from the regular matchmaking pool.
The problem has the potential to get worse while the DMR 14 remains the strongest gun in the game. Players who are killed so quickly by this high-damage weapon are perhaps more likely to report their killer for cheating.