What is reverse boosting in Call of Duty & Warzone 2?

warzone modern warfare weaponsActivision

With discussion over skill-based matchmaking only intensifying in Warzone 2 and Modern Warfare 2, we delve into ‘reverse boosting’. It’s a term you may have heard but struggle to understand. Here’s everything you need to know. 

What is reverse boosting?

For Call of Duty’s battle royale fans, reverse boosting is pretty easy to explain. It’s essentially a way to try and combat skill-based matchmaking by tricking the game into thinking you’re worse than you actually are.

Usually, this takes the form of players continually killing themselves in online matches. As a result, they worsen their stats like score per minute and kill-death ratio. This means the game’s matchmaking algorithm will place them into lobbies with worse players.

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The reverse boosters are then able to dominate low-skill opponents in a way they wouldn’t against enemies of similar skill levels.

Warzone character with AUG SMG next to Warzone 2.0 logoActivision

Reverse boosting in Warzone 2 and multiplayer

The tactic works similarly in the CoD battle royale and annual installment. In Warzone 2, reverse boosters will typically join a game, allow themselves to get killed, do the same in the gulag and then move on to the next game.

The more times you die without landing shots or getting kills, the lower your kill-to-death ratio and other stats will drop, which increases the likelihood that you run into players who are similarly struggling.

The process is similar when it comes to Call of Duty’s traditional arena-style multiplayer. While the goal is still the same – lowering your KDR, score-per-minute, and any other metric the game judges you by – players typically have to work harder to make it happen.

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Generally, they do so by deliberately killing themselves over and over again, whether with a grenade, RPG or jumping off a tall building.

Warzone character with AUG SMG next to Warzone 2.0 logoWarzone 2 suffers from reverse boosting, but it’s hard to say to what degree.

Is reverse boosting cheating?

In theory, yes. But it’s more complex than that. Players who reverse boost are manipulating the game’s mechanics to get themselves easier lobbies. However, it’s generally tough for developers to come down hard on it.

While a computer might be able to detect the influence of outside software, it largely takes human evaluation to determine if a person is intentionally abusing the rules, or if they’re just having a string of bad games.

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Finally, there’s actually limited evidence it works. Players will need to invest a lot of time to sabotage their stats and come up against poor players. Also, when they’re in the ‘easier’ lobbies and dominate them, the game’s SBMM will likely place them back into tough lobbies as a result.

In short, we wouldn’t bother and, more importantly, players deemed to be reverse boosting will face bans from developers of all titles.