What is reverse boosting in Call of Duty & Warzone?

Alec Mullins
warzone modern warfare weapons

It’s no secret that Call of Duty features an intense skill-based matchmaking system, but what you might not know is that players have discovered ways to cheat around the rules in a process called reverse boosting. 

Some people will do anything to dodge the vice-grip of SBMM – from blowing themselves up with grenades to standing still and purposefully letting the enemy kill them, there are a few different ways to cheat the game into bringing you down the skill ladder.

While this might sound like a good idea at first, it is directly against the developers’ rules as it lowers the competitive integrity of the entire system.

The punishment for reverse boosting can range from temporary suspensions all the way to permanent bans from the game. There isn’t one specific way to reverse boost, but a few methods are more common than others.

What is reverse boosting in Call of Duty Warzone?

Warzone updates with Season 6 patch notes.

For Call of Duty’s battle royale fans, reverse boosting is pretty easy to explain. A player simply needs to join a game, allow themselves to get killed, and then do it one more time in the gulag before moving 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.

Doing this for an extended period of time will put you in the game’s lowest-ranked lobbies, usually filled with beginners or those who don’t take the game seriously. While this sounds harmless, there are ways it can really affect the game.

Ghost operator Warzone

In competitive play, for example, playing in easy lobbies increases your chances to have a massive game. Most Warzone tournaments are based on your team collecting the highest number of kills possible rather than winning the game. By lowering the quality of play, these players are directly shifting the odds in their favor.

That’s not to mention that for beginner players, it can be overwhelming to land into the game and automatically be playing against veteran players who have exploited their way down the leaderboards.

While this trick works for Warzone, reverse boosting takes plenty of other forms elsewhere in the franchise.

What is reverse boosting in Multiplayer?

Three players standing on a Cold War map who we can confidently say are not reverse boosting
Cold War has seen its fair share of criticism for the skill-based matchmaking system that is at the core of the game.

The process is a lot more involved 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.

In past years we’ve seen players blowing themselves up with rockets, jumping from high places and dying, or even having a friend sneak onto the enemy team so that one player could cheat their way up.

warzone vanguard integration
Vanguard may fix some of the more blatant problems with reverse boosting. It would certainly help the game feel more consistent across all skill levels.

The problem with reverse boosting is that it is harder to recognize than someone who is actively using cheats to improve their performance in the game, meaning more players are likely to get away with 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.

While we don’t know for sure, this could be something that is being addressed in Call of Duty’s new anti-cheat system that is arriving with Vanguard this year.