Hackers and map exploits are already frustrating players in Modern Warfare’s new “Warzone” battle royale.
Readers may not be surprised to hear about hackers running rampant in a free-to-play title, but many Warzone players have been taken aback by how quickly these encounters have emerged in such a newly released Call of Duty title. Warzone launched almost three weeks ago as a free-to-play battle royale with cross-play on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Modern Warfare’s Warzone features 150-player matches with the common battle royale goal of dropping down onto a map with tons of enemies, at which point everyone makes haste to loot for guns and equipment needed for survival. A circle of gas closes in, forcing the survivors to meet and battle it out at the centre à la The Hunger Games. But in addition to the expected peril from toxic gas and typical gunfights, players are now also finding themselves with threats of aimbot hackers and sneaky cheaters lurking under the map.
Unfortunately, this isn’t Modern Warfare’s first tussle with cheaters. Warzone’s enormous map of “Verdansk” pieces together classic Modern Warfare maps with the new Modern Warfare’s multiplayer maps and spec ops mission areas. Some of these locations in Verdansk also serve as maps for the 32v32 Ground War mode, which has suffered from similar cases of cheating.
Players quickly found weak points in the map design that allowed them to get underneath the floors, rocks, or inside the walls of buildings for stealthy cheating that’s hard to counter. Some areas underneath the map make the cheaters immune to any harm, but other exploits in the walls might still allow the victim to deal damage through the map’s structure.
Last Friday’s update rolled out a host of tweaks to all modes within Modern Warfare, including a very vague mention of a “fix for various and potential exploits” in battle royale, likely working to address some of the weak points in Verdansk’s map design. While it seems the update did alleviate some of the abuse from exploits, some players are still encountering cheaters lurking within the walls of the Tavorsk District or underneath the map at the train station.
Furthermore the update didn’t address Warzone’s biggest threat, the hackers. An unsavoury bunch on the battlefield are securing wins by use of aimbot and wallhack cheating software. Aimbot allows the cheaters to get easy kills by auto-locking onto opponents for easy headshots. Wallhacks allow cheaters to see their targets through walls and other surfaces. One hacker was even bold enough to record a TikTok video of their aimbot use in Warzone, offering to help others get wins.
Some victims on console are asking Infinity Ward to allow the ability to disable the cross-play feature in hopes of reducing the influx of cheaters they’ve found in their matches. There is a setting in Modern Warfare that allows you to disable cross-play, but Xbox users are forced to keep the cross-play feature enabled in order to play Warzone. Some PS4 players are reporting that they’re able to disable cross-play and still hop into matches. (I’ve been playing on PS4 since launch, and it will not find a match until I re-enable the cross-play setting.)
Of course, console players trying to dissociate themselves from PC players isn’t really a proper fix. Most PC players are still out there trying to get fair wins in Warzone, but some bad apples are ruining the mode for everyone else. There’s really no way to combat the cheaters, nor properly report them. Many are uploading their clips of cheaters to the Warzone subreddit with hopes that the developers will notice and take action.
The subreddit is also flooded with requests for the developers to implement a better in-game reporting system and start issuing serious bans.
Warzone is a fun and well-designed addition to Modern Warfare that makes battle royale still feel like Call of Duty. But letting cheaters run rampant, especially in the early stage of Warzone’s release, could be a recipe for failure. I hope the developers can take proper action before this hurts the player count and longevity of the mode. No one likes dealing with cheaters.