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Opinion: Call of Duty: Warzone desperately needs anti-cheat for its competitive future

Warzone’s successful competitive future is all in Activision’s hands.

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Call of Duty: Warzone is in desperate need of a proper, clarified anti-cheat system to prevent the influx of hackers as Activision looks to develop the game’s competitive future.

Call of Duty: Warzone launched to much fan fare in March 2020. It was the first free to play Call of Duty experience ever for consoles & PC. And that opened up the amount of players that could enter the Call of Duty world. There was no $60 barrier anymore to experience Call of Duty.

But with that, an influx of cheaters and hackers on the PC platform stormed into Call of Duty: Warzone. Since the game’s launch, there has been an extensive amount of hackers in Call of Duty: Warzone on the PC platform. And with cross play, those hackers infest the PlayStation and Xbox lobbies, too.

The biggest issue has been: Activision’s lack of a concrete plan to address the hacking situation. The company has issued a few statements in 2020 on how they combat hacking in Call of Duty: Warzone, but none of them have left fans with hope of a sustainable future for the title on PC.

It makes sense, in other ways, that Call of Duty is being infested with cheaters at a higher pace compared to other free to play Battle Royale games. Call of Duty is one of the biggest entertainment franchise available, and Warzone was the first chance that allowed everyone to play Call of Duty. There’s always been cheaters and hackers in Call of Duty MP. But that was on a more controllable scale with the game being $60 to play. With Warzone, the entry barrier is gone, and now hackers who could never hack in Call of Duty before, can do so now. And with Activision’s lack of aggressive action within the game itself, it welcomes more to the field.

But aggressive action from Activision is needed to counter cheaters and it’s needed ASAP.

Activision’s responses to cheaters in 2020

The first big stance Activision took on cheaters was a few weeks after launch, where the company announced that over 50,000 hackers and been banned and said “cheaters not welcome” in the Warzone world. Activision said they take cheating “very seriously” and would work hard to maintain “a level and fair playing field for everyone” as one of their “highest priorities.”

That did not change much. Hackers continued to flourish in the Warzone world on PC. And at the same time, Activision started to build up their vision for a competitive Warzone future. They started it with Live From Warzone series, which highlighted fan run tournaments and events for Warzone.

On April 24, 2020, the next big step from Infinity Ward: hackers would be match-made in the same lobbies only forward. They also said the studio “increased resources” to help alleviate the cheater concerns.

And then, the worst statement of all time was released on July 24, 2020: Infinity Ward was kindly asking players to not use 3rd party software while playing Call of Duty: Warzone.

Please do not use unauthorized 3rd party software to mod or hack,” said an image statement from the studio, as shown below. They said listed out what items they believe to be considered hacking/cheating, and failed to lay out an progress on what they’re doing themselves to combat it.

Lastly, the final update we’ve received on the hacking issue with Warzone was in Sept. 2020. Infinity Ward said they had banned 200,000 accounts since the game’s launch.

But 200,000 it not even close to enough. There’s, according to Activision, over 90 million players who have played Call of Duty: Warzone. Only 200,000 accounts banned (that’s the last official number of banned accounts Activision has informed the public about).

Focused on the Wrong Thing

Now, we’ll give credit to Activision in some areas. The company has taken a legal path of action against many cheater makers that were designing cheats for Call of Duty: Warzone.

The company issued cease and desist orders to two cheat manufactures. The first one was CXCheats, which received a cease and desist in August 2020. Once they were threatened by Activision, the site removed all cheats related to Call of Duty: Warzone. And then in September, Activision filed another lawsuit against GatorCheats and even sent a representative to the owner’s house. GatorCheats removed all Warzone cheats from their site.

But the problem with the cease and desist orders is that there’s an infinite number of companies out there that can create and manufacture cheats for games. Just because you take down two through legal action, does not mean more will spawn up. Activision probably thinks that threatening a few will make many more stop, but that has not been the case. There’s also a wide variety of online forums where players share cheats they’ve created, and those never hit or show on an ‘official’ cheat manufacturer’s website.

The only real action Activision took on the public side, which was a major step for them, was being able to detect EngineOwning cheats in Warzone. EngineOwning updated their website in Sept. 2020 to state Warzone cheats were ‘now detected’ by Activision, and over 20,000 accounts got banned.

That’s what we need more of: focus on fixing the game itself, not trying to stop cheats from being made on the manufacture’s side. A comprehensive anti-cheat system is the best way for Activision to ensure that cheats cannot continue in Warzone.

There will always be hackers & cheaters in every game, but having an extensive anti-cheat software will be able to reduce the overall number of hackers and help promote and more enjoyable game environment.

For example, Riot Game’s VALORANT FPS title has an entire anti-cheat developed for it called Vanguard. Riot makes players install Vanguard anti-cheat in order to play VALORANT on their PC. While some players have been able to get by the software, this has stopped the game from being infested by hackers, even if it’s a free to play title.

Competitive Integrity

The situation with anti-cheat and hackers kicked into high gear on the competitive integrity side over the last several months. Many high profile content creators having been playing in Warzone competitions, some of which have prize pools thanks to Activision. And there’s always suspects of hacking occurring during these events, and Activision has yet to address that problem.

The most recent example was the $250,000 Twitch Rivals tournament for Warzone. This tournament was hosted in a private lobby, meaning all players were known and required to join into a specific server code. During the 5th match of the event, the game was stopped. There was suspects of hackers in the match.

Twitch had to remove teams from the match & ban them, and then had to continue the tournament.

This is the problem we face in Warzone: it’s a massively successful game for Activision, and truly has a bright future as a big force in the gaming industry. But why can’t Activision and Blizzard take the time to implement a proper, anti-cheat system to ensure competitive integrity. More importantly, why won’t they do it to just improve the overall quality of the game?

Fortnite has many tournaments and events, with over $20 million in prizing planned for 2021. They’ve solved a lot of the cheaters problem on their end with an anti-cheat system. Apex Legends’ has a ranked play mode that has an anti-cheat system in place to avoid these issues Warzone faces.

Popular content creators have been vocal about the lack of anti-cheat in Warzone for months.

NICKMERCS commented saying he won’t be playing in any Warzone tournaments until there’s an authentic anti-cheat system implemented to avoid controversial wins.

And recently, Dr. Disrespect also commented on the drama calling out Activision for lack of proper action to prevent the situation from happening.

Warzone most certainly continues to be a very popular free to play battle royale option for many fans out there.

Warzone’s Future

And Activision seems to be invested in its future too. Johanna Faries, VP & Head of Leagues at Activision Blizzard Esports, recently revealed the company has plans for Warzone to become part of the Call of Duty League.

“There are [plans to bring Warzone to Call of Duty League], and we’re excited to announce those plans in the coming weeks and months. We’ve been closely monitoring the introduction and the wild popularity of Warzone since last spring. We did bring in Warzone-related content with our pros last season, but we’ve taken the off-season to think bigger about what a more structured investment could look like. There are really exciting things to come as early as this season.”

That’s great to hear. But if they want a CDL based around Warzone or integration of the title into an esports program to be successful, Call of Duty: Warzone desperately needs an anti-cheat system setup to ensure there’s competitive integrity and no disputes over the legitimacy of wins.

We hope Activision has plans — sooner, rather than later — to deliver on this.

Call of Duty League

How to watch $500k CDL Stage 1 Major

The $500k Call of Duty League Season 1 Major is finally here, with all 12 teams in action. Check out the stream, results, schedule, and bracket.

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Shotzzy and SlasheR

After weeks of competition in Stage 1 of the 2021 season, the first Call of Duty League Major is underway, and we’ve got all the information you need to catch the $500,000 tournament.


  • CDL Stage 1 Major runs from Wednesday, March 3 to Sunday, March 7.
  • $500,000 prize pool, all 12 teams will feature. Seedings based on Stage 1 results.
  • Seattle Surge and London Royal Ravens eliminated on day one.

Call of Duty League 2021’s Stage 1 is drawing to its epic conclusion, with all 12 teams competing in the $500,000 Major tournament. A new addition to the 2021 format, the double-elimination tournament is the first time we’ve seen knockout action this year, with Seattle Surge and London Royal Ravens already eliminated after the first day of competition.

Day Two sees the start of Winner’s Bracket play, with LA Thieves facing their local rivals LA Guerrillas, while Chicago OpTic square off with New York Subliners.

Stream

Just like CDL Home Series events, all the action from this week’s Major will be broadcast on the official Call of Duty League YouTube channel, which is embedded below.

This is also the last chance to earn special Stage 1 rewards by linking your Activision and YouTube accounts.

Schedule

Day 2: Thursday, March 4

RoundTeamsPSTESTGMTAEDT (Mar. 4)
Winners R1LA Thieves vs LA Guerrillas12:00 PM3:00 PM8:00 PM7:00 AM
Winners R1OpTic Chicago vs New York Subliners1:30 PM4:30 PM9:30 PM8:30 AM
Losers R2Paris Legion vs TBD3:00 PM6:00 PM11:00 PM10:00 AM
Losers R2Minnesota ROKKR vs TBD4:30 PM7:30 PM12:30 AM11:30 AM

Day 3: Friday, March 5

RoundTeamsPSTESTGMTAEDT (Mar. 4)
Winners R2Dallas Empire vs TBD12:00 PM3:00 PM8:00 PM7:00 AM
Winners R2Atlanta FaZe vs TBD1:30 PM4:30 PM9:30 PM8:30 AM
Losers R3TBD vs TBD3:00 PM6:00 PM11:00 PM10:00 AM
Losers R3TBD vs TBD4:30 PM7:30 PM12:30 AM11:30 AM

Day 4: Saturday, March 6

RoundTeamsPSTESTGMTAEDT (Mar. 4)
Losers R4TBD vs TBD12:00 PM3:00 PM8:00 PM7:00 AM
Losers R4TBD vs TBD1:30 PM4:30 PM9:30 PM8:30 AM
Losers R5TBD vs TBD3:00 PM6:00 PM11:00 PM10:00 AM

Day 5: Sunday, March 7

RoundTeamsPSTESTGMTAEDT (Mar. 4)
Winners FinalTBD vs TBD12:00 PM3:00 PM8:00 PM7:00 AM
Losers FinalTBD vs TBD1:30 PM4:30 PM9:30 PM8:30 AM
Grand FinalTBD vs TBD3:00 PM6:00 PM11:00 PM10:00 AM

Results

Day 1: Wednesday, March 3

RoundTeamsHardpointS&DControlHardpointS&D
Losers R1London Royal Ravens 2-3 Toronto UltraTOR 250-142
(Garrison)
LRR 6-3
(Garrison)
TOR 3-0
(Raid)
LRR (250-202)
(Moscow)
TOR 6-4
(Moscow)
Losers R1Florida Mutineers 3-1 Seattle SurgeFLA 250-235 (Crossroads)SEA 6-5 (Checkmate)FLA 3-0 (Garrison)FLA 250-157 (Raid)
N/A

The Stage 1 Major ended at the first hurdle for the winless London Royal Ravens, who put up a valiant effort in a tightly-contested affair with Toronto Ultra. Dealt another major blow after the loss of Alexx, who returned to the UK to deal with a family emergency, the Ravens pushed the Ultra all the way to Game 5, but fell 6-4 to Ultra on Moscow.

Seattle Surge joined the Ravens in the following match, with Owakening putting on a sublime showing for the Florida Mutineers to give them a series lead in the Control, before a dominant Raid Hardpoint sent them through to the Losers Round 2.

CDL Stage 1 Major brackets

The Call of Duty League used the Stage 1 standings to determine where teams would start in the Major, with Dallas Empire and Atlanta FaZe receiving a bye in the Winner’s Bracket after winning their respective groups.

The bottom six CDL Stage 1 start in the Loser’s Bracket, with Paris Legion and Minnesota ROKKR receiving a pass through to Loser’s Round 2.

CDL Stage 1 Major bracket

Format & Info

  • Location: Online
  • Prize Pool: $500,000
  • Format: Double-elimination bracket
  • Seeding: Determined by Stage 1 standings
  • Maps & Modes:
    • Hardpoint: Checkmate, Crossroads, Garrison, Moscow, Raid
    • Search & Destroy: Checkmate, Garrison, Miami, Moscow, Raid
    • Control: Checkmate, Garrison, Raid
  • Match format: Best-of-five (HP, S&D, Control, HP, S&D)

Prize Pool and CDL Points Breakdown

PlacementTeamPrize ($USD)CDL Points
1$200,00075
2$120,00060
3$80,00050
4$40,00040
5-6$20,00030
5-6$20,00030
7-8$10,00020
7-8$10,00020
9-10$010
9-10$010
11-12Seattle Surge$00
11-12London Royal Ravens$00

CDL Stage 1 rosters

All 12 teams will be taking part in the CDL Stage 1 Major, as teams jockey for position in hopes of becoming the Stage 1 Winners, and taking the top prize of $200,000.

TeamRoster
Dallas EmpireCrimsix, Shotzzy, Huke, iLLeY
Atlanta FaZeSimp, Cellium, aBeZy, Arcitys
Florida MutineersSkyz, Owakening, Slacked, Neptune
London Royal RavensZed, Dylan. Seany, Zer0
LA ThievesKenny, SlasheR, TJHaly, Temp
OpTic ChicagoScump, FormaL, Envoy, Dashy
Minesotta ROKKRAccuracy, Attach, Priestahh, MajorManiak
LA GuerrillasSiLLY, Assault, Apathy, Vivid
New York SublinersClayster, Asim, Diamondcon, Mack
Paris LegionAquA, Classic, Fire, Skrapz
Seattle SurgeOctane, Gunless, Prestinni, Loony
Toronto UltraMethodz, Bance, Cammy, CleanX
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Call of Duty

Every Call of Duty creator code: Streamers, pros, more

Call of Duty’s Support a Creator program allows players to support their favorite content creators and pros, so here’s every code you can use.

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Call of Duty Creator Codes

Activision is enabling fans to support their favorite Call of Duty pro players and content creators with the ‘Support a Creator’ program, so here’s everyone you can support through the Store.

With some of the biggest names in gaming playing and promoting Call of Duty, Activision has launched the ‘Support a Creator’ program. Here, CDL pro players, streamers, and YouTubers receive a cut of the profits made from purchases in the Call of Duty Store.

Across Modern Warfare, Warzone, and Black Ops Cold War, these creators and pros will receive $5 for every 10,000 CoD Points spent with their code inputted.

How to use CoD Support a Creator code

To support your favorite Call of Duty content creator or pro, you need to enter their code in the Store.

black ops cold war support a creator

After purchasing CoD Points, make sure you have inputted one of the creator codes below before purchasing any bundles from the Store.

To select a creator to support:

  1. Launch Modern Warfare, Warzone, or Black Ops Cold War
  2. Navigate to the Store tab
  3. Select “Support a Creator”
  4. Input one of the creator codes below
  5. Purchase a Bundle or Battle Pass with your CoD Points
  6. Your selected creator or pro will now receive a portion of the profits from your purchase

These codes will expire after two weeks, so make sure to double-check you have a code inputted before making a purchase.

And as a reminder, enter these creator codes in all caps.

Twitch and YouTuber creator codes

The Support a Creator program was released in August 2020, and as it continues to develop, more and more creators are receiving codes.

Call of Duty Warzone players deploying

Here are the creator codes for some of the biggest and most recognizable names in Call of Duty:

  • FaZe Swagg: “SWAGG”
  • TimTheTatman: “TIMTHETATMAN”
  • TeeP: “TEEP”
  • Spratt: “SPRATT”
  • Symfuhny: “SYM”
  • NuFo: “NUFO”
  • NoisyButters: “BUTTERS”
  • ShawnJGaming: “SHAWNJ”
  • Vikkstar123: “VIKK”
  • Michi: “MICHI”
  • GoldGloveTV: “GOLDGLOVE”
  • NICKMERCS: “MFAM”
  • Drfit0r: “DRIFT0R”
  • JackFrags: “JACKFRAGS”
  • MarleyThirteen: “MARLEY”
  • CouRage: “COURAGE”
  • Chaos: “CHAOS”
  • HusKerrs: “HUSKERRS”
  • PrestigeIsKey: “PRESTIGE”
  • KRNG Espresso: “ESPRESSO”
  • Tejbz: “TEJBZ”

Call of Duty League players creator codes

bocw league play

A selection of “all-star” CDL pros have received creator codes. With the program continuing to develop, expect more players to be added as the 2021 Season develops.

Here is a list of the 2020 and 2021 Season’s CDL pro players creator codes:

  • aBeZy: “ABEZY”
  • Apathy: “APATHY”
  • Arcitys: “ARCITYS”
  • Attach: “ATTACH”
  • Blazt: “BLAZT”
  • Crimsix: “CRIM”
  • Cammy: “CAMMY”
  • Cellium: “CELLIUM”
  • Clayser: “CLAY”
  • CleanX: “CLEANX”
  • Dashy: “DASHY”
  • Denz: “DENZ”
  • Enable: “ENABLE”
  • Envoy: “ENVOY”
  • FormaL: “FORMAL”
  • GodRX: “GODRX”
  • Huke: “HUKE”
  • iLLeY: “ILLEY”
  • KiSMET: “KISMET”
  • Kuavo: “KUAVO”
  • Mack: “MACK”
  • Methodz: “METHODZ”
  • Octane: “OCTANE”
  • Scump: “SCUMP”
  • Seany: “SEANY”
  • Shotzzy: “SHOTZZY”
  • SiLLY: “SILLY”
  • Simp: “SIMP”
  • Skrapz: “SKRAPZ”
  • Skyz: “SKYZ”
  • SlasheR: “SLASHER”
  • Vivid: “VIVID”
  • Owakening: “WAKE”
  • Wuskin: “WUSKIN”
  • ZooMaa: “ZOOMAA”

If you have a creator code and aren’t included here, please Tweet us @CharlieINTEL, and we’ll be delighted to add you to this list.

Image Credit: Activision / Zippo / Vikkstar / NICKMERCS

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Call of Duty League

How to get Call of Duty League Stage 1 rewards

You can get in-game rewards such as calling cards and double XP.

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CDL Stage 1 rewards

Call of Duty League 2021’s Stage 1 Major event takes place March 3-7 and offers viewers a ton of free in-game items to earn, so here’s how to unlock the CDL Stage 1 viewership rewards.

Following the CDL Kickoff Classic, the Call of Duty League will officially kick off on February 11 with the Opening Weekend hosted by Atlanta FaZe.

With Dallas Empire looking to defend their title, the return of H3CZ’s OpTic, and newcomers LA Thieves looking to prove themselves, it’s shaping up to be a great year for competitive Call of Duty fans.

While watching the narratives of the year unfold, you can also earn free in-game rewards such as calling cards and double XP just for watching. Here’s how to get the CDL Stage 1 rewards.

How to earn CDL Stage 1 rewards

black ops cold war gameplay

To earn the free in-game rewards for the CDL launch weekend, you must have an Activision account. If you don’t have one already, you can create one on Activision.com by heading to ‘register’ in the right-hand corner.

Link CoD account to YouTube

Rewards are earned by watching CDL Stage 1 through a YouTube account linked to Call of Duty.

To link your account on PC and mobile:

  1. Open YouTube.com or the YouTube app
  2. Select your profile photo and hit ‘settings’
  3. Click on ‘Connected Apps’
  4. Locate ‘Activision’ and hit ‘connect’
  5. Sign in to your Activision account

While signed in with your linked YouTube account, watch CDL matches on YouTube, CallofDutyLeague.com, or the COD companion app to earn the rewards.

CDL Stage 1 Major in-game rewards

CDL viewership rewards

And as you watch matches throughout Stage 1, you’ll earn Double XP and Double Weapon XP tokens to redeem for Black Ops Cold War and Warzone.

For watching at least three hours of the Stage 1 Major in the first week of March, you can earn three competitive CoD themed calling cards and an emblem. With these, you can channel your inner Cellium by rocking the ‘Snaked’ calling card and taunt your opponents with the ‘salty’ emblem.

Image Credit: Activision

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