2020 would have been a very difficult year to get through without video games. While many of us have spent our quarantine or lockdown time completing video games that had sat unfinished on our consoles for months or even years, multiplayer video games have provided even more fun and distraction. During a time where many of us were unable to socialize in the real world as much as we usually would, multiplayer gaming sessions have helped us to stay in touch with people and have a degree of contact with the world outside our homes. If we’re grateful for anything at the start of 2021, it’s the fact that we live in a time when technology has made such technology possible.
There are literally hundreds of multiplayer games that have been providing people with entertainment during the past year, with “Fortnite” and “Minecraft” being prominent examples, but “Call of Duty: Warzone” has also been a regular fixture for millions of people. That isn’t surprising. “Call of Duty” is a massive hit in all of its forms, from the (very expensive) latest PS5 release to the quirky online slots attraction you might find at the Rose Slots website. It speaks volumes of the game’s success that it can still command attention even when the core elements of it are stripped out and relaid over the reels of an online slots attraction, but that’s the level that “Call of Duty” operates on. It was seen as a blessing to gamers everywhere when Activision released “Warzone,” the “free to play” version of the game, in March 2020. Almost a year on from that, some of those gamers aren’t feeling quite as blessed.
Like all games that are played on PC, “Call of Duty: Warzone” can be hacked by anyone who has the skill to access and edit the game’s raw code. Often, hacks are carried out by “modders” who personalize or enhance aspects of the original game. On other occasions, hacks are carried out by people who want to gain an advantage over their opponents in head-to-head or team gameplay. It’s the latter sort of hacking that has recently become a problem on “Call of Duty: Warzone,” and those who play it regularly say that it’s reached epidemic proportions. In fact, some high profile streamers have announced they’re quitting the game until Activision does something about the problem.
If you’re not interested in people who stream video games for a living, you might wonder why Activision (or anybody else) should care about a handful of people announcing they’re no longer going to play a particular game when there are literally tens of millions of people playing it regularly. The answer is that streamers are extremely influential when it comes to the games people play and enjoy. Not only do millions of people watch these high-profile players go about their work, but they also play the same games at the same time in the hope that they’ll be able to “meet” their favorite streamers. Game streamers are, to them, at the same level of celebrity as television presenters or even movie stars. When they say something, people believe them. Right now, they’re saying that “Call of Duty: Warzone” is broken to the point of no longer being enjoyable, and that opinion will be heard and echoed. It won’t put everyone off the idea of playing the game, but it will damage the game’s standing if the situation isn’t resolved.
It’s been noted in the past that “Call of Duty” players, without intending any disrespect to them, can be highly-strung. They’re always upset with something. When the “survival mode” for “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” was announced as a Playstation 4 exclusive in 2019, they hit the roof. They tend to get angry about seemingly-trivial matters like the file size of downloadable patches and the re-organization of maps. Even the fact that “Call of Duty: Warzone” has recently been merged with elements of “Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War” annoyed some of them, and that news was supposed to be a positive thing. This isn’t like those occasions, though. Their concerns appear to be valid. “Aimbots” are being used to ensure that shots hit their targets. “Wallhacks” make walls transparent to the player using them, allowing them to see opponents who might be hiding behind them. These hacks are allegedly used so widely that those who load the game and play it fairly stand no chance in the average game because they’ll fall victim to someone who doesn’t.
Activision cannot and should not be expected to take action against these hacks before they become available, but the company finds itself accused of doing nothing about them when they’re already commonplace. It would be understandable if the company’s attention had been elsewhere recently because of the launch of “Black Ops: Cold War,” but that was three months ago, and they ought to have returned to focusing on customer satisfaction by now. There are multiple examples of cheats being caught on live streams – some of whom uploaded or streamed the footage themselves – but the players in question haven’t been banned. Activision announced a “zero-tolerance” policy on cheating more than a year ago and banned large numbers of players at the time, but many of these players are now thought to have returned under different aliases. Many players feel that nothing has been done since the first wave of bans, and the situation is now even worse than it was at the time.
“Call of Duty: Warzone” isn’t the only game that struggles to keep cheats in check. While “Fortnite” manages to keep cheaters out (for the main part), it’s rife in “PUBG” and “PUBG.” It’s even beginning to move away from PCs and onto consoles, where those who are willing to pay for the privilege can buy modded consoles that can run macros at the touch of a button. Cheats and hackers are becoming more sophisticated, so developers need to run faster to keep up with them. If Activision hasn’t been doing this so far, maybe the negative publicity generated by these streamers declaring themselves done with the game might spur them into action.