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Call of Duty: Warzone 2

What is a shadow ban in Warzone?

Raven Software and Activision use shadow bans to combat cheaters. Here’s everything you need to know about what it means.



Menendez Operator in Warzone

Call of Duty: Warzone’s free-to-play nature means the game is constantly fighting back against cheaters, and shadowbans are one of the tools Raven Software and Activision use to deal with these hackers. Here’s what shadow banning means and how to tell if you’re shadow banned.

Regular Warzone players will agree that there’s nothing worse than dropping into Caldera, Rebirth Island, or Fortune’s Keep looking for a win, only to find yourself up against a hacker. Whether it’s x-ray vision or aimbots, you’re immediately at a huge disadvantage.

While RICOCHET anti-cheat and its kernel level drivers brought in several new measures to counter cheaters such as turning enemies invisible, removing their weapons, and nerfing their damage, Activision still use shadow banning to help in their efforts.

Here’s everything you need to know about shadow banning, including how it works and how you can find out if your account is under review.

What does shadow banned mean in Warzone?

Warzone Caldera peak volcano erupting

When a player suspected of hacking gets shadow banned in Warzone, they’re no longer able to play in normal lobbies with the rest of the game’s community while Activision reviews their account. Instead, they get placed into special lobbies full of other suspected cheaters.

While many actual cheaters do get shadow banned, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the player is cheating. If a player gets reported a ton of times in a short period of time, whether for performing particularly well, exploiting a camo glitch, or for any other reason, their account can come under review and they’re shadow banned.

Shadow bans typically last a week or two, and once it’s over, the account will either become un-shadow banned or permanently banned depending on the result of Activision’s decision.

Unfortunately, because Warzone is free-to-play, once cheaters figure out what has happened to them, a lot of them just make new accounts. Still, it’s a useful tool to take them out of the regular player base, and fun to imagine a lobby of hackers all stuck together too.

Can you get shadow banned in Warzone?

Yes, a regular, non-cheating player can get shadow banned in Warzone. Several streamers have been shadow banned and cleared, and it happens to regular players all of the time too.

Of course, if you really are hacking and get caught by RICOCHET then don’t expect the shadow ban to lift. Instead, your account will become permanently banned once reviewed.

How to find out if you’ve been shadow banned in Warzone

When shadow banned in Warzone, the first tell-tale sign is that when searching for a match your ping will go all the way up to 200, and it’ll take much longer to actually find a match. When you get in a game, it’ll be laggy and might have more hackers than a usual lobby.

If you believe you’ve been shadow banned, you can head to the Ban Appeal section of Activision Support. Here, it’ll tell you if your account is “Under Review.”

Activision Support ban review page

Here’s everything you need to do:

  1. Head to the Appeal A Ban page on Activision Support
  2. Log in with your Activision account
  3. Press ‘Agree and Continue’
  4. This screen will now tell you if there’s No Ban Detected, your Account is Under Review, or Permanently Banned

If you believe you’ve been shadow banned incorrectly, it’s mostly a waiting game. Once Activision have looked into your account and made a decision, you can either continue playing as normal or your account will be fully banned and you’ll need to submit an appeal through that page.

There should hopefully be much fewer cheaters in Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2, as Activision have promised an “upgraded” version of RICOCHET at launch.

Image Credit: Raven Software / Activision