Respawn has revealed it is working on a number of initiatives designed to make it harder to cheat in its free-to-play battle royale, Apex Legends, including a new system that matchmakes cheaters and spammers so they’re forced to play against each other. The developer confirmed in a Reddit update that it was now using “machine learning” to create behaviour models that detect and auto-ban cheaters, as well as improved detection that identifies and bans new spam accounts before they are used.
It also promised it was increasing resources – “whether that be people or tech” – and revealed players detected as cheating will be made to play each other. Players in a party with cheaters – even if they’re not cheating themselves – may also be at risk, as “even if you are not specifically using a cheat, partying up with cheaters is still cheating”.
“As we’ve said before, the war against cheaters will be ongoing and remains a high priority for us,” said community manager, Jay Frechette. “There will always be work to do, improvements to make, and new things to adapt to. We’d like to thank the players that have been getting involved with helping us squash cheaters over the last week whether it be submitting reports or assisting with the vetting process for suspicious behaviour.”
EA’s surprise battle royale release went on to pick up over 10 million players in just 72 hours of its debut release and at one time boasted 50 million players, but the battle royale’s phenomenal launch seemingly waned, dropping 75 per cent of its viewership within a month of its release.
The arrival of new Legend Wattson and the colossal Leviathan dinosaurs in Season 2 have seemingly not been enough to generate Twitch views to match its spectacular launch back in February. Whilst the game peaked at around 674,000 Twitch views during its launch month, Twitch Tracker intimates the game has failed to hit 50,000 since Season 2 – entitled Battle Charge – was released. So far, the battle royale has averaged around 35,000 views in July, whereas Fortnite continues to draw in an average of 104,000 daily viewers.
Repsawn isn’t the only developer currently experimenting with the best ways of managing cheaters. Yesterday we reported Overwatch developer Blizzard has outlined plans “to do some things a bit differently this summer” as it seeks improved ways of managing pervasive cheating in its highly-popular online shooter. In a brief Overwatch developer update video from director Jeff Kaplan, the studio revealed it was bringing in “improved detection” that it believes will be “the next evolution in cheat detection in the game”.
The new system will automatically shut down any matches in which the technology perceives a cheat is at play. However – besides the cheater themselves, naturally – there will be no penalties for innocent players in the same match, regardless of whether they’re playing on the same or opposing team.
PUBG Corp., too, has recently outlined how it plans to improve its AI cheat detection. “We’re always looking for ways to provide the most positive gameplay experience we can for our community,” said Dohyung Lee, head of PUBG’s anti-cheat unit.
“The Anti-Cheat Unit identifies suspicious player behaviour through player reports and our internal systems,” added Wonha Ryu, anti-cheat operation manager. “When we find something, we review the related logs obtain the hack tool or device used, and start our investigation. The Analysis Team and Engineering Team analyse the hack tool and start developing a response logic.”