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The Biggest Cheating Scandals In Call Of Duty History

Cheating has sadly always been a part of competitive video games, but cheating seems more prevalent today than ever before. That's due in part to the money there is to be made in the gaming industry. Whether you're entertaining thousands of viewers on a Twitch stream or consistently winning high-profile esports tournaments, it's actually possible to make a living playing video games — and the pressure to cheat has never been higher.

Throughout its history, the "Call of Duty" franchise has been no stranger to cheat codes, mods, and hacks. However, the series seems to by plagued by cheaters in the competitive world. In fact, modern "Call of Duty" games get so many cheaters that Activision has needed to heavily push Ricochet, its new anti-cheat software, in an effort to win back loyal players. 

Time will tell if Ricochet makes a real dent in "Call of Duty" cheating, but it seems a new scandal rocks the franchise just about every month. Before you rage quit another "Warzone" match after being sighted and shot through a wall, cool down by taking a look at the biggest cheating scandals in "Call of Duty" history.

Caught by a star

Cheating in "Call of Duty: Warzone" has become so widespread that even "Call of Duty" actors have found themselves caught up in the mess. Alex Zedra is a cosplayer who became part of "Modern Warfare" when Activision used her likeness to create the character Mara, and she's even helped the company clear out some cheaters from its game. Zedra regularly streams "Call of Duty" games on Twitch, occasionally hosting smaller streamers and giving their channels a boost.

In March 2021, Zedra made a post on Twitter showing that one streamer she hosted, IcyVixen, was clearly cheating in her lobby. The attached clip showed IcyVixen walking up a hill and aiming at the ground ahead of her. IcyVixen's gun suddenly pulled slightly to the right, and she fires off a shot as soon as she cleared the hill, landing a kill. Zedra didn't waste any time calling out the cheating, and when IcyVixen's boyfriend, a streamer called BeardedBadger, got involved, his own cheating quickly came to light. Twitch quickly banned both cheaters, but this incident shows how plentiful and confident "Warzone" cheaters really are.

Warzone trio taken down

It's bad enough that cheating in "Call of Duty: Warzone" is affecting casual players and making the game less fun for everyone, but to make matters worse, cheating has also infected paid tournaments. The 2021 Twitch Rivals: Doritios Bowl, which had $250,000 of prize money up for grabs, was rocked by a major cheating scandal centered on a trio of players: Metzy_B, krypric_j0ker and Unifyz (via NME). The team was eventually kicked from the tournament, and Twitch explained on Twitter that it had determined Metzy_B was cheating.

The situation only got more complicated from there as Metzy_B did everything in his power to clear his name. Metzy_B gave another prominent "Warzone" player, 100T Tommey, remote access to his PC, letting Tommey dig through all of his files to find any shred of proof that cheats had been installed. Tommey's search revealed nothing at all, and even though Tommey hadn't been the one to report Metzy_B to Twitch, he still offered Metzy all of his tournament winnings as an apology for piling on to the cheating accusations.

All's well that ends well, but this particular cheating scandal left plenty of players disheartened. Cheating in "Warzone" happens so often that it isn't unthinkable someone would try to get away with it in a major tournament, but many felt that Twitch dropped the ball by booting out a team before finding real proof that cheating had occurred. Unfortunately, this wasn't the last time Twitch faced this kind of issue.

More rivals problems

Just six months after the Doritos Bowl scandal, Twitch Rivals found itself embroiled in another cheating incident. This time the problems occurred during the EU "Warzone" Showdown, a regional tournament with $75,000 on the line. After the Doritos Bowl, fans came down on Twitch for booting Metzy_B too quickly, but this time around they had the opposite issue with the company. When someone in the competition reported Czech streamer DavskaR for cheating, a Twitch Rivals admin told everyone to keep playing and refused to reset the match (via Dexerto).

Player Fifakill called out the cheater and Twitch on Twitter. It didn't take long for other players to jump in and voice their support. Luckily, it also didn't take long for Twitch to address the issue. Though the match was allowed to continue, the company investigated the accusations and just an hour after Fifakill called out the issue on Twitter, Twitch Rivals community manager CloudFuel let everyone know that "An investigation was launched and the player in question was removed from the event."

Twitch seemed caught between a rock and a hard place here. If it had kicked DavskaR too quickly, the situation could have turned into a repeat of the Doritos Bowl scandal. However, taking time to really investigate inflamed the players who were stuck in the match with DavskaR. In the end everything worked out, but gamers showed Twitch that they're a fickle group.

Turning on your friends

When their wrongdoing comes out, some cheaters stand their ground, maintain their innocence, and never break character as an honest player who's been wronged. Others immediately turn on their fellow cheaters and confess to everything. That's what happened when competitive "Call of Duty" player Shiv was exposed as a cheater during a $7,000 tournament shortly after the release of "Vanguard" (via Dexerto).

Shiv's team started getting attention when it took out OpTic for a place in the semifinals. It's not unheard of for relatively unknown players to beat a successful team, but it does bring fresh scrutiny to the underdogs. Viewers examining Shiv's monitor cam soon noticed that he'd installed a cheat which let him viewer player name tags through walls. Shiv's whole team was kicked from the tournament, and OpTic was allowed to continue playing in the semifinals.

The real drama happened after Shiv and his team were removed from the tournament. Within hours of being exposed as a cheater, Shiv posted a list of other players he claimed had been cheating in "Call of Duty" games since "Cold War", then he deleted his Twitter account (via Barstool Sports). It's unclear if Shiv thought posting the list would make everyone more sympathetic to him or if he just wanted other players to get burned like he had been. Either way, he's obviously never heard the phrase "honor among thieves."

Cheating for charity

Usually if competitive gamers are taking the time to play in a charity tournament, they aren't all that concerned about coming out on top. Who would cheat in a tournament where most of the prize money is going to be donated anyway? That's the question that fans and players were left asking after the "Warzone" Royal Ruckus Tournament in June 2020.

According to Essentially Sports, tournament winner Team Skrapz may have cheated their way to the top of the charts. The tournament had a $150,000 prize pool, with $100,000 being donated to charity and the remaining $50,000 being split among the top four teams. When Team Skrapz took the top spot, Doug "Censor" Martin, a player on runner up team HusKerrs accused them of cheating on Twitter. Martin claimed that Team Skrapz had cheated by disabling crossplay during the tournament. Crossplay allows PC players who are using keyboard and mouse controls to compete against console players using a controller. Disabling crossplay meant that Team Skrapz, playing on consoles, didn't have to face off against PC opponents.

The problem with Martin's accusation, as many pointed out, is that there was no actual rule against disabling crossplay in the tournament. Fans were split down the middle on whether or not they believed Team Skrapz had cheated, but by the time the Twitter drama had reached its peak, Martin had reversed course. He posted an apology video saying that he "would have done the same thing," had he realized crossplay didn't need to be enabled. The intense cheating discourse seemingly sprang up over a misunderstanding.

Even Facebook gets involved

Twitch has gotten a lion's share of the attention when it comes to hosting "Call of Duty" cheaters. With its dominance in the streaming market, and its forays into hosting tournaments, no one should be surprised that cheaters are often showing off on Twitch. In case there was any doubt that cheaters make their way into any platform available, Facebook has also had to ban cheaters from its Level Up program.

Here's what happened. Streamer Vikkstar123 announced that he was quitting "Warzone" because of how many cheaters he encountered in the game. In his announcement video he included a clip of the game that finally pushed him over the edge – one where a cheater was live streaming everything he was doing in game. The cheating was so egregious that Vikkstar simply stopped playing and watched the cheating unfold in real time.

Even worse, the player who'd finally broken Vikkstar's will to play was making money from streaming his cheating as part of Facebook's Level Up program. It didn't take long for the controversy to make its way back to Facebook. After looking into the matter, Facebook demonetized the player and removed him from Level Up (via The Verge).

Crimsix and Neptune

Being hypocritical might not be as bad as being a cheater, but it isn't likely to win anyone over to your side in an argument. Dallas Empire's Crimsix learned this the hard way when he accused the Florida Mutineers' newest player of cheating in a "Warzone" scrim in 2021 (per Essentially Sports). Eighteen-year-old player Neptune joined the Florida Mutineers in January 2021, and not even a month later he was fending off cheating accusations.

Crimsix and some other players were watching Neptune's stream during a "Warzone" scrim when they noticed an odd fluidity to his movement. Crimsix accused Neptune of using auto-tactical sprint (ATS), which is barred in competitive play because of the movement advantages it affords players. 

Crimsix demanded that Neptune open his settings on the stream to show everyone that he wasn't using ATS. When Neptune refused to show his settings, some took that as proof that he was cheating during the scrim. Others, however, took issue with Crimsix being the one to accuse Neptune in the first place. Not even a year earlier, Crimsix himself had been caught using ATS in competitive play, and he even got turned into a meme because of it. One cheat doesn't excuse another, but Crimsix's past was enough for many to ultimately disregard his accusations against Neptune.

Some cheaters are prouder than others

Most of the time, when people are caught cheating, they react the same way. They'll apologize, sometimes feign regret, promise to do better in the future; in rare cases, they'll just disappear from the scene entirely. It's not often that a cheater will own up to what they've done with no regrets whatsoever, and streamer LemonSnipezz reminded the world in 2021 why that's the case.

As seen in a clip posted to Reddit, LemonSnipezz was accused of cheating on a Twitch stream, and he almost immediately owned up to the accusations. After momentarily trying to dodge the claims, LemonSnipezz dramatically reversed course. He shared his screen and proceeded to show all of his viewers exactly what cheats he was running and where he'd purchased them. Instead of being ashamed, LemonSnipezz seemed quite proud of what he'd done. "I'd do it again," he said, despite being warned that Twitch would very likely ban him for what he'd admitted.

Maybe LemonSnipezz didn't care about the risk of getting banned from Twitch. Maybe he thought the streaming platform was so large they'd never take notice of someone like him cheating on a live stream. If that was the case, he gravely miscalculated. It took almost no time at all for Twitch to ban LemonSnipezz and remind everyone why cheaters shouldn't spend their time bragging about their misdeeds.

Replacing teammates with cheaters

Remember Doug "Censor" Martin who accused Team Skrapz of cheating during the "Warzone" Royal Ruckus Tournament in 2020? Martin got caught up in another cheating scandal in 2021, this time at the eFuse Black Friday Search and Save Tournament (via Dexerto). The tournament, which had a $110,000 prize pool, assigned pro players as team captains and tasked them to form a trio to play in "Call of Duty: Vanguard."

Each captain had to choose a female player and a content creator for their team, and Martin started strong by picking ShawnJGaming, who'd previously been a World Series of "Warzone" captain. Only a day after ShawnJ announced she was joining Martin's team, he decided to drop her in favor of another player. Unfortunately for Martin, a clip posted by his brand new teammate showed her using wall hacks, and she was banned from the competition.

Almost immediately, things went from bad to worse for Martin. In the wake of this cheating scandal, his third teammate decided to leave the team. That left Martin with just a few hours to find two new teammates for the tournament. He grabbed players JokerKun and Cloey for a trio, but the three of them went 0-3 in the competition. Sometimes it's better to trust your gut and go with your first pick.