Since launching in February, battle royale Apex Legends has suffered its share of cheaters. Some are even making good money developing cheats for players to use. The game’s developers recently detailed some of the steps it’s taking to squash cheating, including a new system that will match known cheaters into the same games.
Cheating is always a concern when it comes to online games, and it can be incredibly frustrating for players in competitive shooters like Apex Legends. There’s little you can do against an opponent who has enabled hacks to see through walls and automatically line up headshots. Unscrupulous players continue to be a major pain point for the Apex Legends community, and a recent Reddit check-in from developer Respawn touched on this issue.
“We know reports of cheaters, especially in Ranked, have been a hot topic so this week we also wanted to provide a little visibility into some of the work that’s been going on behind the scenes to combat cheating,” Respawn community manager Jay Frechette explained last Friday.
Some of Respawn’s efforts are common sense—developing new systems to detect cheating, adapting to new cheats, and devoting additional resources to the problem—but one is particularly noteworthy. According to Frechette, Respawn is working on a way to sequester known cheaters in the same games, almost like their very own cheater battle royale. Popping off automatic headshots against fellow players likely won’t be as fun if it’s also happening to you.
This isn’t Respawn’s first attempt to quarantine cheaters. The studio previously implemented a similar system in the original Titanfall, following the lead of games like Max Payne 3 and Grid 2. There’s evidence of developers setting cheaters apart from the rest of their online populations as far back as 1997’s Chron X, a turn-based strategy game that banished disruptive users to an in-game Antarctica, where they could only play with one another.
Frechette also mentioned that Apex Legends players will need to make sure they don’t party with others who are using hacks, as this will also trip the system and designate them as cheaters. One Reddit user pointed out that inadvertently partying with cheaters is fairly common, so the hope is that Respawn will perform its due diligence before quarantining wide swaths of otherwise law-abiding players. In any case, it seems that any attempt to benefit from third-party hacks will be suppressed. Overall, the move seems popular, with many community members asking for a way to watch these cheater-only matches, perhaps with the names blurred out for privacy reasons.
While no timeline was provided for its implementation, quarantining is just one part of Respawn’s anti-cheat process, and it’s clear these efforts will continue to be open-ended. “As we’ve said before, the war against cheaters will be ongoing and remains a high priority for us,” Frechette wrote. “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 behavior.”