Now that Black Ops II is backward compatible on Xbox One, you might be interested in returning to the game, or checking it out for the first time. If so—just like jumping into any older Call of Duty game on any platform—you’ll want to be aware of how to spot hacked multiplayer lobbies.
After the year-long lifespan of any given Call of Duty, the developers move on to their next project and the griefers move in, with the knowledge to manipulate the game to their advantage. Hackers can cause a lot of annoying issues for those who play by the rules.
God Mode, a hack that allows other players to become immune to any damage you attempt to inflict, is pretty common in Treyarch’s Call of Duty titles. I can’t imagine why you’d want to get into any match with a God Mode player: You can’t beat them as opponents, and playing on their team equals an unfair win. How is that even fun?
I played the first Black Ops for a few hours on Xbox One, and in that time I encountered four hacked lobbies. The common hack for the night was unlimited mortar killstreaks, in which the hackers would call in a single mortar strike that would cause bombs to fall onto the map for the remainder of a match. Imagine a Michael Bay film, but with more explosions.
How can you avoid getting involved with a hacked game? There are a few warning signs.
If a player’s Gamertag or in-game clan tag uses invalid symbols or colors, that’s a clue they’ve been hacking. But sometimes you won’t know until you’ve loaded into the match. If you kill one player and receive a ridiculous amount of points, you’re in a hacked lobby. Sometimes you’ll spawn into a new match and a player will already have all of their killstreaks. Maybe someone is running across the map like The Flash. That’s not Barry Allen. Leave.
The real danger of hacked lobbies is that some of them will actually affect your permanent player stats, not just the gameplay of that map. I’ve heard of players entering a hacked a lobby to have their Prestige levels maxed out, or their stats reset to day one noob status, or even having their accounts completely hijacked. I can say that in my extensive experience playing older Call of Duty games I haven’t had any encounters with lobbies like that, and the most severe cases seem to be extremely rare incidents.
The only way to prevent yourself from these sorts of hacking threats is to leave the lobby as quickly as possible. Call of Duty games generally have ways of reporting hackers, but it’s best to proactively protect yourself first.. You can also try to report the player to Microsoft (or Sony, if you’re playing an older title on PlayStation 3).
Hackers don’t have to stop you from enjoying classic CoD titles, but don’t get enticed by the allure of infinite mortars and free killstreaks—bounce from the lobby the second something starts to look shady. Better safe than sorry.
S.E. Doster (@sedoster) is an author, artist, and competitive Call of Duty fanatic who enjoys quoting Buffy the Vampire Slayer.