Last week, Activision released the latest installment in its massively successful Call of Duty series, Call of Duty: Vanguard. Days later, people working in the underground world of video game cheats and bots are already working hard to create and sell accounts with boosted stats and weapon skins.
The TikTok account “CodBotServices” has published several videos of their elaborate account boosting farm. The videos show several screens running multiple accounts each, connected to more than 25 controllers.
As Waypoint has previously reported, Call of Duty accounts which contain in-game items like the Damascus weapon skin, which can take hundreds of hours to unlock via playing multiplayer matches, can sell for as much as $2,000. Rather than put in the time and effort themselves, some players choose to pay services to “boost” their account and unlock those items for them.
“You give them access to the account they play for you to increase your rank (or to earn in game rewards) and then they give you the account back,” Paul Chamberlain, who led Riot's anti-cheat team, told Waypoint in an online chat. “Often cheats are involved either on the account being boosted or on a separate account that parties with the account to be boosted.”
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Chamberlain said that sometimes the bot farmers also create their own accounts and then sell them once they have reached a certain rank or obtained rewards that would otherwise take a regular player hours and hours to achieve.
Often these services emulate and create scripts of a human’s movements, and use cheats, in order to make the bots play the games, he said.
A cheat developer who makes cheats for other games, and asked to remain anonymous because they didn’t want to attract the attention of game developers, said that the farm pictured in the CodBotServices account is “brilliant.”
“Console account padding has been a thing for a while,” the cheat developer said in an online chat. “My guess is they are either just trying to farm levels on accounts to sell. Or a paying customer is joining a game with all the other players being bots to enable them to rank up faster.”
Activision did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The owner of CodBotServices could not immediately be reached for comment.
Because of its popularity, Call of Duty is a fertile ground for cheaters and others trying to get an unfair advantage. As Waypoint reported before, hackers have been breaking into players’ accounts with rare skins or upgrades, with the goal of reselling them to others. After Activision forced Warzone players to use two-factor authentication tied to a phone number, cheaters have been selling accounts already connected to phone numbers and verified in order to get around that then-new security measure.