A $250,000 Call of Duty: Warzone tournament was last night rocked by accusations of hacking, prompting calls for better anti-cheat within the game.
The trio squads tournament, which starred some of the biggest names in Warzone, blew up in the penultimate game of the final day of the event after multiple high-profile participants accused a Canadian player called Metzy of using an aimbot, with one clip in particular raising eyebrows.
The clip shows Metzy's reticle shift quickly to a player who jumps out of a window. Metzy plays Warzone on PC using a controller.
Thomas "Tommey" Trewren, a professional Warzone player for esports team 100 Thieves, was one of the prominent tournament participants who accused Metzy of cheating, running through a number of clips during a livestream.
The broadcast was brought to a standstill for roughly an hour as tournament officials investigated behind the scenes. During his stream, Metzy read out loud a message received from a representative of Twitch, which "determined the gameplay was unnatural beyond reasonable doubt". Skip to the four hours and 11 minutes mark in the VOD below:
The ban in place, Twitch then issued a tweet saying it had ruled Metzy to be cheating, and booted him and his team out of the event.
"We take Twitch Rivals Player Conduct extremely seriously. We will continue to investigate any allegations of cheating," Twitch said.
The fifth and final map of the tournament was then played with one less team.
Metzy subsequently denied any wrongdoing. "I'm not using an aimbot," he said on stream. Metzy later attempted to clear his name by displaying his task manager, his recent downloads and his Google search history. Later, Tommey joined Metzy on-stream, searching through his computer live in a bid to find evidence of hacks. In a remarkable moment during the stream, Metzy granted remote access of his PC to a stranger who sifted through his harddrive and downloaded files for closer inspection.
Today, Tommey apologised for his initial accusation, apparently signalling Metzy did not cheat. "I'll hold my hands up and admit we were wrong," Tommey said in a tweet. "I'm sorry for letting a lot of you down. I don't know what more to say, but I accept and deserve anything that comes from this."
Tommey has now offered his earnings from the tournament to Metzy as a sign of goodwill.
Tommy's backtrack calls into question not only Twitch's decision to disqualify Metzy and his squad from the Warzone tournament, but its process for dealing with allegations of cheating. And then there's the potential negative impact on Metzy's competitive career in video games.
True or false, the accusations raised a long-standing issue that has plagued Warzone since its launch in 2020: that the game is riddled with hackers.
Activision has come under fire for its lack of communication on the issue of Warzone cheating, and the game's perceived ineffective anti-cheat.
FaZe's Nickmercs, who has 1.7m followers on Twitter, said that without effective anti-cheat, "authentic Warzone tournaments just aren't possible anymore".
Prominent Call of Duty YouTuber Drift0r said "Warzone cheating is completely out of hand".
The Call of Duty community is now calling on Activision to provide an update on its Warzone anti-cheat efforts. In September 2020, Vice's Motherboard reported Activision had banned around 20,000 cheaters, including a streamer and a college football player, from Call of Duty: Warzone for allegedly using a popular cheat.
A former Activision employee told Motherboard these waves of bans are relatively frequent. "It's rare that any one particular cheat will last long term without getting detected at some point," they said. "It's always a game of cat and mouse, people that actively use cheats should understand it's highly likely you'll be banned at some point and you'll just have yourself to blame."