Getting ‘shadow banned’ in Warzone, explained

Send cheaters to the gulag.

Image via Activision

Cheating has plagued esports and gaming for decades, and now the methods of dealing with the people who commit these acts have gotten a lot funnier. In Call of Duty: Warzone, there’s a method called “shadow banning,” and it’s an excellent way to fix the issue.

Players in games like Counter-Strike have created cheats that will make the cheater’s life harder, and now the Call of Duty devs have a trick up their sleeve. 

Users who are just playing for a good time will have the pleasure and comfort of knowing any cheaters in their lobby will eventually be sent to the hell that is a shadow ban. 

This limbo could either make the game a playground for cheaters or make purchasing cheats completely worthless, meaning they’ve wasted all their hard-earned cash on cheats that won’t net them any wins.

What is a shadow ban in Warzone?

It has nothing to do with the Shadow Company PMC. Image via Activision

A shadow ban is an excellent way of dealing with cheaters. It’s a punishment that’s sure to make the cheater rage. This particular ban sends hackers to the gulag of all gulags: Warzone cheaters will be shunned into lobbies with other cheaters.

If you are shadow banned, you’ll be put into games with cheaters and hackers that’ll most likely be using them against you.

The idea is players that get banned usually create new CoD accounts, so if they spend more time playing on their cheating accounts, the less time they’ll spend in non-hacking lobbies and hours in shadow-banned games.

You won’t get any notification you’ve been shadow banned. So instead of a cheater receiving a ban and just making a new account, they’ll waste more time in hacker-infested lobbies before realizing they’ve been shadow-banned, and keep normal lobbies cheat-free for longer. 

Sometimes, shadow bans happen by mistake. Many players have been wrongfully shadow banned and had the ban lifted after a review. And if you think you’ve been shadow banned for some reason, that may be why you’re here reading this article right now.

How to tell if you’re shadow-banned in Call of Duty

Here’s how you’ll know if you may have been shadow banned:

A large number of CoD cheaters in your games You’ll have a high ping all the time Long queue times consistently

Now if you’re experiencing this, we’re sorry for your loss. But not really, especially if you’ve been banned for cheating. 

Screengrab via Twitch/Nadeshot

And, unfortunately, this is a rather common occurrence of late, especially in Warzone and MW2, with many players reporting that they feel they were banned for no reason at all. Even 100 Thieves CEO and former CoD champion Nadeshot was wrongfully banned previously, although his sway and influence helped him get reinstated rather quickly.

If you think you’ve been wrongfully banned you can submit a ticket, and your application will be reviewed. There’s no guaranteed timetable on when you might hear back about being banned, but your best bet is to submit the ticket and hope for the best since you’re basically at the mercy of Activision the minute you agree to the user agreement when you first start up a CoD game.

What to do if you’ve been shadow banned in Warzone

Here goes nothing. Screenshot by Dot Esports

If you think you’ve been shadow banned and it’s a mistake, you’ll have to appeal the ban. 

Head to the ban appeal page on Activision’s website, log in with your Activision ID, and click the “Agree and Continue” button after the warning screen. The next page will show if your account is under review, permanently banned, or there’s no ban detected.

If you’re unbanned or it’s under review, then you likely just have to wait to see what the next steps are. If not, you can submit an appeal for the ban from here.

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