Infamous Apex Legends security head, Conor “hideouts” Ford, has recently sent out a banwave affecting more than two thousand players across PC and consoles. He mentioned that this was due to the abuse of teaming among one another in ranked matches. Check out his tweet about the banwave:
2,051 users have now been banned for various amounts of time for colluding in ranked matches to trade kills to earn Ranked Points. Ban times are 7-60 days depending on how much they abused this. Breakdown is as follows:
— Conor Ford / Hideouts (@RSPN_Hideouts) December 7, 2021
His announcement probably suggests that he has been doing his job despite the servers inundated with cheaters and hackers. However this time, he turned his attention to squads who were teaming.
Teaming involves two or more separate squads collaborating with one another to earn kill points easily. In a ranked match, players need to earn kills in order to gain Ranked Points (RP) to progress up the ranks. This is especially difficult in higher ranked lobbies. A simple way to gain points is to gather at least two squads and take turns to kill off one another with the last player of each team revives each other. By working together, both teams can speed up revivals by using Respawn Beacons or Mobile Respawn Beacons and then repeat the cycle continuously. This way, each player can gain kills to obtain Ranked Points very quickly. Check out below how this is done effortlessly.
Credits: Youtube, Biocoder
The above ranked exploit has been very common and the introduction of mobile respawn beacons made it even easier. When replicators allow players to craft mobile respawn beacons, it further accelerated the revivals to max out points per game. It is noted that two teams of six can reach Platinum to Predator within a week by doing this in every match. In the update of Season 11, Respawn apparently removed the kills cap which benefit players exponentially and top 270 Ranked Points. This could similarly be exploited to also gain 20 bomb or 4k damage badges.
Despite Respawn’s commitment to curb cheating, they have challenges detecting squad teaming because it is not within their anti-cheat system. The only way for them is to verify players’ behaviour manually before confirming that players were abusing exploits in ranked lobbies. As clarified by hideouts, the bans would impede players from playing for up to 60 days. Repeated violations would render permanent bans. In spite of first warning, players would rather risk a temporary ban to get away with higher ranked points.
According to Activeplayer’s statistics, Apex Legends average active player base is estimated at 120 million. This meant that the bans issued only accounts for only 1.67% of the estimated total player base which is very insignificant and there could be many more players who are still exploiting this and have not been caught. It is not known what is the motive of the security head to release such figures and raising such issues could probably backfire.
As compared to Riot’s strict policy on violations, they do not tolerate such exploits and would not only consider immediate permanent bans, they would also forfeit ranks from these players. Respawn were surprisingly lenient on this occasion and only penalise with a short temporary ban. This would probably encourage more players to abuse this because they know that it would only risk a short ban without disqualifying their rank or rewards (only removed from rank leaderboard). If they have reached Master/Predator rank before getting ban, these abusers would have already achieved their goal.