For some time now, multiplayer has been the bread and butter of Call of Duty. The online component of the game and the way that the new exo suits would transform play in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare were as much of a draw to the game (if not more) as Kevin Spacey's realistic performance capture. Multiplayer undergoes serious tweaks every single year (such as the introduction of scorestreaks in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2) and updates following each game's release patch up multiplayer map loopholes in the interest of keeping Call of Duty fair.
But what happens when some mean spirited players make use of bugs and system exploits to get ahead? Many players accept that some player will snipe them into the afterlife from across the map, but what happens you're being beaten by less than sportsmanslike means rather than outright skill?
The latest occurrence of this is 'reverse boosting' where some players of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, in an attempt to fool the game's multiplayer matchmaking system into thinking that they're bad players and get paired with newer players as a result, will commit virtual suicide over and over again. It's obviously quite dreadful to have people like that on your team and after witnessing it himself, Michael Condrey, Studio Head & Co-Founder of Sledgehammer Games, has vowed to stamp reverse boosting out.
The Sledgehammer boss began his post on the company blog by explaining exactly how Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's matchmaking system works. Condrey revealed that in somewhat ironic circumstances, the game's servers actually prioritize connection speed and location over skill or matchmaking. In other words, reverse boosting would have very little bearing on who you're matched with and yet some players are doing it anyway. That doesn't mean that it's not harmful to play though and Condrey said this in regards of how Sledgehammer will begin to deal with it:
"No one wants to lose an objective based match by effectively being outnumbered while their teammate shoots grenades into their own forehead 100 times in the corner. It’s not right, and it hurts you and your team’s online experience. Call of Duty is both social and competitive, and we respect and honor that. Part of the competition that is core to our values is that players do not adversely degrade their team's ability to compete fairly. It's not dissimilar from the bans that cheaters and boosters receive, and we have increased our focus on reverse boost banning to combat the growing issue."
Those who do things like trick shots don't need to worry about Sledgehammer's methods, as their "low tolerance approach" is specifically against "people who ruin the experience for others through cheating, boosting, reverse boosting or being caught with toxic emblems in game".
And while it is good that Sledgehammer is looking at tackling reverse boosting, exactly how they'll decide who has been reverse boosting or not isn't clear. For example, would a player have to commit suicide a significant amount of times in one game or would Sledgehammer look at the numbers from various games? And how would they distinguish between players who are actively trying to kill off their own characters and those who are just really bad at aiming their grenades?
These are questions that Sledgehammer will have to answer as they aim to tackle this issue if they don't want Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer experience to be soured any further.
Source: Sledgehammer Games