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Additional details on Activision’s new matchmaking patent

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Earlier today, we reported the details about Activision’s new matchmaking ways to encourage players to buy more microtransactions. The patent that Activision was granted this month, which the company filed in 2015, talks about how Activision thinks they can use matchmaking to encourage the matchmaking system to be more evolved in the game’s systems.

The first new change Activision is considering is creating a game score for potential matches. Activision has a new scoring engine 122 which can create scores for how players felt during a match based on many variables. “In other words, a match score may indicate a predicted level of satisfaction of players that are placed in a potential match.” 

Activision defines the variables that a score can be generated on by the following criteria. They use this criteria to generate a match score for how a player felt after a match.

  • Latency between players (e.g., a delay time for data communication between players’ gaming systems or platforms such that lower latency is preferentially matched)
  • A player skill level
  • Ateam composition (e.g., a role played by each player of a potential match)
  • A presence or absence of preferred players (e.g., clan members, friends, etc.)
  • A time that a player has waited to be matched (e.g., a player having a longer wait time may be preferentially matched)
  • A location of a player (e.g., players geographically close to one another may be preferentially matched.

The patent states that the matchmaking system could then assign a general coefficient to each of the variables depending on the importance of each. It claims that a game designer can pick which of the variables should be the most important for the game.

Here’s an example:

“The coefficient may be expressed as a multiplier, a percentage, and/or other value that can be used to weight a match variable relative to one or more other match variables. The coefficient may be set to zero (or an equivalent metric) such that the given match variable is not considered when generating a match score. For example, if the latency variable is assigned with a coefficient of zero (or other value that indicates that latency should not be used), scoring engine 122 may ignore the latency variable when generating a match score. In this manner, a game designer or others may determine which match variables will be used to generate match scores and/or weights for the match variables. Alternatively or additionally, the game designer or others may remove match variables from consideration altogether (and/or add new match variables).” 

The patent says that a game designer can change the coefficient assignments that are prioritized. “A game designer or match administrator (e.g., a computerized or human game session moderator), for example, may tune one or more coefficients based on what the game designer or match administrator believes are more important match variables.”

The new scoring engine can be adapted to changing conditions based on the game designer’s intentions, but also adapt directly in game based upon conditions. For example, if a player is placed into a set of matches which they perform poorly, the system can alter the matchmaking so that you can match you with lower skilled players. “If a player has been getting killed at a rate higher than the player’s historical rate, scoring engine 122 may dynamically tune a coefficient associated with a match variable related to skill level to match him with easier opponents, higher-skilled collaborative team members, game sessions that are more suited to the player’s gameplay style (e.g., a map that favors snipers), and/or other coefficients that can affect the outcome of a match score.” 

There is also a potential scenario where the score engine 122 can change which servers are being used depending on the cost of the network of the server being used. This engine is supposed to be very adaptive to how the system and game evolves over time, and be changing to the game designer’s requests and player’s stat changes.

Another instance of this system is reducing wait times. While there are a lot of different variables, as we detailed above, the score engine 122 can also remove the variables and just put a player in a match that can be found if they have waited for an extensive period of time. The match will be lower quality for the player, but the player will be in a match instead of a prolonged wait time.

“For example, scoring engine 122 may lower the threshold match score (assuming higher match scores are associated with higher match quality) when a given player has been waiting to be matched for a predetermined period of time. In some instances, the system may progressively lower the threshold match score as the player continues to wait to be matched until the player is eventually matched. In this manner, the system may allow a player to be matched using lower quality matches if the player has been waiting to be matched.” 

The patent also details how Activision can use the scoring engine 122 to deliver to the players information on how they are being matched for a specific game. “For example, an exemplary match description may include the following: likely two other clan members included in a gameplay session, 100 millisecond average latency, five-versus-five gameplay, average “good” skill level, spread of skill level, map, player styles, and/or other information.”

This new system can also generate a quality score after each map. The quality score can be dependent upon how long the player stayed in the match, player stats in the match, how often players may have died, and more. The quality score tells the system what the next match should be. Beyond this, the engine can find out business decisions on each match; how much revenue was generated after a match completed and why numbers would be lower than expected.

The engine is also working to create player specific profiles, where it can learn how each match went and how the game can be tuned to ensure a better experience. It generates a player profile, and how to determine a profile of the player:

“For example, player information may include, without limitation, a style of gameplay (e.g., aggressive), a role preference (e.g., an explicit indication by the player of such preference), a role actually played, a duration of gameplay sessions, a number of gameplay sessions played in a given login session, in-game items used or purchased by the player, membership in a clan or team, preference to play with clan mates or friends, demographic information of the player (e.g., geographic location, gender, income level, etc.), win/loss records, scores, and/or other information that may be used to determine whether a player will enjoy a given gameplay session, a match, and/or a game.”

The next part of the patent talks about how Activision can use the profile created to then apply it to the game.

Here’s one implementation in-game:

“In an implementation, using subsets of the player profile information, analytics and feedback engine 124 may tune matchmaking in real-time for a given player. For example, if a player is determined to be on a losing streak within the past several gaming sessions, analytics and feedback engine 124 may cause a coefficient related to player skill level to become more important. This may result in, for example, the player being pitted against lower-skilled opponents and/or teamed with higher-skilled players to increase the chance that the player will win or otherwise perform better.”

There’s another engine being developed into this system called Pipelining Engine 126. This can create a soft reservation for players that can help tune how they play the game. This engine can analyze player progression and then predict a certain game mode to help the player advance forward. It can also predict when your friends come online and set up a soft reservation for their players. It can actually create a system that lets players who want to play with friends that are already in a game to be matched and set up for another game.

“In an implementation, pipelining engine 126 may continuously place players who are currently logged on and/or playing in a gameplay session into potential matches, assess the potential matches as described herein, and make soft reservations for potential matches having match scores that exceed a match threshold score. For example, pipelining engine 126 may match a player who is already playing in a current gameplay session so that the player may join a subsequent gameplay session when the current gameplay session ends (e.g., the player completes the gameplay session and then joins the future gameplay session) or is otherwise exited by the player (e.g., the player quits the current gameplay session early to join the subsequent gameplay session). In this manner, a player may be pre-matched with other players for a subsequent gameplay session while the player is still playing in a current gameplay session.”

There is also a way to schedule gameplay sessions in a way to reduce wait times. A first player can actually continue to play a different match while a soft reservation is being used to mark their two friends to possibly play together in a future match. It will determine the time required.

“If the two friends of the first player are currently playing in a gameplay session, which has not yet completed, pipelining engine 126 may make a soft reservation for the three players to play together in a future gameplay session. 

In the meantime, the first player can continue to wait until the two friends are available or may join a gameplay session that pipelining engine 126 determines will likely finish at approximately the same time that the two friends’ gameplay session is expected to finish. For example, pipelining engine 126 may determine that the two friends will complete their gameplay session in ten minutes and may match the first player into a gameplay session that is expected to be complete in ten minutes. In this manner, all three friends may be expected to become available at around the same time.”

All of this is working together with the matchmaking system to create a gaming experience for fans in future games. As we detailed in our earlier post from today, this system can be bonded with the microtransaction system to influence games based upon revenue and business decisions, alongside player feelings and stats in each game.

Again, Activision has not said which games will utilize or do use this system.

Bungie’s CM has shared on Twitter that this system is not in Destiny, but did not specify what could happen in the future.

SOURCE: US Patent Office 

Activision

Activision merges Vicarious Visions into Blizzard Entertainment

Activision owned Vicarious Visions will now be part of Blizzard Entertainment division.

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Activision has announced that one of their wholly owned studios, Vicarious Visions, will no longer be part of the Activision Publishing division.

The company has revealed that Vicarious Visions will be fully merged into Blizzard Entertainment division of the company effective immediately.

Vicarious Visions has worked on many titles and projects for Activision, including Skylanders, Destiny franchise, supported development of select Call of Duty games, and more. Most recently, the studio developed and released remasters of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2. The studio was listed as a support developer of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

In a statement to GamesIndustry, Blizzard says the studio becomes a “natural fit” after working on several Blizzard projects behind the scenes for the last several years.

“After collaborating with Vicarious Visions for some time and developing a great relationship, Blizzard realized there was an opportunity for [Vicarious Visions] to provide long-term support,” a representative explained to us.

It’s not truly clear how long Vicarious has been supporting Blizzard projects.

Vicarious Visions’ studio head Jen Oneal has been promoted to be Executive VP of Development at Blizzard Entertainment as part of the merger. She will report directly to Blizzard President J. Allen Barrack. All 200 Vicarious Vision employees will be part of Blizzard and work on Blizzard projects.

Her role is being replaced by Simon Ebejer, who was previously the Chief Operating Officer of the studio. It’s not clear what projects within Blizzard they are working on. Blizzard has multiple projects in the works, including Overwatch 2, Diablo 4, and more.

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Call of Duty: Warzone

Clever Warzone tricks lets you land without a parachute

A few players have discovered a fun little trick in Call of Duty Warzone that allows them to touch down on Verdansk without a parachute.

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How to land without a parachute in Warzone

There is a useful trick that you can use in a Call of Duty: Warzone match to break your fall while in mid-air. This will allow you to land safely in Verdansk without worrying about deploying your parachute. 

Call of Duty: Warzone will pit you against a ton of other players in a highly competitive Battle Royale match. The instant you land in Verdansk, you’ll have to find ways to get ahead of your enemies through different weapons or gear, scoring killstreaks, and even making use of glitches.

Players have discovered many different maneuvers in the game since its release in March 2020. These grant you an advantage over your opponent, including one that has you take out enemies by firing in mid-air.

This will have you deploy your parachute when you’re near the ground, and is a great way to score kills in mid-air. Now a neat new trick has been discovered that removes the need for a parachute altogether.

Parachutes in Warzone

How to land in Warzone without a parachute

This trick was pointed out by Reddit user Thexer0, who posted a clip of them dropping into Verdansk in the Call of Duty: Warzone subreddit. Here they showed that you are able to land on different surfaces without deploying your parachute.

Al you need to do is try hitting certain edges and surfaces in mid-air to break the fall before landing on your feet. In the clip, the player used a Satellite dish for this purpose, and slid off the curved edge before taking out their weapon.

While this trick is useful, it’s not guaranteed to work unless you’re precise with your landing. If you don’t hit the right type of surface, then you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt. The player pointed this out and mentioned that you should try this “at your own risk.”

That said, this trick is absolutely worth trying out. Other players also commented on the thread about their own attempts at this neat little exploit, and many of them reported that it worked out successfully for them.

One Reddit user said “You can do it as well with some of the telephone/electrical towers,” and another mentioned “It works on stones and stuff too. You gotta land on the edges, something around 45 degrees.”

Parachutes are a vital component in Warzone matches, so you should definitely go for this trick. All it takes to succeed in pulling it off is some practice, along with a ton of patience. You can learn some more helpful tricks in our Warzone tips and tricks guide.

Image Credits: Activision

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Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Treyarch dev Tony Flame’s Twitter account hacked

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On this Christmas morning, Treyarch’s Lead Designer, Tony Flame, has had his Twitter hacked.

A user hacked Tony Flame’s Twitter account in the early morning hours of December 25, and has gone on a posting rampage, including posting racial slurs and more across the account. The hacker is @wixyV3.

We’re not going to showcase posts here with any racial slurs. The Twitter account has been locked by Twitter for the amount of slurs the hackers have posted, per images sent around in Discord servers.

One of the hacked tweets that has gone viral is about SBMM, asking Activision to remove it from his “game” he “worked hard to make.”

The account still remains hacked at this hour, but it does appear that tweets are being blocked from posting at this time. Twitter locked the account due to the content being posted.

Tony Flame’s account is not verified on the platform.

Flame has been active in posting since Black Ops Cold War’s alpha launched back in September. He’s been posting updates and thoughts around what the team is doing in terms of balancing and content updates.

The last tweet from Flame himself was a Merry Christmas post on the night of December 24.

Activision has not stated anything yet on this hack.

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