Title:
Group scheduler for online role-playing games
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention allows users in massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) to coordinate and participate in groups. Users' character attributes, preferred playing times, and group goals are assessed. Users are then matched with available groups across multiple gaming platforms and notified of their inclusion. Users are notified of impending group events via e-mail, cell phone, and/or in-game instant messaging.



Inventors:
Hought, Wade Alan (Mission Viejo, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/307667
Publication Date:
08/16/2007
Filing Date:
02/16/2006
Assignee:
Hought, Wade Alan (Mission Viejo, CA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
AHMED, MASUD
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WADE HOUGHT (MISSION VIEJO, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system, such as a Web site, which verifies MMORPG user identity and captures user's e-mail address at log-in.

2. The system in claim 1, wherein users can enter and update character characteristics and assets.

3. The system in claim 2 wherein characteristics and assets include Character type Server name Guild name Skills summary Gear summary Character attributes including play style and personality Typical play times.

4. A method for verifying guild membership.

5. A system, such as a Web site, that allows a user to request the creation of a full or partial group.

6. The system in claim 5 wherein the group is defined by the following characteristics: Group creator MMORPG type Group purpose Desired type and number of characters to comprise the group Event date and time Server name Meeting location.

7. The system in claim 5 wherein the group purpose is provided via text entry of a human-readable description.

8. The system in claim 5 wherein the meeting location is provided via text entry of a human-readable description.

9. A method for indicating a user's group inclusion preferences.

10. The method in claim 9 wherein group inclusion preferences are: Character Typical play times Character personality assessment.

11. A method by which group participants may enter a positive or negative feedback value for completed groups and individual users.

12. The method in claim 11 whereby group and user ratings are displayed upon login.

13. A method which protects against fraudulent feedback collected by claim 11, by limiting it to one feedback value per character per IP address per a system-configurable time period.

14. A method that uses a restrictive, best-fit algorithm to match all available characters to all available group positions.

15. The method in claim 14, wherein matching criteria include: Game Server identity Date/time similarity Character type Character attributes including play style and personality Character feedback score And future criteria.

16. A method for notifying users by e-mail or short-message service (SMS) of their assignment to a group.

17. A method for executing an in-game instant message (“tell”) notifying users of their assignment to a group and its description.

18. A method for reminding the user of an upcoming group activity by e-mail, SMS, or tell.

19. A method whereby users may accept or decline a group invitation.

20. A method whereby the group creator can review and confirm group composition.

21. A method for e-mail, SMS, or tell notification to group creator and participants of group completion status.

22. A method for verifying user participation in a group.

23. A method for storing user participation data for future system use.

Description:

In summary, this invention provides a system that matches user characteristics and group gaming goals with available positions within groups. This allows multiplayer game users to maximize their available gaming time on desired group activities.

Users' e-mail address and identity are first verified by a system that interfaces with the multiplayer game user at log-in. Users use the system's Web site to enter relevant characteristics and assets, including character type, server name, guild name, skills summary, gear summary, character attributes, and typical hours during which the user is playing the game. Membership in stated guilds-which attests to the character's skill level-is verified. Users also enter into the system their group inclusion preferences.

Any user may initiate a group using the system's Web site. To do this the user defines the type of MMORPG game, name of the server, the desired type and number of characters to comprise the group, the event date and time, and location within the game where the event will take place. A detailed description of the purpose of the group, and the exact meeting location, are added using human-readable text.

The system then assigns users to the group based on the matching criteria noted above. Users may accept or decline group invitations, and group creators may oversee the addition of users to the group. When all positions in a group have been filled and confirmed, the system sends a notification e-mail or SMS to each participant.

The success of each group event, as well as the attendance and performance of an individual within a group, are evaluated by other group members using a positive/negative feedback system. This information then becomes an attribute whereby the system further improves matching capability between users and groups, and also allows users to evaluate other users and groups for themselves. The system gathers user participation data for use in designing further system enhancements.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Formation of and participation in groups is an important function within online role-playing games. Much desirable game content is unattainable as an individual and can only be achieved within a group. It is often difficult and time consuming, however, for individual players to seek and find other players with similar skill levels, group goals and available playing times. Players often spend a majority of their available game time unsuccessfully looking for a group to join or for players to join the group they have created.