Tencent Games, the video game publishing division of Tencent Interactive Entertainment, is one of the most recognised video game companies in the world. With its own subsidiaries, including LightSpeed Studios and TiMi Studio Group, among others, the company is renowned for the release of games like PUBG MOBILE and Call of Duty: Mobile. Additionally, Tencent Interactive Entertainment also owns all stakes in other recognised companies, like Riot Games and Funcom, while also having invested in companies like Epic Games and even Discord.
While Tencent Games has been actively involved in all sorts of video game genres, one that it stands out in is the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre, a subgenre of strategy video games. The company is responsible for the release of games like Arena of Valor and League of Legends: Wild Rift, all of which have performed really well, both critically and commercially. Hence, it’s no secret that Tencent Games is always working to improve the functionality and playability of its video games, and it seems like it may have another feature coming to its video games that may change the character selection method in the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video games completely.
Earlier today, we came across a recently published patent from Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Company Limited in the United States titled “VIRTUAL CHARACTER SELECTION METHOD AND APPARATUS, DEVICE, STORAGE MEDIUM, AND PROGRAM PRODUCT,” which was filed back in May 2022 and was published at the start of this month. The abstract for the patent reads, “An electronic device sets first position preference information of a first user account in response to receiving a preference setting operation. The device displays a first current team position corresponding to the first user account in response to receiving a game matching operation.”
“The first current team position is a position played by the first user account in the current online game and is assigned based on the first position preference information. The electronic device displays a plurality of candidate virtual characters based on the first current team position. In response to receiving a selection operation performed on a target virtual character in the plurality of candidate virtual characters, the electronic device designates the target virtual character as a master character of the first user account in the current online game,” it continues.
From this, it’s evidently clear that Tencent Games has its own take on the character selection method in multiplayer video games currently under development. Based on the detailed background of the disclosure, it’s also clear that the implementation is meant for the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre in particular. “In multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), ten users are divided on average into two teams to compete against each other in a virtual environment. Different users in the same team may use characters having different team positions according to team task distribution,” it reads.
It seems like Tencent Games desires to improve the efficiency of the current character selection method in current multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video games, which gives the players the freedom to choose any character according to their preference(s). “However, in the related art, team positions need to be coordinated by users, and the efficiency of selecting characters is low,” it explains. “In this case, the two users need to communicate with each other, to avoid that there are characters having the same team position in the battle, and the process of communication causes unnecessary waste of time.”
According to the patent, the feature stores the player’s preference based on the team position(s) they commonly like to play in a particular video game. This preference is then stored as the “first position preference” and is allocated to future video game events as well as the “first current team position.”“According to one aspect of this application, a virtual character selection method is provided, applied to a terminal, the method including: setting first position preference information of a first user account in response to a preference setting operation, the first position preference information indicating a preferred team position of the first user account in a current online game (e.g., a battle game),” details the patent.
“Displaying a first current team position corresponding to the first user account in response to a battle matching operation, the first current team position is a position played by the first user account in the current online game, and the first current team position is assigned (e.g., allocated) based on the first position preference information;displaying a plurality of candidate virtual characters based on the first current team position,” it further explains.
The player is then provided with characters that are the most suited to play their preferred position(s), while the chosen character becomes the “master character” of the player for the entirety of the video game event (battle). “Determining (e.g., assigning), in response to a selection operation performed on a target virtual character in the plurality of candidate virtual characters, the target virtual character as a master character of the first user account in the current battle,” the patent reads.
Furthermore, the patent details a “display module” that provides the player with choices for character selection, which includes the character(s) selected by the players themselves and the one(s) recommended based on the preference information. “A display module, configured to display a first current team position of the first user account in response to a battle matching operation, the first current team position being a team position acted by the first user account in the current battle, and the first current team position being allocated based on the first position preference information,” states the patent.
With this feature, Tencent Games aspires to improve the efficiency of team matching by avoiding coordination and selection between players at the start of the match (battle), which may result in some conflict or hindrance, and simplify the process of team matching. “Before a battle officially begins, a server determines a current team position for a user account, so that when a user begins to select a specific target virtual character, a current team position to be used in this round of game is already determined, which can not only avoid coordination and selection of team positions after team matching, but also can simplify the process of team matching, thereby improving the efficiency of team matching.” concludes the patent.
While it’s unclear how the company will implement this feature (if at all), it does seem like Tencent Games is aware of the encumbrances caused in multiplayer video games when it comes to character selection, particularly when playing with randomised teammates, and is actively trying to improve the gameplay experience for all players.
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