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Summary and analysis of some potentially interesting Riot legal filings regarding bans

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Hi, all. I'm somewhat of a patent crawler and have made long breakdowns of basically all of Valve's patented systems because they often contain lots of useful info, but are excessively long and authored with confusing legal terminology, and also intentionally misrepresented because this is stuff they don't really want the public to know, yet still have to patent. This was relatively rushed and I intend to polish it up, but here's what I could find.



These are two of my articles I wrote specifically for Valve's anti-cheat related patents. Why is this relevant you may ask? Well, because Riot has some patents too:

https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/62/0a/8b/4e15b13e6ee6f7/US9795887.pdf (Systems and methods that enable player matching for multi-player online games)

https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/d7/23/6a/0b73c9d7b2e15f/US11484801.pdf (Activity-factored team formation in multiplayer online gaming)

https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/cc/19/c6/ca582a07d10ea3/US9120019.pdf (Mescon Application)

https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/b9/4c/88/619f9cc44950c7/US20230116322A1.pdf (Dynamic Event based Ranking Methods and Systems)

All of these patents actually have direct citations to Valve's above patents, and the systems are likely similar. In this thread I will attempt to summarize these Riot patents for you all. We can start with US9795887 (Systems and methods that enable player matching for multi-player online games), since this patent seemingly builds a foundation for the following.

All my claims or info will be sourced from the linked patents, so if anyone wants to read deeper, you can find the sections I'm referencing.

So we can start with the claims it's making. Essentially what they are describing here is in the first patent is a trust factor system. Of particular interest is the following claims:

6. The system of claim 1, wherein a personality score is calculated for the first user based at least in part on the associated behavioral data.
7. The system of claim 6, wherein the user matching system is configured to match the first user with other users based on compatible personality scores.
8. The system of claim 1, further comprising an in-memory cache database for storing behavioral data for each user logged into the system.

So we have established that behavioral data is recorded and personalities are profiled, and matched together. In essence, this matches toxic players to toxic players, but theoretically, could match potential cheaters to potential cheaters. It's very vague in the abstract claims, so let's go a bit deeper and find out what metrics and variables are factored into our personality score.

Under the generating, reporting and storing data section, we can see that cheating is definitely a metric defined in this profile with this single comment:
 A user may have also displayed unsportsmanlike conduct (e.g., a user may refuse to cooperate with its team or may assist the opposing team unethically, or may otherwise break ethical codes).

On page 5 we see the following factors for your user profile:

1. First demonstration of 'competence' in one or more games played and experience (acc age)

2. Details of each game (eg. map and mode)

3. Details of reports or feedback generated.

4. Frequency of reports and feedback the user is submitting themselves.

5. Whether other users are reporting similar complaints about a person.

6. Harassment score may be stored, details of which are described in the "Mercom Application", which is "hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety". More on this a bit further down.

On page 7 we see your friends and associated players are linked to you with three "degrees" of player connection.

and on page 8 we learn a little more about this "in-memory behavioral cache" that user profiles are linked with: Thus, in a preferred embodiment, when a user logs in to join a game, the user's behavior data is immediately cached into an in-memory system database known in the art for fast access and a compatibility matrix is maintained to account for all of the players online in cached memory for fast calculations to enable seamless matching.

At the end we see:

In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments thereof. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the reader is to understand that the specific ordering and combination of process actions described herein is merely illustrative, and the invention may appropriately be performed using different or additional process actions, or a different combination or ordering of process actions. For example, this invention is particularly suited for online gaming systems; however, the invention can be used for any multi-user online system in general. Additionally and obviously, features may be added or subtracted as desired. Accordingly, the invention is not to be restricted except in light of the attached claims and their equivalents.

So, we can see that they have intentions with this that are better kept private. It doesn't tell us a lot about the actual definition of a user and how identities may be linked or generated. However, we can assume it is not account-based alone from this line:

whether a reward is granted to the player and/or the identity of the player(s) that initiated the feedback data.

This means to the door for multi-acc identity linking is wide open. So, what's this Mescon application?

More of the same thing, but with further technically detail. We learn in section 1800 that separate "harassment scores" are generated, and cheating is one of them. They may be derived from the frequency or type of report received, and the timing associated with game data. "Credibility grades" are given to users and lower credibility grades makes your reports give less of a "harassment score" to who you report. Snitch scores are also (yes, snitch scores) noted. The players you are reported by directly affects your cheating related "harassment score". 

Players with high harassment scores are prioritized in a moderation queue. League of Legends seems to be incorporating an Overwatch-esque system for trusted players or "Arbitrator users" to review footage and issue punishment for in-game rewards.

Let's dive a bit.

So, in the final patent we get a bit more of an idea of how we are being profiled:

A non-transitory computer storage medium storing computer-useable instructions that, when used by one or more computing devices, cause the one or more computing devices to perform operations comprising:

tracking a set of gameplay timeframes associated with a user account based on a set of gaming sessions established between a gaming server and a client device associated with the user account, each gameplay timeframe of the set of gameplay timeframes corresponding to one gaming session of the established set of gaming sessions;
storing the tracked set of gameplay timeframes into a user profile associated with the user account;
based on the teach-match request being received, ranking the plurality of other user accounts based at least in part on a comparison of a first geographical region associated with the user account to a plurality of geographical regions associated with each of the plurality of other user accounts, wherein a similarity between the first geographical region associated with the user account and a second geographical region associated with a second user account of the plurality of other user accounts improves a ranking associated with the second user account.

What does this mean? It means we have confirmation that we are being linked via a user-profile database and past accounts. However - this is still vague. Let's find out a bit more about how Riot are figuring out we were previously banned and what "client device" actually is defined as. It also appears that the gameplay timeframes / your active playtime is a factor in associating you. It also suggests your IP is a factor or potentially other networking identifiers.

For example, a user who is geographically located (e.g., based on an IP address, most frequently used IP address, and/or user profile defined location) in Seattle, Wash.

Confirming this data is used, again.

In further embodiments, user accounts can be ranked based further on player attributes associated with a user account, such as player skill level, social connections, previous gameplay experiences with the user account, and/or position preference. For example, a user account associated with a social media connection (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Steam, Google Play Games, Game Center, etc.) of the user might be ranked higher than a user account that is not associated with a social media connection.

Confirming Riot will track other services it is given an "association" with, and profile you accordingly to this. The higher or lower ranking mentioned here can be interpreted as your "cheater / harassment score".

 can include, among other things, client device 104, one or more host server(s) 120, client device(s) 132 and/or a software distribution service 140. Components of the team matching system 100 can communicate over network(s) 102. The network(s) can include a wide area network (WAN) (e.g., the Internet, a public switched telephone network (PSTN), a cellular network, etc.), a local area network (LAN) (e.g., Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Ethernet, etc.), and/or another network type, such as those described herein. In any example, each of the components of the team matching system 100 can communicate with one or more of the other components via one or more of the network(s) 102.
As illustrated in FIG. 1, the host server(s) 120 can be separate or distinct from the software distribution service 140; however, this is not intended to be limiting. In some examples, the host server(s) 120 can be the same or similar servers to the software distribution service 140. In some examples, the host server(s) 120 can be operated or hosted by a first entity (e.g., a first company) and the software distribution service 140 can be operated or hosted by a second entity (e.g., a second, different company). In other examples, the host server(s) 120 and the software distribution service 140 can be operated and/or hosted by the same entity.
The host server(s) 120 can include one or more application programming interfaces (APIs) to enable communication of information (e.g., user profiles, game state data, etc.) with the client device 104 and the client device(s) 132. The host server(s) 120 can include a game engine 122, identity management component 124, a communication interface 126 and a team matching component 128.
In some embodiments, such as where the host server(s) 120 include an identity manager, the host server(s) 120 can correspond to an identity management (IDM) system. Although illustrated as a component of the host server(s) 120, this is not intended to be limiting. In some embodiments, the identity management component 124 can be hosted by a different server, such as an IDM server (not shown). For example, identity management information corresponding to a particular game application can be managed by a game developer of the game application. In such examples, the identity management component 124 can be hosted by one or more servers or other computing devices of the game developer.

Some more info about the identity management system.

For example, various types of gameplay can include playing a game, customizing an avatar, browsing an online store, communicating with other user accounts in a chat and/or video application, waiting on standby in a waiting room for other users to join an instance of gameplay and/or viewing a previous instance of gameplay (e.g., via Twitch). The timeframes associated with instances of gameplay and various types of gameplay can then be stored in the identity management component 124 in association with a user account.

Your Twitch or connected socials are also included to link you. The patent continues to further include implementations of this system on any applicable computer component.


Now we get to something really interesting.

[0039] In certain embodiments, the event capture logic 232 may instead be located on a player’s computing device which is configured to examine the game as it happens on said device and transfer the event data 243 to the dynamic event-based ranking server 110 for further processing. In many embodiments, in order to circumvent cheating or other unauthorized data access and/or tampering, the event capture logic 232 and subsequent event data 243 are generated and stored entirely on a remote server such as the dynamic event-based ranking server 110.

[0044] In some embodiments, player data 250 relates to any data associated with a specific player from the pool of all stored and/or present players available within a game. Player data 250 may further include identification data 251 and ranking data 252. Identification data 251 can be identifying information such as name, user handle, customer identification number, birthdate, location, contacts, etc. Typically, identification data 251 can be utilized to separate and identify one player apart from each other player but may also include further data as needed based on the application desired.

[0045] In some embodiments, ranking data 252 can be included within identification data 251 and may be stored separately from the player data 250 in certain embodiments to circumvent cheating.

[0054] A further type of data that can be stored within event data 243 is general attribute data 247. In many embodiments, attribute data 247 may be a catch-all for data regarding events that may be desired for future calculations. Attribute data 247 may include, but is not limited to, data relating to what map was the game played on, what character class was the player, what network conditions during the game were like, where certain events occurred within the game map, when certain events occurred within the game, and/or which players exhibited concerning or questionable actions (such as being away from the game, having an automated (bot) player playing, reward farming related actions, or cheating actions). It is contemplated that any type of attribute within a game that may be desirable to access later for purposes of score/ranking accessing and validation may be stored within the attribute data 247.

[0057]The computing machine-readable media can be any available media that can be accessed by the dynamic event-based ranking system 100 and includes both volatile and non-volatile media, along with removable and non-removable media. By way of example and not limitation, computing machine-readable media includes storage of information, such as computer-readable instructions, data structures, other executable software or other data. The computing machine-readable media includes, but is not limited to, RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile disks (DVD), Blu-Ray discs (BD), or other optical disk storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other tangible medium that can be used to store the desired information and that can be accessed by the dynamic event-based ranking server 110. Transitory media such as wireless channels are not included in the computing machine-readable media. Communication media typically embody computer-readable instructions, data structures, other executable software, or other transport mechanisms and include any information delivery media.

[0089 and [0090] 

  • Information as herein shown and described in detail is fully capable of attaining the above-described object of the present disclosure, the presently preferred embodiment of the present disclosure, and is, thus, representative of the subject matter that is broadly contemplated by the present disclosure. The scope of the present disclosure fully encompasses other embodiments that might become obvious to those skilled in the art, and is to be limited, accordingly, by nothing other than the appended claims. Any reference to an element being made in the singular is not intended to mean “one and only one” unless explicitly so stated, but rather “one or more.” All structural and functional equivalents to the elements of the above-described preferred embodiment and additional embodiments as regarded by those of ordinary skill in the art are hereby expressly incorporated by reference and are intended to be encompassed by the present claims.
  • [0090]
    Moreover, no requirement exists for a system or method to address each and every problem sought to be resolved by the present disclosure, for solutions to such problems to be encompassed by the present claims. Furthermore, no element, component, or method step in the present disclosure is intended to be dedicated to the public regardless of whether the element, component, or method step is explicitly recited in the claims. Various changes and modifications in form, material, work-piece, and fabrication material detail can be made, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure, as set forth in the appended claims, as might be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, are also encompassed by the present disclosure.

I intend to do more research and clean this up a bit later - a little rushed, apologies.


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