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One thing’s for sure, Funcom isn’t holding anything back with their next update, Issue 4, as it is crammed full of HUGE updates.  Today we get a nice diary on what’s coming down the pipe for PvP as this was one of the touted features at launch but has been plagued by a number of problems since then.  You can read the article over on Funcom’s main page, but I’ll also summarize the main parts here.

They’re completely revamping the rewards system which will most likely be beneficial in the long run but will probably cause some heartburn at first.  The main focus is the Fusang area which is getting updates on 2 aspects, rewards and server technology.  They’re switching from a quest based mechanic over to a time based reward scheme that periodically (every 3 minutes) rewards players in contested zones for what their faction currently holds.  Now one part that was a little confusing for me was that they mentioned they’re “removing” the White Marks of Venice, but yet those are the rewards for this periodic territory advantage.  The end goal for these White Marks though, is to trade them in for the Black Marks which can then be used to barter for your armor sets.  The gaining of these sets has also been tweaked to bring them more in line with the PvE sets.

The other big news for Fusang is they’re allowing it to pull from multiple dimensions, and not just the single one.  There’s a chart on the posting that shows what dimensions are grouped together, but the end result is a larger pool of players to draw from.  I’m sure some could claim this is a necessity based on their low numbers, but I actually think the low numbers in PvP are more to do with some of the problems they’re addressing here with Issue 4.  My guess is that with these new changes and the multiple dimensions, it is quite likely you’ll start to see more queue times for Fusang then previously.

Other changes include a new quest for factions struggling to get any rewards due to poor performance or numbers.  Upon completion of this quest, a powerful ally will come support them in their efforts.  I like that they’re not just giving something away, but really making the “underdogs” work to get a leg up.  For those of you that play LOTRO, this sounds similar to the Ranger/Troll options they have in their PvMP zone.

And finally, they’re also tuning the matchmaking service for the other PvP zones to make it easier to actually find groups.  Apparently the problem with the service had been that is was trying to find matches too close to each other and as such was trying to solve an impossible problem.  With Issue 4, these tolerances will be opened up such that it should be easier to find groups going forward.

Aside from all the changes here, I think the bigger picture is that Funcom is paying attention to not only what the player base is telling them but what they’re actually doing.  They’re then using this information to make changes to the game, and it falls on the players to then respond with how those changes are actually improving (or not) the game.

For me, Issue 4 is shaping up to not only be quite impressive but incredibly exciting as there are some very cool things coming down the pipe!