Of course we all new that Issue #4: Big Trouble in the Big Apple would contain the game's first raid, as well as the second auxiliary weapon (now confirmed to be the chainsaw), but Joel also reveals that a new reticle targetting system is coming to the game with Issue #4!
This is a huge surprise, and a major change to the combat system. It is also entirely optional, so you can still use the traditional tab targetting if you like, but I really think this will massively increase the immersion when fighting with ranged weapons. This has the potential to really change the way combat in the game feels to a much more action-oriented vibe.
Joel also revealed that Issue #4 will see the opening of the Albion Theatre in London, which will allow players to put on plays for other players, receiving rewards in the process! This is a great idea for the roleplay community and I can't wait to attend my first theatre performance in game.
In the longer term the team is working on an entirely new animation system for the game engine, allowing them to redo many of the combat animations to give a more visceral feel. Other longer term projects include new systems to highlight inter-faction conflict and the mysterious but fascinating-sounding "puzzle raids" - group Investigation missions.
One example given by Joel about how the puzzle raids might work was the following.
How do they work? Well, for example, in London there are red phone boxes scattered all over town. One day, those phones will begin to ring. Answering those phones simultaneously with a group of people will provide every member of the raid with a single phrase…
… and there you go, tumbling down the rabbit hole.
I've been really excited about what I've heard from the dev team over the last couple of weeks, especially after all the doom-mongering that seemed to follow the game after launch. They have got back on track with their monthly updates and seem to be willing to not only develop new content, but entirely rework core systems to improve the game.
This really is the best way to answer critics and a great example of how to communicate with the players.
You can find Joel's blog post here.