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Battlefield 3 news spew: how Karkand has changed, and how match-making works

A few DICE updates from the frontline

Morning all. We've been trawling for Battlefield 3 news today, and while there's nothing especially earth-shattering on offer, we've dug up a few interesting bits and bobs.

Firstly, a quick heads-up on how the game's matchmaking system - always a thorny topic - works. Wondering why you keep ending up in the sack with super-higher level players? Answer: the system turns on a continually rising/falling measure of your ability rather than how many hours, kills or ranks you've sunk.

The Skill Level is recalculated after every confrontation with another player. Skill points aren't transferred between players - they are added or subtracted based on who killed whom. Slotting a higher level enemy bumps your level higher than killing a lower level enemy.

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To get a sense of how this translates to matchmaking, check the Battlefield 3 multiplayer leaderboards on Battleblog. Notice that the player at the top has fewer kills, a lower rank and a lower score than the chap in sixth.

Got that under your belt? Here's some more info on the Back to Karkand expansion pack, which carries four remade Battlefield 2 maps: Strike at Karkand, Wake Island, Gulf of Oman and Sharqi Peninsula.

The remaking process sounds fairly comprehensive. Frostbite 2's destruction systems are in play, for one thing, letting you reduce large parts of each environment to rubble. And the general aesthetic has been altered to reflect the passage of time in some clever ways. Here's the Battleblog with more:

The design idea for the expansion pack was to let players revisit these classic maps as if time had passed by since they last played them in Battlefield 2. This will be apparent on all maps, but one prime example is on Gulf of Oman.

Close to the beach, this new version of the all-time classic map sees a group of luxury villas erected by someone who wants to turn this piece of land into a paradise for vacationers. Now that war is once again coming to the region, those plans are likely to be ground quickly to a halt.

Another example is Wake Island. Next to the airport, a conference building has been constructed. But the only conferences held there this Winter will likely be of the highly destructive kind.

Funky, no? Free to Limited Edition preorders (and 1200 MP to everybody else), Back to Karkand also includes five new dog tags, five new trophies, three new vehicles, 10 classic Battlefield weapons and a new persistence system where players complete assignments to earn their rewards. It's out in December. Trailer below.

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Our Battlefield 3 review went with an 8/10, which apparently is a complete shambles and the sort of wilful low-balling for which I, your humble correspondent, should be lined up against a wall and shot with guns. Agree?

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