Operation Burnt Horizon brings Thunder From Down Under to R6S

Fans of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege can rejoice, as Season One of Year Four has arrived - Operation Burnt Horizon - and with it come many changes to the iconic title. New operators, a new map and many balance changes have been introduced as part of the patch, but before we get into that there is one small change that should be praised.

Update size matters

How big is the Burnt Horizon update? Well, there was good news as it varied between 54gb and 38gb depending on your platform and came with a smidgen of witchcraft that meant you actually ended up with MORE space on your hard drive when it was installed, and that’s just great.

PC folk will need no convincing, but even playing on console these days is a constant battle to keep enough space on your hard drive. Publishers increasingly require you to download reams of data on to your console, with the disk acting as nothing more than a digital key, so the magic Ubisoft have worked with file compression is a welcome change to this writer at least, and anyone who likes to update their library on a regular basis.

Anyway, enough about that, let’s get into the nitty and the gritty of the new season, Operation Burnt Horizon.

Land Down Under - Australian rules

Before we get to the new operators, we should first explain the Burnt Horizon thing, and why this article has so many Men At Work references. R6S has decided this is to be the patch that introduces Australian special forces to the game, and as a result there is also a new, Aussie-themed map in the game known as Outback. Set in an abandoned service station, and with a ‘sprawling’ feel to the play area, this new map has the potential to become an instant classic in a game that already has a fair few tier one playgrounds.

Mozzie and Gridlock - Men At Work

As with every new Year or Season, the main excitement has come from the introduction of two new Operators, named Mozzie and Gridlock, who are members of the SASR Mobility Platoon. Each has their own unique kit, and introduces a new concept into the game too, in terms of the way their gadget interacts with the environment and other players. This has traditionally been problematic for Ubisoft, with characters like Lion and Dokkaebi attracting much fan ire with their ‘universal’ abilities that are viewed as low risk.

We’ll start with Mozzie, the defensive Operator, and it is immediately obvious this character will require you to think differently about Rainbow Six as an attacker. For his ability, Mozzie has a Launcher of sorts, but this is like nothing else in Siege. His tool launches what are known as ‘Pests’, tiny four-legged bots that can be used to target a single drone, or deployed into an area to prevent access by a drone. For those not in the know, ‘drones’ are attacking tools used to gather information, essentially cameras with wheels, and until this point they were exclusively limited to attacker use.

These pests give Mozzie the ability to capture attacking drones, and use them for his own purposes. While defenders do have options for gathering visual information, they have previously been limited to Echo’s drones when moving around the map, but this is a game changer. Not only do they now have the same ability as attackers, but players picking Mozzie also introduce doubt into the minds of their opponent, who can no longer take for granted the benign nature of the moving cameras.

This should lead to some very interesting interactions, and community favourite Beaulo has already made a video (above) showing how effective the new character can be in holding areas and allowing for well-timed peeks. How this evolves into competitive play will be fascinating to observe as well, with Ubisoft traditionally given new Operators time to bed in in casual before handing them over to the pros.

Spikey new friends

On the other side of the equation we have Gridlock, the new Attacking Operator, and she is immediately interesting from a playstyle point of view. Like Mozzie, she brings something new to the table, and to some extent even a new concept to Rainbow Six with the idea of attacking traps. Sure, we had Nomad already, but the way Gridlock works means new options for holding ground you’ve already taken, as well as clearing space or gathering information.

It’s time to run around the new maps likes kids let loose in a park

The new tools are known as ‘Trax Stingers’, which can be simply explained as spike strips for Rainbox Six. Carried on her person, Trax are hexagonal clusters of spikes that apparently cover uneven ground better than a straight mat. The trick is that once you’ve deployed your Stingers, they can replicate and spread out over a large area, allowing attackers to create an obstacle enemies either deal with, or take damage from.

Trax Stingers will be destroyed when shot or dealt impact or thermal damage, which of course reveals your position, and slow movement in the same was barbed wire will alongside damaging anyone who steps in them. In bomb or secure area they should be extremely valuable, and it will be really interesting to see what others uses for them professionals can come up before they hit the Pro League shelves.

For now, though, it’s time to run around the new maps likes kids let loose in a park, while Ubisoft look on with the concern of parents convinced their precious issue is moments away from going head first into a pile of dog dirt. With even professional players admitting they were burned out on the existing meta, and are waiting for the new year to start, this is an exciting time for Rainbow Six esports and casual play alike. AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!!!

Image credit: Ubisoft