After months of complaints about character balance, bugs and other such botheration, Rainbow Six Siege is finally set to get a new season. There are plenty of changes coming to Ubisoft’s first person shooterin Operation Phantom Sight, and in a game when each character, or operator as they are known in Siege, has a unique ability it makes sense that balancing would be an ongoing affair, rather than a one-and-done sort of thing.
The main notes are the introduction of Nøkk and Warden, the two new operators Ubisoft has been trialling on their test servers, as well as a swathe of balancing changes designed to improve player experience. Let’s have a look then, at what is new, and what is going to be different when you log on for your first taste of Year 4 Season 2 in Rainbow Six Siege.
Every Nøkk and cranny
The use and denial of information is more valuable in Siege than virtually any other game, and the newest operators both focus on that. First up is the sinister Nøkk, who has an ability that not only reduces her movement sound, like the terrifying Caveira, but also wipes her image from any cameras, in the same way Vigil does.
What makes Nøkk new is the fact these abilities are on an attacker for the first time, and it will be interesting to see how that changes the overall balance of the game. You can watch the trailer below for a more animated look at these new operators, with Nøkk joined by a more dapper, less evil-looking debutant.
Warden is the latest defender added to the pack, andonce again it’s a case of mixing up expectations. His ability, which centres around some ‘smart’ glasses and allows him to both ignore flashbangs and see through smoke means defenders now have a tool only attackers enjoyed before. It will be fascinating to see how their use evolves, although they won’t be included in Pro League to start off with as players learn how they operate in game.
There is also a rework for Kafe Dostoyevsky, which has been altered and tweaked to try and provide a fresh experience for players who have long trodden the boards of that particular stage. Early reactions from the test servers seem good, so we look forward to seeing how the map evolves as time passes.
Be nice (or else)
It is fair to say Siege has one of the most difficult and at times toxic communities, with the twin spectres of elitism and trolling hanging over the new player experience, and Ubisoft are finally working to fix that. now, instead of review systems that take weeks or don’t happen at all, you will be immediately punished by having your friendly fire damage reversed and applied to your own health, meaning team killers have a tough decision to make.
Sadly, early experiments suggest the new system still gives them time to ruin a game as well as not getting banned for that long when they do, but it’s a step in the right direction. The idea you can remove team killing and so on is obviously not realistic, but any publisher that wants to create a competitive title needs to have measures in place to prevent idiots from ruining the experience, and that is what they are trying to do.
Speaking of competitive, the ranked playlist has been updated to look more like the professional scene, which is one of the most interesting and potentially harmful moves in the notes. The assumption that all players want their game to look like the esports scene has been a problem longer than Siege has existed, and there is no guarantee this will help in a game that already lacks variety.
Bring the balance!
You can find a full list of changes here, but we’re going to pick out a few of the bigger ones for you now to demonstrate the lengths that Ubisoft have gone to to try and fix the perceived problems in Siege. How you feel about them will depend on how you play, but some have done nothing more than make the character more realistic, and less obnoxious to play against, starting with….
One of the more annoying attackers, Glaz is a sniper with a thermal scope. While he still maintains the ability to see through smoke, he now has to be standing still for it to activate, meaning the operator is far less powerful with this and the addition of Warden.
A defender with a heartbeat sensor, Pulse sees a decent amount of use in the Pro Leagues, but less so outside of dedicated competitive play. Ubisoft’s change to make his gadget come out quicker might not seem huge, but in a clutch it will make a swift check through the wall seem that much less scary.
Popular streamer and former pro KingGeorge has been using the tag ‘F2isbalanced’ on and off for the last month or so, and he’s not being sincere in his statement. Twitch’s gun has an insane fire rate and a long-range scope, making it the scariest in the game, and adding to the recoil will at least force players to think before they hold down mouse one.
Safe and sound
There were a couple of changes to come out of the test server itself, as Ubisoft used that time and space to try out a few things, which you can read about in their patch notes addendum here. The highlights are Twitch’s gun being patched, which we’ve mentioned above, and small tweaks to the kit some operators can utilise, as well as (hopefully) more improvements to the way sound works in Siege.
There are also a load of bug fixes and some remedies to the problems that had seen characters and even claymore mines temporarily banned from casual and ranked play, but overall the list is too large to include in full here. Safe to say that overall the experience for players should improve, be that due to better balance or less toxicity, and we look forward to Season 2 of Year 4 for that very reason.
What time is operation Phantom Sight coming out?
Ubisoft announced maintenance start times ahead of Phantom Sight release:
- PC: 9am EDT / 1pm UTC / 2pm BST / 3pm CEST - 1 hour downtime
- PS4: 10am EDT / 2pm UTC / 3pm BST / 4pm CEST - 1 hour downtime
- XB1: 10am EDT / 2pm UTC / 3pm BST / 4pm CEST - 2 hours downtime