Has Rainbow Six Siege been improved by its updates?

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Ah, hello, and welcome to Rainbow Six Siege’s restaurant of blowing the shit out of walls. I’ll get you a menu shortly, but first, today’s specials.

Would ma’am like a breaching charge, unfurled and exploded so as to knock out a person-sized section? Or would she prefer to use burrowing grenades to excavate a perfect head-height peephole, through which she can take potshots? And for sir, may I suggest a thermite detonation powerful enough to punch through even reinforced barriers? Of course, one may choose to do the work oneself: to rip a hole in patchy plywood with a hail of bullets and make a gap either small enough to press an eye against, or big enough to pop a grenade through. All selections are excellent today — just as they were at launch.

That destruction elevated Rainbow Six Siege from tight tactical shooter to something more on its release in 2015. Blowing up a wall, barrier, or floor hatch added a frisson of visual excitement to a functional-looking game — the whoomp of explosive, the spray of grit and dust —but it also kept matches strategically interesting. Despite taking place across the same stages, levels were redesigned and re-redesigned on the fly, as attackers built their own assault vectors and defenders constantly switched positions to watch new and impromptu entrances.

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Two years of updates, patches, and DLC packs haven’t muddied this appeal — they’ve just offered more options. Rainbow Six Siege’s new “Operators” (Tom Clancy-ese for character classes) come with new guns, but they also each have their own approaches for crashing their way through the game’s destructible environments.

Playing on the attack, I like Hibana, a Japanese operator introduced last November, who comes with a special sticky grenade launcher capable of cracking through reinforced walls. One round of these grenades clears a hole big enough to scan a room through; a second spread will clear a space big enough to crawl through, allowing me to get the jump on defenders preoccupied with other threats.

On the defensive side, I gravitated toward Mira, a Spanish operator added this February who can install one-way windows into destructible walls. When placed in outward-facing locations, these windows can provide vital intel on enemy movements and activities. They go one better, too: after a few matches, I realised I could shoot the pressurised container keeping the glass in place and spew bullets from my brand-new murder hole.

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In total, Ubisoft have added 13 new operators since Siege’s launch. They’re separated primarily by their key gadget or skill, as well as their weapon loadout, and all feel appreciably different. For new players, however, they won’t always feel useful, and sometimes they won’t even feel fun. Capitão is quick and theoretically lethal, with one of the better assault rifles in the game as his standard weapon. But his crossbow — which comes with smoke grenade and asphyxiation bolts — is tricky to deploy correctly. I found myself fumbling with his bow, launching harmless smoke at enemies when I really should’ve just been shooting them with good old bullets, and wasting my asphyxiation bolts clearing the oxygen out of unoccupied rooms. Fellow Brazilian Caveira — who was introduced in the same expansion — is also a more advanced option. Her version of defense is a strong offense: in this case that means daubing her face with skull makeup and stalking the map, her perk allowing for silent footsteps and silent kills with her silenced pistol.

That’s assuming you can get the jump on foes. I consistently couldn’t, and got my neat skull facepaint (and face) rearranged multiple times in the process by enemies quicker on the draw. Siege’s guns already erred on the killier end of the videogame weapon spectrum, and still require just a few body shots to put an opponent down for good. That’s great if you get the drop on your enemies, but heavily frustrating when you get summarily executed through a window before you can even set your traps. Some gadgets, like Pulse’s heartbeat sensor that lets him spot enemies through walls, almost feel designed to exacerbate this frustration.

As a quick aside: infinitely more frustrating were the connections issues I’ve had with the game. Playing both before and after server maintenance last week, I hit lag spikes that hiked my ping north of 5,000 and saw me booted from multiple games in a row. I tried Ubisoft’s suggested fixes and manhandled my router to no avail, only to see the problems stop as soon as they started. There’s no guarantee you’ll have the same problems, but the specific error code (2-0x0000b005) is seemingly common enough for Ubisoft to point sufferers at a stock list of possible resolutions.

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There aren’t any truly bad operators among Siege’s new batch (except for boring old Buck, who just gets an underslung shotgun attachment to his rifle), but it does feel like there are some that have more applications in public games than others. That’s an annoyance when there’s no way to try a character before you buy, and when it takes north of 30 hours of game time to earn the 25,000 Renown points it takes to unlock one of the new operators.

There are other options to get your hands on more classes, but they involve real money: a single operator can be bought for £4 worth of Rainbow Six credits, or players can plump for a Season Pass, which unlocks all of the year’s new operators in one go. Siege’s Year 2 pass is currently available for £27 — just a few quid less than the price of the full game. On the plus side, you don’t need to buy that full game to play Siege competitively. The £12 Siege Starter Edition unlocks two random operators from a small pool of easy-to-play options, and hands you the credits to unlock another one for use in all its modes.

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30-plus hours of play just to unlock a new character feels grindy — because it is — but Siege does at least let players get stuck in to all of its levels, even if they’re lumped with the Starter Edition. The pool of stages has been added to as new operators have joined the fray, themed around their country of origin, and now includes Japanese rooftop mansions, Balaeric bars, and Brazilian favelas. I was happiest when we ended up on new maps Coastline and Skyscraper — primarily because both are a bit brighter than the overwhelming brownness of Siege’s grungier locales — but none of the stages skimp on the destructible walls, and so remain fun to rearrange.

And that’s what keeps Rainbow Six Siege worth coming back to, two years after launch. New players, getting just enough stuff to power through its frustrating grind, will find a tactical shooter that’s unique in forcing you to plan for chaos. For lapsed players, Ubisoft’s regular update schedule means that Siege’s menu has expanded in their absence, and they’ll have a host of new variables in the destruction equation.

48 Comments

  1. pockoman says:

    Buck seems boring until you realize you can destroy the floor from underneath people and shoot them from below! He’s the master of vertical combat.

    • CMaster says:

      Yeah, Buck is only boring if you’re not creative enough to think of all the new ways you can open up rooms with his gun. floors, ceilings, little bits of walls under the stairs, all of that.

      • Nosebeggar says:

        My favorite attackers are hibana and buck. The possibilities to attack a room using those two are endless.

      • Agnosticus says:

        Tellin’ y’all a secret: Jackel is the better buck. Use the secondary shotgun to open up floors and walls + he’s got a useful gadget!

        Granted he has no nades and the shotgun’S just a little less powerful, but his assault rifle and the SMG are way better than bucks selection!

        • Nosebeggar says:

          Jackal has no assault rifle, he has an SMG. The SMG is definitely good, but doesn’t have nearly as much firepower and is way worse at long ranges. Also it’s necessary to quickly switch between both weapons to do some maneuvers and frags can come in really handy when throwing them through floors. Therefore buck is objectively better when it comes to vertical combat. Jackal is a good substitute though when buck is already taken.

          • Agnosticus says:

            Man look it up, SMG and an assault rifle….was OP when it came out, now it’s still good, remember now?

    • zauberkraut says:

      Buck’s marksman rifle is also excellent, when equipped with a muzzle brake.

      • Agnosticus says:

        Hmm, yes but it’s rather useless in close quarter, which is about 80% of R6:Siege!

        • Nosebeggar says:

          “Siege is 80% close quater.”
          t. Frost shotgun player

          When you go up the ranks you will find that there is no close quarter combat anymore. Nobody is enforcing anything, everything is open and suddenly it’s all shooting across two rooms.

          • Agnosticus says:

            We have different opinions on what’s close quarter, it seems…

  2. TV-PressPass says:

    You missed the part where they removed several maps from rotation due to “memory issues.”

    • Nosebeggar says:

      That is entirely console players’ fault. Siege’s size exceeds the limits of what playstation and xbox deem acceptable download storage. Therefore maps needed to be removed, consoles, as always, are holding back development.

      • Janichsan says:

        Which is nonsense, as the maps aren’t actually removed from the *game*, just from the usual map rotation. You can still play these maps in custom matches.

        • Uncle Fass says:

          This really seems pointless, it’s an issue that only seems to affect the consoles so why are the PC players being forced to use custom games as well (which means you’ll probably never play those maps again competetively)? Is it so console players don’t feel they’re missing out? I’m reminded of Dead Space 2, when the game’s graphics were deliberately capped on PC so it didn’t look ‘too good’ in comparison to the console version.

          • Janichsan says:

            I can’t tell you the reasons. As a matter of fact, I don’t buy Ubisoft’s explanation that this has anything to do with alleged maximum data sizes. Fact is that all maps are still available on consoles, and fact is that there are games that take up significantly more space on consoles than RB6 Siege.

        • Nosebeggar says:

          It’s not nonsense, they are removing those maps from the general rotation so that people already adjust to maps missing. They are reworking some and putting them back in, some are going to be removed entirely. That’s the reason there are new textures on Kafe Dostoyevsky, gamers playing on PCs with graphic cards made from cardboard and those on the newest consoles (those are roughly equivalent comparisons) haven’t been able to load the map quickly enough because of 1000s of different textures used there.

          Rumor is that yacht will be reworked and is going to return, but I’m not as optimistic for favela (which I absolutely loved).

          If you’re interested in reading up on this topic, google: siege removes maps from rotation console limits

          There are 100s of threads on this on reddit, ubisoft forums, steam forums. It’s the truth, ubi said it themselves.

  3. sporkife says:

    while the starter edition is cheaper dollar wise, it makes the rest of the original operators way more expensive when purchasing them with in-game currency (12,500 instead of 500-2000). that’s a loooot of extra grinding at the start of the game when you just want to try out operators. the standard edition goes on sale for $20 on steam relatively frequently, and the extra $8 vs the starter saves you tens of hours worth of grinding.

    • renner says:

      Just to second this: DO NOT BUY the Starter edition, the grind is absurd. With the Standard edition, you’ll unlock a very solid bench of operators in no time, just do a little research to know which ones will suit your playstyle. The Gold Edition–in which everyone is unlocked I believe– usually goes on sale at the same time as the Standard. Speaking as someone with ~900 hours in this game, I’d say it’s well worth the price of admission.

  4. hungrycookpot says:

    30 hours to unlock a new hero er I mean operator… that sounds vaguely familiar, like a million jimmies cried out and were suddenly rustled at once…

    • Agnosticus says:

      30h is only for the DLC OPs. The whole standard roster is unlocked within 10-15h total. Some DLC OPs maybe worthless to you, like Capitao (he’s more or less overall shit), Echo, Frost or Ying, so you can focus on some you’ll probably need: Hibana(!), Blackbeard, Valkyrie, Ela, etc.

      And the one and most important thing is: the gameplay is some much fun and unique! It doesn’t feel like a grind at all!

  5. haradaya says:

    In my experience earning 25000 renown takes about 10-15 hours, and I lose as much as I win. It’s still a grind but it’s not really unlocking a new operator that drives me to keep playing.

    My two cents with the current state of Siege, is the new “meta” is taking away all that I enjoyed about the game. People are kill horny, and will leave objectives to hunt down the enemy. Defenders will aggressively shoot out of windows to get some easy kills. Attackers rush without a need for their gadget, because sidestepping in and out of a corner works better than holding an angle stationary.
    That’s not what Siege used to be about. It was slow and tense as you tried to figure out how to counter the defense. Now it’s close to just being team deathmatch.

    • renner says:

      Siege is hands down my favorite shooter, maybe ever. The new meta may be faster and more aggressive, but it’s still, I think, very strategic and rewarding, and goes well beyond basic deathmatch. I think the reason it was ever slow was just an unfamiliarity with the maps and mechanics (after all, Ash has always been tiny and lightning fast). If you’re not a fan of the new meta, that’s fair, taste is taste (if you like slow and tense, give Tarkov a try, it will shred your nerves), but I just want to address some of this in case it turns other people off before they try playing it:

      1. As a defender, you SHOULD be leaving the objective. You usually want to hold objectives from adjacent rooms– with a few exceptions, being IN the objective is a good way to get yourself killed. Create rotation holes with explosives so if you need to, you can return to the objective quickly without being funneled through a doorway. For defenders going even further away from the objective, or “roaming,” it’s an important and valid role that forces attackers to change their strategy and cuts off avenues of attack that would make taking the objective very easy. If every defender just turtled in objective, attackers would surround objective and win every time. The most classic and obvious example of this is a fully reinforced kid’s room on House, which just turns the room into a barrel and every defender inside into a fish.

      2. If you are an attacker, and get shot by a defender in a window, you weren’t paying attention– if anything, it should be an easy kill for YOU. The match doesn’t start *after* you run up to the building and go in, you should be just as alert and methodical on approach as you are when you’re inside. Also, during prep phase, don’t just send your drone into objective to get shot. Put it in rooms with windows that overlook your approach– if you see an attacker pop a window on your drone, it’ll be you getting the drop on HIM.

      3. The counter to rushing attackers is roamers (see point 1) and trap operators. A good rush will pretty much always necessitate gadget use, unless the defense has completely failed in their job. Ash–notorious rush operator–can be devastating using her gadget to facilitate a rush. NOBODY, not even Blackbeard, should be holding an angle totally stationary, unless they want a bullet in their face. Stay mobile and keep your options open. As a defender, if it becomes obvious that an attacker has positional advantage on you–they’re throwing bullets at you and ducking behind a corner and you can’t respond without getting killed–fold your cards and rotate; not every fight needs to be to the death. Hold unexpected angles on entrances by making kill-holes in walls and ceilings to catch rushers by surprise. Have a roamer who can be in a position to flank a rushing operator if they push up to objective. Use traps not as a way to debilitate the enemy but as intel-gathering devices that can let you know where a rush is coming from without you being in the crosshairs. If they have to rush through a narrow corridor and you’re in a larger room, shoot some holes in the bottom of the corridor wall– you’ll be able to see their feet, but they’d have to go prone to see you.

      etc etc. Frankly I’m kind of a dummy and there are much better sources for real advice, but I guess my point is: a faster meta doesn’t mean the tactical nature of the game is gone– it just means you need to make those tactical decisions faster, and in ways that anticipate a fast response.

      It is by no means a perfect game, but man do I love it.

      • Person of Interest says:

        I’ve skipped all the previous free Siege weekends, but you’ve piqued my interest enough to finally give it a try.

        Although, as with Overwatch, I’ll have to play with both voice and text chat disabled, because rude people completely spoil my fun.

        • renner says:

          That’ll be tricky because callouts from your teammates are pretty huge in this game– but for a free weekend, you’re probably OK, the callouts won’t mean much to you anyway if you don’t know the maps yet.

          The Siege community on PC is actually mostly pretty civil and willing to teach, but you do run into toxic dickheads every once in a while.

        • rommel102 says:

          R6 is the most civil voice chat of any Xbox game out there. I’ve heard PS4 and PC are the same.

          You won’t have to worry.

          • Janichsan says:

            From my experience with the PS4 version, the voice chat is indeed civil, but filled with a surprisingly large amount of Spanish-speaking kids with shrill voices.

            That said, I found there’s a not neclegible amount of douchbaggery in public matches, ranging from constant attempts to votekick other players for no good reasons, to purposeful teamkilling.

      • pockoman says:

        +1 to everything here. Siege is one of those games where if you think something’s overpowered, you probably can find a way to counter it.

      • Eldritch says:

        Just logged in to commend Renner on his post. Excellent stuff, sir; you’ve made me want to play again.

      • haradaya says:

        I know pretty much all of that. But the aggressive meta is so uninteresting. People running everywhere headfirst into gunfights. When Siege is best it’s when a match is won because someone did something clever. Not because someone’s aim trumped another’s. But that’s 70% of matches as of late.

        I wasn’t talking about the roamers, but the people who hear a team mate dying, and then run to his spot in hopes of surprising the enemy for an easy kill. Leaving you to hold multiple angles.

        • Nosebeggar says:

          To be fair: your enemy needs to require you to be clever. I don’t go into full tactics mode if I notice that the whole enemy team is shit and I can just rush them because my aim is superior to theirs. I agree though, that it’s most satisfying to watch when someone wins the round using mindgames or some really clever map-usage.

  6. Synesthesia says:

    Fuck the grind. I like this game, but I don’t have the time to become it’s slave.

    • rommel102 says:

      There isn’t much of a grind at all…it doesn’t take 30 hours to get to 25k to unlock a DLC operator, and all of the original on-disc operators are only 500/1000. You can unlock them all within 15 hours of gameplay, or at this stage of the meta pick specific DLC operators you want and go after them with 10 to 15 hours of gameplay.

      What’s more, there isn’t really any “must have” operator. All of the original ones are perfectly serviceable and used often. The goal is to offer upwards of 50 operators…you don’t need to own them all to have loads of fun.

      • Uncle Fass says:

        Even assuming that the 15hrs isn’t a grind to most people (I don’t personally play a lot of RPGs so maybe that’s nothing!), it’s still prophetic of the direction the industry seems to be going and as time goes on, the grind will only increase just to squeeze out more and more players to cave in and join the loot-box gambling minigame.

        Either way it’s very fucking cheeky of them to put in lootboxes AND paid DLC operators that take an absolute age to unlock.

  7. ezelkow1 says:

    The grind is not really bad. You unlock the base set of operators in no time. All of the other operators are like 10-15 hours worth of work but they are also the ‘season pass’ content. Thats what you get for purchasing the season pass, none of these characters were included in the base game and so just allowing the option to unlock them without paying at all for a season pass is pretty generous IMHO. You also still have access to every map, none of those are locked behind a pass either

  8. zauberkraut says:

    Siege is in a good shape right now and netcode has improved a lot. My favourite shooter.

  9. Nosebeggar says:

    Your judgement on this game is way too harsh, siege is not perfect, but it’s damn near.

    I’ve never had a friend who experienced the connection problem. The grind is nowhere as bad as you described it (no, you don’t need 30 hours to get 25k renown.). 50% of the operators cost 500 renown (going up to 2k respective to how many of the special unit you already own) and you get at least 250 renown per match if you won. The “grind” is deliberately in there to make you learn the game before you meddle with operators you don’t understand. Everytime you pick someone, someone else cannot pick them. You have no business playing hibana or caveira if you’re just starting out.

    The skill ceiling in this game is completely off the charts, so you probably got your ass handed to you quite quickly. There is a counterpick for every operator and none of them are OP. As of now, the game is as balanced as it ever was and in it’s best shape.

    Map and operator knowledge is essential and also a good pair of 3D headphones. I assure you, 50 to 100 hours in you will be able to see through walls just by listening to the brilliant sounddesign of the game.
    Listen to teammates and give callouts, you’ll get going in no time.

    Easily the best shooter out there.

  10. GodLucifer says:

    Rock Paper shotgun buys bots on steam to increase their publicity and write irrelevant crap, who gave you guys a fake job anyway.

    Fake commenters, fake followers and group members on steam, you guys are perhaps one of the fakest people on earth along with everyone else using the same schemes

  11. Machinedrum says:

    As others have said, never get the starter edition. You are stuck with a slow grind and if you buy all the original operators you still have a much bigger grind for the new ones. There is no way to upgrade….It is kinda the reason I stopped playing :(

  12. Uncle Fass says:

    I see many peeps here saying it’s ‘not that bad’ of a grind but it’s this complacency/apathy that allows the industry to continue to do it, making it gradually worse over time.

    • KenTWOu says:

      Judge the industry then, but not this game.

    • Nosebeggar says:

      Then let me clarify: there is no grind at all. It feels nice to unlock an operator and learning them, sure, but you need to learn a few others first. The game basically forces you to learn them one by one so that proper teambuilding will be possible in any high-rank match. It’s a pretty great strategy. Cutting it short by just buying them with credits is just detrimental to you and any team you’re being matched into. The only reason it is possible to buy them using credits and some exclusive skins is to keep the game running, which is fair because there are free content updates 4 times a year and the devs surely don’t work for free.
      Even if you’re really looking to unlock a Y2 operator (those costing 25k) it’s not going to feel like a grind getting those 25k, because every match is different and engaging and in the end you will feel like you really earned it. I have 680 hours in this game since end of january and I cannot recommend it enough.

  13. Mr.K says:

    How is the community and/or game modes nowadays? I used to play Siege quite a bit after its release and even when I was very familiar (and not even all that terrible) with the game, I got occasionally kicked out of the game for making one mistake.

    Now I haven’t played in more than a year and would be sort of curious to try again but I feel I would be so lost with all the new maps and classes that it would be a constant stream of getting kicked out of the game…

    • NPC says:

      The game is much more popular and populous than in its early days, so you’re likely to meet someone toxic, but still you’ll encounter some awesome random teams: communicative, supportive and cooperating. Whether you see enough of these to compensate for the jerks — is up to you and RNG, but I still really enjoy the game’s community.

  14. NPC says:

    Favelas is gone, they said they’ll try to re-work it, but no guarantees. It was very destructible, pushing Siege’s trademark a bit too far, as defending was difficult (but still fun, tbh imo).

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