Rainbow Six: Siege is free to try & on sale this weekend

Maestro is so hardcore, he plays via Steam Link in touchscreen mode, just to keep things fair.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege (to drop its seldom-used full name) really has come from strength to strength. Once an also-ran, now a genuine esports phenomenon. For those fashionably late to the party and confused as to what’s going on, imagine Counter-Strike, but where all but the sturdiest of walls, floors and ceilings can be shot to ribbons, and where every single player has a bag full of fancy gadgets and traps to flummox their opposition.

It’s best played with friends on voice-comms, but hugely popular nonetheless. This weekend is a fine time to give it a try for yourself. From now until Sunday evening, the game is completely free to try on Steam, and discounted for those who decide they’ll be sticking around.

This is an especially good time to start on the game, too – just before the addition of a new Italian map, plus two more similarly Italian characters to shake up the balance of the game long-term. Operation Para Bellum (as its known) will be fully unveiled on the 20th, but we have at least gotten a peek at the two new Operators to play as. First up is Alibi, probably the most high-tech of all characters, given her ability to deploy holographic decoys.

The other character on the way is Maestro, who has some manner of remote weapon system the he can control through his phone. Unsurprisingly, he’s a defensive operator.

The game is in rude health right now, with Steamcharts (unofficial, but scraping active player counts direct from Steam) showing that it’s been gaining players steadily since March 2016. The number of active players at any given time has increased by around 1000% in that time on Steam alone, and given that this is one of Ubisoft’s flagship titles, quite a few players more are likely logging in through Uplay. It may not be the biggest esports shooter on Steam, but it ‘s coming a close third after Plunkbat and Counter-Strike.

As temptingly priced as it may be during this sale, I would recommend that anyone that enjoys the game avoid buying the Starter Edition. While it’ll get you into the game at budget price, it also gives you a much smaller range of characters to play as off the bat, plus adds an extra mountain of grind in unlocking the remainder. Unless something has changed recently, there’s no way to reverse this account limitation. Just stick to the Standard edition of the game, which costs a little more, but is steeply discounted alongside the free weekend.

Rainbow Six Siege is free to play via Steam from now until 1pm Pacific time on Sunday. The Steam sale on the game will continue until 10am Monday, also Pacific.


  1. Ansob says:

    If you’re thinking of buying this, please note: do not buy the Starter edition, as that version of the game makes the base operators cost an astronomical amount of renown to unlock (we’re talking “grind multiplayer matches for 10 hours to unlock one operator” here) and there’s no upgrade path from Starter to Standard.

    If you’re at all interested in playing the game, do yourself a favour and get at least the Standard edition instead, which comes with all 20 base operators already available to play instead of requiring you to grind.

    • dontnormally says:

      > there’s no upgrade path from Starter to Standard

      This has to be one of the most egregiously terrible decisions.

      • Ksempac says:

        It is not completely true though. You can buy R6 credits to unlock the characters you would have in the standard edition.

        Which, last time I checked, makes Starter edition + credits slightly more expensive than buying the Standard edition outright at full price. Still, it’s a possibility.

        I definitely agree that people should buy the standard edition rather than the starter edition.

  2. bp_968 says:

    Is this at all entertaining without a solid group to play with? PUBG got me back into FPS MP shooters but after 400 hours I just can’t bring myself to play solo or with rando teammates. It’s just too painful and I quickly switch back to playing a good SP FPS like far cry, or an RPG or Sim lol. I have the strong suspicion that this game will be full of teenagers screaming about how terrible you are and how you need to kill yourself.

    • wengart says:

      I play solo pretty often. I find it enjoyable, but haven’t pushed into rank play. It isn;t much different than no mic COunter-Strike if you are at all familiar with taht.

    • Chewbacca says:

      I must say, the R6 community is relatively friendly. Sure, there will always be people calling you a noob (and in R6, you will probably be a noob for some time) or some griefers but the standard case is just no communication at all. When you play ranked games, the higher you get in rank, the more team communication you will experience as this is key for being good at this game. While I still prefer playing R6 with at least one friend, I also mostly enjoy my solo ranked games as you should communicate with the whole team anyway.

  3. Risingson says:

    That image looked like a DJ in Printworks when it just opened.

  4. Ross Angus says:

    Good to see the alt-text mischief has spread beyond Alice.

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