It may be hard to believe, but this year marks the beginning of the eighth year of support for Ubisoft’s live-service tac-FPS monster, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Siege isn’t slowing down any time soon, it seems, as with Operation Commanding Force, Year 8 Season 1 looks to start with a bang from Brazil, introducing a new operator, changes to reloading, and much more.
Let’s kick things off by talking about Brava, the new Operator, who will join the massive playable roster of attackers. Hailing from Brazil, she’s an expert technician with the hacking skills to match and a lively personality compared to some of her peers. She’ll be joining Hibana’s squad of Operators, titled Viperstrike, with enemy electronics falling prey to Brava’s Kludge Drone.
The Kludge Drone is a unique take on the signature drone attackers have at their disposal, as this version is Ubisoft’s idea of an anti-drone rifle shrunken down. Upon deployment, the Kludge Drone controls like your standard drone, but the catch is it can hack enemy equipment with specialized bullets, which then turn against their previous owner. Some examples of hackable devices are Kapkan’s traps, where hacking them will turn them against him and cause massive damage, or hacking Melusi’s Banshee device. As “broken” as that may seem, it can’t hack everything, and what it can’t hack, it’ll destroy instead.
Brava’s pretty fun to use, though I can see her perpetuating that habit of spending too much time in a Drone when playing as an attacker. Still, much like many of the Operators at your disposal, there are plenty of synergies Ubisoft targeted when developing her, such as working with IQ to locate hackable electronics or working with Thatcher to disable then hack equipment. Conversely, Operators like Solis can find the Brava user with her tech, Mozzie can capture the Kludge Drone, and Vigil can still vanish out of its vision, so there will be counters at your disposal.
Brava comes at an interesting point in Siege’s lifecycle, as one of the biggest areas for improvement Siege needed to focus on was accessibility for newcomers. Eight years later, there are over 65 different playable characters, making this a very overwhelming experience for players, whether they’re brand new or returning. With that in mind, Ubisoft set out to make her an accessible entry point as her kit lets players discover more about the technology that changes rounds and a new system called Onboarding.
New players will get access to specialized beginner challenges that will show them the ropes in Siege by grouping Operator-specific challenges into Operator Specialties. These will show players how to use a specific set of characters, such as how to use a character’s kit to gather intel or what to breach as a breacher.
The rewards for completing these challenges are notable, as you’ll earn renown boosters to help buy new characters or even straight-up unlock a character. Veteran players can also participate in these challenges, and the Onboarding system looks like a great method to teach players who are just coming into Siege all these years later. I might even do these myself, as Siege is a massive entity.
Many balancing changes are coming to Siege, with two big ones targeting the reload system and Zero. Firstly, “reload canceling,” the act of interrupting a reload to continue a fight, will no longer be a thing, as Ubisoft intends to make reloading a meaningful interaction rather than an action that can be stopped. The idea is to promote teamwork and communication. This comes off the heels of the massive revamp to the recoil system made in?Operation Brutal Storm?and is an interesting design direction after eight years that’ll take some time to get used to.
Secondly, Zero’s ARGUS Launcher will now have to manually pierce walls, with the intention being to mitigate how often it’s destroyed when shot at a wall. Teammates can also swap the side of Zero’s camera, but they can’t pierce it, which is a neat change focusing on the teamwork of Siege.
Midseason will add a Ubisoft-designed program called Mousetrap, which aims to combat players who use mouse and keyboard inputs on a console. If caught being one of those players, input latency will ramp up over several matches, with the solution being to remove your mouse and keyboard input on the console. There will also be a focus on anti-toxicity in voice chat, applying penalties for several matches for being a toxic force in-game. Just be nice, guys.
Finally, the playlist sections are getting an overhaul, which excites me the most, as you can filter between the different tiers of competitive, quick play, and custom games. Along with that, PC players will get a direct option to launch the Test Server while in-game instead of having to close out their program to open it. You’ll still need to have the Test Server installed, but that’s massive nonetheless, as Ubisoft intends to get more PC players to interact in Siege’s testing.
Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege has become an entity larger than life, as the French developer has carefully crafted a niche in the market for Siege. As mentioned, eight years of support is a lot of content, making it hard for new or returning players to find an entry point. However, this seems like the perfect time to hop on board, as Operation Commanding Force looks to take charge and usher in a new era for Siege.
Operation Commanding Force takes charge of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege on March 7, 2023, for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. The Test Server will go live starting Feb. 21.