Bat­ten down the patches

Ubisoft Mon­treal gets de­fen­sive as Rain­bow Six Siege starts its sec­ond year

XBox: The Official Magazine - - INSIDER -

There has been an in­creas­ing ten­dency of late for games to be­gin their life un­der­whelm­ing and build to some­thing spec­tac­u­lar (some­times be­com­ing com­pletely un­recog­nis­able) dur­ing the 12 months that fol­low their launch. It’s a frus­trat­ing tran­si­tion to sit through, but one that’s usu­ally worth the wait. Ubisoft’s team shooter Rain­bow Six Siege is one of the most strik­ing ex­am­ples of a game’s abil­ity to flour­ish post-launch, but if one year can be this trans­for­ma­tive, what would a sec­ond year of evo­lu­tion look like?

Well, much like Ubisoft’s re­cently re­vealed Rain­bow Six Siege Year Two roadmap, we would imag­ine. The first year was split into four sea­sons, each de­liv­er­ing a new map and two new op­er­a­tors, and the same is true for the sec­ond. But the first two op­er­a­tors – drop­ping as part of the re­cent Vel­vet Shell up­date – bring some fas­ci­nat­ing, game-chang­ing new skills to the fight. Attacker Jackal is armed with a re­mark­ably pow­er­ful, yet ac­cu­rate, as­sault ri­fle and has a gad­get that lets him see re­cent en­emy foot­prints and even scan the prints to re­veal their po­si­tions. It’s a di­rect re­sponse to the pop­u­lar de­fence tac­tic of spread­ing through­out the build­ing and aim­ing to catch ob­jec­tive-fo­cused at­tack­ers by sur­prise. But while Jackal’s gad­get is cer­tainly pow­er­ful, it does leave you star­ing at the ground a lot, and Caveira’s Silent Step abil­ity con­ceals her foot­prints en­tirely.

Win­dow dress­ing

De­fender Mira has a sim­i­larly sub­ver­sive skill set. She’s able to place wide, bul­let­proof win­dows into re­in­forced walls. They’re only trans­par­ent from the in­side, so at­tack­ers can’t use them to spot wait­ing de­fend­ers, and nei­ther side can fire through them – a po­ten­tially deadly com­pro­mise when cre­at­ing mur­der holes in ma­sonry. An at­tached can­is­ter can be de­stroyed to break the win­dow if you want to switch it to a ter­ri­fy­ingly large mur­der hole at a mo­ment’s no­tice, but it’s worth not­ing that, bril­liantly, Twitch can det­o­nate it with her drone, too.

Ubisoft says that these new op­er­a­tors are more rep­re­sen­ta­tive of its vi­sion for Siege, and that the rest of the line-up will un­dergo “surgery” to en­sure that the game re­mains bal­anced. This will be com­ple­mented with a new fo­cus on match­mak­ing. Voice chat and other sec­ondary ser­vices are be­ing moved from peer-to-peer sys­tems to the same ded­i­cated servers which han­dle player match­mak­ing, im­prov­ing sta­bil­ity. Hit regis­tra­tion will also re­ceive at­ten­tion, and the team plan to mit­i­gate lag and

“The first two op­er­a­tors bring some gamechang­ing new skills to the fight”

make hits and kills as pre­cise and ac­cu­rate as pos­si­ble. And in what sounds like a small change, you’re no longer locked out of menus while queu­ing for a match, so you should be able to browse the store or edit op­er­a­tors while you wait.

A new loot sys­tem will feed into this, giv­ing play­ers the chance to win skins, weapons and other drops at the end of each match. What’s even bet­ter is that they’re mi­cro­trans­ac­tion free. The goal is to re­ward play­ers sim­ply for play­ing, and should make life much eas­ier for those who don’t own a sea­son pass. Al­to­gether then, it looks like we’re in for a pro­found trans­for­ma­tion over the next 12 months, and one that re­mains true to the spirit of brav­ery that has de­fined this es­o­teric shooter from the off.

right As well as Mira and Jackal’s Spain,

Siege will also take us to Hong Kong, Poland and South Korea in 2017.

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