With the next major update coming for Rainbow 6 Siege tomorrow (Thursday, October 27th 2016, to be exact), many are still speculating what the future operators will be. Ubisoft has been very good about avoiding leaks. We’ve tried to get coerce some comments or find some reliable sources but we got very little. Of course, you can always leave it to Reddit to feature know-it-alls and trolls who claim they have privileged information. Word on the street is that there will be more fire, perhaps a napalm grenade, white phosphorous explosive, or some sort of flamethrower. The latter would be quite OP in a game that is so heavy on CQC (Close Quarters Combat).
For us folks in the GeekyAntics Xbox community, we’re more thinking about the stuff that really matters (though the hot newness is always fun to talk about):
- How can we make a great game even better?
- What will keep this game fresh and fun?
- Can we please fix multiplayer?
To tackle these questions, we have to look at things from the perspective of a game designer, not just avid gamers. It’s easy to fall into the trap a lot of jaded gamers have fallen into. On the Ubisoft support page, the entitlement and trolling is out of control. Players assume that Ubisoft abandons their online games yet the proof points to quite the opposite. Just look at the major update to Tom Clancy’s The Division patch 1.4, which addresses everything the community outcry has been highlighting: character balancing, abandoned groups, bullet sponge enemies (time to kill too long), incursions (time to complete too long), and damage scaling, making for a far more enjoyable experience for all, particularly in PvE.
We’ve identified several questions and challenges to be considered as Ubisoft continues to iterate upon an already fantastic game. Many of these questions are common concerns we hear from our fellow Tom Clancy shooter fans:
Do you want to cut down on players going outside?
What about “exploits” in Bomb mode (i.e. guarding the bomb from outside the objective)?
Should the glare from sunlight be reduced? What about gadgets to mitigate the effects of darkness and bright lights? Would this impact the game negatively?
How do you get players to play objectives and roam less? Should you?
How do you avoid splitting the player base while keeping serious players together and trolls separated?
More daily/weekly challenges, unlockables, and other sticky features
Acknowledge and reward players who display good sportsmanship, don’t leave matches often, and put in many hours a day/week.
Should you display how many players are on which modes or at least the total online players?
With those design tenants in mind, the following wishlist comes to mind. The first few are what we consider critical to the continued growth and success of the game and the rest are more “for funsies”. Let’s look at some of the items line by line, then we’ll discuss!
Stabilize net code and session management – disconnections during ranked and unknown
Improve accuracy and reduce “magic shot” and “lean glitching”
More utility options for operator kits, particularly with explosives.
More breaching options so you’re not “stuck” when Thermite dies
Maps that allow for more sniping, stealth, and long-range combat, improving the gameplay variety beyond the usual CQC
More Game Modes
Blitz – Lightning round matchups in smaller areas of the maps. Variants for Hostage and Secure Area.
Tactical Supremacy – Two rounds of gameplay in the standard formats with a special rule: you get style points. The team with the highest score in the end wins.
Scavenge – Sweep hot zones for cargo shipments.
Player Incentives & Good Behavior Reinforcement
Communication – Reknown bonus for mic players?
Sportsmanship – Reknown bonus for good sportsmanship when playing down two or more players (not if they are voted out or TKed, though)
Patience – Stay in queue reknown bonus and bonus multiplayer for staying within a reasonable radius of objectives
Kudos – Give bonuses to players who are friendly, good team players, and/or communicate effectively
Fixes For Troll Kicks & Griefing
No or limited vote kick option for ranked
Show who started the kick vote?
Surrender option? (NO!)
Segregation of griefers
Bonuses for playing drug-free
Make situations co-op and bump up rewards, perhaps?
Buzzsaw device for breaching (an alternative to Sledge and Thermite)
A device that cuts ropes when they cross window thresholds (may chop a head off if a player tries to peak)
Give IQ a gun with EMP charges?
OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon) options with corner-rounding camera for tactical insertions
Snake camera (a’la Splinter Cell)
What about the Japanese operators everyone is clamoring for? I know many are hoping for katanas and shurikens, which would be cool.. But I don’t see that as being very realistic because it’s kind of racist. I must admit, though: it would be cool to have a melee option that was more reliable than the tiny little knife. It’s embarrassing when you fall short of a melee kill. On the flip side, it’d be cool to have an operator that can’t be easily shanked. Maybe he can catch the blade with his hands and counter. Oooooh – no we’re talking!
I think the Japanese operators will be more on the side of realism than fan service. With the Japanese being world leaders in tech, maybe we’ll see some really cool high-tech gadgets. Perhaps a robotic aide or virtually indestructible recon device? I’d personally love to have more diversionary gadgets like a persistent noisemaker machine. Smoke and explosives can do this well but it always feels like a waste when you use them so frivolously and have such a limited supply to work with.
We may finally see a quartermaster type operator or addition of new gadgets with the season 4 expansion. It’d be nice to have field refills because it sucks when your main weapon runs dry. Even better, maybe one of the Japanese operators will have “quick draw” options so you’re never caught with your pants down during a fire fight. I’ve tried to ask enemies to allow me to refill before continuing our duels but it rarely works, sadly. Anywho, lots of potential with the Japanese operators so we’ll have to wait and see!
Putting It All Together
First and foremost, people are tired of the issues with the net code. Mismatches on rank, random team disconnections, and strange issues with fluctuating latency have the community begging Ubisoft to “stop making online games” or “sell to a better company”. With the latest incremental update (not the official season update), matchmaking has become far slower, creating more civil unrest of the entitled geek variety…
I see three major problems impacting the true potential of Rainbow Six: Siege beyond the usual “Ubisoft sucks at online” crap. First, the surge of players from run-and-gun shooters is leading to a shift away from the core experience: playing the objectives. For a lot of these players, it’s all about KDA. Wipe out the enemy team and win. The problem with that is that it leads to frustration with matches that are thrown away and players forgetting about the game timer and/or objectives, which should be front and center for all players.
Second, the lack of gameplay variety makes Rainbow Six: Siege a hard sell for folks who expect a lot of value for the dollar. They don’t see that there is a dedicated team committed to keeping the community unified and engaged. There’s no DLC and everything that matters can be earned by putting in the time. This is a game-as-a-platform done right.
Third, ranked multiplayer is really suffering right now because at least one player quits or gets disconnected during the match. It always seems to happen at pivotal moments like match point or overtime. Playing down one or two players is not impossible but it changes how you have to play and can be frustrated. The dedicated players should not be penalized for bad sportsmanship or poor network connectivity.. But they are.
In lieu of the fact that there is no real singleplayer component, there really does need to be more game modes. Most players hate Bomb because it spreads your team and defenses thin.. But that’s the point. Hostage is great but, with half of your team roaming during PUGs, chances are the enemy team will grab the hostage and get away uncontested. Secure Area is the crowd favorite but playing that all day would get old.
The addition of two or three more modes would be great. I see this as something they should do before Year Two starts, perhaps in early January. That’s a tall order and perhaps wishful thinking but this will be a great way to get some more hype going an expand the community. Perhaps getting rid of the mode preferences would help, too, because it only slows things down. Really, anyone playing ranked should have to learn all modes.
I also wonder if there should be more traps and defensive options. It may slow gameplay down and certainly shift the meta. Maybe we need longer timers? I’m noticing too many matches come down to the last 30 seconds or so. That said, while blitzing can be fun, it seems that more and more players are rushing hard. It takes away a lot of the skill and devalues the prep phase. Heck, the roamers are now going off on their own before they even reinforce walls!
Building A Stellar Service Record
Back to the issue with lack of teamwork and objective play, I believe there needs to be some systems to reinforce good sportsmanship and communication. The foundation is there with things like Enemy ID Assist, Enemy Gadget, and Camera Destroyed point bonuses but it’s the seductive allure of going on a killing spree is still over-shadowing proper gameplay.
I’m a big fan of playing support roles but it seems that most games punish you for taking a more passive approach to things. As a result, players rarely drone, call out targets, or focus on objectives. Heck, they barely use microphones in-game! All of these things need to be reinforced.
Perhaps one approach could be something to the effect of what Overwatch does with the post-match accolades. There are gameplay subtleties that folks do not get. The player who consistently gets the most kills on his team assumes he lost because his team sucks, not because he’s rarely near the objectives or is often the first to die each round.
In addition to this, I really loved what EA did with the now defunct Dawngate MOBA. Karma took what League Of Legends tried to do and leveled it up. Rather than allowing players to initiate a vote to kick, give players opportunities to positively engage with others. This would get other players in line as they will want to get the bonus reknown for playing the way the game was intended to be played (and playing nice with others).
You may also know that I absolutely love Heroes Of The Storm and how they handle positive reinforcement. Trolls and quitters are queued up with each other, placed in a jail queue. HotS also makes it a point to focus more on team opportunities rather than the usual KDA model.
All of this together could build up a nice public Service Record which focuses on style of play and personality. Players should never be able to see each other’s rank, level, or KDA (unless they are Uplay / Club Ubisoft friends) as too much stock is placed in that. Instead, show indicators on the most-played characters and their W/L ratio with each perhaps. Show off the accolades the player has received. It’d also be nice to see [more] global stats by operators.
Accolades can be displayed as badgets with counters on them. People still like badges and collecting stuff, right? Pokémon says hello! So, yeah, Ubisoft can cover all the things they really should be encouraging:
Clutch (Grace Under Fire)
Savior (Has Your Back)
- Quartermaster (Resupply Your Team)
Safety First (No Friendly Damage)
- Objective Efficiency
The last one is a huge one. I find that most rounds end in close calls, for better or worse, because people lose track of time and then have to rush to the objective. Objective Efficiency means you’re consistently working those objectives the way they were designed to be played. It’d be nice to have a clear warning when you’re at 1:30 because the tunnel vision is REAL (and BAD)! Rewarding players who consistently trigger the objective condition (grab the hostage, place the defuser, secure the area) will get players more focused on the objectives.
Perhaps in addition to these distinctions you can have demerits but that could result in the same trolling we see with kick votes. I believe that giving team players more recognition and rewards naturally weeds out the trolls and lone wolves. Whatever Ubisoft lands on, I believe they have the opportunity to pave the way on consoles and create more mature, fun, and productive online gaming communities.. Leave the toxicity to CoD and LoL.
With XBox One rolling out Clubs to non-Preview members soon, there is a wonderful opportunity here for players to squad up with like-minded individuals. I would love to see some sort of API support, whereas the service record is viewable within Clubs somehow or at least as widgets/iframes on web sites.
Why Unrestricted Kick & Surrender Options Are Bad News
Something that I think particularly feeds into bad teamwork and frustrations in competitive multiplayer modes is the combination of the following factors in ranked matches:
The average gamers party up and don’t communicate in-game during ranked matches, making it very hard to coordinate; furthermore, they’re often distracted by chat from friends that aren’t even playing in the same match.. It’s dumb but true.
Players in random/pick-up groups are quick to initiate a vote to kick if a player does not perform to their liking or play how they think is right.
Mob mentality and bullying takes over whenever there is a vote: whether it is to pick a map, kick a player, rematch, etc.
Often, players will resort to going AFK or team-killing if a kick fails or they feel their team really sucks.
It’s a really good thing that Rainbow Six: Siege doesn’t have a surrender option (anymore). I do think, however, that players should be able to jump into a ranked match in progress if a player drops. As a consolation prize, they can get bonus reknown. Give players a prompt that let’s them know the match is already in progress. Leave it up to them if they want to take the risk or wait for another match.
This may come off as a non-sensical statement but I have found that negative reinforcement results in more false positives and repeat behavior, neither of which you want in an online game. In essence, if you give players a way to grief or vent, it becomes a knee-jerk reaction and an easy way to pass the buck. Again, I am reminded of the over-use we see of the “vote to kick” option. I am finding that there is a kick-vote initiated once in every five matches, which seems like WAY too high of a rate.
Ubisoft just implemented a hard-and-fast anti-TK rule whereas team killing in casual gets you kicked and doing so in ranked gets you suspended for 15 minutes (the standard “abandoned match” penalty). The problem with these types of measures is that they typically punish the accidental offenders the worst and the real troublemakers go on griefing and not really caring about the repercussions. Also, hostages tend to get in the way… And we all make mistakes.
What I would like to see is a kick option that only opens up once a player team kills or goes AFK. That said, kicking should not exist without the option to backfill the spot somehow. Ideally, I’d love to see up to six spectating slots that could also double as reserves: if a player just quits (not disconnects), a spectator can jump in. On that note, I find it particularly frustrating that the game frequently boots players out randomly and you are penalized for it if you can’t re-join the match before it’s over.
In short, there is a delicate balancing act to be struck here still. Players should want to play as much as possible and not wrestle with things like random kicks, trolls team-killing for funsies, unexpected disconnections, and idiots who leave a match because they can’t budget their time properly (or don’t like the way the match is panning out). The barriers to fully enjoying and immersing yourself need to be remove. Siege is a rare pearl in a sea of unremarkable shooters and I’d love for more people to discover and enjoy it.
The Reality Of Rainbow Six: Siege & Ubisoft Support
It’s important to note that Ubisoft has a yearly road map and Siege seems positioned to have a strong three to five year run EASILY. It’d be up there with games like Smite, Warframe, and Kill Instinct, where the buy-in is really low, you get free tastes, and then you’re hooked. From there, the constant flow of content will keep things fresh.
That said, players expect too much from Ubisoft. Yes, they have a dedicated team supporting the game but I’m sure the 80 or so people slated as part of the Siege team are also doing odds-and-ends work on other projects. In order to sustain the game, Ubisoft has to run lean so that all revenue that comes in can become pure profit for re-investing in the expansion and improvement of a fantastic platform for fans of tactical, objective-driven shooters. There are rumors that Ubisoft may be bought out. If that happens, they’ll have the resources to really invest into their games but hopefully they’ll be able to run autonomously, much like Blizzard does currently under the Activision umbrella.
While I skipped out on the season pass this year, I’m definitely looking to get in on year two’s pass. The value you get from the free operators alone is worth it and then you get to use your reknown for all the cool weapon attachments, headgear, charms, and skins. The potential for deeper character customization is there as well. Perhaps they can allow us to mix-and-match headgear, body armor, shoes, and gloves?
All this stuff is great but I am tempering expectations. I understand how it is to keep online games going so I’d be happy if they just focus on getting things stable first, before they start adding new features. As it is, Rainbow Six: Siege has gotten several UI overhauls and significant tweaks, which puts it in a rare class of games. This game has come a long way since the initial release and it’s jumped leaped and bounds beyond the early concepts and prototypes.
Think about it: when’s the last time you saw a retail game get so much love WITHOUT DLC? For the folks that complain about how bad Ubisoft’s online infrastructure, let me remind you about how poor the past two Battlefield launches were (before Battlefield 1). I’ll also remind you about GTA V, a game that was unplayable online for months last gen… And is still buggy as hell on current gen, yet the price on the game does not drop. With Siege, you’re getting a more quality product and a constant flow of content for a fraction of the cost.
While I am tempering expectations, I must say that I am confident and excited to see what Ubisoft will do with Siege in the coming months and years. There have been growing pains but they have shown us that they are committed to creating a unique experience and surprising us at every turn – in a good way!
So, for the uninitiated, what makes Rainbow Six: Siege so great? For starters, it’s one of the only shooters I can think of that has PvE and PvP that are equally satisfying. Sure, Gears 4 does that well but the PvP there basically boils down to who has mastered the cover-roll shotty madness the most. Shotguns are a bit OP in Siege but there is much more variety to allow players to tackle scenarios the way they prefer. Some may rush, others may take their time. You can snipe and provide overwatch, provide support with a useful gadget, or you can go to the frontlines and take your chances there.
Rainbow Six: Siege is dirt cheap now and, at it’s price point, I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has been waiting for a real team game. This is a tactical shooter done right. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing like it.
From a technical perspective, this game may not be the best looking but it performs at 60 FPS for the most part with little to no chug, depending on your platform. The T&L effects are fantastic, especially when it comes to fog, lens flare, and smoke. When the Battlefield: Bad Company series launched years ago, the Frost Bite engine was all the rage but EA hasn’t done much with it other than announcing that all future games will use it. The Rainbow Six: Siege graphics engine is impressive. The persistence of all destruction, environment details, and random objects helps you determine where the enemy is or firing from.. And it all tells such a wonderful story, feeding into the intensity of it all.
Rainbow Six: Siege takes the part most of us love about MOBAs (hero abilities) and works it seamlessly into a shooter that is borders ultra realistic yet provides enough arcade-style fast-paced action to keep it from being a slog. It’s no arena shooter or run-and-gun fest like a Call Of Duty, Halo, or DOOM. Lone wolves will likely hate the game but there are indeed paths for stealth. Crouch and move slowly, pop a suppressor on, and avoid knocking over stuff or exploding stuff… Check those corners, soldier!
Speaking of hero abilities, there’s an operator for everyone in the current roster and the Japanese operators are about to drop, too! I particularly fancy Frost, who is one of two Canadian operators. She has three welcome mats she can place to trap people who don’t watch where they step or haphazardly enter through a window. Then there is IQ, who moves fast, can spot electronic devices, and looks great in her mom jeans. Giggity.
It’s been a long time that I’ve been so excited about a shooter or any game, really. I can play for 8-12 hours and not even notice the time fly by because I am that immersed. Often, I’m the last survivor on my team. During those times, I turn my game audio up and listen carefully for the direction sounds are coming from and what sort of noises I am hearing. I won’t lie: this game gets my heart pumping and my palms sweating – and I LOVE that!
I will add that not a single piece of kit in this game that is useless. Barbed wire, nitro cells, SMGs, shotguns, breaching charges, smoke/impact/stun/frag grenades.. Everything has a use. I find myself constantly rotating my gear and character selections to adapt to situations and moods.
I bought this game on PC and XBox One when it was brand new. Unlike Destiny, which I regretted buying into in the end, this game continues to satisfy me and Ubisoft is not nickel-and-diming their customers. That makes me want to spend more money to throw them a tip. They have to pay for things somehow, after all. The love for the game is there; after all, there’s already tons of Rainbow Six: Siege hentai. This game has quite the cult following!
For you older gamers out there like myself, chances are you are tired of the squeakers and the silly “spaceman combat”. There’s no jumping and wall-running here. It’s a slower pace, which naturally keeps the ADHD-ridden players away, thankfully. If you like taking your time to check corners, use surveillance equipment, and stealth-kill enemies, this may be your game.
Siege reminds me a lot of Splinter Cell, without the weird light/dark meter. That said, day/night cycles and lighting do play a huge part. If you’re not aware of your environment, you’ll have your shadow spotted or get shot from the cover of the ultra-bright sun through a window. It”s little details like that which keep every match fresh. The paranoia you’ll experience at times is almost enough to piss you off but, when you conquer against all odds, you’ll feel so accomplished.
I would also say that fans of Dark Souls may dig this game, too. You’ll find yourself dying a lot until you master the mechanics. It can be frustrating for casual players but, if you want a real challenge, this is your stop.
Of course, the most obvious comparison for me is Search & Destroy, the one mode that has kept me playing Call Of Duty after the regurgitated games they’ve had since MW2 (and maybe original Black Ops). I’ve always liked S&D because it’s easy to see which players really impact things when you only have one life to live. Spending your time dead for long periods of times is a great motivation for learning to “get good”.
Fortunately, Siege gives you some tools to assist your team even after your operator is dead. You can call out enemies, tag them on cameras, and provide other support. Things like this keep all players engaged in the experience and take the focus away from simply killing things. Seriously, go play Rainbow Six: Siege and, if you get it on XBox One, add me: Yogizilla.
For current Siege players (you have good tastes BTW), what is one thing you would love to be implemented right away? Comment below!