Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege

After a series of hotly-contested season finals during its opening year, Rainbow Six Siege hosted its first Invitational in early 2017. With events spanning Montreal, São Paulo, Atlantic City, Katowice and beyond, the online shooter held its inaugural Major in Paris last month. 

Over two years since its debut campaign, the modern Siege esports scene is near unrecognisable—and it shows little signs of slowing down. With this in mind, I caught up with Ubisoft esports director François-Xavier Deniele at the Paris Major to discuss the past, present and future of Siege's ever-growing competitive spectrum. 

PC Gamer: The Paris Major is Siege's first ever Major. It seems like the Siege esports scene is in rude health

François-Xavier Deniele: Yes, it really is. For me and my esports department at Ubisoft, our first Major is a great achievement. We've brought it back home, to Paris, and the reason for doing that was not only because this is Ubisoft, but also because we wanted to reward the French community. They've been here from the beginning. There are four teams in the pro league, there are two at the Major. 

It was the right time to say: guys, we're going back. 

You can hear the crowd cheering behind us. They get particularly loud for the French teams. 

Oh, absolutely. That said, the crowd at São Paulo were just as loud. An amazing crowd. 

Siege has grown so much since launch that it's become almost unrecognisable. Can the same be said about its esports scene? 

It can. I mean, it's hard to say that we could've predicted being here three years ago. But even before the release of the game, before the rest of the world had played it, we knew we had something different from the competition. For example, what Counter-Strike is doing is great, it's really good, but we wanted to propose something different. 

When the production came back with the idea of: okay, we will create the perfect field between a shooter and a MOBA, and take the best argument for both; it was then: okay, let's take the Rainbow Six brand and see where we can take it. It was really good to mix all of these ingredients together. 

What we can see today, as you mentioned, it's not the same game almost three years on. The teams are so close to each other now that we have a really good standard. It's so exciting.  

Where do you think the new operators, Clash and Maverick, fit into the pro side of Siege?

That's a good question because every new season we ask the same thing. Players need to change their capacity and strategy—depending on whether they're playing as the new operatives or playing against them. Before we release the new characters, we have some workshops with the pro players to make sure we get the balance right. Then we run alphas and beta for the community. Not everyone plays at the same standard as the pro players. Getting the balance is important. 

This mix of players is essentially pushing the production team, too. The workshops let players see all the elements before the release and we can gather feedback. 

Where we are truly different from other games is our focus on multiplayer. It wasn't an easy decision at first. But it was, I think, the right decision.

Fran ois-Xavier Deniele

From your perspective, is Siege's esports scene a different entity from the base game or are they interlinked across the board? 

They are absolutely interlinked, completely. The esports scene is feeding the game all the time, by the pro players and by the dedicated community that follow. 

At the same time, however, the game also affects the rules and functionality of the esports scene. I work everyday with Alexandre Remy and it's crucial that we work together as a team to make both worlds work. If he has an issue with the production, we need to feed each. It'd be a huge mistake for us to pursue different agendas because our game constantly reflects what the community wants. 

The esports community is also really vocal, and occasionally their feedback isn't as positive as we want or hope it could be. But, because our game is for everyone, that's when it can be tricky. Ultimately, though, our community trusts us and we trust them.

Earlier this year, Siege introduced a familiar MOBA feature—Pick and Bans. How is that working out in the pro scene?

For me, there are two things. The first thing is that it was a complete change of strategy from the team and it was hard for some of us to understand at first. It was: okay, I now need to rework my strategy completely because I don't know which characters might be banned, I don't know which strategies I can push and put in place before the match. Understanding and appreciating that [process] was hard, but it's also part of our process for entertaining people—which is also important. 

Now, with the new format of our esports competitions, every phase is so important. From the first Pick and Ban to the last shot at the last second, you can understand that, okay, the player made this particular decision because that operator was banned, or that decision because they were made to pick this operator. It's easier to follow. 

What our team and the production team are working on is the creation of tools to help people better understand each phase. What is unique to Rainbow Six Siege is that there are different approaches to every phase of the game. Ultimately, everyone must be able to understand every phase of the game.  

Siege chose multiplayer over singleplayer at launch. Is there ever any regret or desire to pursue the latter, given how big the Siege community now is?It's always a question of balance. For the production team, it was a case of: okay, if we want to create a true competitive esports title, we need to focus on the multiplayer aspects. If you are creating operators and putting them into singleplayer—it's not the same rules, you can't do it. 

Even from co-op to multiplayer, it's not the same rules there either. Where we are truly different from other games, it's the multiplayer. It's as simple as that. It wasn't an easy decision. It was a hard decision. But it was, I think, the right decision. We focussed all the production, all the planning on these elements. It was all or nothing. I think it's worked out okay. 

You've now held your first Major. The Siege esports scene is constantly growing. What's next?

Our next immediate step is our Rio De Janeiro final in Brazil. This will be our first ever tournament that takes place within a stadium. Three years ago, this was a dream, and in November it's going to happen. For me, the main strategy for the next coming year is developing what we call the semi-professional and non-professional tournament—meaning if we want to become a top, top esports scene, we need to develop every level. 

From the pros—which we showcase in things like the Paris Major—to the bottom, which is, for me, the grassroots, the local tournaments. This is the key to helping people understand the path to professional play. What do you have to do to become the average player? It's our job to show you. 

Is that achievable? Can the average player join in at the bottom and end up at a professional Major?For me, I think it's a great time to do so. If you watch for too long it might become too difficult to become a world champion, but our national championship has really come a long way. There are so many players, but we plan to open more and more non-professional tournaments. You can watch out for that.  

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege - Ubi_F4nch


The first patch after the season launches is generally a much lighter patch. As such, you will not see the same level of fixes as a Season launch. Patch Y3S3.1 deploys on PC on Tuesday, September 18th, and console to follow later in the week.

TEAM KILL BANS

The team killing penalty for a first offense will be adjusted from a kick to a 30 minute ban. Initially, if a player was team killed in Casual, the offender was kicked from the match. The same situation in Ranked would result in a kick as well, but also triggered an abandon penalty. This was confusing because it seemed as if the team killing punishment was different between Ranked vs Casual.

The new breakdown is as follows:
  • First offense: Banned from Matchmaking for 30 minutes.
  • Second offense: Banned from Matchmaking for 1 hour.
  • Third offense: Banned from Matchmaking for 2 hours.
  • Fourth offense: Banned from Matchmaking for 24 hours.
  • Fifth offense: Banned from Matchmaking for 7 days.

BUG FIXES

Gameplay

Fixed – [PC][XB1] Cannot use melee for a short while after using prone.
Fixed – Players are able to take the defuser through the walls.
Fixed – Throwing C4 on an electrified wall will not destroy the nitro cell on contact.

OPERATORS

Maverick
Fixed - The bullet casings are ejected forwards when firing the AR-15.50 weapon.

Clash
Fixed - Clash's Shield can be deployed while crouched.
Fixed - Clash's CCE shield can clip in the arm and clip in the pistol.
Fixed - Clash is able to fire her gun before weapon appears on screen.
Fixed - In the loadout menu charms are not equipped in the same place as during a session for Clash's CCE Shield.
Fixed - When a player is killed by the CCE shield, the generic death icon is displayed instead of the taser shield.
Fixed - [PC][XB1] Clash's CCE shield is clips through partially broken barricades when rotating.

Smoke
Fixed - If the attackers drop the defuser, Smoke can move it by throwing his gadget on it.

LEVEL DESIGN

Hereford
Fixed - Players are able to throw gadgets outside during the prep phase via the floor of 2F Bathroom.

USER EXPERIENCE

Fixed - Inconsistency between thumbnail icon and preview for Buck's Grim Sky BDU.
Fixed - Non-purchased items have the 'set as active' option.
Fixed - Error message present in the pop-up modal when 2SV is active.
Fixed - Pressing enter multiple times while the title is loading will cause the title to start a situation with the 2SV pop-up still on the screen.
Fixed - All the Six Major Paris Charms appear with a placeholder model.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege - Ubi_F4nch


Thank you to everyone who shared their favorite Para Bellum memories with us last Friday. The love you have shown for Operation Para Bellum was outstanding, and you have made it something truly special.

We may have said goodbye to Para Bellum, but it will be remembered through all the stories, fanart, videos, cosplays, and plays you all have created and shared – so we’ve picked a few of our favorites to share.



#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
My favourite moment would be playing Para Bellum with my daughter and friends, she's only 10 and managed to be top of the team most games and won us rounds. #prouddad moments.

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
As simple as this may sound, because of this game I made a lot of really good friends. And for that I'd like to thank you guys.

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
I just have to say amazing season. I was so excited when i heard the new ops were gonna be italian and that one had holographic clones and camera that shoots lasers […] my skill for this game has really increased during operation para bellum. Goodbye Operation Para Bellum

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
I got my first Ace during Parabellum. In fact it's been my most successful season when it come to the impact I've had during matches. This season has been where the game has really started to pick up for me on enjoyment :)

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
Nothing too special. it's all about improving, having fun and making friends. Siege brought great people into my life, again. so thank you.

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
Meeting some online friends that I play ranked with now! Also the times I clutch a round in those matches.





From Left to Right


#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
Thank you for giving Recruit a friend.

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
Evil eye the best this season.

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
Did wallpaper of Maestro. Also Alibi and one portrait detailed of Maestro. Para Bellum is probably my fav season so far…

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
Thank you for the new troll queen in town!





From Left to Right

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
Para Bellum gave us Maestro, and learning how to play him was an absolute blast! I also tried to support NA with some of my cosplay pictures!

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
One of the reasons why I loved Para Bellum is that it gave us two wonderful characters, Maestro and Alibi. @Detaleader and I had tons of fun representing them at Six Major Paris and Gamescom. Thank you, Team Rainbow.

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
Thank you for creating Maestro, it allowed me to look like this 30 minutes after his reveal…Para Bellum was good, now time for Grim Sky to shake it up.

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
Cosplaying as Jäger during Operation Parabellum.



#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
Definitely j00nas with the triple Cav kill and interrogation in the Paris Major against EG. Unreal play and the crowd went wild.
https://youtu.be/Hx_eQ-0TXoI

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
It was at this moment I knew Para Bellum was going to be a fun season!
https://youtu.be/LbSA4H_-ufk

#Discussions_QuoteBlock_Author
Pulling off the Alibi trick where you stand on one of your projectors.
https://youtu.be/PyWK8alt470

Para Bellum may be over, but it is time for a new start in Grim Sky - we hope to make just as many, if not more, amazing memories with you all this season. GLHF!


Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege turns three later this year. But with 40 playable characters, a host of distinctive battlegrounds and having recently hosted its first ever international Major tournament, modern day Siege cuts a very different figure from what launched in 2015

Steam's internal data suggests over 100,000 concurrent players lock horns in the online squad shooter daily, not including uPlay-only players, and it shows little sign of slowing down. It's just rolled out its latest Grim Sky update, it's introduced two new operators, and it has cemented its zero tolerance approach to toxic players. With all of this in mind, I caught up with brand director Alexandre Remy to discuss the past, present and future of Siege, and how its evolution metaphorically reflects alcohol from the southwest of France.   

PC Gamer: When we last spoke at Gamescom 2017, you told me Siege was "like a good bottle of Bordeaux" and that "if you let it age longer it should get better". Siege has now held its first Major, and has 40 playable operators. I assume the analogy stands?

Alexandre Remy: [Laughs] The thing with the good bottle of Bordeaux is that you have an estimation of how long you can age with them and you're tempted to go as long as possible. I do feel that we have a lot of years to come from Siege, the wine is very young still. I'm glad you brought that quote up, that I'd genuinely forgotten, because I think the analogy still works. Looking at the game, even from a year ago till now, it's changed so much. Not only in terms of growth in player base and events like [the Paris Major], but also in terms of how the game plays, feels and behaves. 

The number of changes it's been through, the addition of content—it amazes me. We occasionally go back to old presentations or old videos, like when we did the closed alpha or the beta, and when you compare the game then to now? Those are two totally different games. 

Maverick brings horizontal shooting. Outbreak had zombies. Almost three years in, despite Siege's serious Tom Clancy book origins, you guys seem like you're having fun.  

Yes, absolutely. I think that fun factor is an absolute necessity when you develop a game and when you plan to develop it for the next ten years—when you stop having fun that's going to show very quickly in the quality, the design and even in the execution. Not that there aren't times where we're tired and exhausted but I think the fun factor or at least will to innovate—whether that's the aliens in Outbreak, some of the operators' abilities and gadgets; we're trying to go into territory that we haven't been in yet and that was the theme of Season One, with Lion and Finka. The globals have been very polarised, right? But our intention from the beginning was: what if we design a set of operators whose skills resonate globally on the map? What behaviours will that create, what synergies will that create? 

This [made] Lion a bit OP, let's be honest, but that will to explore new avenues—there's a risk but we're willing to take it. Maybe that comes from the early beginnings of making choices: PvP comes first, 5v5, one-life, destructible locations—all of those things were high risk bets. We could have gone so wrong, so many times, so there's a luck factor involved too. But at the end of the day, it worked very well. Hats off to our creative director Xavier Marquis, he's been the one with the nose from the beginning, making the choices, the tough ones, the right ones. 

Tell me more about your new operator Maverick. 

He's a hard breacher, right? He's also a bit of a flanker. His inspiration is mainly about: Okay, how do we bring someone who is a hard breacher, how do we consider the core mechanics of the game, destruction, perhaps the biggest pillar of the game—how do we take the idea of an operator that can breach without being a copycat of, say, Thermite. 

That's why he plays so differently—he's much more about creating those murder holes and new lines of sight, he's much more about flanking an enemy that doesn't expect to be flanked, and he's complementary to the likes of Thermite—he's sort of enriching the breachers' family with more creativity. His blowtorch allows you to shape almost any design you like while breaching. It'll take time to design penises with his blowtorch, granted, but it will be interesting to see what players do with it. He's going to be a cool operator. 

As an ex-plumber I'm happy to see operators with trade experience better represented in Siege. Maverick carries a blowtorch—is it fair to assume he was a welder or boilermaker in a previous life?  

That's a good question. In his past life I think he's supposed to be a high profile, high-ranking secret operator Intelligence Officer. But maybe before all of that he started out as a plumber or a welder. 

I mean, Super Mario aside, I always feel tradespeople are under represented in videogames. 

I like that, actually. Joking aside, I think the idea of players bringing their own experiences and points of view speaks to the question of diversity in games. What's cool about Rainbow Six is possibility. We're always adding new characters, new personalities and, yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if we have more fun with their backgrounds in future. And you know what, why not? 

With so many operators today, there's more scope than ever for new Siege players to become overwhelmed. Clash strikes me as a good starter operative for new players—is that fair to say?

She wasn't designed with this intention, she was much more designed to be a defensive operator and an intel gatherer thanks to the protection of her shield. She can roam and get much more farther from the objective as a result. That's where she shines. That being said, it's absolutely true that the protection that she offers will absolutely reassure new players. They'll feel a bit more protected, they'll feel a bit more secure, they can actually discover more of the map while less likely to be taken down by someone. That's interesting, we should check back later in Grim Sky to see if there's been a higher Clash pick from new players. 

Looking back at Siege's development, you guys sidestepped singleplayer from the outset. Is there ever any regrets on that front? Is there even room for singleplayer in Siege today? 

I think theoretically, there's always room for whatever you want and whatever you choose. But in the case of Rainbow Six Siege, creating a game that requires so much depth and so many different systems means you have to focus all of your attention and all of your might to want that end goal. The moment that you start to split your intention and focus in two different directions, you stand a chance of compromising your end goal or you might create friction between the two. At some point, it's inevitable one of the two aspects will overtake the other. 

From the outset, we were adamant we wanted to build a competitive multiplayer. We knew that not developing singleplayer also guaranteed us to put 100 percent of our focus into multiplayer—which of course also meant we'd 100 percent fail if we didn't succeed. There was a sense of: we wanted that so much that we were willing to put all of our eggs into the same basket, and there was no safety net. If we had failed, then Siege as we know it would have failed. Someone else might have taken it on at that point, and they'd likely have done something different with it. 

To us, banning players is not a question of freedom or equality, it's a question of respect.

Alexandre Remy

Was it difficult to convince Ubisoft you weren't going down the singleplayer route at the beginning? 

Funnily, not that much. There's been a lot of challenge from everyone, all over, mostly, I think, because Siege is different from what Ubisoft has been historically accustomed to and has been tremendously successful in doing—like Far Cry, Assassin's, heavily open world games, huge characters, amazing storylines. And when you do come with a 5v5 multiplayer, high skill cap game? Phew! [Laughs and wipes brow.] 

When we first had internal reviews at the prototyping phase, it was tough. This isn't what people are accustomed to, so we were almost putting them on the back foot. Siege was the opposite of what we were used to [at Ubisoft], but we were really surprised at the time with how fast and how easily it went in terms of shifting perspectives and getting the company to have faith in us to do something totally different, and embrace it. Without them, that'd never have been possible. 

Earlier this year, you introduced a zero tolerance approach to toxicity in the Siege community. How is that system going?

The ban system is going strong, actually, and we feel very strongly about the system. That system is going to be evolving too. Today, the system means that any player that uses homophobic or racial slurs in our chat will automatically receive a temporary ban. After three temporary bans you get permanently banned. That is a very, very strong stance from Ubisoft and from the game about how we want to deal with toxicity in the game. That feature will evolve as we develop in the future, we plan to add filtering systems to stop those words even showing up at all in the chat, so it's going to be a little more flexible. 

Regardless, our stance is super strong against toxicity and this is something we are very passionate about. There is no doubt about this. We have no regrets whatsoever when it comes to banning toxic players. We feel it's important—even more so in games that have quite large playerbases, plus the adversarial aspects of a game usually triggers some toxicity by nature, it's something that you see in every PvP game. With that, you have to be very strong. If you do not punish it, it's going to grow exponentially.

Some players reckon have suggested your approach impinges on freedom of speech. How do you respond to that?

There's a saying that goes something along the lines of 'your freedom ends where mine begins'. To us, it's not a question of freedom or equality, it's a question of respect. Behaving in a respectful way, I believe, is not a requirement that's beyond humanity. Respect is all we are asking for. I believe that with those measures that we're putting in place, we are exactly on the right path of making a community, as much as possible, that's respectful to each other. 

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dave Irwin)

With over three years worth of additions and balance changes since its launch, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege could be quite the daunting game to get into for new and returning players. So to get you up to speed, this guide has been prepared with sections dedicated to ensuring you’re playing optimally and know some of the more basic tactics that can be utilised going into each game. There are also some important things to know when specifically playing as the attacking team or defending team, as well as more in-depth stuff on each operator and the specific maps being added as the game continues its long run. (more…)

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dave Irwin)

With Operation Grim Sky comes the first of the reworked maps in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. Hereford Base is one of the oldest maps in the game and as such seemed a bit behind the times. This guide will go over all of the changes that have been made to the new map, as well as point out the attacking entry points, places to defend objectives, and any other features that you may not know about.

(more…)

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dave Irwin)

Clash represents the first of her kind in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, as she’s the only defender that uses a shield. This presents players with some interesting interactions, as well as a bit more variety in how a team defends their various objectives. However there is an art to using Clash’s shield effectively, so our guide will detail just how best to use it, as well as go over the other tools she has for impeding the attackers’ progress. (more…)

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dave Irwin)

Most breaching attackers in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege make a lot of noise, but Maverick takes a slightly more stealthy approach. His blowtorch can bore holes into just about anything, but its limited fuel capacity makes it tough to use right. This guide will go over how to use the blowtorch effectively, as well as the stats, weapons, and gadgets that Maverick has to offer. (more…)

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege

Rainbow Six Siege players who use slurs are now getting instantly banned. Ubisoft's zero tolerance approach to toxicity was first installed in July, and Siege's brand director Alexandre Remy tells us the system is "evolving" as the dev aims to maintain and grow a respectful community. 

"The ban system is going strong, actually, and we feel very strongly about the system," Remy tells me at last month's Paris Major. "That system is going to be evolving too. Today, the system means that any player that uses homophobic or racial slurs in our chat will automatically receive a temporary ban. After three temporary bans you get permanently banned. 

"That is a very, very strong stance from Ubisoft and from the game about how we want to deal with toxicity in the game. That feature will evolve as we develop in the future, we plan to add filtering systems to stop those words even showing up at all in the chat, so it's going to be a little more flexible."

Remy says that regardless of future plans, though, the Siege team is "very passionate" about stamping out hateful communications. He admits that online PvP games are by nature adversarial, and therefore tend to invite toxicity. Nevertheless, he says "we have no regrets whatsoever when it comes to banning toxic players" and that being strong means clamping down to prevent bad behaviour from spreading. 

I admire Remy and Ubisoft's no bullshit stance, but I ask Remy how he views the suggestion from certain players that this zero tolerance approach impinges on freedom of speech. 

"There's a saying that goes something along the lines of 'your freedom ends where mine begins'," says Remy. "To us, it's not a question of freedom or equality, it's a question of respect. Behaving in a respectful way, I believe, is not a requirement that's beyond humanity. Respect is all we are asking for. I believe that with those measures that we're putting in place, we are exactly on the right path of making a community, as much as possible, that's respectful of one another."

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege

Morgan's tips for playing Rainbow Six Siege’s newest operators are a sure fire way to master the squad shooter's freshest faces. Designing new combatants seems like a daunting task—but game director Leroy Athabassoff explains reworking them post-launch is equally important and can be trickier still, particularly once players have settled into certain playstyles.  

To this end, Frost, Castle and Thatcher are in the process of being reworked.   

"We are currently working on a Frost rework," Athabassoff tells me. "We have some issues with Castle. With team coordination he's okay, but at normal player level he's really average. People call him the sixth attacker because he can harm his whole team. How many times do you come back from roaming and there's a Castle barricade, and you're like: Oh shit! You feel trapped by your own defender. 

"With the rework, we're trying to maintain what he does well, but, ultimately, he shouldn't harm his own team. With that in mind, we have some design ideas that we're working on. The last one that we're introducing with Grim Sky is Thatcher. We're introducing the disable electronics state. [Thatcher will] no longer be able to destroy cameras with EMP, but instead will be able to disable them. What does that mean for players? It means there's now a layer of complexity that you need to learn."  

To this end, I ask Athabassoff what it's like when players take on new operators and use them in ways the development team hadn't expected. He tells me I'm wrong to assume he and his team have pre-set ideas as to how players will play, and they're simply creating tools for the player to use as they see fit. 

"When you say we have an idea, that's not actually true," says Athabassoff. "I think that's something that makes working on Siege completely differently from working on another game. If you think of single-player games, you are always thinking about these things, yes: I want the player to feel this, I'd like them to feel that; when they do this, I want them to experience that. But when you work on a multiplayer game like Siege, it's really different because the player's experience is carved by the nine other players. 

"Instead, what we are doing is crafting tools that help the player to build their own player experience. This is where we need to be super focused. This is why every time we make an operator, we keep in mind that it's a tool. A knife is cool because it can do a number of creative things - you're not obliged to kill someone with a knife. We could add certain tools that make one player's experience better, but if it makes the other nine players' experiences worse, then, no, it's removed at the prototype phase."

Rainbow Six Siege's latest campaign, Operation Grim Sky, went live earlier this week

...

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