by Paul Davies
With Rainbow Six Siege sitting comfortably on 35 million players worldwide, now is a good time for Ubisoft to announce what’s next for its trailblazing tactical shooter. The next major content drop is Operation Grim Sky, bringing two game-changing Operators and extensively reworked map in the form of Hereford. Veterans should be pumped for this. Newcomers… it’s about time you got yourselves on board! Here’s what we learned about Operation Grim Sky from Ubisoft, along with an insightful chat to R6 Community Developer, Craig Robinson.
Monsters of meta
British Operator ‘Clash’ is clearly the standout feature of Operation Grim Sky, introducing a shield bearer to the Defender class for the first time. Clash is “loyal, sharp-witted, arrogant, and resolute,” according to Ubisoft. But it’s her primary weapon, the Crowd Control Electro (CCE) shield, that’s causing all the fuss. The intention to manage the pace of the game more effectively will greatly depend on the intelligence of the team built around Clash, but even stumbling around as this Defender can prove effective as a baiting tactic. She really does ask new questions of Attackers, causing a significant rethink of strategy in tightly packed maps.
The new Attacker, Maverick, requires quite a lot more skill to bring effectively into matches. His secondary, smoke grenades, mostly benefit the players he’s working alongside. Actually, even with his AR-15 or M4, he seems more of a supporting Operator, suiting his supposed, “solemn, pensive, isolated and analytical” Special Forces persona. Maverick straightaway taps into the granular detail of Rainbow Six Siege tactical gameplay, making the smallest of holes, or thin lines, using a blow torch. The gadget is low on fuel supply, preventing noobs from incinerating entire barricades. Mostly, Maverick allows his team to create lines of sight that are tough to spot from range, and to create these silently above all. He synergizes well with the sniper Glaz, for example. In short, both new Operators are extremely promising.
The new Herford map is a heavily reworked iteration of a Ubisoft team favourite, which dates back to before the game even launched. It claims a World War II look and feel to replace the much less charming, drywalled original. Inside the brick building, there are larger surface areas for each floor. Each floor is given a “distinct flavour,” says Ubisoft.
Advice has been adopted from the Pro circuit, to emphasize the verticality a lot more, and increase the viability of objective rotations. Generally, matches should be more free flowing, and encourage greater movement between floors. We’re going to be all over this when Grim Sky arrives, being polite as can be over new Operator selection.
In the meantime, we have Craig Robinson’s answers to some searching questions (Thanks @MarsRSA!)relating to the state of play in Rainbow Six Siege in the run up to Grim Sky rolling out.
Critical Hit: First, are there currently any plans to bring Outbreak back?
Craig Robinson: No, there are not
CH: Are there any plans to ever include the pick and ban system as a game mode in either casual or ranked?
CR: The Pick and Ban system is something that our team is really excited about, especially with Pro League. We are learning a lot about that system through Pro League since it was introduced last Season. We’re not ready to commit one way or the other for introducing that into Ranked or Casual, but we’re definitely excited to see how it’s performing in the professional scene right now.
CH: How do they feel having a “shield” defender is going to mix up the meta of the game?
CR: It’s going to be a game changer. Putting a shield on the defending team is something that our designers have wanted to do for a very long time. It’s great that we have an opportunity to make that happen. The concept for Clash’s CCE shield has existed within our team for quite a while. Finally introducing this Operator, and seeing how she’s not only going to counter other shields, but counter the very aggressive meta that’s been developing over the past six to nine months, it’s going to have a pretty big impact.
CH: Three years on and ranked is still ion beta; what is the timeline for that to change?
CR: We have a few things that we want to implement in the Ranked playlist, prior to taking it out of Beta. We’re not ready to talk about what those things are yet, but we are working towards that goal.
CH: How do you now differentiate between Beta and live-driven game?
CR: We feel that there are still some changes that we’re going to make, and they’re more than just very minor, low-level changes. We’re going to have some impactful changes coming, and that’s kind of the difference for us.
CH: Following on their Dev blog about map buffs yesterday, can they give us any hints about which map will be buffed next?
CR: We have a map buff coming to Consulate with Operation Grim Sky. The map buffs are smaller adjustments and tweaks than the reworks – that was all outlined in the map-buff blog. For Consulate specifically, we’ve added a fourth, very viable bomb site. We’ve added a few walls on the outside of the building to make both the Attackers’ lives better, and to make it a little more difficult for run-outs to be detrimental to the Attacking team. We’re going to see a shift in the viability of all the bomb sites, as opposed to just some of them.
CH: What’s the current situation regarding dedicated server support in SA?
CR: Rolling out servers is something we promised during the Rainbow 6 Invitational, it’s very much on our radar and we are still working towards it. We just have a few things that we need to finalise before we’re able to roll out publicly.
Last Updated: August 20, 2018