Rainbow Six Siege: 5 Things I’ve Noticed After A Year Away
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I have a rather chaotic and almost toxic relationship with Rainbow Six Siege, one built over roughly 150 hours of playtime. Apart from a couple of the earlier FIFA games, I don’t think I have committed that much time to any other game. I’m a busy guy with a bevy of different games to cover each week, so I don’t often feel the pull of just one game above any other, but Siege is another case entirely.
My addiction runs deep, so much so that I had to beg someone to hide the disc away from me before eventually cut off the source and selling the game. It wasn’t long before I bought the game again, but it just wasn’t the same. I would play it on and off for the next few months, but with the patchy release of Operation Velvet Shell and the frustration that followed, my decision was made for me.
Much like many other players, Operation Chimera and its temporary Outbreak mode are what brought me back. I realised pretty quickly that after a year away from Siege, it’s not quite the same game. Here are some observations after many, many disgraceful plays and a couple of rare moments where I didn’t embarrass myself.
1. It’s a much more competent game
Siege’s rocky early days and where it is now are a testament to the patience of its fans, who saw through the frustrations to see the gem at its center and continue to support the game — 2015 Siege and 2018 Siege are two very different beasts.
Since I started barricading my responsibilities away once again, I have encountered very few issues of any note. Finding and then entering a match is quicker than ever, bugs are more just hilarious than they are game-breaking, and it just feels like a more stable experience all-round. If anything’s going to make me quit again, it’s probably not the optimisation.
2. The operators are getting more and more outlandish
Siege was initially launched as a semi-realistic tactical shooter. With the release of the last half-dozen Operators, all pretenses of realism were nitro cell’d into non-existence. Finka and Lion with, what is effectively, superpowers tipped it over the edge.
The early signs of silliness have been there since Operation Skull Rain, but Chimera quite possibly takes it too far and makes Siege feel more like a hero shooter — Finka plays like a mix of Lucio and Mercy, whereas Lion owes a debt of inspiration to Widowmaker. Producing original, grounded content is difficult when you’re a long-running product (The Simpsons, for instance), but I didn’t think Siege would go this wild so soon.
3. Toxicity is still an issue, but much better
Humanity is full of assholes, so it’s no surprise that every popular multiplayer game ever made has had a toxicity problem at one point or another. A few bad apples will always stand out more than the same amount of fair players, but there was once a time when Siege was besieged by an almost impressive deluge of dickheads.
Thankfully, probably because their mothers decided to burn their routers, the dickheads are far less frequent now than they used to be. Sure, there’s still the odd hemorrhoid here and there who decides to team-kill for no reason, but by and large it’s a far more approachable game for new players. Ubisoft’s recently revamped banhammer should help things to improve even further.
4. Renown rates are poor compared to prices
I have never, and probably never will be, the kind of player who cares about cosmetics. If I get a free skin, that’s fine by me, but I will rarely actively go out of my way to acquire one through grinding or a credit card. After looking through the shop and becoming a little exasperated, Siege’s approach to skins cements that belief.
If you’re playing on Casual (as I have been to try and reacquaint myself with the game), you can expect between 200-300 renown after a win. With most bundles and the more attractive cosmetics costing upwards of 20000 renown, that’s a lot of matches for just a few items. Ranked renown rates are better, though still not fantastic enough to be able to feasibly afford everything in the game unless you live and breathe Siege. I get it: you have to have recurring income to support online games, but it seems that it’s becoming more and more expensive to be a completionist.
5. How about those Alpha Packs, huh?
When it was first announced that Siege would be getting its own version of loot boxes in a pre-Battlefront II world, I was quietly optimistic as they wouldn’t be tied to microtransactions and were a “thank you” to fans. So you could imagine my surprise when I started up the game after a year out and found out that real money could be exchanged.
Available either through renown (at a premium) or through paid R6 credits, the Alpha Packs feel disappointingly predatory. Unlocking them through natural play is a possibility, but with roughly twenty hours under my belt in my most recent flirtation with Siege, I have only been given seven and almost all of the content from them was underwhelming, to say the least. Meager renown rates is one thing, but the Alpha Packs just leave a very sour taste in my mouth, especially given how addictive they have proven to be to some.