Rainbow Six Siege has been on a journey that very few games have. The game launched in December of 2015 to pretty mediocre reviews, but has progressively become one of the best competitive shooters on the market. Now, Rainbow Six Siege has been nominated for a BAFTA. Ubisoft was dedicated to making Rainbow Six a premium product and it’s safe to say that they have mostly succeeded.
At launch, fans were mostly disappointed by Siege, but saw potential in the gameplay. It’s pretty clear that Ubisoft believed in their vision because they supported Siege in an unprecedented manner. Ubisoft has steadily added a ridiculous amount of free content since the mediocre launch of Rainbow Six. New operators and maps were added as well as cosmetics and customizable options. In addition to free content, premium cosmetics continue to be added to the game each season.
Siege does DLC right and it’s a breath of fresh air to see such amazing support for a game that launched to such mixed reviews. Ubisoft stuck to their vision and worked on balancing and improving their game instead of dumping the game and moving on. In this sense, Ubisoft should be applauded and Siege has a real chance at winning the BAFTA. However, player toxicity is still a major problem in Siege and Ubisoft has not done enough to fix the problem.
If you have ever played Rainbow Six Siege, you’ll immediately understand what I’m talking about when I say, “player toxicity.” For those who do not play Siege, let me explain; Rainbow Six allows for team killing/friendly fire and as you might imagine, players often abuse this inclusion.
If you haven’t played Rainbow Six Siege, your immediate reaction might be, “how bad can it really be?” Well, it’s really bad. We’re now in Year 4 of Siege and Ubisoft is still not very tough on toxicity. Sure, they have made strides towards improving the experience but it’s just not enough.
Ubisoft’s most recent fix towards toxicity was to temporarily ban players after killing two teammates in one match. This has been helpful in the battle against toxicity but the system can still be gamed. First of all, you can still intentionally kill a teammate each match without any real repercussions. The worst-case scenario is that your team can vote you out of the game but, since the votes must be unanimous, if you’re playing with at least one friend, it’s impossible to be voted out.
The other issue is the length of the ban that toxic players are punished with. One offense will get you banned for thirty minutes, a second offense will mean a one hour ban, third offense is a two hour ban, fourth offense is one day, and a fifth offense is a week. Let’s be honest, are these punishments stopping people? What’s stopping players from team killing before going to sleep? Banning a player over night isn’t much of a punishment.
The 24 hour and 7 day bans are probably strong enough punishments to encourage people to stop team killing but let’s remember, that’s a minimum of killing eight team members. It’s also important to note that these punishments only stack for a nebulous amount of time before resetting.
Ubisoft has tried to combat these toxic players in other ways by threatening to permanently ban repeat offenders and by allowing players to report toxic teammates, but it’s easy to become cynical about this. How many people are Ubisoft actually banning? I’d say there’s some sort of team killing in every other match, if not every match of the casual playlist. How hard is Ubisoft actually cracking down on toxic players when they’re found in almost every match?
I don’t entirely blame Ubisoft for not being harder on toxic players. To be fair, they’ve made great strides in bettering the game’s environment since its launch. Ubisoft even monitors hate speech and volatile language in hopes of making the game a better experience for everyone. Personally, I think this is great, but it’s time to find better ways to crack down on team killers.
The other feature that is constantly abused in Siege players is the “vote to kick” ability. In theory, “vote to kick” is a great idea. If a player is being toxic, a unanimous vote to kick the player from the match will simply remove the player. However, this feature has all sorts of issues. As I mentioned earlier, if you’re playing with a friend, you just can’t get voted out. This means that toxic players can team up to ruin the experience for everyone else.
The other issue with “vote to kick” is that it doesn’t always work the way it should. Players can be kicked before matches even start. Why is this allowed? How can you possibly know a player needs to be kicked before the game even begins? Opposite of this issue is that the “vote to kick” option will inexplicably disappear when you need it most. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been killed by a team member and not had the option to initiate a kick. These are issues that just should not still be present in Siege’s fourth year.
Just to reiterate, Rainbow Six Siege has evolved into something very special. I love the game and would encourage anyone to try it out. It’s just not acceptable that toxicity is still allowed to thrive in the Siege environment. To be clear, I don’t want Ubisoft to remove friendly fire, as it prevents people from playing the game in a non-tactical manner. Friendly fire prevents players from carelessly throwing grenades around and the tactical gameplay is bettered by the realism that friendly fire presents. Friendly fire also prevents operators such as Fuze from abusing their special abilities, but there needs to be a more effective way of cleaning Siege’s environment. In its fourth year, the game is still unacceptably toxic.