Ubisoft’s flagship competitive shooter Rainbow Six Siege has had a lot of ups and downs. Each new season brings new additions like operators and maps while tweaking mechanics to improve mechanics and details. Sure, more needs to be done, and some of these improvements have hurt the game before. Still, the developers are trying. We will go through this list of what I feel are the best changes in Rainbow Six Siege history in no particular order. It is purely based on what I feel has enhanced my time with the game as I play it nearly every night with my friends.
10. “Team Only” Chat by Default
In Operation Void Edge, Ubisoft implemented a way to tone down the toxicity throughout the community. Now “Team Only” chat is the default. Making it, so you don’t have to read enemies calling you homophobic slurs for killing them.
Since this became the norm, I feel my team can focus easier. Some of the guys I play with keeping it on by choice as our foes’ rage fuels them, or they like to play around with these people who take the game too seriously. For those of us who keep it off, it helps maintain our attention on what is happening as this FPS requires every ounce of brainpower to take in everything that is happening and strategize with your squad.
9. Accessibility Options
While it does not impact me, I was overjoyed seeing new accessibility options that came with the latest update, Operation Neon Dawn. This is one of the most important and best changes for Rainbow Six Siege, even if it does not affect some players. I always warn people that this shooter is challenging and inaccessible, but now we have an extra step in making it a more open environment for anyone with a disability or impairment of any kind.
The options include a text to voice (and voice to text) mechanic for in-game chat. On top of that, you can have a narration to deliver hints and more to learn the game easier and have a more accessible time trying to navigate the complexity of Siege. Finally, we have a scaling system for the audio and font sizes, so you can adjust what you need to hear or see properly.
In Operation Shadow Legacy, new colors for sights and optics. Players with colorblindness, something one of my friends has who I play with, can now have a greater selection to fit their needs. Even if you don’t have any sight issues, you can still change it to fit your preference.
8. Ping 2.0
The next entries on this list will focus purely on some of the plethora of improvements made in Operation Shadow Legacy. The first is Ping 2.0, a rework of the pinging system to make it more contextual. If you are droning out and see a bulletproof camera, you can place your cursor over it and drop a ping for your teammates to see. An icon of the gadget will appear, so now everyone knows what it is and where it is for a brief amount of time like you would if you spotted a player.
It goes further than that as each ping is numbered to identify which player has placed it easier. If you and your buddy ping two different things close enough together, your other mates will identify which is yours rather than getting confused with the other person’s yellow signal.
Sometimes in the heat of the moment, one of my friends or I can’t articulate a location. Being able to ping when dead or using the contextual system makes it easier to communicate. Too often, someone blanks on the name of a room or needs to give a precise location. This happened last night (as of writing), where I could pinpoint exactly where an enemy was at for my pal, who was unsure of the whereabouts of the last surviving enemy.
7. New Sights and Scopes
Defenders and Attackers had an early holiday season in September with Shadow Legacy as new scopes and sights came raining down. It includes:
- New M4S Red Dot Sight – 1.0x zoom, which functions as a ‘no zoom’ sight
- New MH1 Holo Sight – Alternative Holo that offers a clean sight and new reticule.
- New ACOG (1.5x Scope) – An ACOG with short-to-medium range magnification
- New Scope (2.0 Scope) – With medium range magnification
- 2.5x ACOG – Zoom level changed.
- 3.0x Scope – No longer a unique option, and will be an option for most DMRs
The biggest difference I felt was the 1.5x for Defenders. Now a good chunk of the operator pool on this side has a better magnification than before. Looking down a long hallway was dangerous, but now the field is a little more even. It won’t sound like much, but it surprisingly had a huge impact on defending the bombs.
The glorious 3.0x scope for DMRs is insane. The map designs’ tightness makes this feel like a scope you would have for a sniper rifle in your common shooters like Call of Duty or Battlefield. Playing as Blackbeard with his semi-automatic rifle with this attachment wrecks like a good Glaz or Kali would.
6. Map Banning
As someone who only plays Ranked, the introduction of Map Ban rules. It is another addition to the update that kept on giving. Before a match, both teams will have three map selections; both will independently vote which to ban, with the survivor being what everyone will play on.
For my team, we have three situations that happen when we boot up a match. For one, we typically opt for our preference, which is probably the case for most players. Secondly, we ban a map based on if we played it in the game before, whether we won or lost, but especially if we lose. Taking the L can really sour the taste in our mouth and bring us to hope that another environment will get us a W. Finally, we will vote Chalet, which got a rework in this same season that we have not bothered to learn. If I have to play on Kanal twice in a row, I will.
5. Reinforcement Pool
Okay, this is the last Shadow Legacy mention, I promise. But how can I not bring up the reinforcement pool? I also like to call it arguably one of the best changes to hit Rainbow Six Siege. Now, instead of everyone fortifying two walls/hatches, now roamers or operators with a long setup can do their work while the others can prepare rooms for the incoming attack.
As someone who plays characters who take almost the entire prep phase to get ready, this was a big deal for me. I used to play a lot of Lesion until he got nerfed, then I switch to a mostly Kapkan main. Until Neon Dawn was introduced, the current season as of writing. I fell in love with Aruni with her cyberpunky limbs, DMR (the first for a Defender), and laser walls; she has become my main and my favorite operator. Regardless of who I play as I take a while, so now my friends can reinforce without me having to worry about doing a long list of actions before the droning phase for the Attackers is over.
4. Decrease Runout Time
Speaking of Neon Dawn, it lessened the runout timer from two seconds to one. A one-second reduction seems like nothing, but it was major, especially for maps that have a lot of Defenders jumping out of windows or walking out of doors to the outdoors to take the fight head-on.
The perfect example is the reworked map this season delivered, Skyscraper. The map was full of windows where people would come out to get an easy kill of an unsuspecting player. It was downright frustrating, but now a lot of it has been blocked off. The few points where someone can hop outside will give them even less time before the game outs them for running out of the building.
3. Temporary Modes
Starting with Outbreak, an alien Left 4 Dead styled mode from Operation Chimera, was a new flavor for the Tom Clancy shooter. Every so often, Ubisoft will deliver one of these temporary game modes for some fun that goes against the traditional gameplay style of Siege.
One of my favorites was last season’s delightful Halloween event, Sugar Fright. Essentially it was Kill Confirmed from Call of Duty but with Muppets and candy. It made for a fun warm-up for my team before we dove into Ranked.
I wish we got something permanent instead of having a couple of weeks of capturing a point as cowboys or shooting up monsters. Even if it were generic, like a team deathmatch, it would make for a more casual setting for players who like the gameplay of Siege while also having an option for the Ranked gamers like myself who want a break from the high-intensity matches.
2. Reworking Operators and Maps
Reworking operators and maps was a genius move on Ubisoft’s part. Some of the characters or places from earlier years of the game’s life have aged poorly. It is radically different from what it was when it launched in 2015. The developers can tweak to fit the mold of what it means to play this competitive FPS.
The third-year brought these ideas to life. It all started from Operation Para Bellum with a buff to Club House, which moved things around of its layout, improving the level design drastically. Then came Operation Grim Sky for the rework of Hereford Base. The original was structurally weak as almost every wall was destructible. I understand why, as the team probably wanted to show off the destruction and physics, but it was hell to defend. Now, both of these classics are fun to play on.
Operators started to get the same treatment two years later in Shadow Legacy (sorry, I lied earlier, but this is the last time I will talk about this season). The king of the memes, Tachanka, got redone entirely. His giant machine gun is not a turret but a normal part of his arsenal if you choose to wield it. To replace his previous gadget, he now has a grenade launcher that unleashes fire when it explodes. Perfect for blocking off areas or hurting enemies, like Capitão’s fire arrows.
I love what has been done to this character as a buddy of mine uses him often, even before the rework, and yes, he would play as him as a part of your strategies in Ranked. We suck; we are aware. Regardless of our use of him, nothing makes me more excited to see what can be done as more operators get the same treatment as King Chanka.
1. Lessen the learning curve with new playlists
Two playlists have entered that make the steep learning curve a little more bearable for new players. For one, we have Newcomer from Operation Burnt Horizon, and secondly, we have Unranked from Operation Ember Rise.
Newcomer lets players below level 50 play among one another. It gets blocked when you hit the cap, as you should have enough game knowledge to survive the other playlists. Still, this was something I wish I had when starting out. It would ease learning as there is so much information to take in when you start. I feel bad for my friends who had to jump in with the rest of us experience our group members as it is beyond difficult.
That’s where Unranked comes in. Map Bans and all, you can get the Ranked experience without hurting your MMR. It is a way to get into the competitive scene that surrounds this game without the risk. The other excellent option from this addition is that it is a good warm-up when you are rusty. Often, my team will play an Unranked match before going into Ranked.
That makes up for what I feel are the best changes in Rainbow Six Siege. I know I missed some as a game that has been around for this long has had a lot of improvements made. What do you think is a great update that was made? Let me know in the comments.