Ahead of the eagerly awaited grand final of the inaugural Six Major Paris, Ubisoft detailed its plans for the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege: Operation Grim Sky.
As teased earlier this month, Operation Grim Sky forms the bulk of Siege’s Year 3 Season 3 – which puts us at the eleventh season overall following the highly successful three month format for content drops.
Grim Sky introduces two new operators from either side of the fence, bringing the running total to 42, and looks to the past to revamp Hereford Base as the map in focus.
Both new operators and the revamped Hereford Base are coming to the PC test server on Monday 20 August.
Clash is the first defender to bear a shield, and instantly becomes the anchor of a tightly regimented unit. The CCE Shield, used as a primary weapon, covers her entire body and is highly effective at slowing attacks with its inbuilt taser, while also pushing forward to gather intel and report positions back to more aggressive defenders. Clash’s almost impenetrable bullet-sponge allows her to push forward to positions normally off limits to defenders, especially early in a round to take enemies by surprise, before they are in a position to circle around behind her.
In our hands-on session, Clash proved most useful when controlled by an experienced Siege player who could use her strong defences to move forward into the attackers’ path and roadblock them long enough for other players to pick them off.
At a casual level Clash is most vulnerable to being shot in the back by her own teammates. Fellow defenders hovering closely behind Clash’s ominous shield and peaking just far enough to shoot beyond her is fraught with obvious danger if all players aren’t perfectly in-sync.
Without a melee attack with her shield deployed, Clash is a low lethality character; however, she does carry a secondary handgun, the P-10C or SPSMG9, but the slow process of stashing the shield on her back leaves this as a last resort. She’s best entrusted to deny the movement of attackers while coordinating attacks from a strong vantage point.
My instincts implore me to win a defensive round by eliminating all of the enemy attackers, but the three armour, one speed Clash is better suited to the long game and playing the clock to take victory. She’s also a great distraction, as attackers are drawn to the defender mopping up enemy fire, leaving themselves open to being flanked in a well coordinated set play.
American attacker Maverick looks like he’s been plucked directly from a Hollywood set, and is surprisingly sneaky for such an imposing operative. The one armour, three speed operator uses his signature Suri blowtorch to quietly create holes for line of sight nearly anywhere, including reinforced walls.
Unlike Thermite, who is able to blast large holes in reinforced walls, Maverick is not your man for creating pathways, and is better assigned to a flanking role to melt his way through at unusual angles. These holes of various sizes might not be quick enough to blast through guns blazing, but they do provide ample space to launch sudden attacks defenders never see coming. With time Maverick is able to create a hole just big enough to move through, but it’s a slow process and will use almost all of the torch’s fuel. With just a 2 metre range, cutting such a large hole with the Suri torch also leaves him vulnerable to being flanked or a sudden attack, and it’s not much of a weapon.
Instead, he thrives on opening up previously restricted lines of sight. Punching sight holes has been integral since launch, but even in the early days most players knew what to look out for and veteran players have an instinctive knowledge of where they are vulnerable to attack. Maverick’s quiet blowtorch rewrites the rulebook and can leave defenders wide open in positions where they expect to hold a strategic advantage.
When he’s not melting almost any structure, Maverick deals considerable damage and makes the most of his handiwork with the new AR-15.50 or M4 assault riffles. His claymore can be deployed as protection while he’s breaking and entering, or used as a trap to lure curious defenders to a suspicious hole that’s too tempting to ignore.
Maps: Hereford Base and Consulate
With such regular content drops, Rainbow Six Siege maps were destined to reach the point where new isn’t the way forward. For Operation Grim Sky, an old favourite has been completely remade to make it more competitive.
The new Hereford Base, the original home of the SES, has improved movement between floors and will require longstanding players to rethink their approach. Spawn points remain the same, but the approaches are different and there are now two stair cases to allow much faster movement.
Aside from a new layout designed to improve navigation and flow, the biggest tactical alteration is the addition of a fourth bomb site and tweaks to the original three to make them all viable options. The developers noted the prevalence of using the basement and wanted to ensure than any of the now four locations provide strong options for defenders and genuine opportunities for attackers.
The top floor bomb site, Tractor Storage, will allow players to enter via the two sets of stairs, from the roof or via a balcony. The second floor bomb site, Kids’ Bedroom + Master Bedroom, is where the verticality really comes into it, as attackers will come from both directions, but they still need to move up stairs or repel up the building. Kitchen + Dining Room, the bomb site on the ground floor, has removed the massive chokepoint in the original Hereford and could be the most open of any site, with attackers able to come from above, below or easily through the windows. The Brewery + Fermentation Room remodels the basement and is more open with the introduction of a tunnel to add additional entry points, so attackers don’t have to come from the stairs.
Consulate has also received a map buff with reworked spawn points and, like Hereford, a fourth objective. The existing bomb placements remain similar, but have all been tweaked to allow better coverage for defenders and new angles for attackers in the everlasting quest to find the perfect balance.
Grim Sky also brings a minor gameplay tweak that could have major consequences. Until now, hatches were strictly binary, either open or closed, in a game designed around environmental destructibility. A reworking of hatches allows them to be partially destroyed, so they needn’t be fully opened to sneak a peak at what lies on the other side.
Alongside the new content, Ubisoft Montreal is continuing its commitment to stamping out unacceptable behaviour.
An option to mute chat is being introduced to give players complete control of what they are exposed to. There are already systems in place to remove homophobic and racial slurs, but when mute chat is implemented no players will have to be subjected to any forms of abuse from other players.
Later in Year 3, ranked matches will introduce mandatory two-factor authentication to combat cheaters and players attempting to boost their accounts.
The Six Major Paris is a celebration of the community that makes Rainbow Six Siege such a successful game, as much as it’s a global esports tournament. The passion of the fans here is electrifying and it’s fantastic to see Ubisoft dedicate so much attention to ensuring the minority doing the wrong thing can’t ruin the culture established by the majority.
Stevivor was a guest at the Rainbow Six Major in Paris. Ubisoft covered flights, accommodation and meals.