We’re coming up on the month of December, and that can only mean one thing… A new season for Rainbow Six Siege is just around the corner. Operation Solar Raid will be kicking off on December 6th but I was able to go hands-on recently to see all that this new season will have to offer. There is a lot to unpack here from the new content to all the updates and features, it is probably one of the biggest updates in Siege history. Let’s get started.
A new season means a new operator. Operation Solar Raid introduces us to Solis. A new defending operator coming from Columbia, Ana “Solis” Diaz is a technological specialist who brings advanced computer knowledge to the table with her SPEC-IO Electro-Sensor which uses an augmented reality display to gather critical information that she can then relay to her teammates. The gadget works kind of like IQ’s RED MKIII “Spectre” in that it can locate and mark gadgets like attacker drones and breach charges up to 15 meters away. Solis can also do what’s called a cluster scan which will reveal any gadgets within the scan area which can then be relayed to the team.
Solis’ loadout does leave a bit to be desired. For her primary weapon she will have either the P90 SMG or the ITA 12L shotgun, with the SMG-11 being her only secondary. I’m not the biggest fan of the P90 as I feel as if it’s very underpowered as far as SMGs in Siege go, but I’m even less of a fan of using shotguns (I just generally don’t care to use them), which leaves me with no real alternative if I’d like to use this operator. The SMG-11 I am fine with as it comes in handy to have a full-auto secondary when in a pinch. The gadget itself I think is a pretty cool flip versus IQ’s gadget that I can see being helpful for those who like to roam or do quick outside pushes to catch rappelling attackers off guard so one doesn’t accidentally run straight into a claymore.
We’re also getting a brand new map and it looks absolutely insane, Nighthaven Labs. We were first introduced to Nighthaven in 2019’s Operation Crystal Guard which introduced us to Kali and Wamai. Since then we’ve seen Nighthaven slowly creeping into other aspects of our little Siege story and now we’ve got a whole Nighthaven playground to explore. As maps go, Nighthaven Labs is a bit on the smaller side. The map’s main structure does have 3 floors however the top floor and basement levels aren’t as spacious as the main level.
The Labs features a modern technological design with creative strategies being its core focus. You’ll need to be quick on your toes as the map features a lot of close corners and shorter sightlines. The overall design allows for free navigational flow with many many doors and walls to breach to find alternative routes. For the roaming defender or the sneaking attacker, there will be plenty of opportunities for a quiet entry or for a quick runout to catch the opponent before they can react. On the outside you’ll be met with a splendid open sea, clear skies, and awe-inspiring landscapes beyond the facility. Nighthaven Labs is right up there with Coastline for me, I always love a seaside escape.
If there’s one thing Ubisoft is known for, aside from the obviously god tier line-up of games, it’s their Easter Eggs. It’s not uncommon for them to go the route of Disney Pixar with obvious placement of little callouts to other franchises, and that’s apart from the actual crossover events like Siege and Ghost Recon Wildlands. You can literally visit Abstergo Industries in Watch Dogs 2. If you spawn at the fountain on the Villa map in Siege, you’ll see the Assassin symbol through the water and the silhouette of a man perched atop the steeple of a church in the distance. You can play as Castle in Far Cry 5! I’m not going to spoil it for you here, but see if you can find the Easter Egg(s) hidden within Nighthaven Labs.
Moving on! There are a lot of new features coming to Rainbow Six Siege with this new season. To start off, Ranked progression is getting a complete overhaul. Gone are the days of having to do 10 placement matches at the start of the season before finding out where you allegedly sit in the ranks. Siege will be adopting the Rank Points system seen similarly in games like Fortnite Battle Royale and Apex Legends ranked modes where you will earn or lose points depending on your performance during each match. This is a very welcome change for me as I am less likely to lose a rank due to a lost match if my performance was still very high. As someone who solo-queues a lot, it’s been frustrating when I lose my rank due to bad team performance, team lack of skill/knowledge or teammates trolling that costs us the match. I’m not saying I’m some professional Siege player, but I’d like to think I’m pretty good at the game given how long I’ve been playing for. It’ll be nice to actually see that get recognized more in the new rank system (I better not have to eat my words here).
Every rank will now have 5 divisions with each division requiring 100 Rank Points to advance to the next rank. A new rank is also being introduced between Platinum and Diamond ranks called Emerald, giving us all that extra step up the ladder to climb. I’ll be satisfied if I can hang out in Platinum. Your MMR will be splitting off from your rank and will be referred to as skill. It’ll no longer decide where you are placed within the ranks, however it will determine how quickly you ascend them. Skill will also carry over from season to season. The squad MMR restriction is also going away so players will be able to squad up with whoever they choose and a new algorithm will adapt to the various skill levels present. Lastly for the updates to Ranked, players will be given 1 reward for every rank division they achieve throughout the season, being granted said reward(s) at the end of each season (please make it out of copper, please make it out of copper).
The Battle Pass is also getting an upgrade, and it kind of goes along the same model as what the new Battle Pass for Modern Warfare II looks like. Instead of a linear progression with Battle Pass levels you are presented with a roadmap with nodes that you unlock with Tokens and Breach Charges (clever). This means you’ll be able to prioritize the rewards you want to receive. You’ll earn tokens and charges by playing matches and then use them 1:1 to unlock tiles and get through Breach Paths which create shortcuts for quicker access to the rewards you want. You’ll unlock different cosmetic rewards, Alpha Packs, Bravo Packs, Renown boosters, Battle Point boosters, and R6 credits with an additional reward being given for each tile unlocked for Premium Pass holders. I still don’t know how I necessarily feel about this progression type, but we’ll see how I feel once we get to see what the new Battle Pass has packed inside.
My favorite updates coming with Operation Solar Raid are crossplay and cross-progression. I feel this is long overdue for Rainbow Six Siege to have these two features implemented and I’m so excited now that it’s finally happening. There’s already crossplay between PC players and players on Amazon Luna, which is a cloud gaming service developed and operated by Amazon. But now console players will also get to take advantage of crossplay, however only with other consoles. Xbox and PlayStation players will now be able to team up or go head-to-head (who has the better Siege players?), which should result in reduced queue times. However, if you’d prefer not to partake, crossplay can be disabled in the Options menu. Cross-progression will occur if you have all your respective platform accounts linked to a single Ubisoft Connect account. With cross-progression you’ll be able to access all of your content no matter which platform you are on, including all of your operator unlocks, rank and battle pass progressions, and cosmetics. Additionally, you’ll get a free Alpha Pack. Free stuff!
It’s universally known that if you play competitive games you’ll come across some of the most toxic people out there. The development team are constantly at work trying to combat players who decide to abuse things like team killing and will be making some updates to the reputation system as well as interactions during the Preparation Phase of each round. Reputation Scores are being introduced this season in BETA as the next step in the reputation system that was first brought to Siege in 2020. Players will be able to see their reputation Standing as well as any positive or negative effects so they can see how their actions will now have consequences. Standings come in five levels, one being the lowest and five being the highest. These standings are not shared with other players but serve more to provide feedback to the player to promote healthy interactions and discourage toxicity.
On top of all that, players will no longer be able to cause friendly-fire damage during the Preparation Phase of each round, whether or not it’s intentional. Again, this will cut back on the toxicity when your teammates decide they don’t like you but will also prevent those unfortunate mishaps when someone tries to open up a rotation point between objectives or when trying to take out attacker drones. Or those teammates who decided to just fire randomly as soon as they load into the round… Just… Why are you doing that? Stop it. Once the Prep Phase is over, however, it’s all free game, so look out.
Operation Solar Raid has a bunch of other smaller updates that don’t require full-blown explanations, so I’ll just list them here:
- Map Ban Update: Nighthaven Labs cannot be banned in Ranked and Unranked. It’ll still show up but can’t be selected. Play it. Learn it. Enjoy it.
- Switch Ability Mode Update (Capitao & Zofia): switch between Zofia’s impact and concussion or Capitao’s smoke and fire ammo before equipping
- Bomb Sites will remain visible even if the defuser is dropped
- Drone Strafe Speeds (controller) no longer slowed down when moving diagonally
- ADS movement speeds are now the same for all operators regardless of armor/speed for better balancing
- Operator price decreases coming for Kali, Wamai, Aruni, and Thorn
- DRONE COSMETICS COMING SOON!
- Shooting Range update to show Shooting Records so you can see performance of different weapons used at the range
- Accessibility Update: Color customization update for gadgets, you’ll be able to choose what color friendly and foe gadgets’ lights are for easier recognition, including drones. Also differentiate between who is accessing cameras/drones (Dokkaebi hack vs Defender)
Operation Solar Raid will be launching across all platforms on December 6th, just 5 days after Siege’s 7th birthday! I’m excited to get to see and play more of it. Make sure to stay tuned to GamingTrend.com for more news and updates.
Cassie Peterson is an Editor for Gaming Trend but also a sporadic content creator and exceedingly average Rainbow Six Siege player. She goes by MzPanik on Twitter and Twitch and all of the gaming platforms.