The rundown on Siege Y8S3 – Testing your mettle

We’re right around the corner from the next competitive season of Rainbow Six Siege. So, naturally, I’ve done another preview and have the deets of Operation Heave Mettle. There’s some stuff that’s, oddly, missing from this update that we typically see in a new season update, such as any news of a new map or at least another map rework. However, we do have a new Korean operator joining the roster with an interesting new gadget, a new commendation system, and some changes to Unranked and Quick Play.

Joining Redhammer squad, Bo-Ram “Ram” Choi is joining the attacking side. The circumstances of Ram’s birth are a little foggy, resulting in her being raised in various orphanages. In her childhood, she developed a love of K-Metal as well as charcoal drawings, two interests that she’s carried with her into adulthood. She joined the Korean armed forces and, eventually, the Tarantula Unit, an all-female unit, where she mastered building clearance, hostage recovery, VIP protection, and using advanced technology against her enemies, which we see evidence of with her gadget.

The Bu-Gi (pronounced like ‘boogy’) Auto-Breacher is a deployable mini tank that can smash its way through unreinforced walls, doors, and Castle’s barricades (though it will bounce off this barricade if tossed directly at it). It will also destroy any simple floors, unreinforced hatches, devices, and people that happen to be found in its path. The Bu-Gi Auto-Breacher makes it easier to attack the defenders from above, being more efficient at destroying floors than Buck’s Skeleton Key underbarrel shotgun, Sledge’s hammer, as well as breach charges. When you start to Bu-Gi, you’ll toss the gadget out a little ways, select which path it will take (straight forward, arc left, or arc right), and then activate the device so it can start its journey of destruction.

The Bu-Gi is the largest throwable device in Siege. The holes this thing creates in walls are about what you’d get if you had Ash’s breaching rounds, though, with the device being on the ground, you won’t have to deal with any awkward mantling from a breach being too high. Once it has been deployed, Ram can activate it from anywhere on the map. The device may appear bulletproof at first, however the defenders just need to shoot the red canister on the back of the device, throw an impact grenade at it, or hit it with a nitro cell to destroy it.

One thing that will be of concern for anyone in close proximity to the Bu-Gi is how loud this device is when it’s on the move. Aside from the obvious noise of destruction, the device itself makes a lot of grinding noises as well. This can serve as an excellent distraction when attackers are trying to cover their movements or when planting the diffuser, but it does come with the catch that the attackers may not hear a roaming defender sneaking up on them, making them vulnerable to Caveira interrogations. Of course, the device can always be stopped by putting up reinforcements on walls as well as Mute’s jammers and is also detectable by Solis’ SPEC-IO sensor.

Aside from the Bu-Gi, Ram’s loadout doesn’t bring anything new to the table. For her primary, she can use the R4-C assault rifle or the LMG-E belt-fed AR. Her secondary options consist of the MK1 9mm pistol or the ITA 12S shotgun, and her secondary gadget options are the stun grenade or hard breach charges. Something fans of the R4-C will be excited to hear about is the return of the 2x optic, though I believe this is just for Ram and not for Ash, which is a little disappointing. Either way, I feel this is a well-rounded loadout for Ram, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they switched out the hard breach charges at some point for a different secondary gadget option. It’s not common for attackers to have both types of breach devices (hard breach and soft breach). I’d actually prefer to have a grenade instead.

A couple seasons ago we were introduced to the Reputation system where players are assigned a reputation tier based on their behavior in games. Well, this season they’re taking it another step further with a new Commendation system. This will be a lot like what we see in Overwatch where, at the end of the match, players can pick up to two teammates to commend them for their valor (positive player), dedication (highly engaged), or guidance (helpful). You’ll also be able to commend the opposing team if you feel they were a worthy opponent. You get Alpha Packs for interacting with the Commendation system, so make sure to reward a player or two every match. The Reputation system is also getting its own little tweak with a dedicated page that breaks down the kinds of behaviors that affect your standings.

Changes are coming to the Quick Match system that aim to improve match times and matchmaking. Round timers for the Prep Phase and Action Phase are being shortened, aligning it more closely with Ranked. The matchmaking algorithm is also being tweaked to make wait times between matches shorter. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of detail was given as to the ‘how’ side of this, but it is nice to see that it is being addressed as long matchmaking times has been a consistent issue for almost the entire life of the game. Work is also being done on Quick Match skill ratings to add compression and bring everyone closer together.

An interesting new feature being added to Quick Match is pre-setup, the predeployment of reinforcements and rotation holes at the start of the Prep Phase. It looks like they’ve taken the data from years of Siege to see the most commonly reinforced surfaces as well as places where rotation holes are typically created, so some of these will already be in place when loading into a match, making it quicker and easier for defenders to prepare for the Attack Phase. This will come in especially handy if the defending side is short a player or two due to players abandoning matches.

However, defenders don’t get to have all of the fun. Attackers are also getting a little boost with Attacker Protection, which gives attackers 10 seconds of invincibility at the start of a round, making for a much safer approach. I have mixed feelings about this feature. While it’s nice that attackers won’t have to worry about being spawn killed as much, it’s always nice for a defender when a rushing attacker is hit by their traps at building entrances. Approach routes are less than 10 seconds. I feel like if attackers are going to neglect caution and go sprinting in, they should have to pay for it when they hit a trap. Maybe I’ll be alone in this opinion, but it’s just my thoughts.

Unranked will also see some changes, the first being the name. Starting with Heavy Mettle, Unranked will be known as Standard, representing the playlist’s position as the middle ground between the highly competitive Ranked mode and the more casual Quick Match. Map and operator ban phases are being removed so that way all content is playable without restrictions, easily my favorite update. There will also only be one overtime round instead of “best of 3” so that way games aren’t dragging on for too long. There’s no word yet on what maps will be included or excluded. I’d like to see more maps being added to this playlist to keep up the variety and challenge players in maps that are considered to have unfavorable conditions and balancing. After all, a well-rounded player knows how to adapt to being at a disadvantage.

The Arcade playlist is continuing to get some love as well. First up is a new mode being added called Weapon Roulette, which is a Team Deathmatch-style mode where all players have the same weapon that changes throughout the match. This mode will be great for learning new weapons and attachment configurations.

Operation Heavy Mettle will also come with a few balance changes. The first update comes to Frost and her Welcome Mat. If an attacker is unlucky enough to find themselves in one of these traps, they will now have the option to get themselves out, though they will have a debuff lasting up to 60 seconds, reducing movement speed and they’ll leave a blood trail and make a lot of grunts. However, if a teammate comes to the rescue, there will not be a debuff. While a teammate helping you out of a Welcome Mat takes 2.5 seconds, self-extraction is upped to 4 seconds for further balance.

Grim from Operation Brutal Swarm is also getting a rework for the Kawan Hive Launcher. While the first buff was for efficiency of the device, the second buff will allow the player to decide how the canister deploys once launched. You’ll be able to switch between having the canister stick to the surface it’s shot at or having it bounce off, making it easier to get the swarm into trickier spots, such as through drone holes.

Our last operator balance update is for Fuze. In a previous update, Fuze was given the ability to place his Cluster Charge on reinforced walls and hatches. This is being expanded to include being able to place the device on defender deployable shields as well as Osa’s Talon shield. This will come in handy to destroy any gadgets and traps waiting on the other side, although this is probably the most vulnerable as shields are easily destroyed with a quick impact grenade.

New tutorial modules are also being introduced to help players new to Siege learn about the basics of gameplay. Back in the day, we used the Situations missions to learn how to play, but they weren’t always the most effective. These new modules will further break down the basics as well as diving more into attacking and defending. A bigger focus has been put on core mechanics, such as leaning, verticality, secondary gadgets, unique abilities, and more. New players will be better equipped to jump into the game after completing these tutorials.

There’s also a few quality of life updates, including the ability to promote or kick squadmates, view in-game patch notes, and the ability to remove the HUD when watching replays and while spectating. The Battle Pass is also getting updates to improve discoverability and navigation. A new Intro tab will give an overview of the rewards available to unlock, including the new skin sets featured in the Battle Pass.

More information and updates are to come throughout the season. This season seems to have a bigger focus on the overall player experience and less on the content side, which may come as a disappointment to some, however some of these updates can be the difference between whether or not the game is inviting to newer players and making sure everyone who plays the game enjoys it. I, for one, appreciate the effort Ubisoft is putting into combating toxicity as well as ease of access to the core of the game.

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.

The rundown on Siege Y8S3 – Testing your mettle

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