I’m still reeling from the massive information drop and showcase at Six Invitations that happened like 3 days ago. I mean I was already happy with Ash losing her ACOG but damn! Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Toronto have been building up the hype for their fourth post-launch year. And boy, does Year 4 look good.
Each year since 2016, Ubisoft has been introducing seasonal updates divided into 4 iterations launching with their own roster of new maps, new operators, new weapons and new changes. 2019 is no different. Operation Burnt Horizon is the first of the four seasons coming this year. This season will introduce two new operators from the Australian SASR special forces unit.
Operator “Mozzie” and “Gridlock” are ready to burn some tires on the Australian outback but they’re also prepared to tear the game up with their gadgets. For the uninitiated, Rainbow Six Siege revolves around two teams of 5 operators with special tools tackling different tactical combat situations. All attackers can launch drones and all defenders have access to cameras strewn across the map. These can be used to gather intel on approaching enemies and cover flanks.
Mozzie can use his gadget P.E.S.T to hijack two attacker drones and turn them into defender drones instead. Cool thing is that once they’re hijacked, the attackers can’t retrieve them back. This is especially dangerous if Twitch’s shock drones are hacked and turned into Mozzie’s pet. There’s no way to retrieve a hijacked drone other than destroying it. Unless you destroy the P.E.S.T itself with gunfire or Thatcher’s EMP grenade.
Gridlock, on the other hand, is an attacker who can lay down three spike traps. And she doesn’t just lay down one big spike trap, she lays down several. The canister spreads out trax traps from the point of contact in a circular area, covering a pretty significant surface. These traps deal 10 damage each spike, slow the defenders down, make a lot of noise and generally make life hell for any roamer. Put these down on an objective that you’ve pushed into or into a hallway you’re trying to cover and you’re covered. The only way to get rid of them is to either melee them, shoot them or throw an explosive on them. Since none of these are noiseless, any roamer caught in Gridlock’s trax is going to have a bad time.
Needless to say, with new operators, come new weapons and we have about six of them this time around. Mozzie will carry the P10 Roni and a Commando 9. Both of which are small platforms with high rates of fire and blazing fast reload. Gridlock can carry the F90 Assault rifle and the M249 LMG. Both the operators can carry the Super Shorty shotgun and SDP 9MM for their secondary.
The other change coming in Season 1 of Year 4 is the new map titled Outback. I won’t say too much because it’s even taking me one hell of a time to learn it. The general overlay is that three different buildings are connected to each other and the different buildings are denoted by color. There are a few markers such as bull or a shark to identify key points of the map. In reality, this map looks like rooms taken from other maps and bolted together to form a new map. Regardless, it’s a good map, one that should give both attackers and defenders some breathing room amidst the close quarter combat.
Speaking of maps, Year 4 will see a lot of changes in regards to maps. 3 of the original maps are getting reworked. Kafe, in particular, will see a major change in Season 2. The infamous skylight will be partially blocked from specific angles. The downstairs objective has been completely moved into the Kitchen instead of two separate rooms. This makes the bomb gameplay on Kafe a little easier for the defenders. The top floor and the first-floor staircase have also been revisited and changed a lot.
Season 3 and 4 will see a rework of the Kanal and Theme Park map respectively. Kanal will receive a layout rework and streamlined connector access between buildings to avoid some of the incredibly frustrating spawnpeeking that plagues the map. Theme Park, on the other hand, will get a cleaner ground floor. The double stairs and train room will also receive a revisit in order to make the attacker push a little less frustrating from the roof.
Year 4 is just not about maps though. And the operator roster won’t just end with Mozzie and Gridlock. Seasons 2, 3 and 4 will also introduce a total of 6 other operators. We don’t know their names or what they do ability wise but we know their counter-terrorism background. Season 2 will bring a Danish and a U.S Secret Service operator. Season 3 will be host to a South American squad consisting of a Peruvian and a Mexican operator. And finally, season 4 will bring a Kenyan operator and an Indian operator.
While the new roster is definitely interesting, the old guard is still standing strong. And some will be standing even stronger while some are going to be kept in check. French operator Lion is getting hit with a balance patch that will reduce his scan duration by 50% and defenders caught in his scan won’t have a full body outline anymore. Ubisoft aims to make him an intel gathering operator rather than being an aggressive pusher.
Spetsnaz sniper Glaz will be moving away from his entry-fragger/ smoke pusher role as his Thermal scope won’t work if he’s moving. This comes in line with the fact Glaz can out-DPS any potential defender without a shotgun through the cover of smoke. Welcome change, if you ask me.
SWAT operative Ash will lose her ACOG which will bring her deadly R4-C back down a notch on the power scale. But if I am, to be honest, this makes Ash even deadlier than before as she can breach, flash and clear rooms faster than you can yell “oh shit”.
SAS’s brightest Mute is getting a buff to his jammer as now it can jam Dokkaebi’s phone calls after it starts. Previously, the jammers could only block the phone calls if you were standing in range when Dokkaebi activated her calls. And on the flipside, Dokkaebi’s calls will automatically turn off after 18 seconds from the moment of activation. This is to keep Dokkaebi-Lion wombo-combo push in check and to help roamers wait out the annoying mid-combat phone call woe not being able to hide properly.
Probably the most important change is coming to the Brazilian operator Capitao, who is getting a range buff on his crossbow bolts. His asphyxiating bolts will deal less damage but will cover an absolute massive radius making him a perfect area-denial operator. Also because now he can set Clash and the hostage on fire from a longer distance.
Older DLC operators are also receiving some loving as their renown and R6 credits prices will go down depending on the months they’ve spent in-game. Which means, Year 1 operators will become the cheapest of the lot while Year 4 operators will still cost 25000 renown or 600 R6 credits per operator. We talked about this briefly on our previous Year 4 preview article but we got confirmation on the pricing so here it is.
Breach Charges will also be revised as their damage numbers have been toned down on the side of the wall they face. Previously, as an attacker, if you stayed too close to the breach charge when it went off, you’d get blown away as well. In Year 4, the attacker side of the charge will deal 50 damage instead of 150. The damage on the broken side will be reduced as well but the area of effect will be larger. Also, the charge will deploy faster in general.
Deployable shields are also getting changed with slits carved into the shields for defending players to see through. The shields now fit perfectly in doorways and generally have better compatibility with placement than before. I assume the Spanish shield queen Mira had to something with it. You can still throw grenades and other explosives to destroy it so it’s not completely game changing but hey, it’s better than before.
Crouch and Lean spamming fix is also coming in this year only. Along with new changes to the way, toxicity is dealt with in the game. Team killing is a massive problem in the game, more on the consoles than the PC. To combat the said problem, Ubisoft is introducing a punish-reward system. Good behavior will be rewarded, team killing will be punished in a unique fashion. You can forgive for a team kill but if you don’t and the next time the player tries to team kill someone else, they’ll take damage instead. I actually can’t wait to try this out once or twice for shits and giggles.
The other changes announced are to the Ranked and Casual gameplay. Ranked is exiting the BETA phase after 4 bloody years. A pick and ban system like the pro tournaments will be implemented. New ranks have been introduced and you can only sink your teeth into ranked after level 30 (don’t worry, it’s easy to reach that level). A Ranked hub is also announced for the stat nerds to gorge over and yes, you can finally compare how bad you are as opposed to your teammate who has been carrying you.
Casual has received a nice QOL as well. The matches are shorter than before, turned down to 3:30 from 4 minutes. And now you can even choose your own spawn points like ranked just like in ranked. Casual now has a newcomers playlist where it is locked to three maps only and the bomb game mode. Just to help with the frustration that newer players experience trying to matchmake with higher ranked players who expect everyone to play like pros.
There are other smaller edits and fixes promised but those won’t affect the larger scene currently. For now, we’re waiting for Mozzie and Gridlock to exit the PTS and make their way into the main game. Speaking of which, I should finish farming the renown I need to unlock the two. And if we get wind of any other Rainbow Six news, you’ll hear it right here.
You can read the official Year 4 dev diary here