At the Six Invitational in Montreal this week, some of the best teams in the world are coming together to fight for the world championship.
It’s a big moment for the teams fighting for glory, but each of these big final events is also bittersweet, as it signals the end of the White Noise update and the competitive style, the meta, that was enabled by that content release.
The game’s next update, Chimera, will kick off the game’s third year of post-release content, and will launch on March 6. It brings two new operators, each of them with powerful new abilities that are going to completely change the way Siege is played.
It’s nothing new of course. Rainbow Six Siege has maintained a regular cadence of updates since launch, and the addition of both these new maps and new operators to the game on a regular basis has acted as a shot in the arm, giving the competitive scene a shake-up every three months and forcing pro players and the community at large to adapt to new changes.
Siege isn’t the only esports title to regular add new content, but it’s fairly unique in the first person shooter scene for the speed that actual content is released, bringing new gameplay elements and tactical opportunities to the fore.
The cadence of the three month update cycle for the game has created a series of memorable times for the game: the early dominance of defender Smoke and his ACOG-equipped SMG-10, Jager’s roaming dominance, or the fearful time when Blackbeard could absolutely kill an entire team from behind his impervious shield, without batting an eye.
All of these moments are now gone, like tears in the rain, but the cycle means every operator gets their time to shine. As different operators rise and fall in popularity, the play styles they enable or counter see similar shifts in popularity.
Currently, Polish GROM operator Ela is dominant, appearing in 80% of all rounds when you reach Diamond and Platinum play. Ela is a strong defensive roamer, with a powerful weapon and gadgets that enable her to cover flank and rotate with impunity. Her current strength means that a roaming defence is the smartest option for Siege at a high level.
Pro players have the mechanical skills and game sense that ensures no changes will make roaming completely impossible, but new operators Finka and Lion look set to shake things up with powerful global abilities.
Finka’s global health buff, giving the entire team a temporary boost of hit points and reviving players in a down-but-not-out state should empower attackers to push into lurking defenders more aggressively, and will help those caught out by rotations.
Meanwhile, Lion’s ability, a movement detecting drone that for a short while reveals any defenders moving on the map, could deny the tactical value of those rotations entirely.
Ubisoft are doing a lot right when it comes to Rainbow Six Siege esports, proven by the big organisations that have jumped into Rainbow Six Siege’s professional scene in recent months, but it’s impossible to understate the impact that constant new content has had to keep the game feeling fresh, and to create a competitive game that is still full of surprises.