I love Rainbow Six Siege. It’s an incredibly deep tactical shooter that rewards team communication, patience, and outwitting your opponents more than outshooting them. There’s nothing quite like it in the FPS space, and I really hope to see it thrive for years to come. Only thing is, love begets concern, and Siege is not without problems that make me worry for its future, especially on the PC. Here are a few things I think Siege needs to firmly plant a stake in the competitive shooter scene for the long haul.
A steady stream of worthwhile updates
Ubisoft has already promised that all the updates will be free and detailed what’s coming in the first season. The question is whether or not the new maps and operators will be enough to satiate a loyal player base while shaking up the meta. As it stands, players are still figuring out how to use the first 20 operators in tandem, so hard strategies have yet to truly solidify. How Ubisoft responds with operators that challenge popular tactics and maps that shake up old habits will determine how seriously they’re considering the long-term viability of Siege, how close they’re listening to player feedback, and how much they’ve pored over player data.
Transparent and consistent rapport with the community
With links to the Rainbow Six subreddit built directly into the game’s main menu, it seems Ubisoft is extra intent on ensuring a community forms around Siege. And a quick perusal of the subreddit revealed that some developers are interacting directly with the players. Reddit isn’t enough though. Updates, patches or not, should be coming in on a weekly basis from here until the sun swallows the earth. They need to address current issues with the game without beating around the bush in a detailed, open manner. Any room for player doubt can shake the foundation of a good community.
And, just as I finished writing this paragraph, a news piece on a pretty thorough Q&A with the developer’s on the Ubi forums just went up. It covers the game’s current issues and impending updates. Dang. My faith: bolstered.
Build in more ways to plan with your team
Ubisoft has a tactics whiteboard on its official site. Problem is, the site is a bit unwieldy and, well, it’s not in the game. Something like the whiteboard doesn’t necessarily need to be available during the beginning of a match, but between matches, so long as you’re still in a party it’d be nice to have a method for making ‘plays’ with regular teammates. I'd love to call out or react to plays and audibles as I might in football.
Let players test out each operator before spending Renown
Siege is all about getting players to want to work together and know what every character is capable of is important to good team play. It’s also important when spending Renown and settling into your playstyle. Only half of the characters are represented in the Situations mode, the rest left to witnessing secondhand in multiplayer. Let players roam an empty map with every character, unlocked or not, to play around with their capabilities and see whether or not they’re worth the time and/or Renown. This will become especially important as new operators are released.
Options for microphone exclusive matchmaking
The more I play Siege, the more annoyed I am with every teammate that isn’t communicating via microphone. I understand that excluding players without mics might stunt the growth of an uninitiated portion of the player base, but for those with enough games under the belt, Siege’s lovely mechanics are rendered meaningless without good communication. If mic exclusive matchmaking is taking the idea too far, perhaps there’s room to give incentive, a renown boost maybe, to folks with mics attached.
Build in more ways to read player and match data
As it stands, player performance is obfuscated by a few layers of menus, is specific to each operator, and too vague overall. Ubisoft has options to view more data on their website, but none of it is all too useful, spitting out the expected K/D ratios, hours played, and weapon stats for each operator. I’m reminded of Evolve (remember Evolve?) and its post-match screen. A 2D overview of the map with red or blue dots indicating each player would run a basic, fast-forwarded replay of the match on repeat. In Siege’s dense, multilayered maps, it might be harder to communicate minute actions per floor in the same way, but there’s plenty of room for heat maps of all types. In a game all about predicting player habits, it’s good to have a nuanced perspective of your own.
Simplify the menus for PC users
The dang things are massive, blocky, unresponsive, and have a convoluted hierarchy. A UI with a simple clean look that made better use of screen space would allow for more room where it matters. Most PC users aren’t across the room from their monitor, after all. If the first and last thing players interact with during a Siege session is cumbersome and confusing, it’s going to influence their overall feelings about it.
Clean up the netcode and eradicate collision bugs
In order to be taken seriously as a competitive game, the network issues players are reporting shouldn’t be anywhere near as common as they are now. While I wasn’t plagued by them, the greater the margin for error in a game built on split second decision making, the more frustrated the player base will be. Sure, it’s possible to create games on a local network, which is ideal for competition, but if the online mode is hampered in any way, fewer serious players will want to brave the inconsistencies and to climb the competitive ladder. And if players do climb the ladder, but still get shot because their leg is poking through a wall—well, there’s no hope.