Ubisoft is making some changes to the Ranked and Casual map playlists for the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege season three. The publisher said the changes are intended to make it easier for players to "hone their skills in the most competitive environment available," while at the same time providing a gentler welcome to the game for newcomers.
The number of maps in the Ranked playlist will be reduced to nine, and will be identical to the lineup used for the Pro League. Both Ranked and Pro League lists will be rotated each season, and new maps added during the season will be excluded from both. "This is being done to ensure that players have time to explore and learn the new maps in Casual and in Custom Games, and to make certain that we are able to eliminate any glitches or exploits prior to entering new maps into the competitive map pool," Ubi explained.
For similar reasons, the Casual playlist is being cut down to 15 maps. "Reducing the total number of maps available for play in the Casual playlist make the process of learning the maps that Rainbow Six has to offer easier for new players," Ubisoft said. "We have identified the steep learning curve that our new players face in terms of map knowledge, and this is one of the ways that we plan to address it."
Some of the maps removed from the Casual playlist will be "reworked," presumably with the intention of redeploying them down the road. But Ubisoft is "quickly approaching the limit of our data sizes," which means that some maps will be removed from the game completely. For now, however, all maps, even those removed from rotations, will be available for Custom matches.
Ubisoft has also deactivated the Map Preference system for PvP multiplayer, and is "exploring some alternative implementations we believe can improve the experience." There's no word about when it might be brought back, but the current system will remain in place for the Terrorist Hunt mode.
In case you hadn't heard, Rainbow Six Siege is free to play this weekend—as in, from right now until August 27—on Steam.