Ubisoft admits Rainbow Six Siege's fastest characters are too strong

During an AMA today on the game’s subreddit with members of the balancing team, Rainbow Six Siege developers hinted at changes to the speed and armor dynamic of the game coming soon. Currently the mobility and durability of Siege's 36 operators are rated between one and three. Bulkier operators like Rook move more slowly and have larger hitboxes, but in theory make up for their slowness with greater damage resistance. However, in practice, fast-movers with smaller hitboxes tend to win gunfights if they make small, quick peeks.

User PhD_Bagel asked a question on behalf of the Doc and Rook mains of the world: “[Are] there any plans to balance/change speed and armor? Currently, it seems that 3 speed is far superior to 3 armor.”

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It’s not a question that most of the community would have expected such a candid answer to, as it’s a topic that the studio has mostly avoided for years. But user research project manager Julien Huguenin chimed in with a very clear response. “Yes. We agree. We are looking for ways to make both 3 speeds less dominant and 1 speeds more viable.”

Game designer Jean-Baptiste Hallé went even further, saying to “Keep an eye on the next Test Server. ;)”

In response to one comment, Ubisoft data scientist Geoffroy Mouret teased the possibility of new attachments or secondary gadgets coming to the game. “Check the Test Server patch notes tomorrow,” adding his own winking emoticon for emphasis. A new secondary gadget or attachment would be big: we haven't seen a new addition of this type since Operation Skull Rain in August 2016, which introduced the impact grenade.

The developers also took time to address the elephant in the room: Lion. It’s been clear since Operation Chimera’s release that the new attacking operator is extremely useful, boasting a near 100-percent pick rate in the Rainbow Six Siege Pro League. Before release, pro players warned Ubi that he felt dominant. And while nerfs are coming by way of decreasing the scan’s effectiveness and increasing the cooldown, Huguenin admits that this should have been addressed before release.

“One thing I would like to add is that we cannot always take the Pro feedback at face value. We always gather their feedback, and must make a decision on whether or not to act on it. That being said, for Lion, we made a mistake, and should have reduced the amount of charges and increased the cooldown before release.”

Hallé also addressed this issue, saying that by the time the team had gotten feedback from pro players, it was too close to release. “We did not have time to modify that system before the release of the Operator. This shows that we have room for improvement in our iteration pipeline.” He added that they are working on ways to improve their feedback and iteration loops so that this can be avoided in the future. 

We haven't seen a new secondary gadget since Operation Skull Rain in August 2016, which introduced the impact grenade.

Later, Hallé further reflected on Lion, explaining that “When Lion was in conception, many of us genuinely believed that not moving was an easy adaptation. Being wrong about that is not our biggest mistake. Our biggest mistake was the outline itself. It does not leave any room for counter play. This is a more general learning for us, and we will be extremely careful if we ever use this type of mechanic again.”

Players always love to hear about operator reworks, as they can breathe new life into a stagnant and low-picked character. In response to a commenter, Hallé said that three operators are being prototyped for reworks, and we should expect the next one soon. “We have 3 reworks in the prototype phase for some of our least used Operators (Not Tachanka). We have another coming on the next Test Server.” Sorry, Tachanka mains. 

One operator came up several times as a candidate for a rework: Echo. This hints that he's under the microscope, and that he's one of the reworks coming soon. There also seems to be a consensus between Hallé and Huguenin as to who the most frustrating operator to balance is.