Rainbow Six Siege's massive Operation Chimera update is now upon us, ushering in Year 3 with two new operators (opens in new tab) and a co-op zombie mode called Oubreak, which Evan enjoyed his early look at (opens in new tab). The effect on player numbers has been immediate: the game reached a peak concurrent player count of 176,856 on Steam today (opens in new tab), smashing its previous best.
Its popularity has exploded in recent months. According to SteamCharts data (opens in new tab), its peak player count is now triple what it was just six months ago and already 50,000 more than its peak during February, which is a hell of a feat for a game that's more than two years old. That data doesn't include anybody playing on Uplay, either.
The Operation Chimera update also made all weapon attachments free for everybody, which is nice, and all of the original 20 operators are now free if you've purchased the Advanced, Gold or Complete Editions (although players that have already paid real money for the attachments or operators won't get a refund).
Ubisoft isn't done tinkering yet, and during Year 3 it will add a map pick-and-ban system, rework the Hereford Base map, and more. You can find out all about the upcoming changes here (opens in new tab).
But it's not all sunshine and rainbows, and some players are upset about recent changes to the game's business model. The most upvoted post in the game's subreddit (opens in new tab) is a thread chronicling the complaints, chief among them the fact that limited-time cosmetic item bundles, called Outbreak Packs, will only be purchasable with real money, a move that the original thread's creator calls "anti-consumer".
Players are also upset about the lack of refunds for weapon attachments and operators, as mentioned above. If you spent a lot of money unlocking all those operators a month ago then tough luck, because you're not getting it back.
The update has come with a few bugs, too, which Ubisoft has detailed in this Reddit thread (opens in new tab). They include some players not receiving four free Outbreak packs (which everyone was meant to) and "intermittent disconnections". If you're experiencing any problems, head to the thread to find out more.