In Rainbow Six Siege, it can be hard to unlearn old shooter habits in order to properly mess with your opponents. Success depends more on strategy, communication, and outwitting your opponent than gunplay, but with so many operators, labyrinthine maps, and understated mechanics at play, it can be hard to feel useful in Siege without patient teammates. To help smooth the learning curve and get you moving sooner, I’ve thrown together a few things I wish I knew before hopping in.
Check out our review for more on Rainbow Six Siege.
Don’t worry about unlocking every operator ASAP
In Siege, there are 20 operators total (10 attackers and 10 defenders) with unique abilities. They're all locked behind Renown, a currency earned through playing the game and completing daily challenges. It may seem like a move to arbitrarily insert some kind of progression and reward system into the game, and that may be the case, but it rarely takes more than an hour or so to unlock an operator in late game.
Take advantage of getting to know a few at a time. There's plenty of nuance to each character, and having too many options at once might spread your skill acquisition a bit too thin. I'd rather have someone on my team that knows how to play Pulse (he wields a heartbeat sensor) super well, rather than have someone hop in and out of every operator on a whim. It may be that during the character selection screen, your only operators get picked, and you're stuck as the generic Recruit character. Don’t fret. They come with as much barbed wire, breach charges, or grenades as the other operators. They’re far from useless, and it's likely there will be enough specialized operators on your team to spearhead some kind of specific defensive or offensive strategy.
But if you can’t help it, watch the tutorial videos and play the Situations
I know we're not all paragons of patience, so luckily there's a way to get enough Renown to unlock nearly half the operators in just an hour or two. Some folks might skip right to the multiplayer, but the Situations mode rewards 200 Renown for completing a bonus objective. With three bonuses in each of the 10 Situations, that's 6000 Renown. Watch the tutorial videos in the main menu to nab 600 more easy Renown for 6600 total. That's at least eight operators unlocked, right out of the gate.
Spray and pray is okay (through windows and walls)
Sometimes, when you think an enemy is hiding behind a wall or on the other side of a barricaded window, they are. Try to think of where you might hide were you on the opposing team, and trust your intuition from time to time.
Firing wildly can also be a good distraction. Several times, I've rappelled down the outside edge of the objective room while on offense and set up breach charges, fired willy-nilly into every window I could, just to mess with the opposing team. Meanwhile, my buddies were entering from the opposite side. It pays to be an annoyance in Siege.
Slow your fire rate with shield characters (and don’t forget about melee)
Above: I unloaded a magazine into a fence at full speed. Not the most accurate.
Turns out, holding a massive, bulletproof shield with one arm makes it hard to aim a pistol with the other. Shield characters are super handy for leading the charge or forcing other players out of cover, but they're certainly not known for their accuracy. When I first started playing as them, I would walk up to enemy players and shoot rapidly, figuring I'd hit them enough times within my wide crosshairs to take them out.
Bad idea, actually. You'd be surprised just how inaccurate shield-bearer pistols get, even at point blank, if you're too triggerhappy. Better advice: slow down and let the crosshairs rest before taking another shot. Like old fable The Thermoplastic Composite SWAT Tortoise and the Hare goes, ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ And if you get close, don't forget to smash the bad guys with that heavy metal thing you're carrying. Works pretty well, big surprise.
Drone it until you own it
While on offense, if you don't find the objective during the recon phase, reconnect to your drone or throw another one out if it's been destroyed. You'll waste more time and resources trying to find the objective with your big, clunky human body than you would with a sleek RC robot carapace. And once you find the objective, try to hide your drone somewhere handy.
Think about advantageous viewing angles. Are there hallways you'd like to check in with? Roaming enemies you need to keep tabs on? Drones should be used throughout the entire match, not just for the first minute or so. And if you’ve been eliminated, you can still cycle through the available drones, calling out enemy locations to your teammates.
Use cameras on defense
On defense, you may not have drones, but all the maps are outfitted with a few cameras to help you see where infiltrators might be coming from. Using these correctly can be a huge advantage. Be careful before you mark enemies though. They'll get an indication when they've been spotted, and usually destroy the cameras soon after. And if you’ve been eliminated, you can still cycle through the available cameras, calling out enemy locations to your teammates.
Redeem your Uplay rewards
I know, I know. Uplay. It's not great, but we're stuck with it. I try to avoid interfacing with it whenever possible, which made it easy to nearly miss the Free Stuff™ redeemable via Uplay points—some are free at the outset, some may take some unlocking. You'll need to hit up the Rainbow Six Siege game page within, then click on the Rewards section. Among the freebies are 200 Renown, a few skins (if you own the associated games), and a 24-hour Renown booster.