Locked and Loaded: What's new in Rainbow Six Siege's High Calibre season
The next season is bringing a new Operator, a reworked map, and even some changes to Siege's HUD.
It's that time of the year again, when Ubisoft unveils a look at what the next season of Rainbow Six: Siege will be bringing to the table. This year, that new season is called High Calibre, and while it is serving up the usual new Operator and balance changes, this time some of the most exciting introductions revolve around a map rework and an update to the HUD.
But, before we get into the nitty-gritty of what these new updates are, who is this new Operator, and what is she bringing to the table?
New Defender: Thorn
Known as Thorn in-game (full name: Brianna Skehan), this new Operator is a two-speed, two-armour Defender from Ireland. She not only boasts an entirely new gadget, which we'll get more into in a moment, but she is bringing a Siege first: a Ubisoft-created SMG called the UZK50GI. As well as this, Thorn has the choice to either wield the M870 shotgun, and in terms of her secondary weapons, these can be either the 1911 Tac-Ops or the C75-Auto.
Looking at her gadget, this unique item is a little different to anything we've seen before in Siege, even if it does share similarities to the way it causes Attackers to play. Known as the Razerbloom Shell, this piece of tech acts like a trap, and can be placed on most surfaces, where it will detonate and tether opponents that wander into its radius. The catch with this device is that once an enemy is tethered, there will be a short duration, and then the Razerbloom will also explode, making it both a utility gadget and a deadly piece of hardware to have to deal with.
While this handy piece of tech will already make most Defenders' lives difficult, Thorn can even place Barbed Wire to hide the Razerbloom, or rather set up a Deployable Shield to pick off any unfortunate Attacker to find themselves trapped in its grasp.
Outback gets a makeover
As we mentioned earlier, one of the other major parts of High Calibre is the rework of a fan-favourite map. Outback is getting a revamp that makes it far less of a chore to play, with the development team focussing on tidying up the map and making its flow far better.
What this in effect means is that the rooms of the map are less challenging to clear and are far less cluttered with objects. For example, the Garage is now smaller but has more cover, making it easier to attack. Likewise, the map also has less windows and the outside is less peek heavy, meaning Attackers in general should be getting an easier go of it when this change comes through.
Balance and Quality of Life Changes
With Outback behind us, the tweak to the HUD is the next major part of High Calibre, but before we get there, it's worth looking at balance changes because this season has a few of note.
At the forefront is a change to cameras, which can no longer be used outside by Defenders. This means that bulletproof cameras, Maestro's Evil Eyes, and Valkyrie's Black Eyes for example, will now be destroyed shortly after being placed outside. This change has been implemented to force Defenders to use their gadgets inside, and to alleviate the pressure Attackers face from being spotted and eliminated at the beginning of a round.
Following this is also an update to the Six Fix client, which makes it even easier to report bugs efficiently and with ease. This will particularly be of aid to those who use the test server to check out new updates before they hit the live client, and has also been a focus to encourage users to report any issues they come into contact with.
You might be thinking, why are we making so much of a fuss about this? Well, it's because this is an upgrade that has been necessary for a long-time. The HUD in Siege is fine as it is, but as the game expands and more gadgets and tools are added, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep tabs on everything at once.
The update to Siege's HUD fixes a lot of these issues, by reshuffling the way that information is displayed considerably, and to also make it so more info is on screen at once, yet in a manageable manner.
Take the compass for example. This is now a three-part system that shares information on your level, but also above and below you. It'll mark spotted gadgets and pings on the part of the compass that they correspond to in-person. And if this isn't enough to be excited about already, the layout of the HUD has been altered so that you can now see the ammunition of all your gear and can see the cooldown of your abilities, without actually having to activate them or equip an item.
This system is designed to be future-proofed to a degree, meaning it's something that will probably be sticking around for next few years at least, but that doesn't mean it won't be getting frequent updates.
This new HUD supports a few different colour schemes, to make it even easier to identify friend from foe. When this updated HUD lands in the live client, there will only be a few colours to choose from, and Ubisoft has stated that it knows the options aren't great for those who require colour blind schemes, but it intends to add these soon. Likewise, looking to the future, the colour changes will also see the LED lights on explosives changed to the colour palette you desire, but this will not be coming at the launch of High Calibre unfortunately.
Elite 2.0 Skin Customisation
You might think this is everything that Ubisoft has on the cards for High Calibre, and while it pretty much is, one other feature that is being introduced is the full support for Elite 2.0 skin customisation, which will allow users to customise how their Operators look, by combining different Elite skins together. This full system will also cover emotes, meaning there will be plenty of ways to make your version of an Operator unique.
And on top of this, when this system hits the live server, animated skins will also be making their debut for weapons, giving certain guns an all-new signature flair.
So, when will all of this go live in Rainbow Six Siege you ask? Ubisoft hasn't given an exact date on when High Calibre will hit the live client, but December seems to be a safe bet. But, that doesn't mean you'll have to wait three weeks to test Thorn, the new Outback, and the new HUD out for yourself, as this will all be hitting the public test server tomorrow - November 9. So make sure to get out there, gather some thoughts, and if need be, share some bug reports with the new Six Fix system to help improve the experience for everyone else.