Why Rainbow Six: Siege Is The Best Shooter I’ve Played In Years

In Esports by Thomas WindleLeave a Comment

I purchased Siege last year on a whim. I didn’t read or watch much about it, I just wanted a new shooter to get into. I knew the Tom Clancy and Rainbow Six names, but beyond that I had no expectations.

I joined the Siege community during Season 2 of Year 1, which was titled Dust Line. I wasn’t really aware at the time, but every couple of months a new season begins, bringing with it two new operators and a new map. The two new operators Valkyrie and Blackbeard are what helped me understand the “renown” currency of Siege. All the base operators varied in price from 500 renown to a couple thousand, so it wouldn’t take too long to unlock them all. The new DLC operators, on the other hand, cost a whopping 25,000 each. Despite the high price, this is when I felt my first bit of respect for the game: I didn’t have to pay extra for operators if I didn’t want to. You can just play the game and save up for the ones you want. So before I even actually played the game I was already feeling quite positive about it. 

The first thing most players will do when starting the game is play through the “Situations.” They’re Siege’s tutorial-like introduction to the game with some cinematic flair thrown in. All I knew about the game at the time was that it had realistic damage, so I thought to play the game on the hardest difficulty (aptly named “Realistic”) to have the best experience. It was from there that I started to understand that my run and gun tactics weren’t going to work as effectively as they would have in Battlefield or Call of Duty. I needed to take my time — something I wasn’t really used to. 

After finally getting through the Situation missions I unlocked the bonus co-op mission, my first interaction with other players. We had to defuse two bombs in a huge, bright-yellow, gas-covered map. It didn’t go well and I was eliminated early on, meaning I had to watch the rest of my team complete the mission. After the mission I didn’t feel ready at all to start casual matchmaking, but at the same time I wasn’t really interested in playing any more co-op modes. Besides, I had just beat all the Situations on Realistic difficulty, so how hard could multiplayer have been?

Before I jumped in I wanted to unlock a few operators to make sure I didn’t look completely useless to my team. My first defending operators were Rook of the French GIGN and Kapkan of the Russian Spetznaz. Rook provided extra armour plating for himself and the team while Kapkan placed explosive traps on doors and windows. They were both slow moving operators but I didn’t plan on moving too far away from the objective anyways. The two attacking operators I first unlocked were Fuze from Spetznaz and Thermite from the American FBI organisation. Fuze had a cluster charge that would stick to breakable surfaces and fire explosive pellets on the other side. Thermite had a special breach charge that could cut through reinforced walls. With these four in my arsenal I felt like I could at least hold my ground, so I jumped into matchmaking. 

Getting into Matchmaking

Now, the Situations were hard, but they were nothing compared to actual competitive matches in Siege, which have an unforgiving learning curve especially if you’re playing alone like I was at first. You have to learn each map, all the angles, the guns, the best operator for the job. There’s no tips or tutorials beyond what I had already played. Just “attack the objective” or “defend the objective” at the start of each round. Nothing was more terrifying than hearing the deep bass sound-effect accompanied with the on-screen prompt of your dwindling number of teammates every time the enemy got a kill. I could feel every pair of eyes watching me in my first 1v5 predicament.

I was out of my depth in the early stages but I loved it. I was addicted to it and through a lot practice I started to learn my style of playing the game. I’ve always been a more fast-paced player when it came to shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield, and while that is still a viable strategy in Siege, I was at my best being careful and methodical. I had my fair share of hiccups along the way, like discovering that the hostage isn’t invincible to Fuze’s explosive charges — a lesson most Siege players learn the hard way — but I enjoyed the process and still enjoy the challenge of keeping up with the constantly shifting meta.

Siege made me feel like I “got good” whereas in other games I always felt like I plateaued and played solely to level up and get a weapon skin or something else along those lines. Siege still feels like a rush each time I play and I know I’ve always got something new to learn. 

When I first put myself to the test in the game’s Ranked mode I was still very much alone. I put playing ranked off until Season 3 Skull Rain was released, which looking back I somewhat regret as that was when Caveria was released. She was a sneaky defending operator who could interrogate you in your “bleeding out” state, revealing the positions of your entire team. As with most new operators, she was chosen in every match for the first while, making me even more on edge as an attacker. Despite the challenge of playing alone and facing one of the most terrifying operators in the game, I managed to finish the season at Silver rank. Since then I’ve been able to persuade my friends to get the game and join me, and as such we’ve slowly been doing better each season and hope to at least reach Platinum one day. 

The Community

Earlier I mentioned that I joined the Siege community during the Dust Line season. Siege is now in Year 2 Season 2, titled Operation Health. I have been part of the community for over a year now and there is still so much more planned for the game.

Operation Health served more as a patch up Season. No new operators or maps were released, and instead the development team decided to use this time to fix some of the game’s biggest problems and plan ahead for other reworks they can do. Though this has been met with mixed reaction and also mixed results, I think the developers meant well when they decided to do this. It’s not something you see a lot of developers risking. Although I would have liked to see a regular season release, Operation Health has made me confident that the developers want to see Siege succeed in the long term and have plans for the foreseeable future. 

My journey through Siege hasn’t been without some low points. Not everyone in the community is supportive or fair; like most communities there are always a few bad apples. They team kill, spawn kill, throw matches and send abusive messages. Coming across these types of players for someone new to the game can be very discouraging. I’ve been lucky and evaded most of this when I started. This is part of why I encourage people to play Siege with friends: you are less likely to have situations were people team up against you. As I said, the learning curve is unforgiving and some people can be harsh to those starting out. Even now, when I make a mistake or choke in certain situations, I often expect a negative message. However, nothing is more rewarding than improving as a player and engaging with new strategies as a team. The highs vastly outweigh the lows in this game. 

You won’t find a better example of highs and lows in Siege than when you watch the Pro League. E-Sports was something I never got into. To be honest, I always found myself cringing at the term. Yet once I got into Siege, I also got into its Pro League tournaments. At the end of every season teams face off against each other to crown a champion, and after the competition, Ubisoft reveal next season’s operators and map in full detail. As I’m writing this I’m eagerly awaiting the Season 2 finals and full reveal of the next Season (titled Blood Orchid).

When I say I’m part of the Siege community I genuinely feel like I am. I don’t feel like just a statistic like I do with bigger games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield. I get actively involved with Siege from watching Pro League to engaging with the subreddit. The Call of Duty community has always felt so big that I don’t matter, the biggest of its pro teams are huge and make millions of dollars. In Siege my friends and I can take part in GoPro Sunday tournaments. If we really wanted to we could try and work our way towards the Pro League. It all feels within reach.

The best part about my Siege experience is that I am not alone. Just recently the Siege team announced that they have a 20 million strong player base. The game just keeps growing and improving. It’s an exciting community to be a part of and I urge anyone reading this who feels even remotely interested to give the game a go. Whatever platform you play on, it’s worth your time, and like me, you may just find it to be one of the best shooters you’ve played in years.

There is a reason 20 million people play this game. I hope to see you out there. 

Thomas Windle on Twitter
Thomas Windle
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A psychology student who loves games and stuff.

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