The next season of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege is just weeks (days?) away from release but for PC players who can freely download and access the test client, the upcoming changes and additions can be played now. Titled Operation Phantom Sight, the year 4 season 2 patch continues Ubisoft's cadence of adding a new map or map update, a pair of new operators, and various tweaks, fixes, and quality of life improvements.
Year 4 season 1 added the Australian operators Gridlock and Mozzie alongside the Outback map, but no new other maps are coming in 2019 as Ubisoft instead is focusing on old maps to rework them into a competitive state. That focus on improving what's there, and opting for quality of quantity, harkens back to when Ubi skipped a season of content with Operation Health to focus in improving the core game and this seems to be the mission statement in 2019 as well.
While Operation Phantom Sight doesn't add a new map, it does deliver a rework of Kafe Dostoyevsky alongside two new operators who in reality, don't offer too much newness...
Introducing New Defender Warden & New Attacker Nøkk
At a glance, Ubisoft seems to be going for style over substance with Nøkk (rhymes with “book”) and Warden. Just look at the key art for Operation Phantom Sight and their teasers - it's as if they're designed with cosplay in mind first and foremost, and even come with Division-esque light up watches/wristbands. They're cool looking, and are straddling the line of Tom Clancy realism and over-the-top.
Warden is a Defender fresh off a stint with the United States Secret Service, and his dapper suit-and-tie getup strikes a distinct profile in Siege skirmishes. Despite his appearance, he’s a high-armor, low-speed Operator with either an MPX submachine gun or an M590A1 shotgun as his primary weapon, and a . As a strong site anchor, Warden is uniquely equipped to deal with a flash-and-smoke-filled push from the attacking team, thanks to his Glance Smart Glasses. When active, this gadget makes him immune to flashes, removes any flash currently affecting him, and gives him clearer sight through smoke.
Warden will help defenders battle the aggressive Blitz, Ying, Capitão and Glaz operators but can be detected by IQ when his glasses are active.
Nøkk (rhymes with “book”). Hailing from Denmark’s Jaeger Corps, this medium-speed, medium-armor Attacker is a stealth specialist who excels as hunting roamers or flanking surreptitiously. When her HEL Presence Reduction gadget is active, you won’t hear her footsteps, and you won’t see her on camera feeds. And with so many potential camera feeds available to the Defenders—from default cams to bulletproof cams to multiple Defender gadgets—her ability is all the more impactful.
Nøkk's gadget doesn't require a cooldown and can be turned off and on at will, always recharging when off. When active however, her ability causes distortion effects if she moves fast or performs any action other than moving slow or reloading a weapon. She also creates a waveform effect when visible in Mozzie's hacked drones or Echo’s Yokai drones.
Other Fixes/Changes Coming With Rainbow Six Siege Y4S2
Some of the larger issues Ubisoft has already announced to be address (expect plenty of other minor tweaks and changes too though) include:
- A nerf to Glax's thermal scope (will lose the yellow highlight when moving) to reinforce the operator's ranged role.
- Maverick now requires more time to switch between his SURI Torch and weapons.
- A fix for Smoke's smoke effect is in development so it doesn't clip through walls.
- Shields can fit perfect in door frames and will eventually include bullet proof glass to see both ways through.
- Desert Eagle sidearms can be equipped with a muzzle brake or a suppressor.
- Smoke’s FMG-9 can use Mozzie's Vortex scope.
Operation Phantom Sight First Impressions
The intention of Phantom Sight is to improve and flesh out the current Rainbow Six Siege meta instead of adding or throwing a wrench into it, and for that reason, we suspect many players - and certainly, the pros - may appreciate that. Instead of a new map, we get an improved old one. Instead of new operators with new weapons and gadgets, we get existing weapons and two characters whose abilities are built on already-existing abilities and gadgets. No real surprises, for better or worse.
Warden uses the SAS shotgun and Valkyrie's SMG, and his ability basically turns his glasses into Maestro's Evil Eye (minus the lasers) for a brief moment, wheras Nøkk uses the Navy SEALs D-50 sidearm, the SAS SMG and the SDU shotgun and an ability that combines what Vigil and Caveira do. It's not original and not impressive, but they are still welcome additions. We are at a point where existing abilities will be stretched to be available on both the attacking and defending teams, and where we can start really pondering where Ubisoft will go with operator tech and weapons in the future. It's curious why these operators are not instead joining already existing CTU units instead of getting their own color scheme.
As for how they play on the test server, Warden feels too slow for his gear and weapons, especially since he uses the same primary as Valkyrie and cannot equip a long-range ACOG scope on it like other 3-armor defenders. His pistol however, comes with a built-in optic similar to Zofia and Ela's and we love that. Nøkk however, is a bit of a wildcard and seems to favor lonewolf players who are very tactical and precise in movement and positioning. They can really sneak up on roamers or on other angles for the objective if coordinating with teammates effectively as their gadget is strictly designed for that, as opposed to breaching, destruction, or ranged combat. Both characters seem very situational and specialized.
Another slight change with Y4S2 is with the Operator selection screen now offersing a snapshot of each character's stats and loadouts but it makes the screen a bit overwhelming and messy and mostly useless since you cannot change gear here nor can you see attachments that are equipped or available. It's redundant and ugly, and a step backward, instead of a fix or improvement to all the unnecessary sub menus to change attachments and gear.
The most notable change is the Kafe redesign which is is excellent and easily the most meaningful content shift in Y4S2. The changes open up key areas and objective points that were too tight while also offering new corners and areas of cover for a better flow of movement and combat. The map is way more dynamic and we're excited to see the pros use it.
One thing we were hoping to see that hasn't been discussed is the pick and ban system and a more pro-style setup to casual play where players can choose defending spots too. Maybe next time.
Rainbow Six Siege is playable on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.