But the system gets more and more interesting with every Operator added to the roster. The version we played was, I imagine, feature-complete—meaning the game will have around two-dozen Operators at launch.
What you start to see is some very MOBA-like behavior. Yes, in a shooter. It’s a disservice to call this a class system, because that usually implies four or five roles with some amount of overlap. Operators are very similar to the heroes you’d find in League of Legends or Dota 2—each has a name, each has a special ability, each has a weakness, and there can be only one of each character per game.
Other shooters are taking this approach as well, from Overwatch to Battleborn. But the difference is I don’t see Rainbow Six making a big deal out of this aspect, or trying to sell you on the characters and their personalities.
It sets up a very unique meta-game, though. You pick new Operators between each round, and what you end up seeing is teams adapting to—or even trying to predict—the other team’s behavior. They like shields? Bring a lot of grenades. They like hiding the hostage in the basement? Make sure you bring the Operator with the extra breaching charges. Fond of reinforced walls? Bring the guy with the thermite charges.
This extra layer of strategy is what will separate decent teams from the real pros in Rainbow Six Siege. You can’t just pick a favorite character and play him or her well—or, at least, you shouldn’t. Doing so means playing a suboptimal build in a constantly-evolving encounter.
Of course, sins that afflict MOBAs crop up here too. I’d go so far as to say there are a handful of borderline useless Operators amongst the pack, thanks to overlap with better builds or ones geared to such niche situations as to be rendered impractical. I’m looking at you, “Guy who attaches an electrical wire to metal surfaces” and “Person who can detect electronics through walls, which would be useful if the C4 didn’t already beep incessantly.”
Press events are weird
What I’ve thought about most though—and forgive me for indulging in some inside-baseball here—is how strange press events are for this style of game. At a press event, we all want to win. We all want to succeed.
Press events are, it’s worth reiterating, a magical place where you see the game in (hopefully) its best light. And that’s doubly true of multiplayer games, where you are set up to succeed. We all had headsets, we all had mics. One of the people on my team was fond of saying “Roger” as if he were auditioning for the next Call of Duty.
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