Note: Responses were received before the launch of Operation Steel Wave
The new free expansion about to be released sees the two new operators of Melusi and Ace be introduced to the game, while last season’s operators of Iana and Oryx enter the competitive operator pool.
As well as this, a casual-focused rework of the House map has been released alongside a number of operator balancing updates and, while not official, it's likely that the reworked Oregon map will be replacing Border in the competitive map pool.
To get some initial impressions on the newest changes to the game before the changes start to impact the professional tournaments we spoke to Justin "Lycan" Woods from Spacestation Gaming, Laurent "Crapelle" Patriarche from Fnatic, and Matheus "Budega" Figueiredo from Team oNe to get an idea of what we should expect.
What are your opinions on Iana and Oryx and how are they going to factor into the competitive meta?
Iana – She seems to be more effective on secondary supports or flex roles over an entry fragger. I think there are some maps where you will see her get some play. The nades are nice but because she lacks soft breach its hard to find a full-time spot in most line ups.
Oryx – He almost seems like a pick when you are desperate. You either need an additional shotgun or ways to make holes or you have no answer for hitting the flank normally, so you want to try to use the hatches.
His gun is extremely lack luster but if you are surprising the opponent like you should with him you should have the jump on them. I think you will only see him played on bigger maps where you have a lot more room to run around.
I think both of them are really interesting, but somewhat niche operators. I expect Oryx to get some play time as he is an alternative to shotguns to make rotations, especially if he’s coupled with a Doc. Might make prep phases much faster as well as destroy objects we usually don’t see destroyed.
His capacity of going up hatches might give us some really entertaining plays as well, but I don’t think it will be as efficient as people think it will. I am very much looking forward to some Iana plays as well! She has great potential for baits and information taking differently than usual. She’s also a good alternative to get nades in the operator line up, with a good gun and a unique gadget.
Iana is a pretty solid operator, whom can be used for numerous situations and strats that requires more info than normal. She's very versatile because you can use her ability for bait pushing to a "fake refrag" or as an extra drone for info gathering which is very important nowadays where some teams still use the info denial meta. Apart from that, she has the option for a frag or a smoke which can come in handy. I see her pretty meta on some maps such as coastline where we don't need a hard breacher to attack.
Oryx is a very situational operator for now, I think he will be buffed (less damage to open walls) which is a good thing where you have the option to maybe make strats without smoke or mute for example (and push for a more agressive meta). But, I think he will be used mostly as a 6th pick operator for a specific play or strat.
What are your views on the new Oregon entering the map pool? How often do you think it will be played over the next three months?
So far, I have enjoyed Oregon. Seems like it will be a strong map in the pool. Teams seem to be more excited about it than Theme, so we should see it more… but it is always a risk bringing out a new map that isn’t as practiced.
I think Oregon is a pretty good map. From my experience (ranked lol), it seems a lot more balanced than the previous maps that were added (Kafé and Theme). Both attackers and defenders seems to have the tools to put on a good fight and I believe the map has a lot to offer in terms of creativity in the strats.
It allows you to roam, to turtle on site, to extend below or above, which makes me very curious on what teams will come up with in the next few weeks, as well as which team/region is going to be the most impactful on creating the map’s meta. New Oregon feels fresh and promising, Ubisoft did a really good job on this rework.
I really enjoyed the new Oregon, ubisoft made a pretty good job on making some balance changes on the map but they have still kept the essence of the map, I mean it still feel as Oregon, you know? I feel like the map will be more used than Theme Park because we already have so much experience from the older map, and some things have not changed about it, which can be very comforting for the teams.
Theme Park has now been included in the pool for three months. How well do you think it's been adopted?
It’s a hard map to navigate and it requires you to use your utility properly. I think that’s why some teams haven’t played it as much yet, but I think you will slowly see it get more picks.
I think a lot of teams are still trying to find how to approach the map. We still don’t really have a clear attacker meta, most people going for fairly default pushes. The defense seems a bit overwhelming, winning around 60-80% of the rounds. It feels a bit like Villa at its release, which was very much defender sided, while it is a lot less that way nowadays.
I think the map isn't that suited for competitive play, because it's too easy to contest the entering of the attackers on the map. I think the map in the next coming months will become stale because of lack of options to attack and we might need to change the map pool again in the coming seasons.
Don't get me wrong, I still think we can endure a season or two with the map to spice things up and for necessity (there's no other map to put it currently). Probably when Chalet is reworked, I would like to see it back on the map pool.
What other changes if any to the map pool would you make?
I think the map pool is fine as it is right now. I think we could easily go to 9 maps with Bank and Border back in, but I know a lot of people are fond of the 7 map pool.
For now, none. I haven’t tried the new House, so I wouldn’t know it’s competitive potential, but the devs mentioned it was meant as a casual map. I think we have the most competitive maps in the pool at this moment and we’ll need more time and reworks to operate more changes.
It's a tough debate, because there aren't many maps out there available. I would like to see bank upgraded (like Consulate) replacing Theme Park. And in the future, if Ubisoft gets the rework right, I would like to see Chalet back on the map pool replacing Club House or Coastline.
What are your early opinions on Melusi and Ace? How would you change/balance them further?
Ace – Extremely strong wall breach, nearly impossible to protect your site without the proper bans and set up. Best gun in the game. Smoke on your hard breach. Not much more you can ask for as a coach. He needs to have a cooldown between his throws or he shouldn’t be able to throw them very far.
Melusi – Great defensive gun, might see her become the new impact tricker in lineups. Her gadget is designed to get stronger as the round goes on. If you are able to take out the attackers explosives she leaves you little choice but to walk into site very slow. Additional counters to her gadget would be nice.
I think Ace is a great idea. I love the concept of his gadget, as well as the fact that he is very versatile, you can hardbreach, but you can also get gadgets. It makes him strong for sure, but I think it is a very welcome attack operator to help the offense deal with all that utility the defense has to offer while keeping some hardbreach around. The AK12 is statistically the best gun in the game, so maybe that could be a change if Ace becomes overwhelming, but I am not too worried for now.
For Melusi, I haven’t taken the time to see everything she has to offer with her gadget. I think she has a really good kit, maybe a little be too good with a great gun, 3 speed and a powerful utility. She, more than Ace, will most likely need some tweaks to be “balanced” but I don’t think she will be as broken as Twitter says. Yes, it’s more utility to deal with, yes it’s a slow that is usually not an “FPS” thing, but this is Rainbow Six, the game is unique and complex, which is the beauty of it, so I’ll just deal with it and make sure it gets a few rounds or games for my team by exploiting every bit of usefulness I can get out of her.
I didn't have the opportunity to play them yet. But from what I saw, Ace is pretty OP, we definitely need him to get nerfed before he reaches competitive play. I would suggest him losing 1 of his gadgets so he becomes limited of using the gadgets only for walls or 1 hatch only, and I think the timing of the gadget to open walls and hatches needs to be slower than Thermite and Hibana.
Melusi will probably be a pretty solid operator, but she needs to be nerfed like Jager to be a 2/2 operator, because she has a pretty solid gun (Lesion's gun) and her gadget is a utility/info, which can be pretty meta nowadays.
A number of new balance changes have been introduced including new secondary gadgets, tweaks to Amaru and Zofia/Ela/Echo. Which of these do you think will have the biggest impact? Furthermore, now that Buck has not had his frags for a while, do you still feel that their removal was a mistake?
I think that the Zofia and Ela change will by far have the biggest impact on competitive. Not being able to move your mouse has been something that pros have complained about for a long time so it’s a great change.
Echo was a great QoL change but I don’t think it mattered as much at high level play. Amarus greatest asset right now is her gun (G8A1), and now that she can bring it up faster after repelling I think she does have a chance at getting some playing time but I think she really lacks the utility to be worth it in a lot of cases.
I still am heavily against Buck losing his nades. There is a lot of other ways to bring nades other than just soft breachers so its not the end of the world.
I think the tweaks around Amaru makes her bit more viable, but she is still very much a niche operator that will be picked under very specific conditions, or as a comfort pick. I really like the concussion changes, I think it keeps the several gadgets involved relevant while making them a little bit more understandable for new players, as well as less frustrating for confirmed players.
On the Buck question, I never felt it was a mistake. It was surprising, and unexpected because he was I a good spot, but looking back he was definitely in a too good spot. You can soft breach from below and above, through several floors while being safe, had nades to get rid of utility and/or enemies, had a great gun… what more can you ask from an operator?
We saw at Invite that he played in most rounds, and when an operator is so present in a meta, it shows he is too strong for said META. Players said IQ’s pickrate would die without the nades, well it didn’t because the utility is still the same, I expect the same for Buck.
Buck's losing his frag and the proximity alarm are the most interesting changes I saw. On some teams he will be out of their meta simply because he was used as the go-to frag operator. And Sledge is now the better option. But, I still think he will be used when Maverick is available, for example, since he has grenades.
The proximity alarm is a pretty good secondary gadget which can help us on bomb sites where we have so many lines of sight (Theme Park, for example) or on roaming strats (SSG strat on Club House, for example).
What are your opinions on the recent esport announcements around the world and what are you most excited for out of them?
I am excited that we have another TO in Siege with FACEIT and I am really excited to work and get to know them. If you know my history through siege I didn’t have the best experiences with ESL, but, over time, I really think they nailed the competitive side of our game. I hate that we cant have both like some other titles.
I am always excited for the future, but this game has taught me not to get excited about words and wait and see how it is all executed.
I am really hyped. I think the formats being different in every region like on League of Legends is good, brings more variety and different evolution per region. I would have loved to see a little bit more Bo3 than only NA, but I don’t mind Bo1s too much either. I’m very curious and excited to see how that Swiss format will work for us in APAC North, it is very unique, and I love that.
I really enjoyed the new LATAM format, because we will be finally back on a 100% LAN environment, which is pretty important for the integrity of the results of a match (online isn't that realiable anymore). And we get to play against other South American nations, which will be pretty fun.
What changes, if any, would you make to the formats?
I think I must wait and see how this group format is operated to be able to give a full statement on that.
It’s difficult to say before having played it. Maybe having Bo3s rather than Bo1s, but I know it takes a big toll on production to play under that format. I would like to have seen more Leagues played on LAN like in NA, but I believe the scenes aren’t there yet, in EU or in APAC at least. Honestly, I’m quite satisfied about these announcements and how esports is going to work from now on. Excited for the future!
I would change BR6's format to Bo3 and EU League to Bo3 too. Bo1 and Bo2 are not that viable for competitive And most important, i hate to draw!
Here’s what some other members of the R6 community had to say about the above topics:
North American Pros:
The ex-caster and current player for Mirage of Rob "Flynn" Flynn on the changes in North America:
I’ve made it quite public I’m not a fan of dividing the regions by country, in my own opinion. I believe it restricts growth of talent by limiting who can play with each other. In any sport you’ll have players from multiple countries on any given roster and that’s simply because drawing from a pool of 7 billion people will net you better results than a fraction of that.
I’m not quite sure what the obsession is with imposing country restrictions, but if these are the new rules then so be it, we’re here to win and we’ll do it any way we can while abiding by all rules and regulations.
The two-time World Champion of Troy "Canadian" Jaroslawski on the new operators:
Lauren "Goddess" Williams on the changes during the Soniqs' podcast:
The Oxygen Esports player of Gabriel "LaXInG" Mirelez on Ace's design:
The Rogue player of Maurice "AceeZ" Erkelenz on Amaru
The most successful player in R6 history, Niclas "Pengu" Mouritzen, on House:
And in response to Lycan's complaints:
The Rogue player of Leon "LeonGids" Giddens on House:
The Natus Vincere player of Luke "Kendrew" Kendrew:
Derry "Dezachu" Holt on the new EU esports changes:
Ghassan "Milosh" Finge on the new esports changes in Europe:
Parker "Interro" Mackay on the update:
And his suggestions for Melusi:
The analyst of Alex "z1ronic" Dalgaard-Hansen on the possibilities with the new operators:
The Logic Bomb podcast on the House rework featuring R6S' Senior Level Designer Jeremy Dowsett:
yo_boy_Roy's video with Ubisoft going through the House rework:
George "KingGeorge" Kassa on the new operators:
CoreRoss' Mythbusters episodes on the changes:
Dillon "Get_Flanked" Clark on Ace:
As well as these new operators, map and balance changes, the Operation Steel Wave update sees the release of the new Tenkamusou Smoke Elite:
As well as the Duch Bojowy Zofia Elite:
The new season is available to play in the coming weeks with these changes debuting in the new European League on Monday, June 22nd.