In a move that has had positive initial reactions, Ubisoft has demarcated a three-month Evaluation Period for all new operators that will be introduced from this point onwards. This includes the new Operation Wind Bastion operators Nomad and Kaid.
The Evaluation Period is a simple concept -- for the first three months after the launch of a new operator, he or she will be unable to be picked in competitive play. This ranges from the top-level Pro League, but also includes Challenger League, Major tournaments, DreamHack events, Go4s, and other Ubisoft supported tournaments (e.g. the US Nationals). Terrorist Hunt, Casual, and Ranked playlists in-game will not be affected, and community leagues or initiatives (e.g. CCS or R6 TMs) will have their own rule-set updates, if any.
The move has been attributed “to avoid further unintended mechanics at the highest levels of competitive play”, a clear reference to the unparalleled strength of Lion -- who has finally been placed in an indefinite competitive quarantine -- and other overpowered post-launch operators like Blackbeard and Ela.
Ubisoft’s aims with this move are twofold. Quoting directly from their blogpost, they list the following purposes for these moves:
- The additional visibility and preparation time will enable pros to refine their strategies and skills to best incorporate the unique abilities of the new operators into their play styles.
- The extra time to test & learn meta changes before it hits the top level will serve as a safety net
The same rule already exists for post-launch maps as well, implemented after the launch of Operation Para Bellum, and is the reason why the upcoming in-game season’s map, Fortress, will not be added to the ESL map pool.
The Evaluation Period for operators will be set at three months by default, however, Ubisoft has said that they are open to exploring the extension of this period based on feedback from the pro community.
While there is a definite benefit to this implementation of an Evaluation Period, some have been cautious in their praise. A lack of exploitation of the operators’ abilities to their fullest extent at the highest level of play could mean that balancing of overpowered operators may take longer as their strength may ‘fly under the radar’ given the significant gap between even Platinum and higher-ranked players and the pro community.
There has also not been any word if a post-launch operator, if deemed balanced by the pro community, will be introduced into competitive play before the default three-months of the Evaluation Period have elapsed.
All in all, though, the Evaluation Period is a strong step forward in improving competitive Rainbow Six, and bodes well for the esport’s future.