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Scopes in Rainbow Six Siege - Should Ubisoft keep buffing defenders with the 1.5x scope?

Balancing operators is very hard, but does it make sense to buff operators with 1.5x scopes?

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Balancing operators in Rainbow Six Siege is a pain. As expected, you can’t keep everyone happy and criticism is always guaranteed, especially in a community with two types of players – casual and competitive.

Ubisoft’s most popular methodology to buff operators is some sort of vicious circle, a Sponge Bob ol’ reliable tactic for low-pick rate operators, particularly defenders. It consists of improving Siege characters by giving them a 1.5x scope, a vague but short-term efficient attempt to improve an operator.

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Buffing operators with this technique is a piece of cake. Unfortunately, it only pours more gasoline on the fire as Ubisoft’s not-so-secret formula has no success in Rainbow Six Siege. Eventually, the developers realize how much the pick rate increased over time and are obliged to remove the famous scope. It simply isn’t a long-term solution.

Operation Dread Factor’s most recent update has included a sight buff which has affected Thorn. According to Ubisoft’s Designer’s Notes released five days ago, Thorn’s pick and win rates on PC are around 6% and -1%, respectively. Now, the developers expect both to raise by giving her a 1.5x scope to use on her UZK50GI.

As Ubisoft reported on their recent Designer's Notes: "Thorn is currently one of the least picked trappers on defender lineups, we've decided to boost her loadout by adding a 1.5x sight to the UZK50GI, this should increase her popularity within the trapper ecosystem."

So Ubisoft admitted that Thorn is "one of the least picked trappers" in Rainbow Six Siege. However, instead of buffing her traps, they improve her loadout.

Objectively speaking, Thorn deserved a buff – but not on her loadout. Similar to Vigil, Thorn can bring a submachine gun as a primary and a machine pistol as a secondary option. It’s a very aggressive loadout for a roamer, already one of the best in the game before the arrival of her 1.5x scope.

Moreover, the recent tweaks in Smoke and Alibi’s gadgets saw both operators losing their Deployable Shields, a very important piece of utility nowadays. This alone could have increased the pick rates of the Irish operator, who still has the device.

Plain and simple, going for a scope buff is lazy and will probably end up with the developers reverting the decision. Instead, a buff to her utility would have been a great first step towards a healthy improvement. Shortening the triggering time of her mines or even adding an extra mine are simple ideas that could have improved her performance in Rainbow Six Siege.

Year 5 Season 3 - Scope Updates

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In Year 5 Season 3, Ubisoft introduced a large-scope update that affected every operator in Rainbow Six Siege. Most operators got new sights, including the famous Russian scopes that, before then, only Russian operators could use.

Many operators benefited from Ubisoft’s decision, including Lesion, whose pick rate went from 27 to 42. Back then, he was possibly the best defender in the game thanks to the strength of his mines and his primary weapon.

Another operator who massively benefited from Ubisoft’s decision was Frost, whose primary weapon got the 1.5x scope. Eventually, the developers decided to remove it from her loadout. However, she got it back a few months later. Since she got back the 1.5x sight, her pick rate has doubled.

Scopes and how to do their performance changes in Rainbow Six Siege

Note: All data was collected from Ubisoft’s official Designer’s Notes, some numbers may not be 100% accurate. The numbers have been collected from the Designer's Notes published by Ubisoft before giving the scope, during, and after the removal.

We have gathered information about some operators’ performances in Rainbow Six Siege before getting, during, and after the removal of the 1.5x scope. Here’s what we observed:

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Regardless of how the scope affected the operators' performance, it always increased its win and pick rates – except for Tachanka, whose buff also included a 2.0x sight and the change was very limited due to his gadget.

Alibi is the greatest example of why developers shouldn’t necessarily buff an operator through scopes. Ubisoft confirmed that Y6S2.2 would bring a 1.5x and a 2.0x scopes for the Italian’s MX4 Storm and ACS12, respectively. Back then, Alibi’s pick rate was 5 and it escalated to 66 by Y7S4, when Ubisoft decided to remove it.

Other examples include Oryx and Kapkan, who established a Ranked reign of terror as their pick rates were multiplied by 15 and 6, respectively. Despite losing the famous scope, Kapkan’s pick rate is still quite large compared to the past, possibly because he can now place multiple traps on the same door frame and the explosive gadgets he has.

Warden, whose MPX has access to a 1.5x scope, is also worth mentioning. He’s currently the defender with the highest presence in Rainbow Six Siege with a pick-rate close to 50, so he could lose the scope shortly.

So, is adding a 1.5x scope a bad idea?

Usually, yes. It’s a very poor and quick alternative to sky-rocket an operator’s performance in Rainbow Six Siege. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s always going to be the case.

Going back to Year 5 Season 3, Ubisoft’s scope update brought back some operators alive, making them good alternatives in some maps.

A great example is Castle, who was given a 1.5x scope for his UMP5. Eventually, Pulse would get it as well, with the release of Y7S3. Doc and Rook were also given 1.5x and even a 2.0x for the latter, as recent ability buffs have elevated their position in the game.

We think that some operators can benefit from scope upgrades, but the line is very, very thin. Thorn’s 1.5x scope will possibly become a problem and should be stopped as soon as possible if its pick rate ascends too much, like in Alibi’s case. Instead, an upgrade should be focused on her gadget.

It's also important to accept that not all operators fit in Rainbow Six Siege and, despite it would be cool to see all of them being played constantly, it's simply impossible. Some of them will always be more important than others because of the gadgets they have, and that cannot be changed.

Should all defenders lose their 1.5x scope?

Although we may think giving out 1.5x scopes so easily to operators to upgrade their in-game status may be a bad idea, we still think 1.5x scopes are essential for defenders.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to face attackers in gun-fights, especially in long-distance duels – especially for casual players. To keep them in the game, it’s vital to make Siege easier to understand and to be played.

So, a good idea could be that only some flex and anchor operators should have access to the 1.5x scope. Echo, Doc, and Rook having access to 1.5x and even 2.0x scopes are great as these operators get to be important on some maps with long corridors. It’s also a great tool to make them stronger at gun-fights, always considering the current state of their primary weapon – for example, giving it to Maestro could be a mistake.

Warden is in a weird position, as he’s currently a two-speed, two-health operator. As his ability is mostly used to stop attackers from pushing the site, he could keep the scope while changing his traits to make him a one-speed operator. Aruni’s speed change helped balance her while keeping the 1.5x scope for her MK 14 EBR.

Currently, an operator that could benefit from a 1.5x scope is Melusi, whose pick rate is below 10. Back when she was a three-speed operator, giving her such scope for her MP5 would be a horrible idea. Now, however, as she's a one-speed operator, the idea could fit in today's meta, following the concepts of Doc and Rook, who are one-speed operators with the MP5.

Roamers shouldn’t get any magnifying scope as it would put them in a very strong position, with Alibi being the clearest example. Buffing operators with 1.5x scopes isn't a bad idea, but it must be put into perspective: giving a 1.5x scope to a roamer is not the same as giving it to an anchor.

Now, history tells us that Thorn’s pick rate is possibly sentenced to abruptly skyrocket to a point Ubisoft doesn’t want to – ending in the removal of the scope from her loadout. Her losing the 1.5x is likely, but only time will tell.

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