Operation Ember Rise is a massive turning point for Rainbow Six Siege, but the paradigm shift may also bring the elimination of new weapons for new operators.
The topic of weaponry is one of several hot-button issues surrounding the newest season of Siege and players are a bit heated. New operators have been introduced to Siege every season since the game’s release in December 2015. Along with new operators come new weapon loadouts that are unique to those operators. The loadouts add a built-in layer of complexity to each operator that presents players with a new challenge every season until Operation Phantom Sight hit as hard as a Fire Nation attack.
Y4S2, otherwise known as Operation Phantom Sight, marked the beginning of the end for new operator loadouts. The Danish attacker was given access to Smoke’s FMG9 and Lesion’s SIX 12 SD, while the American defender was given the abysmal loadout of Valkyrie’s MPX and the SAS’ M590A1. Fans were already displeased with the recycled loadouts and reused “unique” abilities. But then Operation Ember Rise was revealed and things got even worse.
Fans have been vocal with their criticism on the lack of new weaponry for the Ember Rise operators Amaru and Goyo, and rightfully so—kind of. The issue here is that Ubisoft has built up a certain expectation within the fan base that there will be new weapons. There’s no reason for fans not to have this expectation since new weaponry has always been included with each season. It’s upsetting to some that the newest operators are shipping out with recycled loadouts because it takes away from the excitement and uniqueness of each operator, but it also may take away from Season Pass buyers.
The Season Pass of Siege grants players access to the newest operators a week earlier than those who don’t purchase the pass. It also allows players to own the operators outright, whereas non-pass holders must grind to unlock ops. Things get messy when deliberating what’s owed to Season Pass holders. They’re paying for the operators and they’re paying to use their gadgets and weapons.
Not giving operators new weapons seems like a massive misstep since it’s going to take a lot of smooth-talking to resolve this issue with certain Season Pass adopters. Building an expectation of something and charging for it only to take part of it away is dicey, to say the least. There’s no way to argue against the expectation set by Ubisoft, but then again, do Season Pass holders pay for the weaponry or the operators? The value of the Season Pass is in question here and nobody seems to agree one way or another.
Ubisoft creative director Alexandre Remy provided an interesting reason for the lack of new weaponry in Siege going forward in an interview with Trusted Reviews’ Jake Tucker. The reasoning for not having new weapons in Siege simply comes down to licensing and adapting each gun. It sounds like a weak reason, but in terms of licensing, it might make sense. There are over 90 weapons in the game as of Operation Burnt Horizon, according to Tucker. The learning curve for Siege is rough and only gets tougher with each new weapon, so it would make sense that Ubisoft wants to pull back on adding any more. But it also reads like a cop-out to many fans.
Ultimately, it seems like the lack of new weaponry is and isn’t an issue. The debate about what’s owed to Season Pass holders is undoubtedly problematic but it’s hard to see a future in which Ubisoft doesn’t address this side of the argument. With 90 guns in the game, it seems like players have plenty to work with, especially when paired with new operator abilities. The main thing Ubisoft can do and seems to have learned from Phantom Sight is to give operators thoughtful loadouts like it has with Amaru and Goyo.
The lack of new weapons for new operators combined with the implementation of a paid Battle Pass is really soiling Siege’s public image right now and the community is pretty divided on both issues. Ubisoft may want to look at addressing these issues and concerns sooner rather than later since the Siege community usually isn’t very forgiving. Most people still refer to Alexandre Remy as “Mr. Operation Health,” since Operation Health didn’t yield the promised results in some fans’ eyes. The fan base will want to see more satisfying answers before the official launch of Operation Ember Rise.
Operation Ember Rise is live now on the Test Server. Fans are encouraged to go check out the new operators and report back to Ubisoft with any bugs, exploits, or additional feedback.