Rainbow Six Siege’s Y4S4.3 full patch notes

Expect a new API, increased ADS time, nerfs to Jäger, and a buff to other operators.

Image via Ubisoft

Rainbow Six Siege’s first major update of 2020 is scheduled to come to PC on Jan. 28 and consoles on Jan. 29. But Ubisoft gave fans a preview of what’s coming by releasing the patch notes one day early.

The patch follows the direction taken in a previous Test Server update and will include a series of balancing changes to game mechanics and different operators.

This large update will usher in a new API for testing, increase ADS times across the board, and make changes to Blackbeard, Echo, Ela, Finka, Jäger, Maestro, Ying, Nokk, and Smoke. Here’s everything that’s coming with this patch.

Vulkan API

Ubisoft is introducing a new API for testing in Siege. The new interface will “improve performance on a number of levels” over DirectX 11.

“In brief, the Vulkan API will enable us to make improvements on workload through Dynamic Texture Indexing to reduce CPU cost, and Dynamic Resolution and AsyncCompute to reduce GPU cost,” an official blog post on the API reads. “By combining all these features, we can optimize both the GPU and CPU cost of rendering.”

Players can test Vulkan by selecting the appropriate option when launching the game and should update their video driver for the best results. For a list of supported hardware or a more technical explanation of the API, users can visit Ubisoft’s official blog.

Increased ADS times

Operation Ember Rise improved the animations for aiming down sights and caused a widespread decrease in ADS time for all weapons. The Test Server (TS) update released earlier this month intended to “make ADS speeds similar to what they were pre-Ember Rise, as well as align ADS times for all weapons in each of their respective classes,” Ubisoft said in the TS patch notes. The values for each weapon category are as follows:

  • Assault rifles: from 0.30s to 0.40s
  • DMRs: from 0.30s up to 0.40s
  • SMGs: from 0.20s up to 0.30s
  • LMGs: from 0.40s up to 0.45s
  • Pistol: 0.10s up to 0.20s
  • SMG in secondary slots: 0.10s up to 0.275s
  • Shotguns: 0.20s up to 0.25s

For the most part, the TS adjustments will make their way to the live servers unchanged. The exception is SMGs in secondary slots, though. After feedback from tests, Ubisoft decided to increase the ADS time for those weapons to 0.275s rather than the previous 0.35s.

Operator balance

Ubisoft is making important changes to a myriad of characters. Some operators, like Echo, got significant changes in strategy and counterplay options. Others only had their weapons adjusted.

Echo

Echo is unaffected by Dokkaebi’s ability, but not for long. The new update will make him a prime target for her skills.

Echo will now carry a cellphone like the other operators. Dokkaebi can make his phone ring to give out his position and hacking into his cell will give attackers access to his Yokai cameras. His drones will also have lights that show when not cloaked and change color when they’ve been compromised, so defenders know that the enemy team may be watching.

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“This a way for us to offer more counters to this very powerful and frustrating defender, more particularly in situations when attackers are planting the defuser,” Ubisoft said in the Designer’s Notes. The operator is the second most-banned defender with a 73-percent ban rate (only bested by Mira’s 84 percent). These changes are meant to give players more room to fight him.

Ying

Ying’s Candelas are a great tool for blinding enemies, but they can also flashbang your team if used carelessly. The latest patch will push a series of changes to her unique gadget to make it more consistent and less prone to friendly fire.

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Candelas will now have an outline that’s only visible to Ying. This should make it easier to keep track of the ordnance. Ubisoft also improved the distribution of the clusters, increased the number of pellets, and greatly reduced its fuse time.  The company explained what it aimed to accomplish with the adjustments.

“We’re looking to make Ying’s Candelas more reliable and consistent as a whole,” the TS patch notes read. “The new outline will also make her Candela mechanics more readable. And as pellets will explode mid-air instead of on the floor to avoid undesirable collisions, it will make Candela mechanics clearer.”

Blackbeard

Blackbeard’s changes are directly related to the global tweaks to ADS time. The operator’s unique ADS penalization will only apply with the gun shield equipped and weapons without it will “maintain the same ADS timings as any other AR.” The patch won’t alter the time it takes to aim down sights for guns while the gun shield is equipped and the values will be the same as on the live servers.

“We want Blackbeard players to make a conscious decision when equipping the shield,” Ubisoft said in the Designer’s Notes. “The idea is to either have extra reactivity in firefights when switching to ADS or to have extra protection from the gun shield.”

Jäger

Jäger’s 416-C is widely lauded as one of the best defense weapons in the game, but its reign may be in danger. The next update will reduce its damage from 43 to 38, which is a significant decrease. The tweak intends to put Wamai and Jäger more on par with each other since their unique gadgets serve a similar purpose.

“[with] Wamai now in the game we feel it’s an appropriate time to make some moves and try to reduce the power of his 416-C which outperforms all other guns on Def,” the TS patch notes read.

Ela

The recoil on Ela’s Scorpion Evo3 was decreased for the first 16 shots in the magazine. The TS patch notes describe the weapon as “one of the most difficult and frustrating weapons” in Siege. Although the operator performs well, she’s still under-picked. The tweaks aim to make the weapon “less of a learning barrier” without breaking Ela’s balance.

Finka

The damage on Finka’s Spear .308 was raised to 42 from 38, a significant increase that should make her a more popular choice. She’s one of the least picked operators, according to the Designer’s Notes, with a single-digit pick rate.

Nokk/Smoke

The damage on Siege’s FMG-9 was increased to 34 from 30. These changes are mostly aimed at Nokk and intend to highlight her stealth-oriented kit and give her some extra firepower on gunfights. The tweak also has an indirect impact on Smoke, however, since the operator can choose the FMG-9 as a primary weapon, too.

Maestro

Maestro’s ALDA lost its ACOG compatibility, a seemingly minor tweak that can have an impact on the operator. Ubisoft thinks the weapon “is powerful even without the ACOG” and wants to see if removing it will “highlight its other great qualities.”