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As will surely surprise no one, the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege by Ubisoft is going to have microtransactions for players to buy after anteing up to buy the game, which will be lacking a single player campaign. In a new post and related video, Ubisoft detailed the Year One plan for Rainbow Six Siege, and there’s a case of bad news/good news here, beyond the obvious “microtransactions in full priced titles suck.”

The general set up for their system is that they are dividing the year into 4 seasons, which will coincide with ranked gameplay seasons. Each season will have its own title, with season 1 going between January and April and being called Operation Black Ice. During each season, there will be a new map, 2 new operators, gameplay updates, and new weapons and weapon skins guaranteed. Additionally throughout the year, new game modes, events, and seasonal activities will come around for people to play in.

Rainbow Six Siege Operation Black Ice

Let’s start with the good news, as everyone can use something to cheer them up. The good news is that all maps and game modes added throughout the year will be instantly unlocked with no cost to it in either in-game or out of game currency. This thankfully will make sure the player base for the game will not be split, something that could be problematic with a title that is going to be only a few scenarios away from being comparable to Evolve in being multiplayer only. These modes will unlock throughout the year as they are released for their season.Rainbow Six Siege timeline

Continuing in more neutral areas, the only things that will be completely locked to microtransactions are cosmetic weapon skins in the Tier 4 and 5 level. There are 5 tiers of weapon skins, and the last two are locked only to be purchased with R6 credits. Thankfully unlike say Payday 2 weapon skins, these do appear to be cosmetic only and are more comparable to the stuff you’d see in a free to play game that you can support that way. In their post, Ubisoft says that about a third of weapon skins will be Tier 4 and 5. Some of the lower tier skins, such as Tier 1, are going to be unlockable via renown, the in-game currency, only.

Rainbow Six Siege Skins

Now is where we get into more of a murky area—the unlock with play time or purchase. This is the unlocking of new operators and the Tier 2 and 3 weapon skins. First of all, on the skins, we’re dealing with cosmetic here again, so beyond the general “microtransactions suck” we aren’t dealing with anything that impacts game play and you will be able to theoretically unlock them with just putting in time and getting Renown. There is no mention of the cost for these at the moment, and it is possible they may be set to be expensive to encourage more post-launch play or just to buy the damn credits. 

The operators, though, is where there may be more concern. Rainbow Six Siege will launch with 20 operators in the base game, and they will unlock through game play at a quicker rate there—the first in a counter-terrorist unit costing 500 renown, the second 1000 and so forth. With an expected earning of about 1000 renown per hour, that means with the core ones you should keep unlocking them at a fair pace for the most part.

With the post-launch ones, however, they are putting them at 25 000 Renown to unlock in game play. Speaking on it, Ubisoft says that FPS players tend to spend 8-10 hours a week on their favourite game and they wanted it to take 2-3 weeks for straight play to unlock a post-launch operator. They can also be unlocked for 600 R6 Credits, which can be purchased for $4.99 from Ubisoft. Part of the issue here is that in their accompanying video, Ubisoft says that with the post-launch operators they are specifically looking at trying to shake up the meta-game and disrupt patterns that have arisen with their new operators who will have their own weapon loads and unique gadget. In the video a variety of Ubisoft employees speak on different parts about it, and here’s a couple quotes relevant to that:

“I hope that every time a new operator is going to come, it’s going to act as a new piece of the puzzle  that basically changes the whole way you need to solve it.” —Jean-Baptiste Halle, User Research Manager

“New Operators are designed to disrupt the game’s meta. You’ll need to learn how to use their skills, and defend against them,” One of the Ubisoft Montreal employees speaking in French said, with accompanying subtitles, “They’ll open up new combinations with existing Operators, which players will have to master.”

While in other parts of the video Ubisoft stresses that they don’t want people to feel forced to pay, with the relatively short seasons, and the focus on disrupting the metagame with new operators who need a large time investment or some down payment money, it could end up causing another situation to arise where players feel forced to buy an operator or feeling left behind in the game.

Rainbow Six Siege Philosphy


More details were provided in the post on some interesting things that I’ll bring up quickly here, and details beyond that post are also available on the Rainbow Six Siege site:

  • Ubisoft will have a team of about 80 people dedicated to listening to feedback and monitoring statistics
  • There was a hint of other potential cosmetic items in the future, or at least leaving the door open there
  • Renown can be earned in most everything you do, whether you win or lose a match. Your scores in kills, assists, revives will earn points as well. Ranked matches will earn more Renown than unranked, while teammate kill griefing will cost have a negative impact on Renown. Daily Challenges, such as x number of headshots, can earn additional Renown as can doing encouraged activities like watching tutorials.
  • R6 Credits are available at $4.99 USD for 600, with larger packages at launch being 1200, 2670, 4920, and 7560 designed to offer more R6 Credits per dollar, although no price was publicly released.
  • There will be a Renown Booster available for purchase in R6 Credits to earn more Renown 

Updated: Originally I forgot to put in the Renown Booster in the list. It is now there at the end of the list.

Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.