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Rainbow Six Siege: Operation High Calibre hands-on preview

Rainbow Six Siege's next update introduces a new Irish Operator, a revamped Outback map, and a slew of quality-of-life improvements. Shacknews takes a look.

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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege continues to add to its international roster of Operators with the upcoming Operation High Calibre. The Year 6 Season 4 update will introduce a new playable character from the country of Ireland named Thorn. Thorn will introduce a few new tools for the Defenders, including a new gadget that can make movement a little trickier for the opposing team.

Thorn joins the Siege roster following her previous time as a Technical Weapons Expert for the Ireland Emergency Response Unit. While most new Operators are equipped with weapons from the current pool, Thorn will debut a brand new rifle. The UZK50Gi is a handy assault rifle with a scope attachment that handles better than most of the current weapons in the current Siege pool. On top of that, Thorn uses a new gadget called the Razorbloom Shell. This is a powerful proximity grenade that can be attached to most surfaces. If anyone from the enemy team walks into its range, the Razorbloom Shell will explode in a burst of deadly shrapnel.

The Razorbloom Shell's effectiveness is in its versatility, as skilled users can stuff it in hidden nooks, where enemy players won't easily be able to stop it once it's triggered. It can also be easy to overlook if sessions start to get intense. In at least one instance, time started running out, which led to an Attacker rushing to a bomb site. He didn't notice the Razorbloom Shell stuffed on the opposite end of the wall, leading to an explosion and the end of the round.

Operation High Calibre marks a return to the Outback map, which will receive a major overhaul. The first floor has been revamped to combine the Convenience Store, Compressor Room, Gear Store, and Beer Fridge areas into the Bike Repair and Mechanic Shop, while the Restaurant has been split into two distinct areas. The second floor Office Supply area has been expanded, while the Covered Terrace now connects the Mezzanine and Piano Room. The second floor's bomb sites are now located in the Laundry and Piano Room areas. Getting to the second floor might take some getting used to, because the stairs that were previously housed in the Piano Room have been removed. Defenders will have to be on their guard, though, as new exterior soft walls have been added, giving Attackers new ways to breach the facility.

In addition to the new Operator and map rework, Operation High Calibre will also feature a few balance tweaks to some of Siege's existing characters. Finka's Adrenal Surge has always been a handy tool to help revive allies, but now she'll be able to use it to revive herself. Just be aware that the cooldown is now being doubled to 20 seconds.

Cameras are likewise getting some significant changes. For Echo and Mozzie, their drones can now exit buildings for ten seconds, instead of the previous three seconds. Meanwhile, players who peek through the Bulletproof Cameras placed within buildings can now fire off EMP bursts, which can disable devices. This will be a helpful tool for Defenders, though not for Attackers, since they can't utilize this feature when hacking these cameras. Lastly, cameras will now lose signal when outdoors, which includes the ones in Valkyrie's Black Eye, Maestro's Evil Eye, and the Bulletproof Camera. If they lose signal, they must be redeployed somewhere else in order to function.

With the next big Siege update, the game's developers hope to continue making communication with the playerbase easier. The R6 Fix website is being significantly revamped for greater user friendliness and updated features. On top of that, the interface to report issues has been redesigned to closer resemble what one would find in a standard quality assurance environment. This even includes a "Steps to Reproduce" feature, where users can lay out how to find bugs and glitches. Developers can access any of these bugs and even contact users directly in an effort to fix these issues.

Look for all of these and other features to hit Rainbow Siege with Operation High Calibre. Other items to look out for include a change in team colors from blue and orange to blue and red, with opponents always being red. New customization options will also be implemented, including new Exotic weapon skins that feature 3D effects. These can be earned over the course of a user's Battle Pass progression. Lastly, look for some HUD changes, which will focus on taking up less space and staying consistent with the Siege art direction.

Operation High Calibre will come to the Rainbow Six Siege Test Server on Tuesday, November 9, though in a slightly different format. The new content will be available in the first TS release, while a second TS session will test out experimental content and a third session will try out balance changes. Test Server sessions will be held over the course of the new Rainbow Six Siege season. Look for High Calibre to come to the rest of the game at a later date. Be sure to keep an eye on our continuing Rainbow Six Siege coverage for the latest updates.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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