Another year of updates for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege is about to wrap up and Ubisoft Montreal has saved the best one for last. Operation Solar Raid is the last of the Year 7 updates for Siege and will introduce a new Operator and a brand new map. More importantly for long-time Siege players, though, it will finally add cross-platform play and cross-progression.
The new Operator comes out of Colombia and brings a new approach to defense. Solis is Siege's latest Defender and her focus is more on intel than direct combat. Of course, she can still pack a punch with a P90 or ITA 12L. She's squarely in the middle in terms of stats, able to stay standing with medium-range health and move around at a medium speed to help gather some much-needed information.
Teams will be interested in Solis' SPEC-IO Electro-Sensor gadget, which is a special scanner. It can detect any gadgets from the Attacker side, whether it's an incoming drone, a breaching device, or most opposing Operator gadgets. The SPEC-IO has a long range and can penetrate most walls, but it's a gadget that's most useful in the hands of someone who can frequently communicate with their teammates. If there's a drone nearby or a specific incoming gadget that the team might not have been expecting, detecting it early with the SPEC-IO will allow the defending team to pivot as needed.
Solis' gadget has many uses, but there are also a couple of counters that players should be aware of when jumping in with this new Operator. The SPEC-IO will detect electronic gadgets, but it won't be able to see more blunt objects, like Sledge's giant hammer or Montagne's shield. While Defenders can adjust their strategies on the fly depending on what Solis can detect, keep in mind that Attacker teams with IQ can usually do the same. Be wary of surprise attacks from Attackers like Kali and her CSRX 300 sniper rifle.
Operation Solar Raid will also introduce a brand new map called Nighthaven Labs. This map is placed along a scenic cliffside with the action taking place inside a fancy facility. There are wide open layouts along the main floors, which sets up some intense confrontations either on the second floor or down in the basement. During our time with the new map, it felt like a simple layout, though we started to get ambushed from well-placed hatches along the ceiling toward the end of our hands-on sessions.
Ubisoft Montreal has placed a big focus on quality-of-life for this new update. Above all else, the team emphasized that crossplay and cross-progression are finally ready following a lengthy delay. Players will be able to sign in through their Ubisoft Connect accounts and squad up, regardless of their platform of choice. Of course, there are sometimes issues when playing cross-platform, but players will have the option to disable it if they wish.
Other quality-of-life updates will include new color customization options to help more visually challenged players better identify teammates and opponents. This will also extend to Operator devices and Observation Tools. A change that will be more noticeable to all players will be a speed tweak that makes all Operators move the same when aiming down sights. Staying on the theme of speed, drone speed will no longer be slowed when attempting to strafe with a controller. Lastly, in an effort to allow for better practice sessions (or reduce toxicity), friendly fire is being disabled in the preparation phase going forward.
One more thing Ubisoft Montreal is adding with Siege's next update is a Battle Pass with a slightly new format. The next Battle Pass will feature branching paths that allow players to focus more on the rewards they want first. Regardless of the path they choose, it's possible to complete the Battle Pass and unlock all of its contents.
It won't be long before Rainbow Six Siege starts up Operation Solar Raid. The update will go live on Tuesday, December 6. In the meantime, as part of a collaboration with Square Enix, a new Elite skin set that dresses Iana and Maverick like the leads from Nier: Automata and NieR Replicant, respectively, is available in the in-game shop starting today. For more on the upcoming update, check out the Rainbow Six Siege website.