Everything you need to know about Siege's Outbreak mode and year-three content

On the ground at the Six Invitational in Montreal reaps interesting insights for the immediate future and next year of Rainbow Six Siege content.

Everything you need to know about Siege's Outbreak mode and year-three content

Yesterday, the embargo lifted for Rainbow Six Siege: Operation Chimera, so I was able to break down what to expect from the two new attacking operators, Finka and Lion. The thing is, there’s a big and unique part of Operation Chimera that I wasn’t allowed to detail yesterday, that I can now break down for you now: Outbreak mode. Beyond Operation Chimera and Outbreak, key devs from Ubisoft also shared details about the third year of content for Rainbow Six Siege. Here’s everything I know and everything you need to know about Outbreak and the announced content for Rainbow Six Siege’s third year.

What is Outbreak?
Outbreak is a new cooperative mode for Rainbow Six Siege that’s part of the Operation Chimera DLC drop. While there won’t be a new PvP map for Operation Chimera, Outbreak mode has three different maps, both of which have two phases to them. It’s restricted to three players and will be available in Normal and Pandemic difficulties. Players fight against waves of AI foes to complete Siege-like objectives (plant bombs, protect hostages, etc.), albeit without the preparation phase, and will fight against five different enemy archetypes.

What's the difference between Normal and Pandemic difficulties?
Normal mode is easier and, unlike Terrorist Hunt, has friendly fire disabled. On Pandemic difficulty, enemies have more hitpoints, enemies deal more damage, and special archetypes spawn in groups (instead of individually).

What are the five Outbreak enemy archetypes?
They Outbreak foes break down into Grunt, Breacher, Rooter, Apex, and Smasher. Grunts are the most common and the squishiest. They're easier to kill when they're unaware of you, but if they notice you (noise or flashlights in their faces), they armour up and call in support. Breachers are like a mobile Thermite, which can explode in your face, or explode on reinforcements to destroy them (plus walls).

The other three archetypes appear during events and can be randomised. Rooters move fast, teleport, and can make roots appear around players to stop movement. You have to attack her to free yourself or your friends. Apex are floating foes that are a lot like Wizards in Destiny. They take a tonne of damage, can block your view with a ranged projectile, and can smash you off your feet if you get too close.

Smashers are like a Montagne monster: impervious to attacks from the front, but squishy in the back. Shooting him in the face makes him angry, though. He's like the Beserker in Gears of War that charges at you once you get its attention. You can step aside, though, and stab the Smasher in the back as long as it runs into a solid object.

Which operators are available in Outbreak?
Not all operators are available in Outbreak. Instead, Ubisoft Montreal has limited the selection to a pool of 10 attackers and defenders. The two new attackers are included, Finka and Lion, alongside existing operators Smoke, Ying, Buck, Kapkan, Ash, Tachanka, Doc, and Glaz. Just like Siege’s other modes, you’ll have to have the characters unlocked to use them in Outbreak.

It’s worth noting that every weapon has a flashlight on it which, by default, can be switched off or on with ‘6’. Pro tip: turn off your flashlight when squaring off against the teleporting enemy archetype (Rooter) to lower the frequency of her disappearing.

What do you do in Outbreak?
You complete objectives across three maps. At least in preview, the maps were randomised, both in which one you get to play and in terms of enemy compositions. Mostly, you’ll be fighting against waves of different enemy types that includes regular grunts, explosive foes, wall breachers, as well as powerful boss types. There’s a tough Tank-like (think Left 4 Dead) one that’s vulnerable in its back. Then there’s a teleporting smaller boss that can trap you in place unless it takes damage. Finally, there’s a floating one that can blind you and toss you across the room.

How long is Outbreak available?
It’s reportedly only available for four weeks. During my interviews, the Ubisoft devs didn’t seem to be open to budging on this. It’ll be available to all Siege players during the start of Operation Chimera, more specifically from 6 March for four weeks. If you want to play it, you’ll have to do so during this timeframe.

How is Outbreak different to Terrorist Hunt?
Apart from the freaky aliens, Outbreak also has all-new environments. Operators have been tweaked slightly in certain cases, in terms of their loadouts which now favour more aggressive ordnance (frag grenades and nitro cells) over smoke, shields, and barbed wire. There are also fixed points where health, ballistic ammunition, grenades, and even special abilities can be replenished in limited quantities (usually three, except for ballistic ammo, which seems to have unlimited resupplies).

What maps are available in Outbreak?
Three new maps are available to play in Outbreak: Hospital, Junkyard, and Resort, all set in New Mexico. Resort is described as a map with mid- to long-range engagements. Hospital is built for close-quarters battles (don’t forget a shotgun: they’re awesome in Outbreak). And Junkyard is more of a horde-style take on the mode.

What’s planned for year three of Siege?
Operation Chimera is the first of four planned DLC drops in 2018. This year will the operator list grow with the aforementioned Lion and Finka, as well as new operators from Italy, Vietnam, plus one more from the UK and USA (Delta was specifically mentioned). Still no word on the release of Australian operators beyond that it’s part of future plans (beyond year three).

What new maps will be available in year three of Siege?
According to the infographic during the year three presentation, there will be two new PvP maps in 2018, which will drop with the second and fourth DLC, respectively. Ubisoft Montreal also plans to buff existing maps and even fully rework some.

What’s the difference between map buff and map rework?
Map buffs have been described as tweaks to existing maps, which range from minor to substantial. These buffs are designed to improve balance by correcting layout flaws (based on Ubisoft Montreal’s telemetry data) and to ensure there are four viable objective locations. Buffs may add or remove walls/doors, tweak spawns, and change objective locations. Club House is the first map that’ll be receiving the buff treatment.

Map reworks are a complete overhaul, with new level design and new artwork. Ubisoft Montreal said it’s best to envision these maps as alternative versions of the existing ones. Hereford Base is the first planned map rework for year three. There’ll be a focus on improving the “readability” of the map, specifically as it relates to penetrable surfaces. The reworked Hereford map is set 30 years in the past, which will change the look of it. In terms of gameplay, there’ll be tweaks to the objective sites to offer attractive options beyond the basement defence, as well as level redesigns to encourage attackers to move inside rather than taking shots from outside.

When’s Yacht coming back?
Not that there were any announcements about buffing or reworking, but Yacht will also reportedly re-enter the casual map rotation in season one of year three.

How frequently will buffed/reworked maps be released?
Ubisoft Montreal’s aim is to release a buffed or reworked map each season. That said, they did add the disclaimer that reworked and buffed maps will only be released when they’re done.

What else is being reworked in Siege for year three?
Devs teased that the defuser will be reworked for year three but didn’t say anything beyond that.

Will attachments still have to be purchased for weapons?
No. As of Operation Chimera, attachments won’t have to be purchased for weapons anymore and will be automatically unlocked.

What changes have been made to the Starter and Standard editions of Siege?
The Standard edition of Siege will now have all 20 launch operators unlocked for owners. Starter edition players will now have a choice of six unlocked launch operators instead of four. One of the Ubisoft Montreal devs expressed a desire to continue to address player gripes about the inherent grind required to unlock content in Siege.

What’s the new pick-and-ban phase for Siege’s competitive scene?
Ubisoft Montreal is adding an operator pick-and-ban phase. Defenders will ban the first attacking operator, then attackers will ban the second attacking operator. Attackers will then ban the first defending operator, and defenders will ban the second defending operator. This ban applies for the entire map, meaning it will impact both teams.

How will the round flow change in Siege’s competitive scene?
In season two, Ubisoft Montreal is planning on introducing five straight rounds of attack or defence per team, instead of alternating attack/defence rounds. On top of this, attackers and defenders can also see the other team’s operator picks before the preparation phase, but with a twist. There’s a “sixth pick” that amounts to a single change of one of the five transparent choices, but it remains anonymous. This means teams can play mind games with opponents who will have to guess (or spot) whichever of the transparent roster of five attackers/defenders has been changed during the round.

Are there any other changes to Siege’s competitive scene?
Yes, it’s getting bigger. It’s now operating on a six-month phase instead of three, meaning every team in each region should get to play each other twice in an official LAN capacity. There’s also a new major that’ll be in Paris in August, as well as the addition of minor LANs. Every match will be streamed, too.

Will there be a Rainbow Six Siege 2?
Not any time soon. That said, Ubisoft Montreal has confirmed it has plans for 100 operators, which means at least another eight years of content, but there was talk about plans for the next decade of Rainbow Six Siege.

If there’s anything I’ve missed or you’d like to know more information about, please let me know in the comments below.

My flights, meals, and accommodation were paid for by Ubisoft.

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