It's been a few months since Year 6 of Rainbow Six: Siege kicked off with Operation: Crimson Heist, a season that brought a whole range of new content to Ubisoft's tactical shooter, including the Operator Flores. But now, as the Six Invitational 2021 is looking to come to an end, Ubisoft is looking to the second season of Year 6, bringing a new batch of content and launching under the namesake of Operation North Star.
North Star is looking to shake up Rainbow Six Siege once again, and it'll start that all off by introducing its latest defender Thunderbird. This character's real name is Nina Sky, and she heralds from the Nakota region of North America and marks the title's first Native American Operator.
Thunderbird is quite a unique Operator in that she is one of very few healers in the game, and is bringing a new gadget called the Kóna Station, a device that is deployed and acts like a trophy system except instead of blasting explosives and projectiles out the air, this one fires healing nuggets at anyone who steps into its radius. The Kóna Station is a one-of-a-kind gadget as it actually will not only heal allies without Thunderbird having to do anything, but it will also heal enemies that step into its radius. And if you're wondering how much it will heal for, the Kóna Station throws out nuggets that offer 30 health per hit, and act similarly to Doc's healing syringe - in that any healing past a character's max capacity is displayed as a blue health bar that slowly depletes over time.
The Kóna Station also acts like a Jaeger gadget and has a cooldown after firing a shot, but has no ammo limit, making it great in later portions of rounds when allies and enemies are more likely to be injured. But, if all that doesn't seem like enough, the Kóna Station also has one last trick up its sleeve - it can give downed allies and enemies the ability to resurrect whenever they so wish, which essentially means you can get tagged by the Kóna, crawl to a safe area and then self-resurrect without being in danger.
Thunderbird is a three-speed/one-armour Operator, who has the selection between two primary weapons; the Spear.308 assault rifle and the Spas-15 shotgun. As for her secondaries, she can wield the Bearing 9 or the Q-929 pistols, and as for her equipment, she can choose between a Nitro Cell or an Impact Grenade.
But, this season is not all about Thunderbird, Ubisoft has plenty of other features, tweaks and changes planned. Taking centre stage for the Operators is a new feature called shatterglass, a new ability that does basically what it says on the tin. This new mechanic allows you to well... shatter glass, meaning attackers now have the potential to deal with those pesky Mira Black Mirrors, bulletproof cameras, and Maestro's Evil Eye by simply smacking them and making it impossible to see through the glass. Maestro will still be able to open the window on his Evil Eye to shock and spot foes, but bulletproof cameras will no longer be able to spot or ping enemies, and looking through a Mira window will no longer be a possibility.
On top of this, Melusi is seeing yet another change to her Banshee system, which should once again make it even easier to deal with and destroy. And, Smoke is also getting a slight quality of life change to how his poison cloud is distributed. When North Star launches, the gas will act more like fire and will spread more evenly and in a more logical pattern, meaning no more random Smoke gas travelling through solid walls. Last on the list, Finka's ability will now heal upon use, rather than the temporary health boost it used to provide.
North Star is also bringing changes to the causal map Favela. The map has been significantly changed so that it is less cluttered and easier to navigate. The team has spent time tweaking the layout so that there are fewer rooms, but rooms are generally larger, and they have colour-coded a lot of the map (so to speak), to make it easier to traverse and not get lost.
On the topic of making things easier to understand, the muzzle attachments in the weapon customization menu are getting better descriptions that more accurately explain what each does. Then there is also the new after death mechanics that are being expanded on, and in Operation North Star, a killcam is being added that shows how you were eliminated from the enemy's perspective. For those wondering, this can be skipped if you'd prefer to just jump into the supporting phase with your teammates.
In terms of the quality of life updates that are also on the cards, Ubisoft is taking away the ability to be able to peek through single bullet holes. You will still be able to use the crumble system to make sightlines, but you'll no longer be able to see through individual bullet holes in the environment. And, following the previously reported changes to armour (which will see it shift away from a seemingly unspecified amount of damage mitigation to instead extra health per chunk of armour), Rook's ability will now provide each ally that grabs an armoured vest an extra 20 health to play with.
Considering Operation: Crimson Heist is expected to conclude on May 25, we can expect Operation: North Star to be right around the corner. In the meantime, if you haven't already, be sure to check out our review of the Xbox Series/PS5 version of Rainbow Six Siege here.