Rainbow Six Siege, Ubisoft's first major foray into the esports landscape and it has been one with a mixed result. Plagued by server side issues for the first part of its life, any form of consistent online play was hard to come by. Followed by the axing of the Xbox One esports support, it looked destined to fall and not reach anywhere close to its true potential.
But Ubisoft did something that a large number of developers don't usually do. They acknowledged that there were a number of issues plaguing the game on all platforms and they spent the time and resources needed to fix it. This culminated in a recent set of updates called "Operation Health" which addressed connection issues, game breaking bugs, rebalancing operatives and hit registration.
This mixed with help from the local Ubisoft offices, ESL and an extremely dedicated community, Rainbow Six Siege is starting to gain traction and fast. While it is true that the Xbox One esports support was dropped, a large number of teams are transitioning to PC as the game is touted as a 'Tactical Team Shooter'. This means a large part of gameplay revolves around teamwork and tactical decisions, not just raw gunplay.
While the smarts of the game remain the same between the two versions, the difference between a controller and a mouse is one that is hard to overcome. But the Mindfreak R6S team are currently doing just that, as they look to carry over unprecedented success from console to PC.
We spoke to Mindfreak R6S players Magnet and Acez about the difficulties of transitioning from console to PC.
Acez attributed his past experiences in PC gaming as part of the reason why it was easier for him to put down the controller; "With previous experience playing PC games throughout my childhood, it hasn't been as hard of a challenge adjusting to keyboard & mouse like the other boys have had.
When comparing Rainbow Six Siege between Console and PC. It tends to feel like there is a lot less skill in using a KB&M. You can easily get a lucky flick to the head or get an epic turn on somebody. Whereas on console, people would just question if you're actually using a controller."
"From my experience playing siege on my brother's PC, it will definitely be a struggle transitioning to a mouse and keyboard. Hopefully it won't take long for all the boys to get their shots on." Magnet said, not sharing the same ease of transition as Acez.
However, one thing that they did share the same views on was their thoughts on the difference in the meta between the consoles.
"The meta on Console is also very different. PC teams tend to focus more on their shot and fragging the enemy team whilst on console it is more focused on strategy and to take rounds to the last second to win. It does take a few games to get into competing on console again. You tend to get a couple of thought blocks when transitioning between a keyboard and controller at first but it's easy to get back into it." Acez went on to say.
Magnet added "The team will continue to adapt to the ever changing meta so that the strat side of the transition will be easier."
Dizzle, captain of Mindfreak R6S, gave us a detailed view of how he has seen the whole move and how he believes the team has been going.
"At the Rainbow Six Invitational, Ubisoft announced that the Pro League would become a PC only platform. This was a little disheartening as I personally have been a console gamer for over 25 years and thought that the chance of a professional or semi professional career in gaming was over as soon as it started.
I couldn't see myself learning a mouse and keyboard, but Elev8 (the reigning Xbox One world champions) made the switch with only 2 weeks of pc and mouse and keyboard practice and were the most successful North American team at the Pro League LAN. This was an inspiration and I went out and bought a mouse straight away.
I have been borrowing my wife's office keyboard and play Rainbow 6 siege on my laptop currently and already have a positive kd and winning most of my engagements. It hasn't been as difficult as I'd thought but is a lot faster to acquire targets and kill, which admittedly does make for better spectating and can see why Ubisoft made the decision.
The PC scene relies less on strategy and more so on gun skill and flicking a mouse to land a headshot; as a headshot is a 1 hit kill in R6. With enough practice having an equal amount of skill, but superior game knowledge and strategy will be what separates us apart from the rest as well as being the only ANZ team with any LAN experience especially at a international level.
The support shown from key contributors to our success has been a truly humbling experience and will never be forgotten or taken for granted. The ongoing support from Reagan and Albert; the owners of Mindfreak has made us feel like a genuine part of the MindFamily. Hopefully with their continued backing as well as a few other pivotal influences we will be back on the world stage and continue to do our best to make APAC proud.
This has literally been a dream come true; which being in my late 20's i thought was well passed me. I'd also like to thank my wife for allowing a man to live out his boyhood dream. This is the start of big things in the APAC esports scene and the first step into a world changing endeavour for a truly global scene for Rainbow 6 Siege and Ubisoft"
Ubisoft Australia has been, and continues to be, a driving force for the Rainbow Six Siege esports community and as this game continues to flourish, Mindfreak R6S will be there to grow with them.
Stay tuned for more exciting Rainbow Six Siege news in the coming weeks!