Thunderbird is Go!
For the past few seasons, Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege has added multiple new weapons, gadgets, and techniques to reduce your opposition to dust — regardless of whether you’re playing Defender or Attacker. To date, only Doc and Finka can be considered anything close to “healers” within Siege‘s fast-paced, fast-dying universe. But that’s all set to change come the tactical shooter’s newest season.
Operation: North Star welcomes new Defender Mina Sky, better known by her call-sign “Thunderbird”. Heralding from the Indigenous Nakoda nation, Mina grew up with a deep love and reverence for Mother Earth, dedicating her early life to the study of both hydrology and medicine. Now a trustworthy pilot, a fearless explorer, and a master of field adaptation, Mina’s brave heart and skillful application of aid under fire saved the life of Rainbow operator Saana “Nomad” El Maktoub, an act which brought Mina to attention — and eventual induction — at Team Rainbow.
Thunderbird brings with her the hi-tech Kona Healing Station, a mobile unit that heals any teammates located within its field. Additionally, the Kona can get downed operators back on their feet, allowing for squad revival at a distance, when line-of-sight is too risky a proposition. The Kona must be installed by hand, so deploying the device at predictable points of conflict — such as a bomb site or chokepoints — offers a distinct advantage for the defending team. Though a powerful tool, the Kona needs to cool down between each wave of healing, and can be readily destroyed by gunfire or explosions.
A 1-Armor, 3-Speed operator, Thunderbird can quickly move into position to set her Kona Station during prep phase, before transitioning to fast and efficient field work once the lead starts spraying. Thunderbird can be equipped with a SPEAR .308 AR or a SPAS-15 shotgun, with the Bearing 9 automatic pistol and the tried-and-tested Q-929 handgun as her secondary options.
Alongside the arrival of Thunderbird, Operation: North Star will see another classic map rework. This time around, it’s the turn of Brazil-based war zone “Favela”. One of the largest and most labyrinthine of Rainbow Six Siege’s maps, Favela has now been redesigned in order to create stricter directional paths and wider open areas. The developers hope that the design will cause less geographical confusion and will prevent players from getting lost.
While the map’s interiors have received a major overhaul, its exterior are almost unrecognizable — at least from an aesthetic standpoint. Now set in the late-evening, Favela is spotlit with dramatic and immersive new lighting and framed with an overhead fireworks display… not to be confused with the fireworks you and your squad are letting off within the town’s walls.
Over on the Rainbow Six Siege test servers, the dev team will be rolling out some of its previously teased new mechanics. These include the new health system, which will denote both health and armor as a single number. Also joining the test server is the ability for D.O.A. Defenders to retain access to their field gadgets — for example Maestro’s Evil Eye, or Echo’s annoying Yokai Drone. This is a concerted effort to increase players’ interactivity options once left full o’ holes and out for the count. Should the new mechanics prove successful, they will be added to the main game at a later date.