GAMESCOM 2017: Blood Orchid hands on & exclusive footage, how will this affect the game’s meta?

Today at Gamescom Esports Pro got a chance to get our hands on the content coming to Rainbow Six Siege with the forthcoming Blood Orchid update, with exclusive footage

Today at Gamescom Esports Pro got a chance to get our hands on the content coming to Rainbow Six Siege with the forthcoming Blood Orchid update.

We played with the three new operators — the new attacker Ying, and defenders Lesion and Ela — in a bomb defusal match on new map Theme Park. You can see the edited footage, and our direct thoughts on the operators, in the video below or you can read the words. That's right, we've gone all multimedia. Just this once.

Blood Orchid's new operators all seemed themed around traps, and although the recorded game was my first, I also got to explore a little more about how you could use these operators to really mess up someone's day while playing after recording. There's particular interest here in the way that the three operators are going to change the meta.

Starting with Ela, the turquoise-haired Polish GROM operator. She's a defender, a three speed, one armour operator that can dominate up close with a Scorpion EVO SMG or an FO-12 semi automatic shotgun.

The EVO is a beast, and the very first time I fired it I got a double kill. The FO-12 continues the trend of Rainbow Six Siege's after-launch defenders getting powerful semi-automatic shotguns.

Ela is nearly guaranteed to see professional play as a three/one (speed/armour) operator with good weapons, but Ela is also helped by her gadget, Grzmot concussion mines. These non-lethal mines can be hidden around the place, tossed at walls and floors to ambush an enemy with an explosion that doesn't do any damage but slows them down and messes with their view, meaning a skilled player could charge in and finish the job with relative ease.

Ela immediately stood out as a strong operator, best employed as a slayer on defence, roaming and using her concussion mines to cover her own flank as she engages the opposing team.

If Ela is downed, she has one final trick up her sleeve, able to manually detonate a Grzmot while downed. I didn't get to try this in action, so mention it only because I think it's a cool feature, that could help your allies as they move in to try and revive you, or throw your killer off and give your teammates an advantage for a few seconds.

Ying, the new attacker, is a 2/2 (speed/armour, again) operator that brings a T-95 LSW light machine gun to the party, a controllable light support weapon that can shred walls and enemies with manageable recoil. Ying's machine gun offers good firepower, and offers another light machine gun, meaning there are now four on option to the attacking team.

Ying also has the Six12 shotgun, although a version without the integrated suppressor. Ying's kit ensures that everyone's going to know she's coming, however, with a trio of Candela devices. The Candela is a ball filled with flashbangs, that can be utilised to blind everyone around you in a variety of ways.

Ying is immune to her own flashbang grenades, which can be tossed as a normal flash, or mounted onto a window or a wall in a similar style to Fuze's cluster explosive devices, allowing Ying to hurl flashbangs into the enemy before heading in to mop up. This should see play on Hostage, where Fuze is a contentious pick due to his incredible ability to frag innocent civilians.

When tossing the flashbang, Ying can hold down the button, with the device showing how long you've held it for. The longer the device is held for, the longer the fuse, meaning you can bowl it through drone holes or hatches on a longer timer, or toss it defensively at an enemy that is pushing your position.

Ying's flashbang devices are going to be key to her usefulness in the competitive scene. If the flashbang devices can be used to momentarily pacify an entire room, it's an incredibly powerful weapon. It was hard to effectively test this using the theme park map, which is full of a lot of small rooms, and was also unknown to a lot of the players, meaning that we were unsure often how to make the most of Ying's talents.

When pro players get hold of Ying and start using her in a lot of Rainbow Six Siege's more open maps, we'll start to see more of the her potential.

Finally, there's Lesion. Lesion has the Six12 SD you should be familiar with by now, and is also a 2/2 operator, although has a weaker alternative in the T-5 SMG. What Lesion lacks in kill potential is more than made up for by his gadget though, which is one of the biggest additions to the game in Blood Orchid.

Lesion is packing Gu mines, cloaked caltrops that can be tossed on the floor and are basically invisible unless you've brought IQ and her gadget, which detects electronics. Players that step on a Gu mine will be unable to run and stricken with motion altering effects, while a damage-over-time effect will keep them weak. These effects can be stopped, but operators will need to put themselves at risk, obeying an on-screen bottom prompt and lowering their weapon to fix themselves up. Otherwise, players can push on with the disorientating effects.

Lesion also gets more powerful over time, as he can deploy a maximum of 7 Gu mines during the match, however this are only available after a set amount of time to charge, meaning that the longer attackers delay, the more potential mines can lay between you and your target.

Effects that disorientate players are powerful in Siege because most battles are won by whoever can land the first headshot, or a clean accurate burst of gunfire. By messing with players vision, and also disabling their ability to run to allow them to evade a gunfight they can't win, the Gu mines are remarkably punishing for an ill-prepared team.

The map itself has the same problem as many of Rainbow Six's new maps: it's too complicated to learn up front, and my initial games were against a developer on the opposing team who already knew many of the spots, meaning that the learning curve was like running into a wall.

The map itself isn't terribly interesting, but while there is the occasional bits of fairground scenery, it feels like a fight in a claustrophobic warehouse, small rooms tied together with destructible surfaces. With familiarity the confusing structure will slowly reveal itself, but fights in this map are bound to be close ranged and dirty, perfect for Ela's flanking techniques, but expect previous operators like Caviera to dominate, moving around teams and picking them apart with guerilla tactics.

Rainbow Six Siege's meta still has a big problem, at a high level, where peeking external windows and even running or jumping out of the building is an effective way to snag attackers and as a result win games. Whether these operators, both equipped with traps that punish assaulting players that aren't paying attention, will encourage people to stay inside for a couple of rounds, remains to be seen. Either way, after a lack of new content since February due to Operation Health, new content is sure to breath new life into the game.