I manually typed this down off of my digital edition. Pardon any grammatical errors. Please stay on topic with what is being detailed, let's explore the possibilities these new features will open for the strategist mind.
(I suggest to scroll down to the Sandtable Environment Analyzer & Sandtable Virtual Playbook. This is something new that I have never encountered before on a *Console* shooter)
NEW FEATURES FOR MULTIPLAYER (GOING OFF GAME INFORMER DECEMBER MAGAZINE *Verbatim*)
"We've been away for a little while, so we've focused a lot on updating the features we had before and adopting features that we needed to adpot to be competitive in the immediate future. We're getting ahead again."
Rainbow 6 Patriots' multiplayer is built around an interesting visual metaphor, called the HQ. This high-tech virtual space serves as an interactive, fully rendered pregame lobby where gamers can invite friends, explore squad tactics via the game's innovative new sandtable (More on sandtable as you read on), sharpen skills at the firing range, tinker with weapon loadouts in the arsenal, and launch matches.
Rather than force players to navigate text-heavy menus for matchmaking, once you join a match you enter an area that the dev team calls the troop transport. Here, players can see the actual character models for their team-mates and opponents before matches as they take their seats. Ubisoft says this approach makes the ordinarily dry moments before a match a bit more interesting.
Once enough players enter the transport (by walking in from a side passage, not teleporting and breaking the sense of immersion) a familiar countdown begins and the screen rumbles as you make way to your destination.
"COMMANDER & FOLLOWER FEATURE"
In the story campaign Rainbow Six requires players to think strategically and work as a team. That approach traditionally carried over to MP as well, but for Patriots, Ubisoft built in some tools to make it easier to assemble and work as a squad. The new commander and follower mechanic is similar to how squads work in most shooters, with some critical underlying differences. Ubisoft wants to encourage veteran players to mentor new recruits.
When you see a player doing particularly well in the field, you can ask to be his follower. If he accepts, you then gain access to the tactical setting that he created in the "sandtable."
Commanders can also issue waypoints and mark targets for followers. On the mini-map, commanders not only see where their teammates are located, but can also see their cones of vision on a small radar near the bottom of the screen. When it's time to act as a team, commanders can issue go orders and countdowns so everyone knows when it's time to breach a door or swing down from above.
"PLAYER MOVEMENT & RAPPELLING"
The dev team revisited player movement in the campaign to make the action feel more aggressive, and this philosophy carries over to MP as well. Though the game still lacks a jump button, characters can now vault over low barriers and move from cover to cover automatically. Most importantly, rappelling is finally more effective than dropping a grenade at your feet.
"We've streamlined the hell out of rappeling, so it's very, very fast, "says creative director David Sears." "Rappel location offer cover or clandestine entry oftentimes, though if you are exposed, the offensive capabilites that you have while your'e in rappel balance out the risks, so the reward is quite high. It's not slow, and it's not a death sentence anymore." In a game where a single headshot almost certainly means a kill, that kind of mobility is critical.
As with a lot of MP games, Rainbow Six Vegas was prone to spawn camping. A highly skilled and coordinated team could box in opponents and kill them seconds after they popped into play. Patriots adds a few options that should alleviate those frustrations. If your team is pinned down in the default base spawn point, you can reenter the game next to a teammate or in a randomized safe zone away from the base.
"END MATCH PROGRESSION & STAT PERCENTAGES SCREEN"
At the end of a match, players are greeted with a typical results screen filled with progression bars and a tally of earned medals and ribbons. In one of the nice touches added to the feedback screen, player accuracy is not only represnted by a percentage, but also with an outline of a human target that's peppered with the locations of your shots. It's a nice way to provide visual feedback to a stat as important as it is boring.
We saw the deathmatch mode in action, but Ubisoft promises new modes will accompany the traditional assortment of options. When asked if some modes or levels would require players to make the same tough decisions on collateral civilian damage as in the campaign, the team only offered up a cryptic "we have plans" response. Ubisoft Montreal wouldn't comment on the inclusion of terrorist hunt, though it's hard to believe the tream would scrap such a popular mode.
The ACES progression system introduced in Rainbow Six Vegas will return with new enhancements, as will the popular Persisten Eilite Creation customization. Many other MP details are being kept under lock and keycard at this point, including the scope of co-op. Still, it's ovious from what we saw that the studio hasn't been in stasis over the past three years.
"SANDTABLE (Holographic Environment/Map Analyzer)"
The sandtable is an in-game holographic environment in the MP HQ. At it's base level, the sandtable allows players to get acquainted with maps. "You can explore the MP environments without having the stress of competing or having other players shooting at you," says lead MP designer Simon Larouche.
While in this red-tinged virtual world, players can wander around levels alone or with friends. Even though the crimson presentation is differetn, the layouts are identical to their online counterparts. Points of interest such as doors, ladders, and rappel spots are highlighted in yellow to call attention to their importance. While navigating the interiors, players can drop markers and sighns pointing out notable spots. For instance, a favorite sniping postion can be flagged with a few taps of the d-pad and a button press or two. If there's a doorway leading to a popular camping zone, the player can create a quick advisory message to recommend chucking a grenade through the door before proceeding.
"SANDTABLE - VIRTUAL PLAYBOOKS"
Once you're in the game, you can share this information with your squadmates or the community at large. Players can rate these tips, which can be strung together in virtual playbooks. Rather than saying "Everyone meet up by that red thing," players who use the sandtable effectively can share their play and then say "Rally at point A." Hardcore strategists can create three different strategies for every map and game mode, which gives them the flexibility to provide plans for beginners, intermediates, and elites.
"It's really important to give players the opportunity to explore maps before they get shot in the face the first 30 or 40 times," explains creative director David Sears. "This is the story of my life; I used to be a really, really excellent adversarial MP guy, but now I'm pretty old and people like Simon just own me. For me, the sandtable was an opportunity to give me the edge I need to get back into the game. So I go into a non-threatening environment, and I can see where the most dangerous crossfires or ambushes are going to be set up. I can see where the best sniping positions are. Also, I can see paths that I should take highlighted through augmented reality, and only the people on my team using these sandtable plans can see.
"If I need to get from point A to B and there's a very high likelihood that I'm going to be shot while I'm in transit, there's a plan for me. It tells me what I should be doing, how I can get there, exactly where I should put my feet - if I want that level of detail. As I mature as a gamer, then I just know the maps naturally and I don't have to spend time looking at a newbie plan or a beginner plan or an introductory plan. then I can look at plans that are for more elite play. I think that's what's really cool about the sandtable: It scales from easing entry for first-time squad-based onine adversarial shooter players or for people whose skills have atrophied over the decades, but then as I grow and mature as a player, I sort of rejuvenate myself and I sart looking at elite plans that give me an edge over people who aren't studying the environments in this type of detail."