Having been out for more than four years now, it isn’t outlandish to wonder when Rainbow Six Siege might be making the move to free-to-play. According to game director Leroy Athanassoff, it’s a move he and his team have been wanting too.
Speaking to PC Gamer, Athanassoff explained that the decision to move towards free-to-play isn’t up to the development team, with numerous business decisions standing in the way. Athanassoff wants the game to be accessible to as many players as possible, but also points out how that brings with it new challenges.
It’s not as simple as changing the price, says Athanassoff, with many features required to combat abusive player behavior when a game is freely open to everyone. Smurf accounts (a practice where high-skill players will create new accounts to play with lower level ones) are a huge concern, and it’s the biggest hurdle Athanassoff says his team needs to overcome before considering free-to-play.
“What’s important for us is that we find out as soon as possible that a player is highly skilled in the things that matter,” he said. “The problem right now is that you can play a certain amount of matches with Copper players while you’re a Diamond.”
Athanassoff notes that right now Siege isn’t doing enough to detect instances of smurfing already, with the MMR scoring system only focusing on a player’s win rate. In the future it will need to take more data into account (such as kill/death ratios and accuracy metrics) to better identify when a player is trying to cheat the system.
These aren’t unique problems to Rainbow Six Siege, with most large multiplayer games having to implement their own solutions to the same problem. Dota 2, for example, requires a phone number to unlock ranked play (a feature Siege already has too), while both Overwatch and Fortnite regularly ban players using smurf accounts.
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