Whatever you make of the meteoric rise of Apex Legends, everyone can agree with the fact that it gets non-verbal communication right. With a quite simple button press, players can quickly make specific callouts such as need light ammo or enemy was here. The hugely positive feedback of contextual pinging has left the players of Rainbow Six Siege understandably jealous, and Ubisoft is taking all the notes.
Since the release of Apex Legends, the subreddit of the Siege has been abuzz with a lot of requests for more ping options. There is a bit of irony to acknowledge here—before Apex Legends, Rainbow Six Siege was one of the only competitive shooters around which contains a ping mechanic at all. Apex Legends might be popularizing it, but the OG here is Rainbow Six Siege and the Rainbow Six games that came before it. Its ping button, which is completely dedicated creates a small yellow mark to indicate enemy locations, where gunshots were heard, were to breach a wall, or anything else. But Rainbow Six Siege’s pings lack any context unless they are backed up by a vocal callout or intensive chat message.
For years, all the players have adapted by developing a language that is imperfect for interpreting pings. If a wall is marked on the objective, they are probably suggesting someone breach or reinforce it. When a window is pinged in the first starting few seconds of an attack round, they are probably calling out that the window is actually broken, signaling a spawn peeking defender trying to score a kill which is early.
But Ubisoft has been paying attention to Apex Legends fluid comms. In an interview with Stevivor at the Rainbow Six Invitational in the last month of February, game director Leroy Athanassoff said Ubi is exploring the idea of Apex Legends-style pings in Rainbow Six Siege. We have a ping in our game, though I would love to be able to ping a wall that is reinforced and ask for a breach. For example, maybe when I ping a wall I can open up a contextual wheel to select what to do finally, or alternatively be able to ping something like a completely Mute jammer, he said. Athanassoff went on to say that they will probably implement a similar system at some point, but it is not a priority right now.
Contextual pings are not just a feature of gameplay, they are an accessibility improvement. Having a way to communicate non-verbally is quite important for folks who stay off-mic because they experience a little harassment, have a speech impediment, or are just in a closed environment where they have to play silently. Over the weekend we asked Twitter whether Rainbow Six Siege should get Apex Legend-style contextual pinging. Beyond all the people clinging to the stance of just use a mic, the strongest responses we received were from women that have seen Rainbow Six Siege’s ugly side. As of this writing, the poll has more than 6000 votes with yes in a hefty lead of 77 percent.
Overhauling something as fundamental as communication in Rainbow Six Siege is a big step, and it is likely far on the horizon. If done absolutely right, context-sensitive pings will feel like a natural extension of what we already have.
Robert Williams is a self-professed security expert; he has been making the people aware of the security threats. His passion is to write about Cybersecurity, malware, social engineering, Games,internet and new media. He writes for mcafee products at mcafee.com/activate.