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Rainbow Six Siege North Star update explained

Everything you need to know about Rainbow Six Siege Operation North Star and all the content it brought in Year 6 Season 2.

An orange helicopter flying high above a forest while someone hangs off a wire

Rainbow Six Siege Operation North Star carried on the success of Crimson Heist as we headed into Year 6 Season 2 of Ubisoft’s hit FPS. The North Star update brought with it a new operator, tons of quality of life improvements, and even several reworks.

North Star featured a new three-speed defender from the Nakoda Nations – an indigenous people in Western Canada. The operation also featured a Favela rework, and lots of changes that improved the game’s competitive integrity for those deep into Rainbow Six Siege ranks.

If you missed the North Star update, then you’re in the right place to catch up. Here is every big change that came in Rainbow Six Siege Year 6 Season 2, Operation North Star.

Rainbow Six Siege North Star release date

Rainbow Six Siege North Star’s release date was Monday, June 14, 2021, for owners of the battle pass. It then became available for everyone on Monday, June 28, 2021.

Those with access to the test server, however, were actually able to play Operation North Star on May 25, 2021, shortly after the expansion was officially revealed.

Rainbow Six Siege North Star: Official Operation North Star promotional art, showing Thunderbird standing in front of a helicopter, with the blades reaching into the corners of the image.

North Star new operator – Thunderbird

Thunderbird joined Rainbow Six Siege in Operation North Star. The three-speed, one-armor attacker might not have been the best character in the meta, but their supportive gadget, the Kona Station, which healed anyone – and we mean anyone – within a two-meter radius did come in handy.

Thunderbird had three of these nifty gadgets which she could place anywhere on the map – although safe places or choke points were recommended if you were truly trying to support your team. When an operator who’s missing HP passed by, the Kona station healed them in a way that’s similar to Doc’s stim. Once the heals were administered, the station then entered a cooldown period before it could be used again.

But the station wasn’t just for defenders – attackers could also get heals from the station, providing, of course, that they hadn’t blown it up while breaching a site. It’s worth noting though, that the gadget prioritised the health of defenders should both sides have been in range at one time.

The Kona Station could also bring players up from a down-but-not-out status, but this was a manual action, meaning players could choose when and where they wanted to be revived.

Attackers didn’t always want to destroy the gadget, however, especially since it could be useful in a post-plant situation. This gadget could be temporarily disabled with gadgets like Thatcher’s EMP grenades. In other words, if you needed to rush onto the site but you didn’t nail that pesky anchor yet, it was a good idea to disable the Kona Station and try again.

Moving away from Thunderbird’s gadget, the Nakodan had a fairly beefy build, making her a great option for an anchor or a roamer.

Rainbow Six Siege Favela rework

The Brazilian map that was widely criticised for being unbalanced and full of external destructible walls was completely reworked in Operation North Star. In fact, very little of the original map remained – making it feel like a new addition to the game.

Most of the external destructible walls were removed, while sites and rooms were made bigger, making it more viable for both sides to win rounds.

While Ubisoft “toned down the chaos”, Favela still put a focus on quick, gritty gameplay eroding the need for tactics and strategy – something that was – and still is – vital in Rainbow Six Siege ranked matches.

Rainbow Six Siege North Star: Smoke wearing a gas mask and gripping a pump shotgun tightly with embers in the background.

Rainbow Six Siege Smoke changes

There was nothing more infuriating than firing off a Smoke canister towards an entry point only for it to sit in one place and not seep through the hole. Ubisoft fixed this with changes to Smoke by tweaking propagation.

Since Operation North Sar, Smoke canisters spread in the same way that fire does – moving through doors, windows, and rotation holes, forcing those hiding behind them to fall back.

It was a small little change but one that helped Smoke dearly.

North Star new features and changes

There were a handful of new features and changes that came with Rainbow Six Siege North Star. These were the big-ticket changes:

Armor was converted to health to make damage more transparent to all. In North Star, one-armor operators had 100 HP, two-armor operators had 110 HP, and three-armor operators had 120 HP. Rook armor provided an extra 20 HP and Finka’s boost acted as a heal.

Another of the changes was to the barrel attachment system, which tweaked each attachment with a specific mechanic in mind. The compensator for stabilization, the horizontal recoil, the flash hider for vertical recoil, and the muzzle break to recenter your aim quicker.

Rainbow Six Siege North Star: Nokk sneaking with their suppressed pistol at the ready.

There were also several quality-of-life improvements. Glass, like Mira’s mirror and Maestro’s cameras, could be smashed in North Star, you could destroy intel-gathering gadgets, single-bullet-hole peeks were no longer possible, and corpses were replaced with an icon to improve competitive integrity.

So there you have it, all the big changes that came with Rainbow Six Siege Operation North Star. As always though, the addition of a fresh face was certainly the highlight for most players, even if Thunderbird still hasn’t overthrown the meta.