561 hours. That’s how many hours I’ve spent on Rainbow Six: Siege, the first-person tactical shooter released in 2015 by Ubisoft. But even with all the time I’ve spent on the game, there’s always room for improvement. This is true of the best competitive games, since it's in the nature of developers to release new content and regular updates that entice their communities to keep on playing. Adapting to these changes makes the grind constant for gaming's competitive scenes.
In Rainbow Six: Siege, there’s a steep learning curve to climb to become a valuable asset to a team. Map knowledge, Operator mastery, easy and quick call outs - all of these are essential to improving at Siege, and the plethora of necessary skills are a major reason why this is one of the growing esports titles today.
The game's balance is so dynamic that taking a break for a month will put you at a huge disadvantage, especially when a new map or Operator gets added to the rotation. Competitive games require one to always be in the know to be effective. I’ve been getting back into it for months now, and for me, real enjoyment comes from continually upping my game.
Rising through the ranks
In anything you do - practice makes perfect, and competitive gaming is no different. I’m not jumping to go pro anytime soon, mind you. But the competitive side in me just wants to get better. Playing a series of games in a game is the best way to improve. There’s no shortcut to making it any easier, but you can channel all the effort to where you need growth through personal goals.
They can be small goals, like improving your kill/death ratio on a specific character in a game, or find new strategies to give you that small edge in a match. As long as you are aiming to achieve something, the heavy grind will be directed into improving an area where you think you are lacking.
In Siege, I’m horrible at being the Anchor - the player who sits at the objective and defends it. Sounds easy enough, but my impatience can get the better of me, resulting in unnecessary deaths from overextending during firefights. So, to work on that role, I play Operators that are fit as an Anchor more frequently, to better understand my role in the team.
But I have another goal I'm hoping to reach this year. A feat that I’ve yet to achieve in Siege - hitting Diamond rank in Ranked Play.
Reaching the top is no easy feat. Just like the ladder system in DotA 2, or even Hearthstone, It’s going to take dozens of sessions, maybe weeks, to hopefully reach the top bracket. But if you’re asking, “why grind your way to reach the top bracket?”, then you’ve never felt the pressure of playing with players at their best. And when you’re at the top, the game is completely different playing at your best with the best.
Grind with the best
It’s a gold mine of knowledge and experience. The 1% in the community with players that are just moments away from getting a signed deal with a pro team. The top bracket is filled with the best strategies and approach to the game at its current iteration. It’s THE place to be if you want to improve your game.
Win or lose, what you gain is invaluable, and, most of the time, encouraging. But it can be taxing for some, since a loss can set your progress back a few steps. I’ve walked away to take a few breaks and make sure I stay healthy and hydrated because hours of playing can really take a toll on your body.
I want to play the best form of Rainbow Six: Siege, which is found only at the top of the ladder. So I need to work my way up. Compete with players that are also aiming for the top. If you’re going through a similar climb - godspeed. It’s going to be long and hard, but most of the time you will come out better at the end of it.
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