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Gaming Mentality

Being a Solo Player is Hard

Written By Josh (jammerxd),  01/27/2020

Okay, I know I know, stop complaining about whatever game you're playing and 'git-gud'. Unfortunately as a primarily solo player those 2 words are often times the only responses received when calling out a mechanic or play that should've gone differently or simply asking for help/advice(looking at you reddit cough cough).

We're going to focus on Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege for most of this article as I've had that game for approximately a year and a half(August 2018). The game itself is a first person shooter that features several different maps and is played with 5 v 5 teams. One team are the "attackers" and the other team are the "defenders". There are 2 game modes as well, Bomb and Secure Area. The game is available on PC, Xbox and PS4 but there is no cross-play.

Rainbow Six: Siege - The Basics

In Bomb, the attackers attempt to diffuse a bomb by "planting" which is a player taking a diffuser, which looks like a white suitcase, and opening it on the ground next to one of the bombs and ficticiously typing. Once the diffuser has been activated, the defenders have a limited amount of time to destroy the diffuser by holding it in their hands and ficticiously holding buttons on it. The attackers win by killing all the defending players or if the time to destroy the diffuser runs out. The defenders win by killing all the attackers before the diffuser is planted or destroying the diffuser once it's been activated by the attackers.

In Secure Area, attackers attempt to infiltrate and "secure" an area by standing in close proximity to a bio-hazard container. The attackers win by securing the area around the container and/or by killing the entire defending team. The defenders win if the attackers fail to secure the area before the time runs out or if the defenders kill the entire attacking team.

In both modes, the attackers only have so much time to complete their challenge/objective. There are also many different characters with different abilities, which this game calls "operators". There are operators for attacking and operators for defending with 1 new defensive, 1 new attack, and 1 new map, and 1 new map rework(where a map is reworked/improved) every 3-4 months. Balancing all of the operators and the maps is incredibly difficult to get right and the balancing problem will only get worse over time(look at League of Legends, Dota, Dota 2, etc...). Additionally, there are several rounds in each game, with quick-match mode featuring double-elimination and an overtime match point when it's tied 2-2. Teams change between attacking and defending after 2 rounds. For unranked and ranked, the game starts with each team banning 1 attack and 1 defensive operator.

The game is incredibly realistic, with hard walls and soft walls that can be re-inforced and operators that can destroy re-inforced walls. The game is incredibly fun(when you can get into a balanced game). There are several different playlists to choose from as well: Quick-Match, Unranked, Ranked, Newcomers(for players with exp level 50 or lower), Road to SI, and the occasional seasonal event(halloween, christmas, etc...). There is one item on the playlist that is massively missing that is often overlooked: Ranked - Solo. A dedicated queue for players whom are not in a party with anyone else.

The Problem With Being a Solo Player

This is where I take issue wih the game. As a solo player, everything is your fault. Doesn't matter if you had nothing to do with the team's situation or teammate's situation. It's your fault. Didn't clutch that 1v5 when all your teammates decided to play badly? Your fault. You're the solo player. It MUST be you. Matched with another 4-stack(stack referring to a group of players in the same lobby/party)? Be ready for them to teamkill and play ridiculously. Playing casual and want to use your mic? Be ready to be vote kicked because it's funny. Oh I and did I mention you get to join more matches in progress that someone left because they got spawn peeked or tried to spawn peek but got killed early in the round? There is no setting to turn off join matches in progress in casual, the only thing you can do is leave as soon as you load in. Ranked gets a bit more complicated because in ranked, players often will call you out if you mess up a play, reinforce a wall that should never be reinforced or just broadcast useless garbage over the team voice channel. Additionally, there is no requirement to have a mic and when your team doesn't relay how they got killed, where and by which op, it gets very frustrating very quickly. Especially when your own teammates say it's your fault for losing.

It used to be that a 4-stack of players could take turns team killing the solo player at the start of each round, luckily, that's now done for since a team-kill will result in reverse friendly fire being activated for the whole group. And reverse friendly fire is exactly what it sounds like, if reverse friendly fire is activated, that player or group of players will take any damage they attempt to do to another teammate. Imagine being team killed 3-4 rounds in a row in a ranked game by a toxic 3 or 4 stack and being unable to do anything but report the players in game. If you leave a ranked game, you immediately incur a 5 minute matchmaking ban and a 30 minute renown(free in-game currency) penalty. Both increase the more games you abandon.

But it's not all bad. The hit registration used to be garbage, and if you don't have good enough internet, you'll likely still be experiencing hit registration problems. A lot of the initial problems I encountered back in August of 2018 when I first picked up the game have been resolved or massively improved. Combined with tweaking my graphics settings, I can now play at a smooth 120fps. Much better compared to the 45-60 I was getting before. However, the main issue still remains that there is no solo queue for players like myself.

Frequently Asked Questions/Frequent Responses

'git-gud': Getting good at this game takes time, energy, and effort, and more importantly a team of players you play with consistently(like everyday) to practice routines, setups, and strategies. I have yet to find a team that can teach me/help me without being assholes about it. Something I'm trying to improve on myself. I realize for many people on the interwebs(reddit, looking at you), this is an obligatory response, yet I somehow find this response degrading, useless and just flat out rude as it provides no tips, pointers or any other useful information.

Why don't you join the LFG on discord: Good point. I'm not really one that's known to put myself out there and I was part of the Rainbow Six: Siege LFG discord for quite some time, but I've mostly given up on finding people that have good mics, good callouts, and are down to help a solo player get better without being an asshole about it. The toxicity of the playerbase has pretty much ruined my outlook on the game.

Solo queue isn't needed and won't solve anything: Maybe, maybe not. It'd certainly solve problems with being matched with a 3 or 4-stack of other players whom are refusing to communicate, throwing the match, or using discord already for communication. Solo queue would be a huge step in the right direction for players like me that don't have a team to consistently help them.

All photos credit Ubisoft Marketing Kit

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About the Author

Josh (jammerxd)

Hi, I'm Josh. I am a software developer currently working in a small business dealing with shipping software and logistics. I work a full-time salaried job and live stream when I can. I also attend numerous VEX robotics competitions throughout Minnesota and throughout the country. When I'm not at robotics and I'm not at work, I play PC games and stream them to my twitch channel.