Ubisoft reveals the patch notes for an upcoming Rainbow Six Siege update, which brings plenty of balance changes, bug fixes, and a free new map into the mix.

Rainbow Six Siege recently celebrated the first year of release, and the initial season of content has attracted plenty of active players into the fold. With season two now only two months away, Ubisoft is now introducing a large mid-season update for the game. The patch will go live on Thursday, December 15, 2016, and will bring with it a huge amount of balance changes, bug fixes, and a long-promised free map called Bartlett University.

As Ubisoft revealed in its stream two days ago and in the patch notes, the most significant balance change is for Rainbow Six Siege‘s Spetsnaz operator Tachanka, who will be receiving a significant defensive buff for his defensive turret. The mounted LMG will now also boast a 500 HP shield, which means he will have a significant advantage over peakers. Blackbeard, however, is getting the opposite side of the shield treatment, as his rifle shield is dropping from 150 HP to 60, and his aim down sight times are almost tripling.

The shield changes don’t end with just Tachanka and Blackbeard, though, as shield operators as a whole are getting a massive change in Rainbow Six Siege. When the bodies of shield operators are protected behind their large riot shields, explosives like C4 will now deal significantly reduced damage, and operators like Montagne can survive such an explosion without a scratch if his shield is extended. This was done to make C4 less powerful, and will likely bring a resurgence of the shield operators, who are currently rarely picked.

Rainbow Six Siege Mira

Bandit will also get a fourth battery, while Smoke will start throwing his special smoke grenades further distances (more like traditional grenade tosses rather than C4 lobs). Fuze will also be getting an additional cluster charge, which will deal damage in a much larger radius (2.5 meters to 4.2 meters). We predict a lot more accidentally killed hostages once the Rainbow Six Siege update goes live tomorrow.

The long-promised Bartlett University map will also be added to the PvP map roster, which should please Rainbow Six Siege fans who have been asking for the map all year. Until now, the Bartlett University map had only featured in one of the game’s ten Situations, with Ubisoft stating months ago that it was working on modifying the map into a balanced 5v5 multiplayer experience. The studio maintained radio silence about the map ever since, but gamers will now be able to hop onto campus starting this Thursday.

Rainbow Six Siege‘s update also covers a veritable pile of gun balance changes and bug fixes, along with a small mention that lighting adjustments will make outdoor glares less harsh for defenders. It’s also possible that Ubisoft is hinting at one of the new Spanish operators in the patch notes, which make a passing reference to an Elena “Mira” Alvarez Del Manzan. In fact, she’s the operator pictured with Tachanka in the image above. Mira can be translated to Scope, so when Season 2’s first content arrives this February, gamers could see Glaz joined by another long-distance operator. On the flip side, since she has a wrench in the above drawing, she may be an operator who can repair reinforced walls once holes are blown in them.

Are you still playing Rainbow Six Siege, Ranters?

Rainbow Six Siege is currently available for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and its Mid-Season Reinforcements update will arrive on Thursday, December 15, 2016.