Rainbow Six Operation North Star details: new operator Thunderbird, Favela rework

Rainbow Six North StarUbisoft

Rainbow Six Operation North Star is here, and there’s plenty of new content to sink your teeth into. New operator Thunderbird, the Favela map rework, plenty of changes to Smoke and Melusi, and what are “after death activities?” We’ve got you covered.

Operation North Star is the second expansion for Rainbow Six Year 6 ⁠— a big occasion for Ubisoft and the developers.

Venturing out into unknown territory, a huge swath of gameplay changes, including new operator Thunderbird and the Favela map rework, are on their way. That’s not all though, with one change potentially changing the way you play Siege forever. Here’s what you need to know.

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Thunderbird in Rainbow SixYouTube: Ubisoft
Thunderbird is landing in Rainbow Six in Operation North Star.

Operation North Star operator: Thunderbird

Thunderbird joins Team Rainbow’s extensive defender roster in Operation North Star. The Nakoda nation native is bringing balance to the battlefield with a healthy dose of healing and a lethal punch in their arsenal.

Thunderbird’s Kona Station heals allies and enemies that walk past it for a handy 30 health on a 35 second cooldown. You can also use it as a revive if you have no allies nearby, kind of like Doc’s stims.

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To back up that utility, Thunderbird is the latest defender to receive an assault rifle, getting Finka’s Spear .308. She also has access to Caveira’s SPAS-15, impact grenades and C4s, making her kit best in class.

Operation North Star map rework: Favela

Favela is also getting a map rework in Operation North Star. It continues the trend of Ubisoft redeveloping older casual maps like House and making them more playable ⁠— even if they don’t make it into the competitive pool like Chalet or Border.

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Favela Rainbow Six reworkUbisoft
Favela is getting reworked in Rainbow Six Operation North Star.

The Brazilian map is now lit up in darkness by fireworks exploding overhead, and most of the destructibility has been removed. They’ve also cleaned up their act somewhat in the Favela ⁠— the Meth Lab has been replaced by a Coin Room to mine crypto.

Attackers have to funnel through narrow chokes to break into Favela, while defenders have plenty of space to roam across the expanded floors. The rework is a vast improvement on its predecessor, while still keeping the charm of one of Siege’s more divisive battlefields.

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“After death activities” allows players to drone while dead

This is one of the biggest changes made to Siege since the introduction of yellow ping (which wasn’t too long ago, but still) ⁠— and it’s ten times bigger.

Rainbow Six: Siege Y5S4.3 PatchUbisoft
Die in the early round as Echo? With new “after death activities,” you can still use your Yokai drones.

While it won’t be launching immediately, Ubisoft are testing new “after death activities” that allows players to use drones and cameras more actively while dead.

Instead of just being able to ping out constantly, you can move your utility around the map ⁠— as long as it’s deployed before you die. This includes firing Echo Yokai bursts, Maestro Evil Eyes, Twitch drones, and Zero Argus cameras.

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You can only control your utility though, so no driving your teammates’ drones around.

Smoke, Melusi, Mira, Maestro reworks

Four operators are also receiving significant balance changes in the update.

Smoke’s gas canisters will now deploy more realistically, and will be blocked from travelling through solid walls and floors. Melusi’s Banshee will now also be vulnerable once activated, meaning you can destroy the device with a bullet if you walk near it.

Smoke Rainbow SixUbisoft
Smoke’s gas canisters will no longer go through walls unless they’ve been blown open.

Mira and Maestro are the two operators being hit with the new glass changes. Bulletproof glass, like Maestro’s Evil Eyes, Mira’s Black Mirror, and bulletproof cameras can now be damaged with a melee, obscuring vision for the rest of the round.

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They’re still functional, but you can’t see what you’re doing with them, rendering them practically useless.

New health system removes armor

Armor is finally gone from Rainbow Six; or at least, it’s been replaced by a much clearer health system. Each operator now has a health value assigned to them based on their speed.

  • 1 speed: 100 HP
  • 2 speed: 110 HP
  • 3 speed: 125 HP

This should make it clearer to new players exactly how much health you have. This will also be increased temporarily based on stims like Thunderbird’s Kona Station, and Rook armor will up it permanently.

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Rook SiegeUbisoft
It’s a lot clearer just how Rook plates help you on defense now.

When is Operation North Star launching?

Operation North Star is launching onto the TTS on May 25. Most of the changes, minus the after death activities, will be up for testing for a few weeks.

You can expect Operation North Star to hit live servers in mid-June, with a battle pass and more to go along with it.