Ubisoft announced their full plans for Rainbow Six Siege's DLC today. The news is better than you'd expect.
In a post on UbiBlog, the company said that they'll release four expansion packs over the course of 2016 for free along with several smaller updates. The big-ticket items will be unlocked right off the bat for all players:
Each expansion adds one new map and two new operators, each with a new unique gadget and new primary and secondary weapons. New game modes, cosmetic items and in-game events will also be released during the year. While all maps and modes will be immediately available to all players, the new operators and weapon skins will need to be unlocked with Renown, which is earned while you play, or purchased with R6 Credits. Also, there will be a number of premium weapon skins that can only be accessed with R6 Credits. These are purely cosmetic, however, and won’t affect gameplay.
Renown is a currency earned through various gameplay activities such as completing matches, racking up kills and reviving teammates. Siege will also offer daily challenges that provide you with extra Renown when completed. You can lose this currency by killing teammates, though it's not clear how much you'll be penalized for this.
R6 Credits are a currency purchasable with cash. The 600 R6 Credits Pack, the smallest bundle available to players, will cost $4.99. These Credits can be spent to unlock content directly or to buy Renown Boosters that increase your gains over time.
While Renown doesn't cost any money, accumulating enough to purchase content takes awhile. The new Operators coming after launch, for example, will cost 25,000 Renown apiece. Ubisoft estimates players will earn around 1,000 Renown per hour so you're looking at 25 hours of gameplay just to get one of these characters. That time commitment will probably persuade more than a few players to spend $4.99 worth of R6 Credits instead.
Ubisoft says that weapon skins will be divided into five different tiers. The first tier will be composed of skins that can only be purchased with Renown. Tiers 2 and 3 can be bought with Renown or Credits. Tiers 4 and 5 are Credits-only and make up about a third of the skins available to players.
I'm glad that the game's maps and modes won't require you to spend any type of currency. If there was a paywall in place, it would just divide up the player community and make it harder for everyone to find matches. That rationale is why 343 Industries opted to give away Halo 5's DLC maps for free.
Rainbow Six Siege will launch on December 1st. According to Ubisoft's schedule, the first DLC for the game will arrive a month later.