Rainbow Six Siege recently received its 2.1.1 title update, a minor patch to the game as a part of the Operation Health initiative. While the update brought fixes to various bugs and exploits, the game's developer, Ubisoft, has also rolled out a new cosmetic loot system. After a short hands-on with the system, here's everything you need to know about "Alpha Pack" drops.

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What are Alpha Packs in Rainbow Six: Siege?

Alpha Packs are a randomized loot drop system in Rainbow Six Siege, which open a new avenue for obtaining cosmetic items. Like other popular shooters on the market that offer "loot crates," Alpha Packs are one-time use bags containing a single piece of randomized cosmetic gear. While various cosmetic add-ons have been available in-game for some time, the introduction of Alpha Packs marks their first major appearance outside of the game's store.

What items can be obtained from Alpha Packs?

At launch, Alpha Packs give players the chance to secure over 1,000 cosmetic items. Among the offerings are existing weapon skins, weapon charms and headgear, alongside new variants available exclusively via these packs. Although bundles such as the "elite sets" will still be exclusive to the store, a large majority of existing cosmetic content is accessible via Alpha Pack drops. Each Alpha Pack contains only one item, with no other bonuses available per loot drop.

Alpha Packs will also be used to reintroduce limited-time items back into the Rainbow Six Siege ecosystem, by adding previously unobtainable items to the pool of content. The first of these items was a weapon skin series introduced alongside the game's Black Ice DLC from February 2016.

Renown can also be obtained via Alpha Packs, although only as a substitute for duplicated items. If an Alpha Pack returns an item already in your inventory, a sum of renown will be provided in accordance with the rarity of the item.

How are the contents of Alpha Packs decided?

As randomized loot drops, Ubisoft understandably hasn't disclosed the probability of receiving specific items from Alpha Packs. However, with each cosmetic item now paired with an associated rarity, it's safe to assume a complex formula lies behind the drop rate for the system.

Rarity now ranks items, with more appealing skins and items likely ranked as a higher value drop. Alpha Pack content falls under Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Legendary tiers, with rarer items being harder to obtain. Only one variant of Alpha Pack is offered, providing the same drop rate regardless of how the pack was obtained.

The rotation of available Alpha Pack content will also change over time, with gear set to be added and removed from the system going forward. Although it's unclear how the frequency of the roster of content will be shaken up, Ubisoft will likely announce a change at the time.

How do you obtain Alpha Packs?

In Rainbow Six Siege, players will be able to earn Alpha Packs in two main ways. While these can be earned by winning multiplayer matches, eager players can also buy bundles of packs via the in-game store. Here's how to begin securing your first set of Alpha Packs.

Multiplayer chance drops

At the end of either Casual or Ranked multiplayer matches, players on the winning team will be given a roll, with a chance to receive an Alpha Pack. The probability of receiving a pack is determined by a player's "chance rating," an in-game numerical value which grows as you continue to play. Post-match Alpha Pack drops are restricted exclusively to competitive multiplayer, meaning rewards won't be distributed after rounds of the Terrorist Hunt game mode.

When first playing Rainbow Six Siege after the Alpha Pack update, all players will be assigned a 50 percent chance rating. Your overall rating will grow as you play, with a small increase for completing a match, and a bigger boost for winning. After receiving an Alpha Pack, your chance rating will reset to zero and continue to rebuild until your next drop.

Owners of the game's Year 2 Season Pass are also be given a further rating boost for the remainder of Rainbow Six Siege's second season of content.

Shop purchases

Keen players can also skip the wait by purchasing bundles of Alpha Packs via the in-game shop. To begin, these are purchasable via Renown, Rainbow Six Siege's in-game currency earned by playing the game. Ubisoft also plans to expand Alpha Pack purchases to R6 Credits in the future, allowing real world money to be spent on these items.

For now, it appears that single packs are purchasable for 5,000 Renown. Bundles of 5, 25, and 50 are also available to buy Alpha Packs in bulk, priced at 25,000 Renown, 112,000 Renown and 200,000 Renown, respectively.

Could Alpha Packs make gameplay pay-to-win?

Nope. While it will soon be possible to purchase Alpha Packs with real world money, their contents are still exclusively cosmetic. Skins, charms, and headgear don't shake up the core gameplay or Rainbow Six Siege's multiplayer, and with the introduction of Alpha Packs, players simply have another route of progression. Unless Ubisoft decided to offer performance upgrades via these packs (no publisher is that stupid), Rainbow Six Siege still maintains its image as a competitive multiplayer experience.

How can I access Alpha Packs?

Alpha Packs are now available across PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of Rainbow Six Siege. Those wanting to get their hands on these loot bags can do so via the Alpha Pack icon on the game's home menu, located to the left-hand side of the "Boosters" button.

Make sure to let us know what you think of Alpha Packs in the comments section.

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Updated July 27, 2017: Updated this FAQ to reflect the launch of Alpha Packs across PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of the game.