Most of the game's single player missions do not tie together, although a few do focus on a plot involving a Russian organized crime boss, Maxim Kutkin, and an international arms dealer, Samed Vezirzade.They both manufacture and distribute nuclear weapons on the international black market, aided by Kutkin's acquired ownership of a nuclear power plant following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The subtitle "Rogue Spear" refers to the possession of nuclear weapons by a non-state entity.
Rogue Spear's multiplayer was playable on 3 different networks: GameSpy Arcade, MSN Gaming Zone, and Mplayer.com (which was later intergrated into GameSpy Arcade). The multiplayer game achieved a certain degree of success, boasting several thousand players playing at once. After the acquisition of MPlayer.com by GameSpy Arcade, MSN Games became the more popular of the two until Microsoft shut down the MSN Gaming Zone's CD-ROM match-making service on June 19, 2006. As of the shutdown of Gamespy's servers on May 31st 2014, there is no longer any official multiplayer support for Rogue Spear.
Rogue Spear also featured a ranking system called ladder play. Several websites provided this service throughout the game's lifespan, with the four most notable being Clanladder (CL), Xtreme Gaming Network (XGN), Starlance (SL) and International Gaming Syndicate (IGN). While all of these websites provided a ranking system, they also provided anti-cheat applications developed by the staff and community. More notably, SL and IGN both employed anti-cheat squads that would pose as players and monitor the playstyles of suspected cheaters. Their findings would often result in the banning and deletion of offenders from the ladder system.
The game featured single player Campaign, Training, and Terrorist Hunt modes, and two online game modes: Team Deathmatch and 1v1. The game also featured a Replay mode, allowing players to save and watch clips of single player missions.
Rogue Spear's first expansion was released on April 4, 2000. It added eight new maps and five maps from the original Rainbow Six game, as well as 3 new weapons.
Covert Ops Essentials was released on September 28, 2000, as an educational program on real life counter-terrorism history and tactics. It included nine new missions.
Rogue Spear's final expansion was released on December 15, 2001. Like the previous expansion, Black Thorn featured nine new single-player missions.