At long last, Apex Legends has kicked off its opening season and the much-anticipated battle pass. That said, it hasn’t come without its criticism, with many slating the battle pass for its snail-paced levelling system and questionable cosmetics – a three stage legendary Havoc skin, anyone? Respawn Entertainment have already responded to this criticism, claiming the battle pass (priced at 950 Apex Coins or £7.99) is aimed at casual players who want the opportunity to build a collection of rewards free of an unforgiving skill ceiling. That said, many seasoned players are hoping they improve for season two.
To stay fresh, it’s crucial to add new characters that are not just a copy and paste “run faster”, “heal faster” or “spawn some kind of shield”. These characters already exist and, with Octane now in game, all these bases are covered. There’s been various leaks circling around, from a new trap-orientated Legend to even dragons allegedly on the horizon, but right now the focus is on Octane’s place in the meta. And trust me, he certainly has a place!
Faster, faster, faster!
Apex Legends still has much to be discovered. However, there’s one thing we all know for certain; the naturally fast paced action of the BR genre means it’s a game of mobility. Anything that gives the players even the briefest of speed boosts will always be good. I’ve seen some already writing off Octane’s Stim ability as bad because it costs health to use, but therein lies its ingenuity. In fact, feel free to quote me on this: he has one of the best abilities in the game, up there with Wraith’s Into the Void and Bangalore’s Smoke Launcher. There, I said it.
For the Octane player, their health is more than a stat, it’s a resource that they can spend to help their team. Think of it as a business investment. You’re buying low to sell high. In this case, spending 10% of your health to move 30% faster, be less affected by slows, dodge gunfire, and confuse the enemy while your teammates get stuck in. His passive, Swift Mend, will automatically restore one health every two seconds when not taking damage. Any form of consistency in the RNG nature of BR is not to be written off, no matter how small.
We already know how strong Bangalore’s Double Time passive is, leading to some lightning fast strafing while dodging bullets like raindrops. With Octane, you don’t need to be under fire to proc it; it can be used whenever. Adding characters with this additional layer of depth is what a game like Apex Legends needs. I hope to see more risk/reward opportunities introduced for future seasons.
Hit the ejectors seat!
Taking all of this into account, how does one actually play Octane? Well, understand that, while many Legends can be played on both a front-line or back-line approach, Octane is called the “High Speed Daredevil” for a reason. Namely, he loves the adrenaline. The Octane player will feel most comfortable being in the face of the enemy with the utility to dodge gunfire and misdirect his opponents with a well-timed Launch Pad. This gives his teammates free reign to let rip, unyielded by rival gunfire.
While learning Octane, this was the most effective strategy and was, ultimately, what secured me my first Octane win. In the final circle, my allied Mirage managed to down one enemy but the remaining two had a good position behind a rock, taking in turns to unload into our backline. I wasted no time in dropping a Launch Pad and catapulting myself over to them. They were so distracted with my allied Mirage’s covering fire that they didn’t notice me drop down behind an adjacent rock and down them both in quick succession.
However, this ballsy approach may not work all the time, as I initially learned when I catapulted myself between the enemy squad and the third-party waiting to vulture. Octane is all about the risk-factor and requires a solid knowledge of the game’s mechanics and your surroundings to be most effective. Having balls of steel helps, too.
Octane brings a unique playstyle to the roster of Apex Legends and, with the heavily criticised battle pass, could be the clutch carry that season one needs. It goes without saying that this is the opening season which even Fortnite didn’t get 100% right, so there’s time for Respawn to better hone the battle pass experience for seasoned players. Octane has bags of utility and a steep learning curve, though his Launch Pad ultimate is a double-edged sword and he requires a risky playstyle to be most effective.