Respawn has u-turned on the recent Caustic buff that was due to be introduced in Apex Legends’ Fight Night update. The patch notes originally stated that Caustic’s ultimate ability, the canister of Nox gas, would have its cooldown reduced from 25 seconds to 20, meaning players could theoretically use it three times a minute.
However, it appears that Respawn decided to reverse the decision, as the buff is not live and has been removed from the patch notes. However, the text explaining their decision to buff Caustic remains in the notes, which explains that, “the Caustic buff is an extra bit of compensation for the loss of vision blur from gas in Season 7.
“Note that looking at our data, the Season 7 change was a solid buff for Caustic, but he’s not quite where we want him to be.” However, something must have changed, as the buff has been reversed and Caustic’s ultimate cooldown remains at 25 seconds.
Respawn’s lead game designer, Daniel Zenon Klein explains in a tweet that the original buff took him merely ten minutes to implement as a way to improve Caustic.
However, in a subsequent tweet he explains that the buff was made (albeit not implemented) before Respawn developers had their Christmas holidays. After returning from their break, Klein says that the toxic scientist’s “win and his pick rate have been climbing in unison,” so it looks like he didn’t need the buff.
For anyone wondering: we reverted the Caustic buff after looking at data. He's been climbing like crazy the last three weeks; most concerningly, both his win and his pick rate have been climbing in unison. Looks like he doesn't need the buff!
— Daniel Zenon Klein (@danielzklein) January 5, 2021
John Larson, Respawn’s associate live balance designer, also gave his input on the u-turn. He says that he watched the number of Caustics in the EU ALGS tournaments over the break, and realised that the buff was really unnecessary. If you watched the Autumn Circuit Playoffs for the EMEA region, you’ll remember the amount of Caustic gas dropped in final zones…
The minor cooldown adjustment we were going to implement was made over a month ago. I had my eye on his usage in EU comp, and knew there was no way we could buff his ult given the chaotic Caustic end circles (curious to see how these ring changes spice things up).
— John Larson | JayBiebs (@RSPN_JayBiebs) January 5, 2021
The change to the patch notes also gave Horizon a nerf, increasing her Gravity Lift Tactical Ability’s cooldown from 16 seconds to 21 seconds.
The other major change is to the ring logic in the final stages. Ring five is 33% bigger, and ring six – the final ring – will slowly close to somewhere near the middle of ring five until the game ends. We’ll have to wait and see how these ring changes impact the game, but to be honest we expect Caustic’s popularity to continue skyrocketing, and final zones to be filled with poisonous gas for the foreseeable.