Warframe is six years old and still manages to attract new players. It’s a research-intensive looter shooter/MMO-styled game and there are 50-plus frames already, with more on the way. Fortunately, there are a lot of Warframe tutorials on how to play the game (it’s not just about shooting things and hoping for the best), best builds, tips and tricks, etc. For this article, we want to shine the spotlight on Octavia, the Diva of Devastation, the Maestro of Mayhem.
Octavia: The Bard Frame
Octavia was introduced to the game in March 24, 2017, which makes her around two years old already. She is styled as a “bard” frame if you are familiar with your fantasy RPG character classes. This means she uses her abilities to assist and buff her allies in battle via songs, very similar to how an RPG bard will function. To help achieve this, she has a Mandachord, a step-sequencer that you can customize with notes to make songs. The songs in turn, help power Octavia’s skills.
Octavia’s first skill deploys a small ball that rhythmically pulses to the beat (created by the player on her Mandachord). The Mallet is invulnerable but attracts enemies within its range to attack it. That itself is a great crowd control skill but Mallet also reflects damage back to enemies with a multiplier dependent on your Power Strength. The higher your Power Strength is, the higher the damage reflected damage will be. Since the Mallet is invulnerable and the damage reflection is scaling, it doesn’t matter if you have level 150 enemies shooting at it. In fact, the higher the damage that Mallet receives, the more damage it can pulse back to every enemy within its area of effect.
The second Warframe skill is a rolling indestructible ball that charms enemies within its radius. While the Mallet doesn’t draw fire away from Octavia, her Resonator will. The Resonator also picks up your Mallet and carries it while going to enemies, automatically pulsing damage redirected to it. Octavia’s first and second abilities have great synergy, allowing her to effectively draw enemy aggro away from your team. Her abilities are very deadly if you want to lockdown a room or area with multiple enemy entry points, especially if you increase her Ability Range and Duration.
A bulk of Octavia’s supportive abilities come from this third skill. When active, rings of light move towards Octavia from the maximum radius of the ability, every time she and the players do an action corresponding to the pulsing rings, they get buffs.
- Vivace increases movement speed when you jump in time with the beats.
- Opera gives a Multishot buff when firing ranges weapons to the beat.
- Forte gives melee damage bonus when you swing your melee weapon to the beat.
- Nocturne turns Warframes invisible when you crouch in time with the beat. This is the most powerful and useful buff overall.
Her fourth skill lays down a field of pulsing sound sensors across the battlefield at a radius determined by Ability Range. While standing in this sound field, all Warframes gain a buff that gives them increased weapon damage. The multiplier is increased depending on the level of sound within the Amp’s radius. The louder the sound (like shouting, gunfire, and Octavia’s other abilities) inside, the higher the bonus damage multiplier. As a synergistic bonus, the Mallet’s range and damage output will double when cast inside Amp’s range.
No other Warframe has this much synergy with all their four skills. Octavia is very unique in that she also uses the sound level in her environment to increase the effectiveness of her abilities. She is a great fit in any kind of squad, be it organized or random groups, because her Metronome gives a quick buff to allies.
Octavia is a great defensive frame as well. For Defense and Mobile Defense missions, she can use her Mallet (with or without Resonator) to keep enemies away from the point while making sure they are swiftly dealt with. Missions that require stealth like Spy and Rescue missions also benefit from her party-wide Nocturne buff via Metronome.
In our opinion though, Octavia shines in solo Survival missions. With her Mallet, Metronome, and Amp going on all at once, all enemy aggro is drawn away from you (because you are invisible) and dealt with quickly and safely, allowing you to turtle in a safe area to collect life support capsules. Our record has been a little over two hours on the same survival mission on Mot (a mission area located in the Void). We’ve been visited by Vor and the Wolf and were swiftly dealt with no problem at all.
While Loki and Ash have easier-to-access means of stealth (just press 2!), we usually bring Octavia and keep her in stealth because the duration lasts longer. It can be infinite if you cast Metronome before it expires and refresh the Nocture duration via crouching. The added benefit of bringing Octavia is her other abilities can get you and your teammates out of tight situations better than the other stealth frames, which can determine success or failure, especially on Sortie-level missions.
For Octavia, we really only have two builds for her: one for doing just about any mission with random groups and one for doing solo Survival missions. The third one is an offshoot of her solo Survival build using her Syndicate Augment: Partitioned Mallet.
Selfish Octavia is for more PUG-oriented content, and is centered around getting the most stealth duration from Metronome’s Nocturne buff. We’ve crammed in as much Duration mods as possible at the cost of Range and Efficiency, which you don’t really need because you’re only buffing yourself. Aside from almost a minute of invisibility, you can also get a long-term speed buff via Vivace by jumping to the beat around three to four times. When activated in tandem, the invisibility and speed buffs allow you to bypass most of the enemies, which is great for Capture missions, especially the Void Relic captures so you can maximize the Relics you can open within the specific Alert’s time limit. We allowed the Efficiency to dip a little because you get such a long duration on your skills, you won’t really need to spam your abilities so higher skill casting cost is an acceptable trade-off.
Solo Endurance Survival
With her Mallet, Metronome, and Amp active, Octavia can literally lock down a room during survival missions where you and your squad can turtle into, letting the enemies funnel into their deaths. One way we play solo Survival Octavia is to run around the level and look for a defensive area where you can easily seek shelter (to maybe turn on your invisibility safely), usually a dead-end room. We then cast Mallet and Amp to attract the most number of enemies. Keep in mind that certain enemies can outright one-shot you even at low levels, like Corpus grenades (you can hear the timer) or the Grineer Bombards’ AoE artillery shell explosions. It’s better to if your safe area is a platform at the top of stairs or a ramp so the enemies will take a bit of time to get to you.
Getting the hang of solo survival with Octavia doesn’t take long. All you need to do is be aware of her cooldowns and soon enough, you will be able to fall into a form of rotation for her skills, which allow you to calm down and not panic when things seem to have slipped up, and especially when the enemy level starts to get to 100 plus. Also, getting one-shot with an unexpected shot from a Corrupted Bombard happens, so don’t sweat it if you still die in mission a couple of times. Remember though, you only have four revives when solo, so if you’re at your third death and have a lot of rare drops accumulated, it would be better to stealth up and just extract than try and beat your endurance record.
This build is named after Octavia’s Syndicate Augment. It allows you to cast two Mallets at half the range of just one and the radii cannot overlap or else the new Mallet will cancel the old one. However, if you cast the Mallets well enough away from each other and then cast Amp in the middle of them such that the Amp’s area of effect overlaps with a section of both Mallets, you will get the range of both Mallets doubled. This is great for locking down a large area or multiple enemy spawn points.
Yes, any weapon in Warframe, when modded well, can be used to lay waste to everything in the star chart. But for how we use Octavia, there are certain weapons we’ve come to love when we go to solo survival missions:
The Sobek is a special shotgun that has a Syndicate mod called Acid Shells. When you kill something with the Sobek (and Acid Shells is slotted), it deals corrosive damage within an area around your victim. It’s perfect for Corrupted Grineer units, as while most of them are weak to radiation-type status damage, the Heavy Gunners are weak to corrosive. We do have a riven (a type of stronger weapon mod) for this build but you can slot in something like Charged Shell or Contagious Spread.
The Pox is an Infested thrown weapon so it’s silent (perfect when Octavia’s invisible) and we modded this weapon for 100% status chance with a Viral + Radiation combo. We switch to the Pox when we’re dealing with light-armored Corrupted Grineer and Infested units, but the Viral damage also works really well against the Corrupted Corpus units, since Viral directly attacks enemy health, bypassing armor (Grineer) and shields (Corpus).
The Zenistar is a login reward melee weapon, available for you to pick as early as your 100th straight login. It’s a greatsword-class weapon, but has a unique mechanic. Holding down the Quick Melee key (E by default on your keyboard) will have you launch a disc at the area where your crosshair is, and this disc radiates damage. We’ve modded our Zenistar to have a decent amount of Blast damage and a little bit of Corrosive. Blast is a great crowd control status debuff as it knocks down enemies that come in range of the disc’s radius. Primed Reach helps increase this radius, but if you don’t have the Primed version, a maxed out Reach works just as well.
Octavia: Wrapping Up
Octavia is a great frame for when you want to actively support your teammates or just push yourself to get out of your comfort zone and learn to play solo survival missions. This frame is by no means for the novice Tenno, as farming her can be quite a grind, especially if RNG isn’t on your side. She is a frame that demands a bit of research and study, especially if you want to maximize her. And yes, her Tennogen (meaning you have to buy with real money) skin does look like a robotic/futuristic Hatsune Miku!
Octavia is not a tank frame, so don’t expect to get great results by just putting on armor and health mods so you can wade through enemy mobs. She requires a bit of finesse to play, but can be very rewarding in the hands of a Tenno with the patience to learn her skills and is not afraid to experiment with builds. She isn’t the most popular frame either, as most people find that she can be overpowered for the regular Star Chart content of the game. As mentioned before, Octavia can be a great frame to learn solo survival missions that go past the 5-minute mark, since you don’t need to be up close and personal with enemies.
Click here for Octavia’s Wiki entry to learn more about her individual skills, and if you like making music, check out this YouTube playlist of the songs you can have Octavia play for you while you’re in a mission (yes, the theme from Mortal Kombat is there)!