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  • Hello, once again! This is my third guide now; ranger and blue mage, the latter being near-completition. :)
  • Anyway, my name is Tyson from the Fairy server, and this guide will fill you in on one of the greatest things about this game; PvP, aka Ballista!!
  • As always, being a guide, this is mostly my own personal opinion. The general aim of this guide is to introduce people to what ballista is all about, and that they should give it a try! I recommend at least checking out the Ballista page and get the basic jist of what it's about, otherwise this guide may confuse you. I'll be writing it assuming you know the basics, such as points, changes to WS and JAs, etc.
  • And questions, queries or complaints feel free to drop me a message!

The conflict

  • First and formost, in a PvP environment, you'll probably think that it's all about running around by yourself or in a group and destroying your foes to win. Yes, you are probably partially right. But believe it or not, PvP involves a lot more teamwork, dedication, skill and is more random than any mob in the game you could think of. The art of scoring and how winning is decided means you need to have these as a group. This will be explained a little below.
  • Due to the emphasis on teamwork, it is quite easy to get stuck with someone who isn't that great and is purely GB fodder; no worries. This happens sometimes, and remember that the team making is almost completely random, and hopefully they'll start to learn from their mistakes. If not, and it gets you angsty, be sure to tell them where they are going wrong. :P
  • You, 9 times out of 10, will be in a very 1 sided match if you decide to take one someone 1v1, unless you're the exact same job with the exact same gear. Then it'll come down to a 50/50 chance with skill affecting the ratio. This is due to job unbalancing, but also because this is a team game. A BLM will probably win against the majority of melee 1v1, due to mages usually always will if they can damage you. This is why in a team game, you might want to get the upper hand on them before they can get it on you!
  • Finally, the purpose of conflict is fun. Many people don't do PvP, either because they don't like dying/losing or don't even know it exists! So you don't get big rewards, but you don't lose anything either. :P

Differences between PvE

  • Let's say you're fighting a big angry EXP mob. Yes, teamwork is obviously essential i.e. a tank and a healer are important to live. DD is important to get the mob down. Although this requires skill, it is quite repetative, almost like spinning a yo-yo. You need skills to do stuff, but once you can it's all the same. PvP is completely random. You could be on anyones team, at any time, and there could be a spray of different jobs. This means that the stratagy could change dramatically.
  • To futher this point, let's think about a couple of big, bad, rampant NMs. Let's say, Odin. This will require a heck of a lot more teamwork compared with EXP mobs, obviously. However, with fights like these, they are more about a rhythem. Once you get a rhythem of something, it becomes increasingly easier, but still requires attention and such. This will be especially true if you've done a fight like this a bazillion times. New players just means more angst to get the win.
  • With ballista, new players will obviously still mean the same thing. But they will eventually adapt a style of their own after they get used to the PvP environment and could be more dangerous than you ever thought they could be! Especially if they researched all about ballista beforehand! Every player will have their own style, which you CAN try to predict. However, don't forget that everyone is a human character. They are not going to stand there staring at you blankly if they are about to die; they'll run and run fast, using 'sprint'! Or even use an item to change the tide of battle!
  • There are so many random variables, that unless someone is an absolute predictable player, the experience will differ each time. Just having 1 player will not make you automatically win or lose by any means. It's always a team effort.

Suggestions for Improvement (Ballista)

  • Here, I have suggestions added for proper, realistic improvements to ballista. I send SE suggestions like the ones below for ways to improve ballista every couple of weeks, in the hope they will actually give a damn about the PvP community. IMO, the main problem isn't just job balancing, it's the publicity, mechanics and rewards that need improving. Please post and discuss any of these existing suggestions or newer ones in the discussion tab only; don't edit in any suggestions unless there is reasonable conclusion that it's a good suggestion, and feedback from people that do/don't do ballista are recieved (that I'll do). :) They are posted in order of what people would want to see the most!
  • ((((For now, everything is not in order/merely my ideas open for discussion. Some aren't realistic I know but that's the point for you to shoot them down. ;) )))
  • Improvement in the EXP gain. Campaign can last the same amount of time, and give almost up to 5 times the EXP based on your rank. Although the PvP game isn't just for rewards, people want more motivation to play. Maybe even an addition in which you get some conquest points? Some people will find some HNMs fun, but don't wanna do them unless they get [x] item. People wouldn't do campaign as much if it only gave you 500 exp now, huh?
  • Following the above comment, introduce better rewards. Allow an increase in ballista points per match, and increase the range of items you can buy. Potentially rare/ex items, with similar effects to the 'campaign:' or 'besiged:' only items. I think having items that have a use outside ballista may unbalance the game in the sense of people that want that item will be forced to PvP, whether they want to or not. While they might actually like it and improve participation, this isn't right!
  • More emphasis on winning. Increased EXP, ballista points, etc for winners, to stray newbies from running in foolishly, and give a reason to actually score and play the team rather than just kill. With more participation means there needs to be a better reason to win rather than just to win. My concerns with this, however, is a return of the 'hit-and-run' fiasco.
  • Dedicated server to ballista. I'm not quite sure how this would work, but combining all the servers into one ballista battleground is the most obvious way to improve ballista. The problem with this is that there will be too many people! Therefore, this server should have caps going on around the clock, and maybe introduce 3 extra zones to play in. If there is too much concern of overload, allow people to sign up to the caps they want to be participating in, and everyone is then split off into different zones with an equal number of people. If someone signed up to 2 or more caps, they will be placed in the ones that would make the teams even, in order of first signed up -> last signed up.
    • As a follow on to the above, there could be problems if there is an uneven side. Therefore, people that do ballista can opt in for a ballista key item, that tells you when matches are uneven, where at, etc. This could obviously get quite annoying, so there could be an option to turn this on and off.
    • Another follow on is that if this was to happen, there should be no longer any charge, ballista points or otherwise, to teleport to the server. Talking to the NPC to teleport you should do so without any charge. Where they teleports you is based on what cap you wish to go to. Each cap will run at the same times as now, which means there will always be ballista->30 min break before entry opens->25 mins till it starts. The zones they take place in are 'cloned'. E.g. if 30 cap and 50 cap are going on in jugner forest, there will be a forest zone clone for 30 and forest zone clone for 50. To teleport between the two, you just talk to the herald and have him port you wherever, for free.
    • This dedicated server idea w/new zones could possibly introduce new gameplay elements instead of the 3 we have going now (all-or-nothing, AoN w/o items, and best of three). What to add, I'm not quite sure, but thinking back to Brenner, leaving these 3 as they are is probably best!
  • Lower JA recasts. Pet jobs are really put off from ballista, asides from BST, due to the large recast times. If you have your wyvern out from the start, that'll mean it'll be out about 3-4 times per match. Pretty dull. Lower this recast to 5 mins, at least. Pets are an important part of jobs like DRG, and without it, they are pretty much half the effectiveness they should be.
  • Enchancement of JAs that do nothing! E.g: Scavenge- dig up specific ballista ammo in stocks of 12, temp. items.
  • More publicity. People need to know ballista even exists! By making a storyline about it, updating it, or anything whatsoever so people know what it's about will raise the bar of newbies joining ballista.
  • I'm not so sure about this one. Newbies are often put off by ballista due to being slaughtered a lot during their early days, and their weak understanding of the game mechanics. This could be resolved by giving newbies a bit of a boost during their first 5-6 games. Bonuses could be amount of temp items gained, sprinting w/petras, increased defence/evasion (as if they have signet), and frequent advice while playing by the game. This'll be unfair to vets, you'd think. As I recall, every newbie has been bad compared to every vet that plays. By giving them a few games bonuses, giving them time to get used to the system, it'll improve the likely hood they'll get the hang of the game and be willing to try it again. Almost like a 'taster'. Either way, there needs to be insentive for not only newbies to come, but STAY when they do!

Everything below here I consider to be really complex, and SE would have to invest a HELL of a lot of time thinking about these.

  • Introduction of specific JAs, magic or traits that are only used in PvP. This can be really hard to work for all the jobs, but would enhance each job's specific role better, and allow greater versitility in subjobs, one thing ballista is very good at doing. Some of these I figured out by how unbalanced they'd be if it was out-of-PvP environment, but in a PvP place, it's not so overpowered. I'll explain how below each example. I won't include levels, because I don't think that much into it!
    • An example of a specific JA:- Foritude (5:00 recast, 5 min OR 15 min OR unlimited duration) (PLD)- Increases MAX and heals HP by 25%, decreases MAX MP by 25%. (Doesn't stack with body/giant's drink. Stacks with MP boost drinks.)
      • As you have access to body boosts, it is just like having a smaller one of those. I'm not sure whether it should stay on indefinately till death or removed, or should be 5 min to stop it being overpowered. I think an undefined time limit, or 15-mins (same length as body boost) would be appropriate, as having to recast that every 5 mins would be a pain! Good for when you have to take on a group of people to distract while your team kicks their butts!
    • Example of trait:- Evade ranged attack (RNG). Increases evasion against ranged attacks.
      • Rangers have horrible evasion. They have impressive damage numbers, but have less defence than a black mage! By giving them this resistance, acting the same way as a THF's bonus, it gives them more of a chance, but only in dealing with ranged attacks. It isn't overpowered due to not many jobs really using ranged, but will differ them from being a main target of another ranger!
    • Example of magic:- Hastega (WHM). ~120MP cost, 8~10 second casting time, recast 1min. 10 AoE around target.
      • All this will do is save the white mage ~[x]x40 of people that they would've had to haste without this spell. It would be exactly the same as if the white mage casted haste on all 6 PT members then used a megalixir or healed; this not only saves time but adds more to the role of WHM just being a healer. The longer casting time means they can't just randomly cast it in the heat of battle!