Final Fantasy XI (FFXI) Ballista

Why Ballista?

—Written by Evviva

Disclaimer:  I realize that this may not apply to everyone, as FFXI has many things to offer.

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Many would wonder, “Why would a FFXI player even consider PvP style gameplay in an MMORPG designed to sustain interest via an intricate reward system?  This entry will be taking a closer look at the true reason behind the most well endowed mystery this game has to offer.  I had a lot of fun writing this post; likewise, my wish is for you, as the reader, to have fun with it, as well, and hopefully be able to relate to it.

1. Rewards

Rewards in an MMORPG equate to a promise, a promise that at the end of the day, your gameplay will be rewarded with a tangible item, perhaps some sort of intricate evolution of your avatar or your chosen path in a quest to unfold closer to fruition.  As a business model, MMORPG culture is riddled with dopamine at every turn.  These vast complex worlds put the user in a state of true fantasy, bringing closer those dreams of grandeur and accomplishments.  The trance induced is one of great power.  With that said, rewards in FFXI play an important role.

Let’s step away from the obvious rewards for a moment, and focus on the non-tangible.  Remember when you still believed in Santa?  (Santa is real.  Don’t tell me otherwise; I know where you live.)  Getting your hands on the presents with your god-damn name on it and actually opening them, you know, as in opening them with a force that only He-man and Aquaman would know.  That feeling of bliss overcomes your entire being after laying eyes on this magnificent present, but let’s step out of the body and mind of a 10 year old for a moment.  Let’s focus on the pare… Santa for a moment.  Does this valiant warrior receive the gifts earlier mentioned?  I’d wager to say ‘yes’, but in a non-tangible format.  There is no present that he can touch, but he can see and feel the positive energy sparking around them.

This example would be considered the perfect relationship between game developers and players, but in the real world, Santa charges for every gift he bestows, even those glorious socks you had your eyes on all year.  Oh boy!

The way that the aforementioned relates to FFXI -and- Ballista needs to be broken down further in order to be understood.

1a.  FFXI Rewards

Incredible variety, gil, experience points, merit points, shinies, quest/mission completion, storyline advancement, social interaction, reputation, challenge (sometimes), scenery, fireworks of magic and abilities pleasing to the eye, longevity (as long as the rewards are fresh…), and rubbing one out when E.body finally drops.  Shut up don’t judge me.  This is what dreams are made of.  It’s like walking into a strip joint where the strippers are performing a Cirque de Soleil performance, making you a bacon and avocado sandwich -and- sucking your dick at the same time. (The ladies can replace the obvious genitalia and the sandwich with a cheesecake.)  How can you say ‘no’ to that?!  Legit.

1b.  Ballista Rewards

Decent variety, social interaction, reputation, challenge, fireworks of magic and abilities pleasing to the eye, longevity (despite it’s lack of updates, the event has sustained longevity), and rubbing one out after playing a perfect game.  As you can see, masturbation is the secret of a good reward in FFXI, Ballista, and everyday life.  Thank me later.  Upon closer examination, Ballista seems to remove some of the essential ingredients in the trance concoction required to keep players coming back for more… or does it?

Ballista is a team PvP oriented game within the FFXI universe.  This event does not possess ‘tangible rewards’.  It has it’s own unique flavour of entertainment, challenge, longevity, and social interaction that keeps players coming back for more.  Despite it’s minimal attraction as opposed to the general FFXI universe, Ballista is an extremely rewarding -gaming- experience to those who choose to give it a serious chance.  One of the key components to the rewarding factor of Ballista is its ruthless challenge and prominent longevity.

1c.  Reward Conclusion

As players who indulge in a digital environment, what is it that we are truly after?  Are we hoping to recreate the set of Weird Science and zzzzzzzzap our own “Lisa” into existence?  Everyone is different, and thus, the scope of a reward is widened.  FFXI is a melting pot by default, as it belongs in the MMORPG genre.

To quote Nicky Yee, a research scientist Ubisoft studying gamer behaviour:

“The most obvious appeal derives from the elements of achievement in these environments.  They cater to to players who enjoy accumulating wealth, rare items and tangible power.  The other main appeal derives from the ability to chat, make friends and affiliate with larger social groups such as guilds.  Many players also find appeal in becoming immersed in a fantasy world and becoming part of a story that is being told.  Also, certain players enjoy competing with other players or even annoying and manipulating them through devious means.  And finally, some players are fascinated with the mechanics and geography of the world.  For them, the satisfaction comes from unraveling the game.”

It’s easy to see that FFXI caters to every kind of individual’s definition of reward. /golfclap FFXI, you are a money making, tear inducing, perpetuating joygasm machine, but I digress.  Let’s analyze how Ballista can be just as appealing and catering to the Planet of the Apes.

1c1.  Accumulating Wealth

This is where Ballista widens it’s grip, and no, I’m not talking about the bitching double your 3k if you win an official match!!!!!!!  I’m talking about every Ballista player’s responsibility to stay up to date with equipment and consumable demands.  Thus, procurement of funds becomes increasingly important in the overall experience in a Ballista player’s playtime.

1c2.  Rare Items

Goldmember.  It’s very much real.

Ballista players have the privilege of saying they possess the rarest items FFXI has to offer.  Take, for example, these Pallas’s Bracelets that Chancellor Teishi is sporting (augment: ranged accuracy+7)  and even this Eurytos bow that the Singingbrakeman is so very proud of (augment: damage+2).  These are just two example of incredibly rare pieces acquired through the Fields of Valor Elite training regime.

1c3.  Tangible Power

What greater power is there than standing over the corpse of your mauled opponent and yelling “BY THE POWER OF GREYSKULL, I HAVE THE POWER!!!!!!!!!!!”?  Or even the capital gold “VICTOIRE” dancing on your screen as your team reigns victorious from a hard fought Ballista match.  Alas, tangible power is in the eye of the beholder once again, and as cool as I think He-man is, some people really might like the pink Power Ranger.

1c4.  Ability to Chat, Make Friends, and Affiliate with Larger Social Groups

During a Ballista match, you are forced to relay information, be it to your skillchain partner {Ready to start skillchain!}, notifying the other 30 partcipants to stop attacking you because you need to poop and, of course, nothing says friendship, respect, and love like a great swordfight.  You’re gay for even thinking that, seriously.

1c5.  Appeal in Becoming Immersed in a Fantasy World and Becoming Part of a Story That is Being Told

Remember Spartacus?  FREE THE SLAVES!!  Well, everytime you defeat those annoying little Taru, or the pompous Elvaans, slutty Mithra, or self-righteous Hume, you make a story worth etching into the greatest of the great books of war.  Vote for a Galka run Vana in 2013.

1c6.  Players Enjoy Competing with Other Players

This is the bread and butter, the toast and jam, the bong and a blitz, the crepe and a pancake of what Ballista is all about.

1c7.  Annoying and Manipulating Other Players Through Devious Means

Shout out to my freaks, I know you’re reading this, Zahara and Feiwong.  Every part of the game has some kind of super-imposed assholes that feel important enough to cause a good thing shame.  Ballista is no different.

1c8.  Players are Fascinated with the Mechanics

There is so much to test for Ballista that it’s actually mind boggling.  This is one of the bigger reasons Ballista has remained fresh to this day.  Now, how can I start throwing my colossal lances as angons…

1c9.  Geography of the World

Sorry guys, Dora the Explorer is all out of ideas on this one :(.  Jugner Forest, Pashow Marshlands, Meriphataud Mountains, Diorama, and that Brenner island are the only options that Ballista players have.

So, as you can see, the reasons for playing Ballista are obvious unless you’re one of those people that only wants to play Where’s Waldo with your friends.

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2.  Gameplay and Goals

Most gamers enjoy a variation of grinding and or challenging gameplay.  However, having a distinct goal usually requires the player to go through a series of grinding and/or challenging venues to attain such a goal.  Thus, it is up to the player to decide how much grinding or challenge is necessary to reach the promised land, that is, if the promised land is even within sight.

2a.  FFXI Gameplay and Goals

Within the FFXI universe exists a multitude of obstacles, be they challenging and or grinding, all of which are designed to prevent you from reaching the sweet, sweet nectar of your chosen goal in the most time consuming manner possible.  Cockblocks”R”Us.  This begs the question ‘how important is this goal to me, and do I enjoy the actual gameplay required to reach it?  Am I playing the game or is the game playing me?  Is this even a game anymore?’  FFXI has incredible variety, but it is up to the player to discern if it is worth their logged in time to partake.  FFXI is a game with bountiful choices, quite often marginalized into a tunnel of efficiency.  Let’s take a high level notorious monster fight in FFXI as an example.  If this particular notorious monster has a desirable drop, it will be dissected by the community to recognize the most efficient method to go about fighting it.  The goal seems to be to feel good about your accomplishments and the time spent playing the game.  Universally universal.

2b.  Ballista Gamelpay and Goals

Ballista gameplay is very different to the current style of play present in FFXI.  The player is faced with challenges completely unorthodox to the rest of the game.  Ballista emulates a digital sport if you will; it has rules, regulations, scoring, penalties, and team tactics.  Outcast by the majority due to its extreme difficulty and “un-rewarding” metagame, Ballista is a true hidden gem that many have yet to discover and or give a real second chance.  Common Ballista goals revolve around maximizing hybrid equipment sets via augmentation and ingenious sync options, muscle memory adaption, memorization of specific rook movements, monetization of strategical opportunities, expanding the challenge, and ultimately making good decisions.  Since Ballista is a team game, major accountability strain is placed on the individual to perform well under extreme pressure in a constantly expanding battlefield.  The most prevalent goal for any Ballista player is to play as many games as possible.  We are all self admitted whores :D

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Conclusion

So, the next time you scratch your head over the question ‘why Ballista?’, I challenge you to turn your frown upside down and ask yourself, “Why not Ballista?”

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10 responses

  1. Evv

    I guess I’ll be the first one to comment.

    My personal reason for playing Ballista is: 1c8.

    I am extremely fascinated by the game, and how incredibly deep it is. I want to improve so I will finally be able to see all the subtle things that transpire. The impact of individual customization and choice really make Ballista incredibly interesting for me.

    So I ask, what is your reason for playing Ballista?

    November 19, 2012 at 8:04 am

  2. V

    I just enjoy playing a game (Ballista) that I love with my friends. I do care about having good augments to an extent, but I wouldn’t mind playing on a gimp Taru if it’s with my friends. That’s the reward in itself for me.

    November 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    • Evv

      You’re definitely the {Ready to start skillchain!} guy :D

      November 19, 2012 at 4:49 pm

  3. teishi

    i usually play online games for 1c9 and a little playful 1c7, but ballista is definitely a draw because of 1c6. although as usual the most important thing always ends up being 1c4.

    November 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    • Evviva

      I can see it chancellor :D

      November 20, 2012 at 4:55 am

  4. Jspromlx

    Um . . . you missed one Evv. I do it for the beauty pageant of course since nothing can match a bunch of galkas dancing around each other for one full hour showing off their sexy attributes. In all seriousness, it has to be fun and competitive element of the game. Like i was telling V yesterday, you can handle the hardest NM/activity in this game with less than half the energy/awareness/reaction that you use to play ballista.

    November 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    • Evv

      Lmao!

      I really agree with you here Jsp. Well said :)

      November 22, 2012 at 2:23 am

  5. Zirk

    Great post, I was saving it until I had some time to burn at work.

    Minor fix at the end,

    “Outcast by the majority due to its extreme difficulty and “un-rewarding” metagame,”

    November 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    • Evv

      Thanks Zirk :)

      Good catch on the needed correction!

      November 22, 2012 at 2:23 am

    • V

      Edited

      November 23, 2012 at 1:37 am

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