Red Mage Removal
RDM has always been a strong job in Ballista, but with the discovery of hyper, the job has been considered broken. Just to recap, in order to access hyper, a player needs to die a certain amount of times, depending on the total match duration. Since RDMs can easily kill themselves by depleting their MP, using Convert, and finally applying a Poison Potion, they are essentially able to manipulate their own deaths. As such, they will practically always have hyper, meaning that the job is virtually broken in OM and even worse in Diorama. Of course, there are some ethical issues of forcing death with Convert and Poison Potion in a competitive Diorama setting. However, despite that, it’s also impossible to completely prevent players from forcing death on RDM. Or rather, it’s impossible to administer a rule that prevents RDMs from curing themselves after Convert; curing after Convert is always a choice. Since RDMs have control over their own deaths, they will simply have an infinite supply of MP and can freely wreck the balance of the game. Of course, this is assuming that the RDM user is experienced. If the RDM is an amateur, it wouldn’t make a much of a difference, but regardless, the option of dying on command will always be there. As such, even the JP have stopped using RDM in Diorama for almost a year or perhaps longer.
Having to remove RDM from competitive play is extremely unfortunate because most of the best games involve RDM. With a wide variety of both aggressive and auxiliary spells, RDM brings so much versatility to the table. An accurate Gravity, Bind, and Sleep, an additional Haste, extra Cure IV’s, and a durable scorer with Phalanx all add a whole new element to the game. Additionally, keeping up with Refreshes on the WHM and PLD significantly increase the survivability of all players on the team with extra MP for cures and Flashes. Thus, even getting a single kill for Gate Breach can prove to be dreadfully difficult, and consequently, teamwork and advanced strategies become far more substantial with RDM in the mix, such as connecting WSs, aligning Gravity and Bind on the target, or immobilizing other players with Sleep and Repose. One of my favourite maneuvers is wiping the enemy mages’ Poison Potion with Poisonga in a 5v5 with RDM and WHM as backline jobs. After the poison effect from my Poisonga wears off in 30 seconds, the WHM on my team would cast Repose on one mage while I cast Sleep II with Elemental Seal on another, completely immobilizing the enemy mages for a some duration of the game. Without healing, even for a few seconds, makes getting a kill and Gate Breach significantly easier.
However, those days were before the discovery of hyper, and times have much changed since. Now, with RDM being able to access hyper without restriction and thus having infinite MP, I would consider it too powerful to be played in Diorama. It would probably be best if the job is completely removed from Diorama. Looking back at those grand games in the past, I earnestly wish that things could have stayed that way, but as much as I want to keep RDM in Diorama, I can’t find much justification to consider it as a standard job any more. It’s far too powerful with unrestricted hyper.
Adding a New Standard Job
With RDM removed from Diorama, there aren’t many options for mage play, as the only mages left are WHM and PLD. Just to recap, the current standard jobs for Diorama are the following:
• WHM/SCH (rarely WHM/RDM)
• PLD/WAR (rarely PLD/WHM)
Looking at a full-on standard game of 5v5, I would assume that the setup would be [WHM PLD DD DD DD], and in a 6v6, it would be [WHM PLD DD DD DD MNK]. MNK has to be the 6th DD in the case of a 6v6 because it is considered as secondary DD and using any other DD would be result in too high of a damage output. Not even a 6v6 with WHM and RDM can keep up with 4 DDs if one of the DDs is not MNK. The damage output would simply be too high. The result in that case is that the mages tend to run out of MP too fast, usually by the 10 minute mark. If that tends to be the case with WHM and RDM in a 6v6, it would surely be worse if the RDM is replaced with PLD. In fact, this incident has already been seen in many of the Diorama videos that some JP players have recently uploaded. In a 5v5, however, WHM and PLD isn’t so bad, although the WHM and RDM combination still has more flexibility.
In the past, the ideal 6v6 setup—or at least my ideal 6v6—was [WHM RDM PLD WAR DRK DD(not MNK)]. Mages are the key element of an enjoyable game because they have so much utility. Two of the three DDs should ideally be WAR and DRK for the same reason. If there’s no WAR, at least have DRK as one of the DDs. The game would be too bland if all three DDs were plain hitters otherwise. Imagine a game with the setup as [WHM PLD RNG DRG SAM MNK]. All of those DDs can be considered as pure attackers and would make the game too one-dimensional.
From my experience, the three mage to three DD ratio setup seems to produce the most unique and thrilling games to play. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many mage options as there are DD. Well, job options seem limited to begin with anyway. Believe me, it has always been a struggle to incorporate new jobs into Diorama because the non-standard jobs are either too weak or too powerful. There is a lot to consider when determining the strength of a job, and I won’t be going over all of them. For DDs, I can, at least, say that they must be able to keep up in TP and damage with the standard DDs without having an overpowered 2-hour. Of course, there are other aspects to evaluate, as well, but nevertheless, let’s take a look at the non-standard jobs:
• BLM (too strong)
• RDM (too strong)
• BRD (too strong)
• SMN (too weak)
• SCH (too strong)
• GEO (too weak)
• BLU (force hyper with Self-Destruct)
• RUN (possible addition)
• THF (pre-hyper too weak; hyper too strong)
• BST (too weak)
• NIN (melee too weak; tonnin too strong)
• COR (too strong)
• PUP (too strong)
• DNC (pre-hyper too weak; hyper too strong)
From what I can tell, RUN seems to have the highest likelihood of being incorporated into Diorama. It would have to be played more of a backline job similar to PLD, a secondary DD with healing magic. Since RUN only has Regen II while lacking cures, it would have to sub WHM, RDM, or BLU (Wild Carrot and/or Healing Breeze). The problem with RUN is that it lacks a decent 2-hour—or other decent job abilities for that matter. Thus, killing an enemy RUN would not be an issue other than the fear of replenishing MP. Even with amounts of MP to spare, RUN doesn’t have many useful spells besides Regen II, Flash, and some mediocre cures. Furthermore, its survivability is notably lower than that of a PLD mainly due to the lack of Defender, Sentinel, Invincible, and Cure IV. It also lacks the Berserk option that PLD has but can somewhat make up the damage difference with the Lunge and the additional damage from Rune Enchantments. The lack of Provoke, Shield Bash, Auto-Refresh, and Parade Gorget are other disadvantages of RUN compared to PLD.
Strangely, the best weapon option for RUN at Lv60 seems to be a one-handed sword, which means that a shield should be used, as well. Unfortunately, RUN has no shield skill and can only equip shields that are available to all jobs. The best shield for RUN seems to be Legion Scutum (14 DEF sync), which isn’t difficult to obtain but just annoying and time consuming. At least one good note is that RUN can use darts in its ammo slot for Rook guarding, but other than that, it’s a rather weak job overall, a ghetto PLD at best. However, it seems to be the only practical job to be incorporated into Diorama. Its most practical use would probably be to take the 6th spot in a 6v6, although it can also be used for 4v4 and 5v5 with lower performance than PLD. I suppose we could give RUN a shot some time.
Ballista Tip of the Day
There are a plethora of subtle techniques and knowledge that accumulate to constitute the overall skill of a player. It’s these small ‘tricks’ that can distinguish between exceptional players and mediocre players. The problem is that most people will never get the chance figure them out on their own. So, at the end of every post, I’ll do my best to throw in one or two Ballista tips that will hopefully be helpful to learning players. I’ll do add in a few more this time just to get things started.
♠ Ballista Tip #1: Play Diorama
To start things off, I suppose the first tip should be to play Diorama (hako). This implies that a standard job for Diorama should be played. At first, it’s usually best to concentrate on mastering two DDs and one mage, and branch out afterwards. Practically every skillful Ballista player has some mastery of both mage and DD jobs. It’s important to have a strong understanding of both DD and mage perspectives in order to improve with jobs under both categories. For example, learning how to play WHM should consequently increase the skill level of your DRK play. This could be due to several reasons, but one of which is that by understanding the specific timings and natural reactions from the WHM, such as Flash or curing between attacks, will help you coordinate your attack pattern better when taking down a mage. On a more detailed level, this should theoretically improve your cooperativeness with other players (teamwork), as it usually requires more than one player to take down an experienced mage. Basically, all of the minute so-called ‘tricks’, like WS and Third Eye timings, that contribute to the total skill of adept players can only be learned from Diorama, not OMs, because under a controlled and competitive setting, players will be pushed to their limits and realize their higher potential.
♥ Ballista Tip #2: First Score Attempt
The first attempt to score petra will always have a noticeably more delayed animation than the attempts after. As such, while trying to time your attempt to score with an opponent or two attacking you, it’s usually better to clear your first scoring attempt before timing between enemy attack rounds. After the first attempt, the scoring animation should be immediate. Whenever you zone (returning to camp after death), this effect is reset and you must clear your first score attempt again in order to have an immediate scoring animation.
♣ Ballista Tip #3: Returning to Camp
Deciding whether to wait for recovery or returning to camp could be frustrating as a less experienced player, as you won’t necessarily know what the most appropriate decision is. A general rule of thumb is to wait for recovery on the first death while returning to camp on the second. However, in most real situations, the decision is typically made based on the amount of the time that is required to return to the battlefield, the location where the main fight is taking place. For example, if you die while the fight is nearby your camp, it is typically better to return to camp, despite that your TP is over 50%, because it is likely that you will rejoin the fight alongside your teammates quicker. Furthermore, in most cases, the fights will be close to the Rook. By returning to the fight quicker, you will also be able to be ready to prevent your opponents from scoring or help your own teammates score.
♦ Ballista Tip #4: Movement with First Person View
Let’s say that you’re engaged in combat with another player and you’re running backwards in first person view without lock-on. This doesn’t appear to be anything special on your screen, but while you’re still facing your opponent, it looks like you’re completely running away from his perspective. There are several applications with first person view, but one of which is that Retaliation and Counterstance can be used while running away at regular speed. Even without those job abilities in use, you could be attacking your opponent while running away at the very least. The bottom line is that what you see on your screen is significantly different than what your opponents see on theirs, thus first person view allows for several unique Ballista techniques.