Tha MonkeyClan of the Angry Monkey (FFXI)
For your country! Maior's Guide to Ballista
Submitted by sam on Fri, 07/01/2005 - 14:14.

Ballista is an incredibly fun and risk-free aspect of the game. It's player versus player, and helps determine national ranking and regional control. You can gain gil and experience from it, as well as help shape the face of Vana'Diel. This guide will introduce to you general Ballista strategy.

1. Ballista Basics

Before we begin, be sure you have already read RapRot's excellent Ballista for Beginers chapter from Around Vana'Diel in 80 Days. This guide is written with the assumption that you have already read his guide, have your Ballista license, and know where to go to find out about upcoming matches.

1a. What is Ballista?

Before the Great Crystal War, the nations of Vana'Diel would hold non-lethal
forms of combat to train their troops called "Conflict". These Conflicts
became barbarian-like events creating many heros and legendary soldiers.
In the years leading up to the Great Crystal War, the Conflicts became especially
bloody. The Conflicts became a microcosm of the growing tensions between
the three nations.

Because the Conflicts were dividing the nations, and as the Great Crystal
War commenced, the games were disolved and Conflict was outlawed.

After the Great Crystal War, the lands had been ravaged by the Beastmen, and
the nations once again began to vie for control of the various regions of
Vana'Diel. However, they were also too distrusting of the other empires to
use their personal guard to claim the foreign lands.

Thus, the San d'Orian form of Conflict (known as "Ballista") was reinstated
as a means for helping to determine the control of a region. Instead of
kingdom armies fighting this Ballista, adventurers representing kingdoms
would fight.

1b. How do you play Ballista?

Ballista is a Player Versus Player (PvP) combat whereby representatives
for different nations battle for control over an area (as in normal
Ballista), or simply for bragging rights (as in the special arena Ballistas).
Some Ballistas have restrictions placed on them such as level caps (e.g.,
everyone is level 30) or item restrictions (e.g., no swapping equipment, no
using external items). Some Ballistas have special rules (such as "best 2
out of 3" or "free-for-all").

Ballista is played by capturing items known as "Petras", killing an
opponent, and then running the Petra (or Petras) to a Rook and scoring
points for your team. The points you score are in proportion to the
number of Petras you hold.

You find Petras by "quarrying" in the ground. This is basically digging
in the ground for items. To quarry you can select the "Quarry" command
from the menu, or type "/quarry". Often it is advisable to macro "/quarry"
so that you can rapidly search for Petras.

You will not always obtain Petras. Often you will obtain other items that
are specific to Ballista. Pay special attention to these items, because they
will almost always be useful during Ballista. You cannot keep these items
after you leave Ballista, so there is no need to not use them.

2. Ballista Strategy

2a. Overview

Never expect to go into Ballista and have a true 1 on 1 experience. Good
Ballista teams stick together and use group strategies to win. This means,
if you want to win, your team must work together.

Before Ballista begins, form an alliance with everyone representing your
nation. This will be your team. While your Linkshell will be disabled
during Ballista and all your LS chat will be seen by the team, it is
usually advisable to switch to party chat anyway. The advantages to
being in an alliance are that you can see where all your teammates are
as well as see their hit points.

When Ballista starts there is a preparation period where both teams are
invisible and cannot attack eachother or quarry for Petras. It is during this
time that both teams should group together at some base-camp. Once at the
base-camp, the teams should begin to buff. Ninjas should cast Utsusemi on
themselves, White Mages should protect and shell, Bards should sing
team etudes.

After the preparation period ends, a battle song will play
and the words "Laisser aller!"
will display signifying the start
of Ballista. During this time, a generally accepted and good strategy is
as follows:

  1. /quarry for Petras

    Start by quarrying for Petras and items. The whole team should do this. You
    may look a bit silly with an alliance of people squatting looking for things,
    but it is important. You may also have some impatient teammates who want
    to just fight. Be sure to impress upon them the importance of starting this

    Usually, when you get a Petra, you
    should indicate in party chat how many Petras you have. Simply typing
    a number in party chat is sufficient.

  2. Hunt for the Enemy

    You can either take your whole group en masse to hunt for enemies, or
    you can send out scouts to try and pull the enemy back. Pulling in Ballista
    is tricky because, if the other team knows their stuff they will know you
    are just trying to seperate them.

    When you find the enemy, it is usually best to focus on a small number of
    them to kill. Any mages with AOE spells (especially Black Mages- ouch, Firega!),
    Summoners, or Rangers are good. Also, anyone with relatively low defense or
    who is already hurting works well.

    Whatever you do stay in a group! If you get seperated from your
    team, you will die.

  3. Find a Rook and Score

    Once you have killed an enemy by your hands, or contributed to the death of
    an enemy someone else has killed, you get what is known as a "Gate Breach".
    A Gate Breach means that you can now score a point if you can find a Rook.

    Start by /scout-ing to find where the nearest Rook is. Then run to the Rook,
    and select it to make a shot. If you are being attacked, or if a Warrior is
    provoking you, your shot will most likely be interrupted.

    Depending on how many Petras you hold, you will score 1 or more points for
    your team.

    After your team has scored, return to step 1 above and repeat.

If you die, you will respawn at some home point in the area common to your team.
Simply regroup at your base-camp and start the above steps over.

2b. Ballista Equipment

Ballista is not like normal levelling. When you level you fight, as a group,
a single enemy that is significantly higher level than your group. Thus, you
want to enhance certain stats necessary for dealing with high evasion mobs
(espcially accuracy). In Ballista, you are fighting other people at
your level. Thus, accuracy
isn't as much of an issue as attack and strength.

For protection, the key stats to boost are DEF and evasion.
In most cases, evasion is the key one to boost. If you ever need to cast
a spell (if you are a mage or ninja) evasion is critical to not have it

For attack, you want to boost STR, attack and DEX.
STR and attack are self-explanitory, and you want them both to be
as high as possible. DEX does increase your accuracy, but more importantly
it increases the chance of scoring criticals against your opponents.

2c. The versatile Ninja

One of the best ways to augment any melee job in Ballista (and even some
mage jobs) is to sub /NIN. Even if /NIN does not add much to your job
otherwise, you may want to consider subbing it for the following reasons:

  • Utsusemi : 3 shadows give you the ability to avoid damage
    from 3 physical attacks. There's not much better than that, is there?
  • Tonko : Invisible for everyone! Nothing beats sneaking
    up beside someone who is healing and laying a smackdown on them before
    they can even see you.
  • AGI Boost : This helps you evade attacks, and helps with
    ranged attacks, if you have any.

"But what about WAR's ability to provoke?" I hear you ask. Well, it's true
provoke can help block shots during a Gate Breach. And it's true that
provoke can lock an enemy onto you temporarily. But neither of these
abilities are as useful in Ballista as the NIN abilities are.

2d. Chugging potions from the ground

There are a lot of other items you can get from the ground. Be sure to check
every one you get that you don't know what it does, some of them may be
very useful.

I have no intention of covering all of the items that you might find here
but I can show you some of the more important ones:

2e. Don't save your TP

The final general advice is never to save your TP. As soon as your
weaponskill is ready for use, use it. Chances are you wont live long
enough to save up your TP much beyond 100% without the use of a
Daedalus Wing. The only exceptions to this rule may be the THF trying
to save up for a killer SATA or the SAM using mediate.

3. Specific Job Strategies

These are basic guidelines for playing each job in Ballista. They are
by no means meant to be the only way to play a certain Job in
Ballista. They are just ways in which I have seen others play them or I have
played them and found them effective. Consider this next section a suggestion
for things to try in Ballista. As with anything, you will ultimately have to
think for yourself when the time comes to actually battle.

3a. The melee jobs

  • Warrior :

    The warrior is an excellent damage dealer in Ballista. Forget tanking, there is no
    such a thing. Come in equipped with Great Axe if you don't mind the delay,
    or sub NIN and use dual axes to wail away on people. Fire off Berzerk when you
    need extra "oomph" to finish off an opponent, or Defender when you need extra
    defense to survive.

    Honestly, the best way to play WAR in Ballista is to just sub NIN and dual
    wield normal axes. You are going to encounter so many others subbing NIN that
    your Great Axe may be too slow to even get through their blink let alone
    damage them. Sure doing massive damage with a Great Axe sounds good on paper,
    but you will find the quicker attacks of the axes to be much more effective
    against your opponents.
  • Monk :

    Ah, yes, Monk is a king among kings in Ballista. Our natural hand-to-hand
    attacks chew through Utsusemi and render the NIN shadows all-but-useless. We
    tend to build TP fairly well and have deadly weaponskills.

    Sub NIN for the shadows (WAR doesn't give you much for Ballista). Don't mess
    around with boosts, but do use Dodge and Focus.
  • Dark Knight :

    Don't think just because you have single high attacks that Ballista will be a
    push-over for you. Your attacks are slow, and shadows can be recast quickly.
    Stick with groups of others and let them eat through the shadows. Once the
    enemy shadows are gone, that is where you will shine. A few slices and you
    will have them running :-)

    Again, sub NIN for the shadows. Higher levels may consider THF for sneak
    attack, but pulling that off without Tonko is going to be hard. If you have
    a Monk on your team, join him or her. A Monk to tear through shadows and a
    Dark Knight to rip through HP is an evil Ballista combination.
  • Samurai :

    In Ballista you will be king of the weaponskills. Quite frankly, thanks to
    mediate you will be the only attacker capable of consistant weaponskill
    attacks. As soon as you start to /quarry, you should fire off mediate if it
    is available. Build up TP and unleash it as soon as you engage the enemy.
    Often the psychological effect of such a large damage attack is enough to
    make your opponent run.

    If you can, you should probably bow out of many battles and let your mediate
    recharge. Your defense isn't that high, and you probably wont have the hit
    points to spare for prolonged battles. Again, sub NIN for the shadows.
  • Dragoon :

    Many of your techniques wont help you here. Jump is useless, and healing breath
    wont do anything to save you if you sub WHM. However, you more than make up
    for it due to your pet. The combination damage of both you and your pet will
    be awesome.

    The one real detriment to DRG is that, if your Dragon dies, you probably
    wont be able to summon him for the remainder of the battle. This makes
    DRG a very tough job to pull off in Ballista.
  • Thief :

    At first THF doesn't seem to work well in Ballista. THF's big move is SATA,
    but how do you SATA onto an opponent in Ballista? The answer to this is
    supplied by subbing NIN. With /NIN, you gain access to Tonko, meaning you
    can actually invisible yourself and sneak up behind people. Throw on
    a Daedalus Wing or two for TP gain and SATA with a weaponskill and you
    can kill many other players in one hit.

    THF's role in Ballista is somewhat more of a lone wolf than the rest of the
    jobs. A typical THF will sneak in, SATA, and then sneak back out (usually
    to find a rook). The THF should have Tonko macroed and ready to fire as soon
    as they SATA or kill an opponent. After each SATA, the THF probably wants to
    Tonko and retreat to a safe place to /quarry for Petras/items or find a Rook
    to score.
  • Ninja :

    Ah, Ninja. You may not be a huge damage dealer, but man can you enfeeble other
    players by this level. In many ways, you will be one of the best enfeeblers in
    Ballista simply because of your shadows and no dependence on MP.

    One of my favorite ways to employ Ninjas in my Ballista teams is to place
    them with the BLMs guarding the Rooks. Ninjas can paralyze, bind and poison
    all before they start to attack.
  • Ranger :

    While you can't last very long in the thick of things, as someone who stands
    apart from the fray and fires arrows into the group of enemies, you are
    critical for success. Your status arrows can be very effective at stalling
    the enemy or supporting your allies.

    Subbing NIN will allow you to dual wield your weaponry and give you shadows,
    which is always a good thing. If you plan on meleeing a lot, you may want to
    just use normal axes as opposed to knives as they are your best non-ranged
  • Paladin :

    Like the Ninja, you wont be a really big damage dealer. However, you will
    be the one who can take the most damage. This means if you can just get
    people to waste their attacks on you it will help your allies greatly.
    Your healing abilities will also mean that you can throw the occassional
    cure and protect as needed. Ultimately, it seems to be best to play Paladin
    as a damage dealing and high defense WHM in Ballista. It really is an
    intriguing job for Ballista.

    Once again, subbing NIN will give you shadows and the almighty dual wield.
    Use a couple of status effect swords and go to town.
  • Beastmaster :

    Because the mobs vanish from the Ballista playing ground, I never would
    have expected BST to be a very good Ballista job. Boy was I wrong. A BST
    with a bunch of jugs can summon beasts to their side that will strike
    fear into the enemy. A BST can hide and sic their most viscious summons onto
    weary opponents, and they can save themselves and others by providing the
    eneny another target to battle.

    BST is one of the best Ballista jobs I have encountered. I am truly in awe of
    them :-)

3b. The mage jobs

  • White Mage :

    WHM is hard to pull off in Ballista. Most skirmishes dont last long enough
    to warrant much curing. WHMs have such low attack and defense that they are
    seen as easy kills to the enemy. And WHM doesn't have too many offensive

    What I have seen work with WHM is to have the WHM stay close to the PLDs,
    SMNs, and RDMs. They then provide support in the form of curing, protects,
    and casting invisible on others. I have never seen a WHM score a point,
    but that doesn't mean it isn't possible to do so.
    Offensively, the WHM's best purpose is casting Silence on the enemy mages.
  • Red Mage :

    As a melee mage, you have a slight advantage to WHM with respect to damage
    and defense, but your role in Ballista will still be more of a support one.
    You may get lucky enough to catch a straggler to kill, but more than likely
    your role will largely mimic the WHMs role.

    That being said, you do have the highest defense of all the mage classes.
    A RDM tailing a SMN or BLM has the potential of being a very lethal combination.
    Offensively, the RDM's best purpose is casting Silence on the enemy mages.

    After 50, the RDM's role in Ballista changes a bit. Refresh, second-tier
    offensive spells, fast cast, and the various en- spells will make you
    much more of an aggressive player.
  • Black Mage :

    Here's where the magic happens... litterally. A BLM in Ballista has all the
    terrible and nasty spells opponents hate. Firega, Areoga, Thunderga, and the
    rest of the AOE spells can grant BLMs multiple kills as well as provide
    excellent support for the other teammates. Bind makes them ideal to
    defend the rook, and their enfeebles come very close to matching the RDM or
    the NIN.

    The biggest problem with BLM, of course, is their lack of defense. Many
    melees can kill a BLM in a small number of hits, which means the BLM must
    be able to keep away from them. In addition to this, a single Silence
    is all that is required to render a BLM nearly useless.
  • Summoner :

    SMN is a great damage dealing mage job in Ballista. They effectively are
    the mage counterpart to BST. They summon a beast to fight alongside them,
    or distract the enemy from real opponents. Summons like Fenrir, Titan,
    and Ifrit can do spectacular attacks and damage to the opponents, and
    others like Garuda and Leviathan provide excellent buffs to your teammates.

    SMNs should stick together with other mages like WHM or RDM typically.
    The combination of a strong healer and a strong nuker can prove quite
    difficult for the average melee to be able to defeat.
  • Bard :

    A Bard in Ballista?! WTF?! I thought the same thing the first time I had
    one in my party. But they are the ultimate support job for Ballista.
    The BRD should probably stay far away from the fray, perhaps even back at
    the team's base-camp. They should provide buffs and the occasional enfeeble
    as needed.

    The Bard is probably the weakest job in the game from an attack and
    defense standpoint in Ballista. So, you really should be staying back as
    a Bard (unless you like dying). That being said, songs like Horde Lullaby
    can stop a group of attackers in their tracks :-)

4. Conclusion

Well, there you have it. I hope I've covered enough to get you started in
Ballista. Ballista is certainly fun and worth trying out. In fact, it's
probably the most fun aspect of the game I've personally played thus

I hope to see you on the battle field!

Whm and Ballista

I know this was written a while ago, but I figured I would add something to it anyway ^^

"I have never seen a WHM score a point, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible to do so."

I love playing Ballista as whm. I have never done anything lower than 50 cap, as I don't see a whm being very usefull there. I have played 4 games at 60 cap, and have done well in those, earning the WHM chevron the last 2 games I played (getting 3rd out of 20 the last game!)

For gear, I typically use AF everything, and a holy breastplate for body piece. This puts my defense, even as a taru, in a reasonable range. With stoneskin and blink and protect IV, I can take quite a few hits before going down.

For defense, we are OK...but not great. With /blm, we have access to bind and sleep as the only form of crowd control. Anyone being surrounded by more than 3-4 people probably cannot be saved by a whm. I generally hang out with my roommate, Kaliv the Galka Paladin. It takes an awful lot of damage to hurt him...and that damage is easily negated by a Cure IV. Outside of that, throwing out cures to those who manage to escape an ambush is all we have for defense.

Offense is an interesting thing for a whm pre hexa strike to accomplish. But, I manage to pull it off with these spells.
1) Bind. It is easy to corner an opponent when they cannot move. Land bind on a straggler, and they are certain to be dead, if you have some damage dealers around you to help.
2) Sleep. Same deal as bind, but it will wear when they get hit. Its best for stopping those fleeing from danger.
3) Diaga! Those shadows stand no chance from a nearly instant AoE. This and poisonga are your friends in ballista!
4) HOLY. This is a very effective spell at taking out the nearly dead, or fleeing. When I cast it, it is a nearly instant 180-230 damage spell thanks to nearly capped divine and magic attack bonus II. This amount of damage is usually all you need to take out someone who is running out of range from melee and ranged attacks. Plus, the cast time, as I mentioned is nearly instant.

I make sure to always be close to a group when they are beating on some poor soul that I happened to bind. I usually holy them to finish them off, and go score!

Anyway, here's to posting comments on topics 9 months old!

2 Notes to add

Excellent guide Mai, very right on with the roles of the game. I would like to add this:

1) In the July update, NIN and RNG are going to be gimped a bit, by tweaking Utsusemi and the distance factoring into a range attack. The link to Play Online is here:

2) I spoke to a guy (71 RDM and 70+ on another job) on warcry that I know, about Ballista matches after playing last weekend. He shared with me about the role changes at a level 50 cap, opposed to level 30. RDM becomes a deadly force at that level with spells such as Refresh, Phalanx, Stoneskin, etc. RDM tends to become much more aggressive at higher levels. So I would have to think that most jobs will change some as you get to higher level matches. Just my 2 cents. ^_^


Changed to reflect this.

I have only done 30 and 40 Ballistas more than once because my /NIN is too low. I have done with 50 Ballista with /WAR and did not do very well. The RDM I went up again there really didn't seem any different from the RDMs I had battled before. But he probably wasn't casting many en- spells (and could have just been a crappy RDM :-)

Vis Maior's Journeys

Ha Ha!

Just's shows you how much RDM pays off in the end.

For the record...

Let me clarify, I wasn't saying that RDM would be uber l33t, just that it can become more aggressive/independant later on, as other jobs would do the same. A skilled SAM/NIN would be *lethal* with dual wield, TP storage, plus Tonko spells. THAT would be scary. ^_^

yes i no

im just saying that we kick ass!

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