Xpilot : Newbieguide  : Balls

Ballhandling may be the hardest thing to do in XPilot. The ball itself is usually about 2.5 times heavier than your ship, which means that the ball can drag your ship anywhere.

First the basics about balls. Balls start in treasureboxes, which look like this.

On teamplay-maps it can also be blue. You can't grab balls from blue boxes, because they belong to your team. You must prevent the enemy team from taking them.

Back to ballhandling again. If you touch a treasurebox it will kill you, so keep some distance. If you touch a ball it will most likely be destroyed, but that depends on the serversettings. To connect to the ball, fly near it and press left <CTRL>. A dashed line should now appear.
Dashed connector

Keep left <CTRL> pressed and slowly fly away from the ball. When the line becomes solid you can release left <CTRL>.
Solid connector

Now the hard part comes, keeping the ball under control. The easiest way is to fly slowly and let the ball guide you. Every now and then you just have to push or pull the ball in the direction you want it to go. With this tactic you (probably) will keep control of the ball, but other players can easily shoot you now. You could try to aviod being shot by dropping the ball when a enemy is in sight. Kill him quickly and then reconnect to the ball again. You can drop a ball by pressing key D.

The fastest way to get a ball where you want it to go is by dragging it behind you and almost constantly accelerate. Sometimes even use the walls to make quick turns with a ball. This is pretty hard to do and takes a few years to master. Most of the times you will spin out of control until the ballconnector can't take the strain anymore and snaps.

On teamplay-maps, the purpose of the ball is to destroy it. Your team must destroy all the balls of the enemy team in order to win. You can destroy an enemy ball by grabbing it from the enemy treasurebox and the putting it in the blue treasurebox of your team. I have made an animated GIF, where you can see me do that. Of course the enemy tries to do the same thing to your balls. Don't let them! Balls are worth a lot of points. If an enemy destroys your ball, that will cost you a lot of points. The server can also run in capture-the-flag mode. Meaning that your own ball has to be safe before you can destroy the enemy ball.

Fully trained ballrunners have quite some skills. According to a post in the newsgroup from eSk, these include

  1. Knowing a large number of pre-planned routes (~40).
  2. Ability to pick the best route depending on where you *and* the other players are located (only lucky players survive a ballrun through 4 enemies).
  3. Ability to switch from one route to an alternative one should you encounter enemies during your run.
  4. Ability to pick up the ball at any location so that one can fall into a pre-rehearsed route. This includes picking the ball up at an appropriate angle with the correct velocity (i.e., stabilizing yourself and the ball).
  5. Ability to leave the ball floating in a pre-planned manner, do your combat and rendezvous with the ball at a later time.
  6. Ability to perform not too complicated dogfighting while carrying the ball.
  7. Ability to throw a ball from long distances into the treasurebox.

Balls can also appear on non-teamplay-maps. Usually they are lethal balls, which means if you hit a ball, you die. In that case, the object of the map is to throw balls at eachother instead of using guns. The map called "Death Ball" is a good example of this.

Added comments

Ahhh.. The treasure box, there is nothing I need more practice at than Bloods. Doh!
    By Joe