Part 119: Episode CIX: Our Season Unending
The dreams of children are usually a laughable affair. Trust me kid...
...you don't understand what it is you ask.
Today, boys and girls, we'll be tackling that ever looming spectre looming over the whole of Final Fantasy X. At every save point since Luca, the option to just go Play Blitzball has been waiting to one day be clicked upon. Today is that unfortunate day, as we embark on the journey to obtain Wakka's Celestial Weapon. The entirety of the process revolves around engaging with that dragon, blitzball.
New Music: Decision on the Docks (HD Remaster Version)
Welcome to the Blitzball Menu. Yep. An intern sure did throw this half-assed UI together on a Friday afternoon. Obtaining Wakka's ultimate weapon requires playing some blitzball. A lot of blitzball. A fucking TOOOOOOON of blitzball. This is by far the worst and longest side quest of all the Celestial Weapons' requirements.
Even if you are some lunatic that likes blitzball and have not sought counseling for your clear mental faculties degeneration, it's still way the hell too much of one mini-game. I'll explain just how much blitzball needs to be played.
First of all, to even obtain Wakka's Celestial Weapon in the first place we need to do one of two things: Either win five total blitzball games or win a blitzball tournament. You'll notice the Tournament option is blacked out, indicating it is not selectable. That's because there is currently no tournament being held.
You may, upon hearing that, think that blitzball works on some kind of seasonal schedule or the like. And you would be wrong. Perhaps we need to play a few games to qualify? Good guess, but inaccurate. The blitzball league only exists when the player is engaging with it and tournaments are not being held at the moment because fuck you, player, the RNG says it is not. The RNG Gods reign supreme in the realm of blitzball and here's the first part of it.
In order to speed this process along by triggering a tournament, we have to do the following.
Cancel out of the blitzball menu and then re-enter it. Repeat as many times as necessary until a tournament appears in the menu. That's it. It's entirely RNG as to whether the tournament option appears. It took me five menu cancels to get one to pop this first time. A later tournament took seven. There's your first engagement with the post-Luca optional blitzball. Manipulating menus to function. Ace stuff, Square. Aces all around.
So I got real lucky here and the tournament that popped up will let us kill two birds with a single stone. You see, not only is Wakka's Celestial Weapon unlocked by participating in blitzball competitions. So are all of his three additional Overdrives I had neglected to get until this point, because that would mean playing blitzball and no thank you!
Oh well, joke is on me. Cuz, all three of them will randomly be given out as 1st place prizes in competitions and we need to catch 'em all before the final prize, the Jupiter Sigil, appears at the end of the endless deluge of blitzball matches.
Now that we've got the desired prize in our sights we've got to actually go play blitzball. Usually, this would mean firing the entirety of the Besaid Aurochs and scouring the world recruiting much better players, such as Brother here. This process pretty much has to be repeated every time we attempt to get a new blitzball prize. For reasons I'll explain later on.
Go look up a FAQ to see who all the top notch players are to min-max your blitzball team's optimal output. I don't care! I hate blitzball and I did this legit once 13 years ago. So I'm just going to go ahead and cheat in the default Besaid Aurochs to their maximum level. Not that it's going to save any time whatsoever. Fully engage with it properly? Cheat past it by editing stats? It doesn't matter. You are still playing the game of blitzball. Which will take 10-12 minutes per match no matter what you do! There is no escaping it!
Also I want to pull back a curtain on this bullshit math game while we're at it.
So the blitzball tournament. There are only six teams in the entire Spira league. The Besaid Aurochs, which is our team even if GM Tidus systematically fires the lot of 'em and replaces them with Al Bhed and Guados. There's also the Kilika Beasts. The Al Bhed Psyches which all reside on the Fahrenheit these days. The Guado Glories which you could add just one word to in order to title a wood elf pornography. The prick Luca Goers, our eternal '80s rich rival team. And the Ronso Fangs, who all escaped Seymour's increasingly less impressive complete genocide of the Ronso tribe.
New Music: Blitz-off! (HD Remaster Version)
I'm not going to go over the game of blitzball again. It's still the same game as the initial tournament. It's always the same game. There's just different numbers shifted around.
Needless to say, my buffed out team has a clear advantage. But even if you're trouncing the competition, it doesn't make blitzball move any faster. Remember, time stops every time the titular blitzball is not actively moving. So get into a block? That's 10-15 seconds of the time stopped. Score a goal? Cool. 15 seconds til the ball is back in play and the clock starts again! Hoho!
Now take notice here, even if our Level 99 Aurochs destroyed the poor Al Bhed Psyches, they still got some experience from the game like any decent stats based fantasy league sort of thing. Keep that in mind.
Another thing to consider in this time sink is that after every game, the tournament doesn't automatically progress. You've got to manually chose to continue punish yourself by playing blitzball and select the tournament again to continue to the next match. At least you can decide, no... there are, in fact, better things to do with my life than play more blitzball and go on your merry way. Our come back later, if you feel your sanity eroding. The tournament can be suspended for 30 hours between matches if you want.
Fuck it! The game world doesn't care. So why should you?
Optimally, the fastest way to finish a blitzball match is to just score a goal then go to that old standby of hanging in the Auroch'sown goal causing the AI to completely shit the bed for the remainder of the match. This is not a 100% certain thing. Sometimes a certain member of the AI team might mark one of our characters and still follow them to the goal to cause trouble like an idiot. Fucking blitzball AI cannot even glitch out right.
So ultimately it comes down, once again, to the Luca Goers vs. the Besaid Aurochs in the tournament finale. The Kilika Beasts and the Guado Glories are tossed down to the Consolation Tournament bracket. Which is funny, considering both teams got seeded. Spira Blitzball League, you really need to expand your teams here. This is just an embarrassing tournament, now that there are actual brackets for the affair.
You really couldn't think of two more teams, Square? Where the hell is Bevelle, the largest city on the planet's home team? How about a Hypello team? It's not like they've done anything to change the animation rigging for different body types. A burly Ronso dude moves exactly the same as a petite Al Bhed girl. Christ sake.
So anyway, on to the final round of the tournament. Keep in mind, only two games of blitzball have been played in the history of this league right now. The entire league. I reset everyone's stats before this whole affair began. Even the events of the Luca story tournament never took place as far as gameplay is concerned.
Soooo... Luca Goers, what's up with you having Level 99 stats too you rubber-banding fucks...? I know I am cheating. But I'd like to think the game I am playing has the good faith to not pull the same pranks. Now I know I should give your shitty mini-game the zero respect it deserves with no reservations.
Oh blitzball. You are just garbage all around. Also the Luca Goers turn into kind of a trash team at their highest level. So at least that's kind of funny in the long run.
In any case, the Besaid Aurochs win the tournament through dubious means, which if you have a problem with, you can go stick a blitzball directly up your arse.
As a result, Wakka receives his second Overdrive in the forth of Attack Reels. Also known as the most powerful attack in the original version of the game!
Music: Wakka's Theme
Wakka's Attack Reels Overdrive turns the slots into a chance of scoring physical hits on the enemy (or group of enemies.) If the reels hit for different numbers (for example 2X, 1X, 2X like above) the attack will hit five times. If all the slots line up, the number of hits doubles. So Wakka's Attack Reels can potentially hit up to 12 times.
Now, a maxed out Wakka with Attack Reels hitting all 2x and his Celestial Weapon equipped means a potential max damage output of 1,199,988 damage. That's pretty good! And really, the only one of his Overdrives worth a damn. Even without Wakka's ultimate weapon, Attack Reels is enough to break any standard main story path challenge over the player's knee. Alas... we need to keep going to finish this side quest.
To break up the monotony of blitzball before diving headlong into the worst of it, let's go pick up Wakka's weapon at the center of this slog. We're heading back to Luca. I want to say this may be the final time we'll ever need to head into Luca during Final Fantasy X. Not that it was a hub of revisits or anything prior to this.
Remember that time Tidus pressured Kimahri into getting into a bar fight with the dearly departed rival Ronso duo? We're heading back there for this side quest. Turns out the bartender has something for us after winning technically the second blitzball tournament in a single year.
So is the implication that the Celestial Mirror is a well known relic possessed by Tidus? It's just some dumbass thing we earned by racing a chocobo in an abandoned temple in the ass end of civilization. I don't get it... But sure, lady. We have the focal point of all the Endgame side quests with us still. It's not like we can cast it into the sea.
Amazing. I can say that I'm honored to hand over the family heirloom. Our ancestors received this artifact from Lord High Summoner Ohalland. Please use it with care!
And so Wakka receives the World Champion blitzball. That is... that is just a ball lined with daggers. Wakka... Wakka... there are no less than five blades piercing your arm and chest right now, buddy. Maybe stop posing like that... Wakka, you're not even signed to the Aurochs anymore, I didn't bother to take you out of retirement. Who even said you could have that thing?
Oh well. Whatever. We've got the damn weapon. And we already obtained the Jupiter Crest from Wakka's locker in the Auroch's locker room back during the Jecht Sphere world tour. Now just the grind to get the two remaining Overdrives before picking up the Jupiter Sigil. Fuck my life!
Music: Blitz-off! (HD Remaster Version)
The problem we have now is that the next Overdrive is not showing up in either Tournaments or League games. You can toss that Elixir and Luck Sphere in the dumpster. I'm not playing a single more game of blitzball than necessary.
So the only way to remedy this is to once more plead to the RNG gods and select Reset Data. This will reset the entire blitzball league. Everyone goes back to their default teams with Level 1 stats, just like if we'd never played a single game of blitzball. Doing this will reset the prizes for various games. Also it resets tournaments so you've got to jump out and back into the blitzball menu several times to get that to pop.
Unfortunately, we don't have to worry about that too much. As Status Reels immediately popped up... as a League prize. Technically, he way to make Status Reels to unlock is getting Attack Reels and also winning 250 non-Monster Arena random battles. This being the Endgame, I'm at probably pushing 1000+ battles. So whatever. Not like you can check anywhere. Just another of the fun unseen numbers dictating obscure bullshit in this fine title.
So a blitzball League is playing through an entire season of blitzball. While a tournament was only three games maximum (I think technically it can be only two if the Aurochs get seeded, but that would require playing multiple tournaments without resetting and that's dumb), the league season is... TEN FUCKING GAMES! So, at the bare minimum that is just 100 minutes of blitzball right there. Of course it's more like 120 minutes or more in reality, given all the load times, menu crawling both post and mid-game, and other assorted crap.
The Besaid Aurochs just blatantly paid off the officials at this point and gave themselves 99 points. It doesn't matter. You cannot just mash through blitzball. You still need to actively engage with the dumbass thing to keep the clock running. I still played all that blitzball. Ten whole games. Thirteen total in this side quest. Fifteen career!
Congrats, Wakka! Now you've got Status Reels and I'm out over a feature length movie worth of my life. Thank the heavens podcasts exist or I'd might have gone insane from that shitty solitary blitzball track that plays for every motherfucking game in this clunky half-baked math game masquerading as underwater soccer.
Status Reels is a worthless piece of shit on top of it. All of Wakka's Overdrives are crap except for Attack Reels. There is never a point to use any of them but Attack Reels. But here we are.
Hoho! Wakka does an attack that inflicts status ailments. Watch out, we got a real badass blitzball player here. Hit the skulls and it's Poison, Sleep, Silence, and Darkness assuming they're not immune. Hit the Down symbol and they're hit with all of Auron's Break moves. The Egg-timer hits for Stone or Slow, depending on immunities. By the way, it only hits the entire party if they all match. Otherwise it's one random enemy.
Now that you've seen it, go ahead and forget it exists because it is not Attack Reels and you're an idiot if you're blowing an overdrive on iffy status effects when there are multiple other guaranteed versions of most all those ailments.
Back to it! Mercifully, the next drop comes in a Tournament and is the Auroch Reels. Technically, this one has a 450 Battles won barrier of entry. But that stretch goal has long since been met.
Yep. There goes another half hour and change summarized in three screenshots. Wakka now has his final Overdrive, the Aurochs Reel.
The Aurochs Reels mashes together outcomes form Status and Element Reels, as well as special Aurochs team symbols. We, of course, want to hit all those to get the desired outcome form this Overdrive.
If correctly pulled off, it hits enemies a single time for a powerful non-elemental attack. The attack is technically stronger the more of the canonical Aurochs team members are still part of the Besaid Aurochs' line-up in the blitzball league. But it maxes out at one hit of 99,999 damage once World Champion is powered up. Sooooooo... absolutely no reason to ever use this when Attack Reels exist. It's even more pointless than status reels. At least piling on some of those debuffs is noteworthy. May as well just call out Agnes or the Magus Sisters instead of this rubbish.
Man fuck off, Wakka!
Now that we have all of Wakka's Overdrives collected, the Jupiter Sigil will now pop-off after a few data resets in... ughh... another goddamned League series.
Whoopde-do. Skipping past ten games right here. Ten goddamn games of blitzball!
On the very last game of blitzball I ever had to play, that Quinton Flynn voiced jackass Bickson was dropped from the Luca Goers and his contract was not renewed. He's now unemployed. A fitting end to his blitzball career.
And Hallelujah! I never have to play another fucking game of blitzball ever again! Thank FUCK!
Oh Letty? Your contract expired this last game of the league? Oh I'm sorry! Let me check here. Yep... Yep the files clearly state zero fucks in the ol' Besaid Aurochs fuck giving coffers. Sorry pal.
Oh no! What's that? The Aurochs Reel won't be as strong. That's such shame! Such a shame...
Enjoy unemployment, loser. In fact, I went ahead and fired the entirety of the Besaid Aurochs and replaced them with randos out on the streets. Just out of pure spite!
No. I will not continue playing blitzball. I am never playing blitzball again for the rest of my life. That came to 4:58 minutes of blitzball. 26 games of that vile mini-game. You sons of bitches better pray they do not specify who worked on the blitzball segment of the game in the end credits, or that is going to become a list of names I will travel to Japan and begin crossing off. Messily.
On to our penultimate trip to the Seed of Resurrection and the powering up of this thing. The Jupiter Crest broke McGruff's damage cap, if you were curious. Pfft. Take that bullshit aeon, toss it into the Luca stadium, then demolish the whole thing and pave over the rubble.
World Champion gets the usual suite of Break Damage Limit and Triple Overdrive, alongside a whatever Double AP and Evade & Counter. Great! Terrific! That was completely worth my time and effort of playing five hours of blitzball.
It has the same exact damage calculation as Rikku and Kimahri's Celestial Weapons:
(10 + [100 * Wakka's current HP ÷ Wakka's Max HP]) ÷ 110
Spoilers: So does Tidus' Celestial Weapon. They really only gave Auron the one unique calculation.
And that does it. This whole update you read in probably around ten minutes took five hours of playing a mini-game I hated. But thankfully, that was by far the worst one. All that remains is Tidus' side quest and, while bad (and they're all bad) is not even a fraction as time consuming as this quagmire of poor game design.
F U C K
B L I T Z B A L L
F O R E V E R ! ! !
Video: Wakka Reels Demo