The speed on Accurate is one tick slower than a Godsword, but when put on Rapid it matches the speed of a Godsword. Unlike the Hand Cannon released in RS2, there is no additional delay before the special attack shot fires (a 'warm up' period).
The heavy ballista has a special attack, Concentrated Shot, which it shares with the light ballista. It performs an attack with 25% increased accuracy and damage, but takes an additional 4 ticks (2.4 seconds) to fire.
Offers a special attack where the player can hit any target in a 3x3 area, while in a multicombat area, making it one of three range weapons that can hit multiple targets. This costs 60% of special attack bar.
Offers a powerful special attack, where if used with dragon arrows, it increases damage dealt by 50% with a minimum hit of 8 (30% with any other arrow with a minimum hit of 5). Costs 55% special attack energy.
It is the only one of three ranged weapons that offers the ability to hit more than one opponent at a time (similar to burst or barrage ancient spells), the others being the special attack of the Dragon crossbow, with a similar attack, and Rune thrownaxe, with a ricochet type attack.
Regarded to be the best way of training Ranged at the cost of it being expensive.
Upon release, the heavy ballista's Ranged Attack bonus was +120. However, this was changed on 31 October 2016 to +100 due to it being "simply too strong" when paired with ranged Void Knight equipment in PvP. Furthermore, the ranged strength of javelins was also reduced, lowering the max hit of the heavy ballista.