Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Effect of ROF on the play of the game; Part 2

Here's the set-up. 1) Honest question: [a] Will someone please tell me what the skill is when moving under higher rates of fire? [b] Is there some talent or skill players develop to get through tighter lanes of paint? [c] Isn't the whole point of the 'lane' of paint that a player CAN'T get through it?

The answer to [b] first: yes and no. The skill is in learning how to get through a controlled gap (a lane of paint) and then successfully and routinely executing, not in how to magically dodge 13 bps (which isn't what happens most of the time). You might be surprised to learn how many ways there are. [c]: No, the whole point is to try and contain/control movement in order to gain a positional advantage and this concept is a team concept not an individual player concept. [a]: it isn't a single skill, it is a diverse group of abilities; it's vision, it's timing, it's coordinated action, it's often running & shooting, it's body awareness [where you are in relation to where peeps can kill you], it's planning and preparation, it's physical tools including raw speed. There are a couple others but hopefully you get the idea. It's a rather complex interplay of game playing elements that in combinations allows movement through a zone the opposition is trying to control.

Here's the big picture answer–and the reason why ROF is important to the game play. ROF is the principle modifier of Movement. A few years ago, during the transition to semi-auto field rentals from pumps, we were playing some after hours paintball with the soon to be obsolete (then) pumps. We were playing approx. 5 on 5 on the speedball field which was mostly barrels and crossed plywood. Before one game it occurred to us that the pumps weren't capable, on that field, of containing our movement particularly if the other team played as if we all had semi-autos. The predictable result was that we ran them off the field in seconds. The proximity created by the dimensions of the modern xball field require a counterbalancing ROF in order to retain the game's complexity. Even with the old 15 bps and sideline coaches good players are still able to move and run down their opponents. If, for example, you put the pro ROF at 8 bps on a standard field layout the result would, in short order, be a brutal game of train wreck points because the ROF wouldn't be able to control movement versus the skill level of the players. The fact that pro players are capable of moving when confronted by high ROF is one of the defining characteristics of the current game. From my point of view, the ideal ROF for purposes of game play is one or two notches below being able to control the movement of the best teams. (And incidentally the reason why graduated ROF doesn't bother me at all. It should give developing players an opportunity to exercise the correct skill set with the correct priorities placed on the various demands of the game.)
When movement becomes too easy it loses value. In the modern format ROF makes movement meaningful. And meaningful movement is what makes all the great moves great.


chad said...


Mark790.06 said...

Good points. I've been in the, "As long as everyone else is shooting the same ROF, who cares" camp. But that train wreck analogy made me think, yikes! It'll be left up to the refs every time.
At our events when I see 4 on 3 in close proxmity I cringe that our refs will have to decide the game, and even if they're right, someone will bitch regardless. But it almost never seems to happen due to the timidity and/or inexperience of the players (D3 & D4) our events draw.
When you have thoughs who play the "control game" with the calculated moves made when an opponent is eliminated, I see a Greg Pauley's point of view in expending more paint to acheive the same result.
On the pro level I can see that one team will (and has) benefited with a ROF reduction. Am I warm?

Baca Loco said...

Hey Mark
Greg is likely correct about consumption which is why we may see game time cuts as well in some situations because that's the only way to really reduce paint consumption. Greg is also almost certainly correct that "too low" "but not low enough" ROF will result in slow points. Although there will be a fulcrum point at each level of play that will tip towards movement. The question is where is that point? Don't think anybody knows yet. What we're gonna see this coming year is how quickly the lower level players adjust.
Another way to modulate the impact of the ROF changes is with field design but that gets tricky fast because the designer has to have a good grasp of how things work and what you're trying to accomplish.
As to benefit, if any, from the ROF reduction in the pros--I think a case could be made.

Chris Remuzzi said...

Hey Baca I think the last point you made is the most critical here that of field design. I was on the the NPPL's Field Design Committee in 06 and 07, a purely volunteer undertaking to try and help. This was in direct reaction to the NPPL Miami 05. Filming for ESPN and they have the most terrible field setup I have ever seen. Broken up snake and carwashes on the 40's made for boring lockdown 7 man. This was IMHO a huge opportunity missed. There is nothing worse than watching teams beat up on each other on a crappy zone-ed up layout. Basically if you get people who don't know WTF they are doing the end result will suffer.
Good Field design is tough but its impact is huge and should not be ignored.. maybe for another topic so i dont hijack your ROF thread..

Hippo said...

I saw something about who the teams are for the Pro division next year, but I haven't seen anything final on ROF from the PSP. Maybe I missed it, or maybe this is all hypothetical...

But, after reading Chris's post, I realized the lower the ROF goes, the higher the gap size between bunkers needs to go. Maybe not necessarily proportionately, but if you increase the offensive opportunity, you should increase the defensive side as well.

Maybe 1 BPS should result in 1 yard. So...we lower the BPS by 1, we lengthen the distance to the corners by 1 step.

It could reduce the degeneration of the skills you mentioned.

Baca Loco said...

Thanks for dropping by, Chris. I'm with you. Back in the archives a couple of months there's a post or three on field design and I have every intention of getting back to it as it's one of my favorite make-your-eyes-glaze-over topics. Now that you've confessed an interest and some real world expertise consider yourself on the hook to talk field design.
I remember Miami. It also didn't help that the rules encouraged playing body count paintball, if I recall correctly.

Baca Loco said...

That is the reason why I made specific note of current field dimensions in the post. It is also why a lower ROF for lower divisions will promote the "correct" sort of player development. If the ROF was to be dropped for the higher divisions your assessment is correct. However it creates a new problem--field size and number of bunkers. The current package runs around 50 as one event last season set a new high for number of props used on a single field. Too few bunkers and movement becomes predictable--again--and points risk becoming too repetitive.

chad said...

I like the way you guys think. it makes sense that if we're going to move more, we're going to need more room to move to avoid bloodbath. are larger fields in the PSP's future? but I can't get over different ROF's for different divisions... so inconsistent... assuming the layouts are the same between divisions, divisions will play different. One Format...One Love (of the game).

Crotchety Old Fan said...


couple of things: as you stated - it is the BALANCE between fire and movement that makes for an interesting (and fun) game (provided of course that the teams on the field are close to equally skilled).

There have always been two ways to promote this balance that do not involve modifying field size and/or rate of fire: one is to provide very few bunkers and the other is to provide "way too many" bunkers. (The caveat being only that the field does have to be big enough to fit some bunkers onto)

"Crowded" fields were demonstrated by Milt Call's 3 man indoor series; open fields have been demonstrated on numerous occassions.

My main concern these days is team size. The math says it all there. We all want games to be decided on skill, not by luck, but the smaller you make the teams, the greater influence luck has. By luck I mean those errant balls that come out of no where - the ricochets, the bad ref calls, etc. When this happens to a 3 player team, it takes out 33%. For a five player team, 20%, for a seven player team 14%, ten player - 10% and 15 player only 6%.

So I think the solution is pretty obvious: limited paint, limited rof, lots of bunkers or hardly any at all, with 15 player teams, on postage stamp sized fields!

Baca Loco said...

You're trying to draw me right back into the field design business. Milt's field was fine because it was narrow. It was also limited because it was narrow (relatively speaking.) Ideally a field design should allow numerous paths of attack AND limit the defensive value of any one position.
I'm up for the fifteen players but you only play 5 max at a time and insert for eliminated players as they leave the field up to your 15 player limit.