Monday, March 16, 2009

PSP vs AXBL: Please God Make Him Stop

Have no fear. I'm done, mostly, with this topic. (If you missed the first two look here and here.) The point never was to try and convince anybody of anything and I'm not going to start now. And, of course, the audience to be convinced is about as exclusive as paintball gets and I have no expectations on that score. I just put stuff out there. (And circumstances eventually prove me correct. What can I say? It's a gift.)

I would like to take a moment and recap. The AXBL, drawing primarily from New York and Pennsylvania, has a two tier conference league of 40+ teams playing full on Xball with all teams paying a licensing fee and committing to the complete series of events. There is a promotion and relegation scheme in place and events are held at paintball sites. In ways the PSP isn't the AXBL is a model of consistency and stability. The question I asked was, why? And followed it up with; Is there anything in the comparison to be learned? The Raehl faction denied any relevance and chalked it all up to lower cost and proximity. While cost is always a consideration that alone doesn't prove satisfactory--to me anyway--when one takes into account a regional series like the CFOA operates more like the PSP than the AXBL and despite a significant cost advantage is experiencing some of the same concerns the PSP is. And how significant is proximity really? What is the practical difference between a 4 hour drive and a 2 or 3 hour flight? (Remember, proximity isn't about cost, it's about access.) Perhaps a bigger factor is duration--the length of the event--but again, there are counter-examples like the CFOA.
Regardless, I found it an interesting comparison. I will, however, confess that a large part of what I see in the comparison is further confirmation that the Pro Circuit is the way to go. The simple fact is the regional series can do things the national traveling circus can't. (Is it just my imagination or do I hear the Raehl faction squawking already?)

But before I call it a day, er, a post, I'd like to wedge some extra UCP comments in here. And since you can't stop me that's what I'm gonna do. (There will plenty more coming in the next "official" UCP post.) Here's a little thought experiment for you. The AXBL (or any random regional league) has opted to go full boat on the UCP (including formats, etc.) They have a 4 event season that will culminate--for the more successful teams--in a trip to the PSP national championships held during WC. Each event winner gets a hundred points towards their series total. The PSP, on the other hand, offers events that are worth double points towards a team's season point total. Tell me, what's wrong with that picture?

15 comments:

raehl said...

What's wrong is you didn't understand the way PSP events count.

Each team counts 5 scores over the course of the season: Three regular season scores (worth up to 100 points), one Championship score (worth 200 points) and the National Championship at Cup (worth 200 points).

Each league has one Championship event. In addition, PSP events also count as Championship events. But, you can only count ONE score as your championship score.

Additionally, trips to Cup are awarded by leagues - so even if you get championship points playing a PSP event, you still need to play your league's championship event if you want to win the entry/paint/travel to Cup offered by that league.

So, near as I can tell, there's nothing wrong with it, except maybe the explanation needs to be more clear so that even blog writers can understand it.


On the AXBL/PSP front, your post here still seems to assume the AXBL setup is somehow better or preferred. It does allow for a season schedule. It also requires you to turn away teams that are not willing or able to commit to a season schedule. So, if you *HAVE* a large enough group of teams willing to commit to a season schedule that you can run a league based on that format, then season entry fees make sense, as long as you're willing to not have any teams that want to go event-by-event. But if you do NOT have such a group, then a season-entry-fee setup like AXBL makes no sense.

And looking at PSP, you can see that 80% of the teams playing PSP do NOT play the whole season. When only 20% of your teams play a whole season, a structure based around teams playing the whole season is, well, stupid.


PSP has it right the way it is now. Structure where it makes sense - the Pros are locked in for the season - and flexibility where it makes sense - everybody else can sign up for as many events as they want. Would it be nice if PSP knew exactly how many teams were playing each event months in advance? Sure. Is it so nice that it's worth cutting out 80% of teams? Of course not.

NCPA is set up the same way, incidentally - Class A is a season structure like AXBL and limited to established NCPA teams that can commit to an entire season. And Class AA is open to any team that wants to sign up for an event. Same deal - structure where it works, and flexibility where that works.

Anonymous said...

The PSP should make Semi-Pro/D1 teams locked in for the season, because most if not all of those teams play the whole season of PSP
That way the PSP is more stable by creating a season schedule for Semi-Pro/D1 (which they should already be doing with Pro), and by having a guaranteed number of teams, and not have what happened in Phoenix which was only 5 teams in Semi-Pro.

raehl said...

How would locked divisions have increased the Semi-Pro team count for Phoenix?

Your D1 data is also iffy. Only 5 of 22 teams that played D1 last year played the full season, paying 25 of the 55 entry fees. Less than 25% of teams and less than half the entry fees.

Baca Loco said...

Raehl Faction said...
1--What's wrong is you didn't understand the way PSP events count.

2--Each team counts 5 scores over the course of the season: Three regular season scores (worth up to 100 points), one Championship score (worth 200 points) and the National Championship at Cup (worth 200 points).

3--Each league has one Championship event. In addition, PSP events also count as Championship events. But, you can only count ONE score as your championship score.

4--Additionally, trips to Cup are awarded by leagues - so even if you get championship points playing a PSP event, you still need to play your league's championship event if you want to win the entry/paint/travel to Cup offered by that league.

5--So, near as I can tell, there's nothing wrong with it, except maybe the explanation needs to be more clear so that even blog writers can understand it.
___________________________

Kind of you to take the time to set me straight. I will respond once–this time–but please feel free to keep at it as I know you enjoy it and, honestly, I think it's instructive for some of this happy blog's readers.
1–that could be or it could be you don't. Either way all I did was ask a question.

2–actually they can count 5 events. The way the UCP currently reads any team that plays 3 regular season events qualifies. See National Championship eligibility.

3–so a team can replace their league championship for a PSP score? What for? (And, as currently written, it could easily be interpreted to mean “replace” which would be absurd, wouldn't it?) There's nothing currently in there about point standings prior to the WC [National Championship] having any bearing whatsoever. And it would be even sillier if they did except for purposes of seeding the teams competing for the championship.

4–Ok, I have to play my league championship no matter what but I can play a PSP for double points–why? Is my league supposed to accept an alternate double score from a PSP event or is it only for National Championship something purposes? There is nothing that explains the value of that score or how it is applied. And if my league championship is the final event of my league season how do I know if I need to play a PSP event for the socre–whatever the score is good for?

5–well, since you never addressed the actual question I can see how you came to that conclusion. Which is par for the course.

Let's recap (and I'll hypothesize based on known info) A regional league team can, over a season, accumulate 5 scores but qualifies for the National Championship with 3 regular season event scores. League championships count double as do non-league PSP events but only one of those scores count in the final total but whether or not I can replace my league championship score or not is unclear as is the reason why. Far as I can tell the whole point of the double score is to encourage teams to play some PSP events, too. Alternatively it could be all the qualifying scores count toward the National Championship but that's simply to dumb to be the intention. Isn't it?

raehl said...

After reading what you wrote, you had me wondering if I'd written the most confusing explanation of something ever - until I went back and read the UCP draft and it all appears pretty clear to me.

For season standings, you MUST count a national champs score, MUST count a league championship score (either an actual league championship or a PSP event), and MUST count three more scores.

The national champs and league champs count up to 200 instead of up to 100.

That's all there is to it.

PSP events count double because they're large events that attract teams from a wide area, and to provide double-score options to teams who may not yet have a participating league in their area.

Chris said...

UPC will destroy paintball....

We should be going the OTHER direction, pushing for OPEN events at the local level (Much like the AXBL is) But instead we are telling lower ranked teams not only are they not good enough to play better teams, but we will protect them for YEARS to come, even if it means killing local paintball.

This entire idea is a joke, paintball is a learning process.. You *NEED* someone there better to teach you. We have D5 teams in the area who wont get on the field with our D3 team.. That's fear instilled by UPC! They can't be scared of us as they have never played us!

Paintball doesn't need a bunch of guys sitting at a table talking about how we are going to save the sport. It needs guys in the netting, finding that talent, and bringing up new players.

When was the last time YOU went to walk on paintball? Let some 10 year old kid use your $1500 gun for a day? I use to LOVE going to local events, finding a team that needed a player and then jumping on with them. Ya, we didn't always do too great, but I carried a few teams to their first trophy. That's a thing of the past.. "This is a D5/D6 tourney he is D3 he can't play" Seriously? SERIOUSLY? That's where you want to take our sport?!

On paper, this might sound like a good idea, tournament promoters will soon find they can't fill 5 divisions, or 4 divisions, or 2 divisions.. But only one.. Then, those same teams wont come because the D5 team got mixed in with a D3 team and now they are un-happy?!?

This is bullshit! When I grew up in this sport at the national level we had Pro, Not Pro. At a local level we had Tournaments. There were no rankings, no divisions. It worked, and it worked well! So now when things are bad, lets change it to thin out the pool of players even more?

And in the long run is it really "Fair" NO! Because I can show you a team that kicked the shit out of everyone in the GPL, or a team that kicked the shit out of everyone in the AXBL, and are still UNRANKED in the PSP. Lets let those guys play in the D5 tournaments, but not someone who has played 3 D3 events 3 years ago.

Its wrong.. Its wrong.. Write this down, print it out, I promise you in a couple years you can look back at this post and say "Wow Chris hit that one right on the head"

-X

DC1 said...

Why are we comparing the 2 leagues? They arent competeing (in reality). Everything and anything has its ups and downs. Locked leagues are a good thing in my opinion. Its also good to have matches planned in advance. I dont watch monday night football to see which teams are going to show up. And teams in the AXBL can prepare for specific teams they know they will be playing against. Cheer up guys. Its just paintball..

Tom said...

With what Chris said....I've already seen that type of thing happen here in Indiana. The local leagues....1st the ICC & now the CTS both had rules not permitting pro and semi-pro player. Of course the goal of most of the kids playing these leagues is to become just that. Some have even attained those goals. Understandably those guys shouldn't be allowed to play together as a team in these local events, but I think it is counter-productive to exclude them from the events.

I think it would be a great opportunity to draw in more teams, that would like to see and play against the "Local Heros". As opposed to excluding the guys that have made it to the upper levels of the sport.

raehl said...

Yes, that's why you see all those Professional players showing up on high school teams...

raehl said...

Here's the non-snarky answer:

The need for a classification system would be dramatically reduced if leagues would just stop giving out prizes for winning. Prizes for rookie is basically PAYING people to not move up. And when you're paying people to not move up, you can't get too mad when they won't move up unless you force them to.

Chris said...

Chris,
I don't see prizes as being the problem... If it was just Open, they could still give prizes away, there would be no "Moving Up"

I still say flip the money tree, have pro entry be free and D4 entry be the most expensive. Reason enough to move up.

-x

Chris said...

Let me elaborate on that a bit more..

Say a local tournament that is "Open" has 10 teams...

Now that break down is:

1 D1 team
1 D2 Teams
2 D3 teams
3 D4 Teams
3 D5 teams.

You can't run an event like that...

raehl said...

You're failing to account for the long term. How many teams would that league have if instead of having their new D5 teams lose 80% of their games in 30 seconds they just prohibited the D1 and D2 teams from playing and split the D3 players up over the D4 teams?

You may want D5 teams to play D1 teams. But D5 teams don't want to. If they did, they'd all be signing up for the highest division a league has available.

Chris said...

No Chris.. I think you are missing the long term effects here..

Now there are NO events, everything is getting canceled because there are not enough teams to fill each division.

A D5 team losing 80% of their games is better then a D5 team never playing a tournament...

-X

raehl said...

You know things are bad when there are no events that are all getting canceled.