Thursday, March 26, 2009

The UCP Meets The Bass-O-Matic

To set the table recent UCP (Universal Classification Program) posts can be reviewed here and here. And if you are unfamiliar with the Bass-O-Matic ... Okay, enough silliness, this is important--even universally important--stuff, so it's time to be serious. (You are taking this seriously, aren't you?)

Before tossing the UCP into the Bass-O-Matic and flipping the switch I want to state for the record that I am not anti- the UCP. I am even cautiously in favor of the general concept and its potential to help organize and legitimize Paintball as Sport. My principle objection is the timing which I think has driven some of the details in ways that may compromise the sport. That's merely my opinion. The other concerns I have are primarily structural. So consider this a critique and not a takedown. My purpose is not to trash the UCP but to improve it.

Let's begin with some observations gleaned from reading the tentative UCP draft. The value of consistent classifications is systemic standardization, not so Little Jimmy can compare himself to other D4 players around the country. And while comparing ranking points across leagues is probably good for a friendly argument or two it's about as meaningful as Little Jimmy checking out the D4 competition. Universal Classification does however provide a functional framework for structuring a national championship event(s) that will answer all those questions on the field. The core value of the UCP is to provide a comprehensive and uniform structure to the competitive game and, er, incidentally build a grassroots network that will support the PSP. (More on this at some point as it won't actually work as currently conceived.)

After a quick and dirty review of the UCP draft there are a few things that seem either incomplete or simply don't make a lot of sense to me. Which is rather surprising as I typically expect the raehl faction to be scrupulously anal when it comes to details. (I'm pretty sure, btw, that last sentence is the very definition of a left-handed compliment. Oh, and the pairing of scrupulously and anal is, I admit, more than a little disturbing.)

Offered in no particular order I'd like to begin by rehashing an old complaint and by explaining my fundamental concern with this particular effort (the UCP draft) and the broad concept of the UCP, if you get the distinction. To rehash: I oppose the recent PSP movement thru classifications rules and the practice thereof and I oppose any version of that being embedded in the practices of the UCP. I've posted on it repeatedly--to everyone's great dismay, I'm sure--but if you missed them you can get more than enough of my argument by checking out the Logan's Run series of posts in the January '09 archive on the sidebar. Broad concept first: Why? What's in it for the locals and regionals? [Disclaimer--I was asked to offer input on the UCP and coordinate my impressions with the raehl faction. This post is not the result of that effort. I blew it off after 3 emails when it became apparent I wasn't getting paid enough--does zero even count?--and that the raehl faction's primary interest was to simply argue about everything. So please take that into consideration when you judge the validity of this post.]
Back on topic: What incentives exist to encourage widespread participation? It seems a simple enough question. Two examples of what I'm talking about. Imagine two statewide tourney series competing for teams. What's the payoff for one series to go with the UCP or for both to want to? Obviously there is the proffered National Championship--which isn't chopped liver--but remains very unclear. (More coming.) There's the I.D. card cost balanced by the eliminates sandbagging promise. There's the prospect of wholesale classification changes for the competing teams and questions like, do the format changes required impact in a negative way the logistics (and cost) of running one day events? Or what about 3-man? Are all local UCP-sanctioned events restricted to being D4 & D5 3-man events? (See the chart!) It looks swell on a chart but it's just not realistic. And why would a local promoter sign up for this when there is no apparent advantage to him to do so? Oh, wait, he gets a new income stream from I.D. cards! (More on this coming.) Particularly at the local level the idea is to keep it simple and cheap because most teams are looking for a fun day of paintball and nobody embraces change for change's sake. The UCP draft demands change and isn't offering much in exchange--that I can see--to the local, grassroots level.

Arbitrary regional ceiling at D2 Race2-4? APPA has more than enough D1 ranked players in its database to fill a regional division of 8 - 10 teams four or five times over. The problem isn't that this level of play is so skilled, so stratospheric there are only handfuls of such players--the problem is the leagues have yet to figure out to sustain the players that do exist. (And, to be fair, a lot of upper division players of recent vintage have unrealistic expectations given the current climate.)

How will UCP-sanctioned formats function as a one day event? It would probably be helpful if the UCP offered an addendum outlining alternative scheduling options, real numbers on matches played, how to organize past the prelims and so on so potential promoters would have something in hand to offer added confidence it its workability as well as provide answers for prospective teams.

The team count disparity. The promise is a shot at a real national title. How are the qualifying teams calculated? Oh, I know thy earn points--more on this too--but that's not my question. Say a regional league has 20 D2 teams competing over the season and a local or statewide series has 10 D2 teams competing. Do they both send the same number of teams to the Nat'l Championships? If they do then you undermine the regional by making the local more attractive or are we back to no local events can sanction anything but 3-man? At a minimum the UCP needs to define its terms and add concise qualifiers.

Qualifying. As referenced and elaborated on in the comments of the second post linked to above the process of teams qualifying for the Nat'l Championship is murky at best. And the suggestion/inference that total accumulated points somehow play a role in deciding the national champ is a terrible idea. The whole point of having a Nat'l Championship is to determine a winner on the field and you cannot accept all scores as equivalent regardless of the league they were achieved in. (Which brings us back, in part, to sanctioning leagues.) Additionally there is the matter of the bonus points assigned to teams competing in a PSP as opposed to a regional event. (Again, see post referenced above.) Are teams that competed all season in the PSP also competing in the Nat'l Championship or are they competing for something else? If they are all on the same competition track the PSP is undermining its own events by allowing a sanctioned route to the championship that will almost certainly be easier and cheaper.

APPA I.D. cards must be a universally recognized I.D. throughout the UCP otherwise it would rightly be viewed as simply an alternative revenue stream. Right now CFOA players need an APPA CFOA card and then when they play PSP they need a different APPA PSP card. All the info is accessible to either card as the player number doesn't change once established..The only difference is each league gets a kickback on the I.D. cards. Once all these leagues are united under the UCP there is no excuse to charge and re-charge for the same I.D. A reasonable alternative would be a revenue sharing arrangement that includes all UCP leagues.

That's enough for now and should get the raehl faction howling. There's more but honestly this should be enough to keep the UCPers busy for awhile. Or, you know, maybe not since it's so obviously perfect already.


Crotchety Old Fan said...

Baca, you are too intellectual for your own good. No one wants to look past the shiny-shiny or think about 'stuff' - "thinking make brain hurt".

You've raised some really good points, but unless I missed it in earliers posts, I think you've neglected to mention the one fundamental problem with the whole thing: all of this is predicated on relative experience and skill without any mechanism for establishing a real baseline for measurement.

And, I don't understand the need to reinvent the wheel yet again: just about every other sport out there has a classification system based entirely on actual performance and they've all been through the issues for decades and have developed WORKING solutions for those issues. Go adopt an existing system - and accept the fact that you are NOT going to have a system that truly reflects performance levels until AFTER the program has been in place for at least two or three seasons (during which you should be smart enough not to lock yourself into what may turn out to be an unworkable system...)

Baca Loco said...

Actually I was holding that one in reserve but since you bring it up it poses a very interesting conundrum. Initially any classification distinctiions adopted across a wide spectrum of players (and leagues) would see a lot wider variance in ability within the cl;assifications than the categories would suggest but also as you suggest those variances would likely even out over some time period. The evening process however is another reason I strongly object to the current compulsory upward reclassification rules used by the PSP as I think they would distort that process to the players' detriment.
I also think competitive paintball has a lot of disadvantages more traditional team sports don't have in the classification process as the traditionals are, for the majority of players, predicated on age. Although there are exceptions and ways in some sports for the truly exceptional to advance more quickly. (In pro sports though it took 30 years and lots of lawsuits.)
This part of the UCP discussion should provide lots of fodder for debate.

raehl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
raehl said...

Crotchety Old Fan:

Will you please direct me to the other TEAM sport that has a classification system based entirely on actual performance?

Every major team sport I can think of classifies players by age and scholastic status. Football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, are all done by age and/or what school you're enrolled in.

In General:

There is no such thing as an APPA ID card, and no mention of ID cards in the Universal Classification Program. ID cards are a tool event promoters use for various purposes as they see fit.

Chris said...

raehl You keep wanting to compare this to other sports and other leagues.

Show me where the NFL cares about my inter mural football league? Or where the MLB cares about a Saturday pickup league I play in? THEY DON'T

The idea of the UPC does NOT go hand and hand with dollars and sense of a business!!! I have said this before, I'll say it again.

I live in a GREAT area for paintball, we have a top ranked NXL team, we have a team that won D2 last year, a team that won the series in 5 man the year before. We have the 2nd place AXBL team. We have GREAT paintball up here.. And we can STILL only pull in 10-12 teams to an event. That's D6 through Pro. And you want us to take those 12 teams and then chop them up into divisions???

You are selling this great idea to fields that don't have a damn clue what they are doing.. Who then think they are going to have a successful event... And it ends up getting canceled because they only have 4 teams signed up in each division.

At this point in the industry, at this point in the economy.. Local events need to be OPEN. No divisions... Yes, the lower ranked teams are going to get the shit kicked out of them.. SO WHAT??? No one cared when I was a lower ranked player getting the shit kicked out of me.

This isn't promoting growth, its simply killing the sport... *AND* its not the "Rookie" teams that are bitching about having to play higher ranked teams. Its the top level D3 team at each venue that doesn't want a better team coming in and kicking their ass.

We need to stop trying to make paintball work like Football, Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, Hockey.. BECAUSE ITS NOTHING LIKE THEM.. *EVERY* school has a football team around here.. NONE have a paintball team. And that isn't going to change.

The UPC is to protect johnny who MIGHT play 2 tournaments in his life from getting the shit kicked out of him by a team like mine who will play every damn weekend if they could. But we can't because NO ONE will let us play because there isn't enough "Open" teams. Thats REALLY how its suppose to be?

I spend 80K+ a year on paintball.. Piss me off but protect the guy who MIGHT spend $1000.. Makes PERFECT sense to me..

To end my rant I am going to use a real life example. We had a field that use to have 5 man events. The winner took home cash. The AVERAGE team would shoot 12 cases of paint at $65. When we go I would enter two teams, and they shot about 25 cases each.

Lets just say there are 12 teams counting mine, 10 of the teams shoot a total of 120 cases, my two teams shoot a total of 50 cases.

Total paint profit for 10 teams = $7,800
Total paint profit for my 2 teams = $3250
Total profit : $11,050

You are getting a 50% increase in revenue by letting my 2 teams play. Ontop of that we make EVERY event. So if you have 5 events, out of my pocket alone you make $16,250. Guaranteed.. Is having a classification system REALLY worth pissing away $16g's? Can you GUARANTEE that the other 10 teams are going to be at all 5 events? Is it worth the risk?

Even if that number cuts in half, to where we only have 7 teams (10/2+2)

Total profit for 5 teams = $3,900
Total profit for my 2 teams = $3,200
Total Profit $7,100

A difference of $700? You can lose HALF your team base and only lose $700 if I still attend..

Think about it....

raehl said...

Did it perhaps occur to you that the reason there are only 12 teams in your area is that whatever it is that you're currently doing doesn't work?

raehl said...

Now that I have a bit more time...

Chris, you're right, and you're wrong, at the same time.

Classifications are ABSOLUTELY to protect Johnny from a team like yours, because a league will make no money letting a team like yours play.

Let's take your 5-man league that apparently no longer exists as an example (hrm, it no longer exists, it must have had a great plan for success!)

The average team shoots 12 cases. But your team that is kicking everyone's ass shoots 25 cases. So we have 10 teams that spend $780 to play and win nothing, and your teams spend $3250 and take home the prizes.

Is it not obvious to you why these other teams are only playing for one or two events? They can't afford it, *AND* they're not having any FUN getting the crap beat out of them! So they stop playing, and now the field has your two teams showing up - and your two teams do NOT make the field an extra $2500/team, because the field is buying the prize package with that money.

But, if the field just doesn't let you play, then the other 10 teams are NOT getting the crap beat out of them, are having fun, and maybe they'll play more than 2 tournaments.

And UCP doesn't even say your team can't play - it just says you can put all of your D2 players on the same team. You have to split up over several D3 teams. Let's you play, still keeps one team from kicking everyone else's ass, so it works.

Local open events are not sustainable. Low-level teams don't want to pay higher participation costs so some other team can smack them around for prizes. It just plain does not work - no matter what you do, only a couple teams can win the prizes, and all the other teams drop out over the course of the season as they confront the reality that they are not winning prizes and run out of money and the league dwindles to a handful of teams and folds. I've seen it happen over, and over, and over again - and apparently you have too, but as the team doing the ass-kicking, you would much rather have a 12-team open event that your team that takes money from other teams to give to yours than develop a 20 or 30 or 40-team event that lets people who want to play for fun play for fun without diverting a bunch of money from them so your team can make money shooting 25 cases to get the prizes.

Chris said...

How long has paintball been around?
How many teams have there been?

We *ALL* got smacked around as rookie teams.. The true players didn't go anywhere...

Now all of a sudden we need to save every little kid.. Guess what man, regardless if they win or lose I STILL am willing to bet that 80% of them quit due to $$ restrictions.

20% are going to continue to play if they get the shit kicked out of them or not because they love the sport.

I have been running paintball teams from the rookie level up to the D1 level now. I have NEVER had ANYONE quit because they got their ass beat... EVER.. I have had them quit because they got a new job, new girlfriend, turned gay, went to college, graduated college, did drugs, wanted to sleep more, lost their job, lost their car, wanted a car.. You name it.. I have heard it as an excuse EXCEPT "I got my ass kicked and I don't want to go back"

And these "Divisions" only happen at events.. What about the other 3 weeks a month where we are kicking the shit out of the same teams at practice.

And, if everything you say is true.. Shouldn't you be moving teams DOWN as well as up? You go 0-4 at Phoenix, don't you think you should be moved DOWN a division? You don't want those guys to quit do you?

What you are doing is telling people that D3 teams can't ever beat a D1 team. Well last weekend I watched a team of mostly unranked players put it on Power Surge 2-3 matches. Maybe if you weren't selling with fear tactics that the teams NEED to be separated teams wouldn't be as scared to play other teams.

Chris said...


Your idea of not making the field more money is flawed. I was going strictly on paint sales, most fields around here give out cash based on entry, but not paint. I assume that entry is a wash (even though most fields retain 25%) however paint sales would be profitable.

raehl said...

"We *ALL* got smacked around as rookie teams.. The true players didn't go anywhere..."

That attitude is exactly the problem.

You can't sustain a healthy number of participants in a prize-driven who-is-the-biggest-hardass environment. The only people who keep playing are the winners.

How about instead of an environment where all the rookie teams get the crap beat out of them and the "true players" survive through it, we have an environment where the "true players" are the ones who have a good time paying an affordable price for a quality event?

I'll tell you which one is better for the business of the manufacturers, fields and event promoters. And if the top-level players have any hope of ever getting their sponsor dollars back, you better get over being the biggest hard-ass at the local field and start figuring out how to get all those little John Smiths who might only play two times a year to have a good time, because it's those little John Smiths who buy the shit that keeps the manufacturers who write those sponsor checks in business.

So what's more important, having solid participation, or being the top two if the 12 teams left in your area who are willing to keep funding your prizes?

Because the math is simple - if leagues just got rid of prizes and/or banned your teams from playing, everybody else could have the same no prizes they're already getting AND have lower entry fees.

By the way, can't believe I didn't notice it before, but your numbers are way off too, because you apparently don't understand the difference between revenue and profit.

Chris said...

You are trying to create problems, Why wasn't this a problem 10 years ago? I'll tell you how it worked, because we didn't have to label rookies and we didn't have someone telling them that they can't beat a D1 team... THAT is what you are doing..

Not to mention, the entire idea is STUPID. You don't think that if you take a team like Fierce, DSS, or VWC of last year (Who were D3) and put them in a D3 tournament that they are not going to kick the shit out of the other D3 teams out there?

SOMEONE is still going to lose, SOMEONE is still going to win. SOMEONE is still going to blame the reffs, SOMEONE is still going to argue. Its paintball. Doesn't matter if its 10 rookie teams, 10 pro teams, or a combination of anything in between.

We practice EVERY weekend, sometimes 2 times a week for 4 events on the year. If your TRUE concerns are the every day players, why are we worried about THOSE 4 weekends? If a field is open all year long, and has 3 events in its year why are we worried about those 3 events.

Do you think more damage is done the other 50 weeks of the year? Or just those 4?

raehl said...

Well, for starters, 10 years ago, everybody sucked.

But, you've said it yourself, somebody has to lose. In fact, most people will lose. So the question is, which is going to lead to more participation - a scheme that caters to the winners, or a scheme that caters to the losers?

There is a reason the vast majority of sports competition does not involve prizes. People participate in sports because they ENJOY IT.

Paintball seems to have forgotten that.

Reiner Schafer said...

"There is a reason the vast majority of sports competition does not involve prizes. People participate in sports because they ENJOY IT.

Paintball seems to have forgotten that."

That's because many are looking to be compensated for all the time and and finacial resources they have commited. In sports like soccer, basketball or hockey, players basically spend the same amount whether they win or lose. In paintball that's not the case. Those that spend more (mostly on paint) win more than those that spend less. Therefore those that commit more resources to the game, are going to feel they should get more out of it (be compensated). It's a basic flaw in the sport, in my opinion. To gain experience and the skills necessary to compete at high levels, you need to either be independantly wealthy, or give up everything else in your life and throw all your resources at paintball. Those that do that, feel they are owed something. And maybe they are.

Unfortunately, ignoring everyone else, or giving them the crappy end of the stick, makes for a very small crowd; a crowd that can't sustain itself.

anonachris said...

Hey now hold on... I haven't played seriously in about... 10 years... don't be casting that everybody sucked 10 yrs ago crap around. You don't know jack if you really think that.

Bacas post about adding a 3rd dimension to the fields would be meet with fear and "unfair" whining from the kids these days. While only the truly adventurous and quality players would embrace it.

Remember back to the mounds field in PA? Or that awesome field in Dallas (can't remember the nick name if it had one... huge dirt berms everywhere).

The ability of players to not only deal with changes in terrain, lighting, etc but to exploit them at the right times showed how much more "Depth" players had back then.

On a technical snap shoot, run shoot laning basis I'm inclined to agree with you that modern players are better but the old school guys have quite a few tricks about laning up their sleeves...

Anyway, to the point of this classifications structure I have sympathy for Chris' argument above that labeling someone as "D3" basically means "you suck" and if someone believes themself to be D3 caliber they aren't going to be confident stepping up to D2.

This is completely irrational, which is maybe why your rational mind doesn't grasp it. But the simple fact is you can't give someone a label and expect them not to apply that label to themselves and resist changes that force force them to "step up if they're not ready" (at least in their minds.

The way around this? Don't make them step up until they've clearly demonstrated they can win an event or come close to doing it. In addition consider some kind of term of classification change. I'm not sure what it is exactly.

But if you basically tell someone "you're not good enough to place in that division" and then the next year tell them "now you're good enough to play in that division and we're forcing you to do so" don't act surprised when people who feel they play the same or worse than they did last year resist being "moved up".

anonachris said...

"but the old school guys have quite a few tricks about laning up their sleeves..."

And in case you don't believe me... I'll share a couple. If you push on the cocking rod just so, cover your max flow "vent" in the right spot, or swap you bolt out after you chrono old schoolers were able to get really good at laning!

/end joke

raehl said...

Sorry, but players 10 years ago, compared to the players of today, absolutely sucked. No doubt whatsoever.

Some of today's top players are actually the same people who were the top players 10 years ago. Do you think they have not gotten any better in 10 years?

Not to mention that your average player has gotten younger, leaner, faster, and practices more.

Anyway, you take the 10 best guys in the game today, and have them play the 10 best guys in the game from 1999, and it would be a blowout. You take 10 guys from a team of average skill in 2009 and put them against a team of average skill in 1999 and it would be a blowout. To suggest otherwise flies in the face of common sense, even if it may help the feelings of people who played 10 years ago. (I'm one of them - I harbor no illusions that todays players would kick my butt - in fact, I've proven it!)

And as a consequence, a lot of this was not a problem 10 years ago both because the difference in the level of play from a brand-spanking-new player to the local field hardasses was less, and because in 1999, the equipment used by the local field hardasses was not nearly as punishing on the new players.


Hockey, skiing, snowboarding are all as or more expensive than paintball. They don't play for prizes either. And on the paint front, I think that's a chicken-and-egg problem. You wouldn't feel so compelled to shoot more paint to win if there was not that cash prize incentive for winning the event.

Besides, even if the paint issue were the problem, that's easily fixed by eliminating prizes in favor of awarding a paint allowance to teams that advance to the next round.

Baca Loco said...

raehl (faction)
Just because you've always sucked at paintball doesn't mean your opinion about the relative merits of players holds any water. In this hypothetical match-up what format is being played? What equipment is being used?
Today there are xball teams that can't compete effectively at 7-man and vice versa. Which of those groups sucks in your estimation?
While almost certainly true that there are more dedicated players practicing more (than 10 yeara ago) and that they are likely more athletic the sweeping judgment that the "old" players defintely sucked is one of your dumber claims.

raehl said...

"Sucked" is an intentionally dramatic way of putting it (wouldn't be any fun if I couldn't ruffle some old-fogie feathers), but the point stands: Present-day players are better than players of 10 years ago.

Format is irrelevant - you can divide tournament players up into any group you'd like and present-day players are still better than players from 10 years ago.

But maybe you're just trying to bait me into a bad XBall vs. 7-man argument.

And while I've never been a Pro paintball player by any means, I was definitely a lot closer to your average 1999 Pro player than 2009 Pro player.

Baca Loco said...

raehl faction
Two different things. Present day players--as a group versus present pros. If you want to amend and go for players as a group being better today than 10 years ago I could go with that one. You're on much shakier ground making a straight pro to pro comparison however and the fact you can't see it doesn't mean you're correct.
And format does matter. As does equipment used.

This is one of those debates that won't have a satisfactory outcome though so let's just agree to disagree on this one.

raehl said...

Just because you can't see that today's Pros are better doesn't mean you're correct either. ;)

Some of the Pros are the same. I find it hard to believe that they have not become better players over the course of 10 years.

anonachris said...

Huh... I find it more likely that they improved in some areas and decreased in others. I'm not sure why you'd somehow think that the format and structure of the game would cause all skills to increase equally.

Like was said, no one can win the argument. I can see where you are coming from.

But the nature of the way the game is played causes certain skills to decline in favor of other ones. I already agreed that snap shooting, run/shooting type skills they have improved.

But I can't count the number of times I've seen players get stuck into this "run to your bunker and shoot mentality" that in some cases doesn't serve them so well.

I'm not living in the past and I understand that technical talent is better in many/most cases.

But some things seem to have been lost... patience in the midst of chaos is become more rare. Even Paxton is losing it a bit... you used to see him hold out on his own more comfortably when he was outnumbered on the field... now I see a lot of guys resorting to the "just run out into the open and get shot".

That sloppy play has always happened... but there are some things that seem to be missing. The best pros today have a really good sense of field awareness, "feeling" whats going on, etc. But a lot of times when you watch how things get played out, it gets discarded in favor of run to the spot and shot. And at that point it seems the game comes down to a 50/50 chance.

Of course I'm generalizing, as are you. I think the answer is a lot more nuanced and not so clear cut as you do.

anonachris said...

But back to the real point. Is there nothing to say to the resistance/discomfort of moving someone up before they are ready?

You say they are ready to move up, when they personally sense no change in their skill level, not to mention in many cases their results don't back up the assertion.

So you either need to convince people that the divisions are not organized on talent, but rather some combination of playing history and/or come up with a better classification system (who knows? not me).

anonachris said...

-ps on the "old/new school" bit I'll add that it is always way too easy to sit on the sidelines and talk about who should have done what, etc. When you're on the field its a whole different ball game.

raehl said...

Sometimes players are promoted on experience, not talent. Especially out of the lower divisions - a system that only moves players up when they "feel" they're ready to move up is just plain not tenable - nearly everybody ends up in the lowest division.

This wouldn't be as big of a problem though if we could stop giving out prizes at every level. Save the prices for Pro/Semi-Pro/D1 maybe D2. Everybody else gets Trophies. Then people would stop thinking they need to win prizes to finance their play (which doesn't work anyway) and events would get cheaper all-around (don't have to buy prizes). And when you're not paying one or two teams to play down as long as they can, it'll stop skewing team's perspective on whether they're "ready" to move up or not.

Chris said...

This is so wrong. Chris you want to play both sides of the fence when it is beneficial to your argument.

So, a first time player TODAY is much better compared to a first time player 10 years ago. Why does that player need this "Protection"

Stop talking about "Pro's" that't not the problem, its the Rookie players that are causing all the problems. You feel we need to punish the guys who have been around for 10 years+ and make it so they can't play because some 2 year old D3 team can.

Answer me this simple question... Looking at last season, you had teams like VWC, DSS, Fierce, all in D3.

Now, say VWC is at a local "D3 or lower tournament" and so is "Billy Bob's Super Snipers" Its their first tournament. What do you think VWC is going to do to them?

Swap VWC with Iornmen... Think the outcome is any different?


raehl said...
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raehl said...
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raehl said...

Reading comprehension Chris. I never said a FIRST-TIME player was any better today than they were 10 years ago.

Not letting guys who have been playing for 10 years play Rookie teams isn't punishment. It takes a whole new level of pansy to bitch because they aren't allowed to beat up on newbie teams.

Awwwe, newbie teams are not forced to pay entry fees to buy a prize package that your team can come and take from them, you poor, poor baby.

I get it. This is bad for those teams that were running around local tournaments clobbering the newbie teams. That's not a problem with the system, that's the point! If we don't give new players the chance to have FUN while developing into skilled players, we're never going to get past having a handful of teams with one or two teams beating up on everyone else until they quit. And that model is not good for ANYONE.

Baca Loco said...

Sorry raehl but you are, as usual, not responding to what Chris posted. He specifically made a direct D3 to D3 comparison. His point was that a team like VWC might as well be the Ironmen relative to some new to D3 team.
I don't have a dog is this particular fight but at least address the point he was making. (Sheesh.)

raehl said...

He most certainly did not make a D3 to D3 comparison. He said "first time player" and then made a D3-to-first-time-player comparison.

The answer to his hypothetical question is, they're not going to do anything to them, because Billy Bob's Super Snipers is playing D5, where VWC isn't allowed to play.

Lawrence said...

as a d5 player in the cfoa -- i enjoy playing upper ranked teams in practice. i hate paying money to go to a tournament then get skunked every game. It's not worth my time nor my money when i could be doing something more productive for cheaper (ie- practice).

What's even worse is that I know that even if my team does decent...say in the top 15 consistently, not making it to quarters, just barely making the cut each event then i'm almost guaranteed to be pushed up a division...where ill sit and repeat the last season watching the two or three power house teams compete for first while my team just cant, due to funding, lack of teams to play, etc...

I personally think that this needs to be fixed -- there needs to be a way for a team to remain in a division until they EARN their way into the next, and i mean show consistent results at the podium/making the cut. This way teams that get smashed in d5 wont just repeat...itll give at least two seasons to beginning players: one to get their feet wet, the other to actually play. I know it sucks for the other beginning teams, but at the bottom there needs to be a more limited "open" division.

does that make any sense at all?

Baca Loco said...

Yes, Lawrence, it makes perfectly good sense.
The PSP however is very concerned that the well is drying up in the new players coming to tourney ball and teams forming category and I think that some of this classification nonsense is in response to that concern. Unfortunately all it has proved effective at doing so far is driving out established teams at every level of play.

Chris said...

Baca - If that were true, why are they making the assumption that there are enough players to fill a D5, D4, and D3 division at each local event?

If I could have 30 teams at each one of my local events I would be SO thrilled...

raehl said...


In what percentile should a team have to place before they are moved up to the next division at the end of the season?

Top 25%? Top 10%?

Let's say you decide on the top 10%. Are you only going to move up 5 teams a year out of a division of 50?

Unfortunately, no classification system is going to beat basic math, and basic math says that no matter how you divide the teams, 90% of them are not in the top 10%. Even if top spots were shared equally, teams would have to play 10 years for every team to have a top-10% of the season.

The best the classification rules can do is make it so that you play teams of a similar skill level to you. So you may never win tournaments, but you'll at least be winning games, and most times you step on the field, if you play well, you have a shot at winning.

Lawrence said...

i understand the problem raehl, and honestly: i have no clue what the solution is, but i have to kinda side with Chris AND you on this one. why cant local events have "beginner" and "advanced" division, both open divisions to anybody but in the beginner division cut prizes and cost to a minimum -- offer trophies or paint from the field for the kids and let the "established" teams pay more money and compete for more.

the cfoa's three man series (which was revamped this season) has a similar structure: d6 players play for event trophies and medals, at the end of the season the best three teams from each field in the series are invited to compete at PBC Rockhill for a "sponsor prize package." Cost for each tourney is 90$ entry plus paint. It's cheap, it's fun, and it's worked pretty well. 43 d6 teams competed at the first stop (and yes, the tourney's are small, but it creates a good environment for the players as it's low stress, just having fun).

d4/5 in this series is a combined division and they also play for event medals/ the end of the series best three teams from each field are also invited to compete for a year end package that includes: 500$, free world cup entry, 10 cases of paint, and the field they played at will recieve a new xball field. 29 d4/5 teams played at the last stop.

personally, i think the cfoa is doing the right thing here -- make it low cost, have fun, and for the teams that want to be more "serious" they'll be able to play the entire season and have it "justified" at the end.

raehl said...

I also think the CFOA is doing the right thing here - maybe you missed the part where CFOA already uses UCP though. So if you like the CFOA approach, you like the UCP approach.

- Chris