Friday, October 30, 2009

PSP Suggestion Box

There is the increasingly rare interesting thread over in the PSP forum at PBN requesting suggested changes to PSP. Started by Ken of the PBV it's focus is on the sorts of changes that affect the play of the game and the players. If this isn't an off-season ritual already it will become one as the league has shown a penchant for making moves. I am not posting in the thread because Ken specifically requested constructive positive input and some part of this post won't be. Constructive maybe, positive--not so much. For my part I will also be covering some old ground with ideas and suggestions posted in the past for those among you who started reading after I did this the last time (and because I can seldom resist any opportunity to repeat myself.)

Ken started the (paint) ball rolling and the thread did what most PBN threads do--went downhill from there. Throughout there is support in the thread for a modified game with a race to win, ie; whoever is ahead when time runs out, wins. This instead of the Race 2 whatever. A modified scoring system is suggested that deals with the silly notion you deserve something for taking longer to lose (the OT point) and there's a request for an across the board standard ROF. All of these are perfectly reasonable ideas from a player's perspective. (There were also some unreasonable ideas. Along with requests to bring penalty boxes back and standardize the game across all divisions.)

Here's where I'm less than positive in my response. The league dropped xball and went to Race 2 with new ref jerseys and everything. Did anybody notice? I seriously doubt they want to try and re-brand their game all over again. That, and there is a reason matches are a race. The race total controls the average match length, not the match time. Statistically a match window can be calculated for the Race 2 matches, and trust me, it's significantly shorter than a race 2 win match would be. [For example, 12 minute match time Race 2 Win versus 15 minute match time Race 2 4. R2W using point time variables of 30 seconds up to 3 minutes gets a match window of 18 minutes to 60 minutes plus. Using the same variables in R24 results in a match window of 16 minutes to 26 minutes. Additionally the weakness--from the perspective of the PSP--is that faster, more aggressive points results in longer matches. And for the curious, the R25 match window is approx. 21 minutes to 33 minutes.] And there is a schedule to be maintained and there will be (already is) increasing pressure in the future to try and find ways to cut down event length. And of course the long term trend isn't more on field time--regardless of the rationale.

Regarding the idea of a new scoring system that weighs wins and overtime wins and losses differently the league might go for it. Given the limited number of matches played the current scoring system offers added complexity and uncertainty and (I'm guessing) that finds approval in some quarters. The suggested scoring change is even more complex, resolves the 3-1 record versus the 2-0-2 record conundrum and offers another layer of seeding clarity. Then there's the scoring system that is also a format modification in that it retains the Race 2 but adds a win by 2 element. The idea here is to identify a clear winner in the more competitive matches. (It would also be a value added for the players and not as time intensive as a simple Race 2 Win since it would only come into play under certain circumstances.) Or we could go to simple wins and losses but then the issue of limited match numbers re-enters the equation.

And then there is ROF. I doubt there is any discernible trickle down or that there is anything more than a gut feeling ROF values "saved" paint or encouraged more newbies to play locally. Even so it would be a mistake to change it--again. The lower ROF has real potential to be beneficial for lower level players (despite the fact most of them are certain they know everything already.) Now that it's done I wouldn't change it.

Personally I'm tempted to begin with things I don't want to see. Like another batch of changes being touted as beneficial to me while in fact they reduce my game time and increase my per player cost. Like last year. (I know, I know, without the PSP we'd be playing guerrilla events in cow pastures (oh, wait!) on vacant lots and in the wee hours of the night in stadium parking lots. Whatever.) And the "inevitability" of small ball. Fortunately, with the 50 cal craze I expect the league to do their due diligence before they jump on that bandwagon. (What is it they say about the definition of insanity?)

Instead I'm gonna take a stab at being constructive too. First, I think the Win By 2 variant is a winner. By my rough calculations the time cost is minimal even in the matches where it occurs, say +5 min on average. Best of all though it only kicks in under very limited circumstances and only alters the Race 2 limits under the most competitive circumstances where a clear winner is a highly desirable outcome.

Here's my wish list. Keep D4 Race 2 4 as entry level to the-game-formerly-known-as-xball and make all the other Am divisions [1, 2, 3] Race 2 5 with identical entry fees and the bulk of the prizes offered in D1 & perhaps D2. Encourage teams to excel instead of penalizing them for getting better, or worse, force them to compete at a higher level based on a poorly conceived, anti-competitive scheme. [The classification system.] Carry that over conceptually to semi-pro and pro as well. If they play the same format they should pay the same entry. And don't start in on the prizes nonsense, the prizes have been shrinking faster than the match times. All I'm suggesting is a coherent policy that promotes and rewards excellence. (But I'm not holding my breath.)

Got any ideas you'd like to toss out there? Here's your chance.

UPDATE: On a nuts & bolts level I'd like to see the Pro roster bumped up to, preferably 10, but the number doesn't really matter as long as it's larger than 8. And it's already sorta 9 with the mid-season makeshift injured/replaced player rule so I suggest doing away with all the pointless detail and simply call it 10--which is where semi-pro already is. Besides, I am confident that if the PSP asked likely pro teams they would discover 10 is a pretty popular number. Just saying.


Anonymous said...

I've been hesitant to post this up here, but what about getting rid of coaching? Idc about how many points a team needs or how long the matches are. By comparison it wouldn't really change things too much.

Crowd participation is hard to control so I'm not going to take on that issue. The fans on the snake side can yell and scream all they want. It keeps things interesting for them, but maybe you move the wire that they have to stand behind 5 feet back farther. Yelling that far back from the netting would give teammates a better chance at being able to talk their way through games. I'm not saying a team can't have a "coach" in the crowd either, but make them have to fight to have their voices heard over the masses.

That also frees up the whole D side as far as big moves happening. Coaches would still be needed to make changes between points and to keep things moving smoothly, but pulling actual coaches away from the netting on both sides would make things so much more interesting.

Plus it might give smaller teams a better shot. Since its not cheap or easy trying to get two people to come to events and scream their heads off for you. None the less dedicated staff to do it. This might help get teams to make that next big step from regionals to nationals.

This might actually be one of the only thing I can still hear paintball purest bitching about besides the semi only thing which they are learning can't be done.

Communication is a huge part of the game and honestly that used to be one of the biggest differences between d1 and d2 teams back before xball was the game of choice. Pulling the coaches off would bring that skill back into the forefront.


Crusificton said...

Coaching in the PSP is here to stay. I never liked it at first, but I've warmed up to the idea. The league has stuck by coaching and will continue to.

I do like the idea of winning by 2.

I'm not sure I understand the point restructuring when it comes to OT. I thought each team received at least 1 point in a game that goes to OT with 2 points going to the winner.

I don't think there is a need for a ROF change. Although I don't know why it was 10.5 instead of 10BPS. If the pros and semi-pros should decide to shoot two fewer balls per second then that would be fine, but I think for divisional and new players that 10.5 is great level.

As for recommendations: I am a Floridian not a Calfornian, but maybe it's time the PSP moved the Phoniex open to California to better represent that market. Based on Matty Marshal's comments at MAO, that it is probably the lowest attended event, maybe try to restructure it. Lower fees and prizes to garner more attendance until numbers are strong enough to start raising the fees again.

I understand that MAO is important in that it supports the PSP's feeder league, CFOA, but if it's not generating attendance or revenue maybe something more drastic like a venue change might be important. I would rather not see this though because I personally was impressed that the USPL attempted to hold events at local fields to help specific areas. I think I would like to see more of this in the future from the PSP if possible. I understand that location poses a logistical problem for events as large as the PSP's but it shines a more favorable light on the league for trying to help out community fields.

Also I know it's a taboo thing to talk about moving World Cup, but I think think rather than move it to another state that it would be beneficial to all parties to move the event to around November. Maybe the first or second week. Still before Thanksgiving and Christmas (good for vendors), but after the hurricane season and when the weather begins to cool off.

I think it would be prudent to also offer refs Camelbaks or water bladder equivalents for events. A hydrated ref can be utilized more in the humid events.

I would also like to see more training of divisional refs. Maybe have the pro/semi-pro refs train them a little bit more. Like a day before the event or for an hour during, but at each event if possible.

Crusificton said...

I thought the PSP already agreed to allow 10 players on a pro roster next season?

Baca Loco said...

You thought wrong then, Crusty. :)

Crusificton said...

But didn’t Slowiak from Aftershock say on the webcast that the PSP was considering expanding the rosters to up to 10 players?

Baca Loco said...

Hmmm, according to a player they are considering it. According to you they've already agreed to the change. According to me--as of yesterday--that decision had not been made one way or the other. I know who I'm going with. :)

Crusificton said...

I realize my original wording puts me as jumping the gun. I know that until Keely sends out a mass e-mail saying it then it's not in stone. It would make sense at this point to do it. Seems like a hard unnecessary strain on the players now. With the economy starting to recover it might be time to readjust rosters.