Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Since the ubiquitous Faction (raehl) seems to be engaging in a quiet crusade to promote the notion of hopperball (and some people are easily led astray) I've decided to devote a post to the subject. On its face it may seem simple and self-evident. If the problem is the cost of paint in the volumes required then the solution is to require less. Much less. Now the typical baller is likely to respond, "That's stupid." But what they really mean is it's different and I don't like different. (Which sums up the majority of thought behind most of the objections to any proposed changes.) But that isn't a particularly good argument.

In fact I'm not going to argue against hopperball. In certain applications. If some bold tourney promoter wants to try and use hopperball as an introduction into competitive paintball or as a variant of beginner tourney play I see no reason to object. (Of course it isn't going to happen. See reaction of typical baller above.) But if it did ... it wouldn't solve all of competitive paintball's problems but it might have some utility. So my first suggestion to Faction if he is actually serious is let's see hopperball succeed on some level, any level. Convince somebody somewhere to play hopperball and see what happens. Otherwise it's a pointless endeavor in which you are advocating, for whatever reason, swinging the pendulum all the way back in the opposite direction.

The implication I do want to address is that hopperball is the answer for competitive paintball. Because it isn't--unless we are willing to dramatically alter the way the game is played. Once upon a time--stop me if I've told this story before (good luck with that)--I participated in a practice where we decided to use pumps. This was prior to the introduction of the format-formerly-known-as-xball so the result wasn't immediately predictable (as it ought to be today.) One team came up with the crazy idea that armed with pumps the other guys couldn't control lanes or put enough paint into the air fast enough to deter a really aggressive offensive push so when the whistle was blown for the first game that team just ran down the field and overwhelmed the other side in seconds. You see, while much of the movement vs. firepower conversation has gone the other way in recent years it works both ways. Too little firepower and you can't contain or control movement at all. For highly skilled players in our present format hopperball would initially invite trainwreck paintball but it wouldn't last long because the outcome would be too random to be acceptable for those focused on winning. In very short order changes in style of play would be made in order to have more control over results. And these changes would be guided by a commonplace concept; scarcity.

A hopper full of paintballs (and no more) puts a premium on their use that doesn't currently exist (even though players can, and do, occasionally run out of paint.) A hopper of paint dramatically alters risk/reward in how that paint is used compared to current practices. It would re-prioritize the game's skill set to focus on fundamentally defensive skills like accuracy and snap-shooting. (Yes, those are defensive skills even if they can be used in conjunction with offensive efforts.) And the scarcity of paint would also change game tactics. The ultimate priority would be to limit the use of your paint to only the highest reward type situations and this would drive a large number of teams to re-embrace a defensive posture wherein the opponent comes to them given that field position would no longer play a critical role in success. (For the simple reason that superior positions are superior largely because of the available firepower.) In fact proximity in a hopperball environment would only invite an aggressive attack because the capacity to defend against it won't exist. The end result is slow, pot-shotting points with teams and players seeking to avoid as much risk as possible in order to enhance their odds of winning.

Hopperball would certainly "solve" the paint bill problem but at what cost to the game? Is that really a trade-off anyone wants to make?


VFTD Correspondent said...

I hate you...

Baca Loco said...

:) Tomorrow.

raehl said...

Maybe I missed something, but are not the most important positions on the field the LEAST dependent on the available firepower? The guy who makes it into the snake and devastates the other team doesn't usually need a half case to do it.

Tom222 said...

I completely understand your point Baca.

I play in the Old School Challenge pump series. Paint is limited to 40 rounds per player in the 3-man & 60 rounds per player in the 5-man. In most of the games in either format, there will be a good amount of shooting off the break. Then comes a big lull in the action, where everyone tries to save their paint until the last minute of the game when the push has to come if you want a flag hang.

I have been an advocate of upping the limits to 60 rounds per player in the 3-man & 100 rounds per player in the 5-man to eliminate the lull, but that has been to no avail.

Brandon Lambertson 909 said...

Since we are on the topic of firepower, essentially speed, let's talk motor sports. Take competitive moto-cross as an example. They have entry level mini bikes (50cc) all the way up to the pro class (450cc). You can't ride a 50cc in the 450cc class and vise versa. If you want to ride the big bikes you have to ride with the big boys. Even out at my local tracks they put you on different tracks depending on the size of your bike. Now, any Joe can go down to a dealer, having never ridden before, and pick up a brand new 450cc bike and take it out to the track, but he isn't going to be riding on the 50cc track. He will be with all the other big bikes like him. Granted the other more experienced riders there won't be shooting paintballs at him at a speed and in volumes where he wants to quit, but the point is, he wanted the big bike so he has to ride with those guys....if he wasn't ready for it then he should have gotten something smaller or taking his bike to an area where he could get used to it first. Why can't paintball be more like this?

Let the pros (and semi-pros) shoot as much paint as they want out of the fastest laser guns made and limit that type of firepower to that level of play. All the lower divisions and feeder series leagues go back to GWS type rules with limited paint and capped ROF. That way all the lower level teams aren't shooting the piss out of each other while struggling for paint money and they have yet another reason to fight to be pro/ they can shoot laser guns too....if it's that important to them.

I know it's easier said than done, and this is where a real governing body with the good of the sport in mind would come in handy, but it's not impossible to do now. It's worked before. The GWS and its 200rnd limit was running the same time as the NPPL. I played in the GWS and used it as a learning stage. Like Baca said, I honed my snap shooting skills and made everything count, including my timing. It made me a better player and I'm glad I played in a paint limited series like that. Angels were out then and I eventually bought one but learned real quick that I needed to stay off the trigger and make things count.

Long story longer......I think limiting paint and ROF at all levels except for pro/semi-pro is a good way to not only get back a lot of players but also a lot of the fun.

Reiner Schafer said...

Tom222, I'm curious and admittedly have little tournament experience, but do run an annual pump speedball tournament (3-man). I've never spectated an OSC torunament. Why is the push for the flag usually in the last minute. Why not make your move earlier? Just wondering.

We have a relatively high limit of 80 balls and it's quite rare for most games to go more than a minute and a half. I also think the average number of balls shot is less than 40 per player.

Reiner Schafer said...

Brandon, good point. I've always thought that lower levels should be playing in a tamer environment. If that environment also fosters affordability, better yet.

However, paintball manufacturers created what we have today. They wanted every player out there shooting as much paint as they could. Why, I don't know. If players would have shot less, they would have sold less, but margins wouldn't have dropped as they did either. Profits might have been the same or better.

I remember when I first did research into opening a field. I kept hearing, "the money is in the paint. You need to get players shoot as much paint as possible." Then the prices of paintballs kept falling and falling and I always wondered, why get players shooting lots of paint when the low prices mean fields aren't going to make any decent money off paint anyway. It's a little perplexing. Why not have higher margins and have players shoot less? A little off topic, but similar lines of reasoning as paintball manufacturers selling masses of paintball for peanuts instead of less paintballs at higher margins.

But now, it's very difficult to change course. The players playing the current game aren't interested in change as Baca mentioned and manufacturers need high volumes because of their low margins. Limited paint events are not going to be pushed by paint manufacturers, even if it would mean a higher participation rate.

raehl said...


Agree on the lower levels.

I don't see your point on Pro. You said it yourself: The biggest bike you can ride in Motocross is 450cc. "Unlimited anything" is exactly what you CAN'T have in Motocross. Or in pretty much any sport.

Competition almost depends on limits.

NFL, NBA and NHL all have salary caps.

To cut competitive costs, F1 has limited the number of engines teams can use to 8 per season. And that's after seasons and seasons of cutting engine size and materials to keep the cars from getting too fast.

The international swimming federation just banned them newfangled record-breaking full-body suits.

NASCAR does everything it can to make the cars identical, and mandates restrictor plates on certain tracks.

You can't use aluminum bats or cork bats in baseball.

Unfettered anything in sports is generally bad.

raehl said...


With regards to the movement difficulties with a very low paint limit, you often need to shoot paint to move. If your paint is too limited, you're better off posting up and shooting the other guys when they move then spending your paint trying to shoot them in so you can move and then possibly getting shot anyway. And paint being shot at your team can help you move - one of the ways you know to move is you can see/hear the guy in the bunker who can shoot you out on your move shooting at someone else.

There is definitely a balance - 40 paintballs is likely too little, 1,000 is likely too much. I think a hopper is a good place to start.

Reiner Schafer said...

I agree that 40 paintballs is too few, even for pump speedball. I also know 80 is more than ample (for 3-man), so it's somewhere in between. We've been talking about lowering the limit to 60 paintballs for next year's tournamanet.

Semi or ramping is different of course. I'm not sure if a hopperful would be enough and I agree that 1,000 is too many. The game changes from anything we now have in professional paintball. If all we did was change to a relatively low ball count in regualr 7-man for instance, defensive positions would be coveted. Mind you, lower the time limit and force movement along with lower ball counts, then that might be closer to true speedball again.

Anonymous said...

It takes me huge effort to write this, but you guys act like bunch of overweight guys in their 40s hating everything that goes around speedball, while wishing you where younger and your purse off paintball would be larger.

All this hopperball, ROF, "easier to masses" talk just reek that majority of you have financial interests in gimping down paintball so it becomes something like go-cart racing where you can rent as much as possible to go-carters coming over during the weekend and hope that no one actually likes the go-carting so much that they go forward and buy their own go-cart.

For tournament player who pays his own paint, the cost of paint in the tournaments have never been an issue. Rather, the issue is that the field layouts are released in advance and you need to practice them alot to be competitive. This practice costs tons, not the tournament itself. This is important for everyone to notice, its not the actual tournament that costs too much, its the practice leading to it. Price of practice paint needs to go down for paintball to become an accepted highend sport. 3-4 days a week practice can't cost more than 100$ when it currently costs 400$. (shooting 8 cases of practice paint per week)

Why the numbers of new paintball players are going down on the recfields? Because paintball has lost their milsim and warnut support. Younger generation sees airsoft as the true mil-sim game and paintball as something expensive what old people do during firms relax days or similar happenings. It costs too much and provides no benefits over airsoft as a whole. Hence, your rental field sees much less young people entering woodsball.

You blame it on ROF and "they shoot too much paint" and all that stupidity, when in reality your product just isnt keeping up. How about you stop trying to gimp the sport side of paintball because lack of new rentals in your field and notice your product is failing because paintball just isn't as cool and hip it was 20 years ago.

Why leagues are losing players, is because practice has become so much more important in recent years. However price of practice paint has not gone down. To compete, we need cheaper practices and you will see attendances pick up again on tournament scene. Also, way too many quit the tournament scene because leagues make rules and field layouts to support TV and other nonsense that costs the fields playability infavor of spectators. PB is still so small sport that everything should be done to benefit the players interests, not viewers. (face it, the viewer is a pb player himself, not a random dolt)

Tournament paintball, aka speedball needs to ba gritty, down to the earth, technical, futuristic combat sport, almost an x-game. Sure, it won't be as popular as football, but its still a niche game. This pressure that comes from go-cart racetrack owners to blame tournament paintball for everything is ridiculous.

First it was ROF because you don't get new players because once in a blue moon some kid goes to your hyperball/woodsball field and a does what it most fun in paintball, shoots people.

Then you blame it on paint usage, because you don't care if the rental go-cart racer shoots 50 or 500 or 5000 paintballs. Less he shoots is better for you, as less there is chance that the go-cart racer gets intimidated by paintball and comes again. And your income does not change, you just jank up the paint price even more and rent your tippmann again for massive overprice. No wonder that younger generation of "lets go shoot eachother" favors airsoft.

continue in part 2

Anonymous said...

part 2.

How about this for a fix, someone figures out paint containing projectile that is so cheap to manufacture that people can practice cheap. We change the tournament rules and layouts to support the players, not to beg around for TV viewers. We re-establish speedball as gritty, no nonsense, modern combat sport that it is. Yes it hurts, yes you need to be rough to play it and no its not for everyone. Long streams of paint, massive speed and mental & physical pressure should be name of the game. Bring on the pain.

Speedball does not get any more tactical or more sport if you reduce the amount of paint carried. What it does it takes away the grittiness of the sport that makes it fun, exciting and somewhat extreme. You keep on this path of forcing paintball into casual mold and you don't have a competetive scene anymore. Think it in icehockey terms, you are basicly making skates that reduce speed on the ice and sticks that force you to push the puck into the goal. This way no one gets hurt, no one feels offended and its like, everyone can be good at this game! No sport is like that.

Rental, aka. go-cart fields figure out on their own how to combat airsoft and the fact that price vs quality of the recgame just is not there and stops putting everything on the endless tab of lets play speedball about every problem they have.

Pumpball and whatever niches can stay in the woods pumping forever for all I care, since fast majority of you pumping in the woods would most likely be more happy if you joined airball clubs and if you were younger you would be playing airsoft. They tend to value things that you like more than paintball scene has been valuing for past 10 years.

Industry needs to remember that if you reduce the amount of paint shot, pain delivered and other extremer values of paintball, the only thing left that separates this expensive sport then from airsoft is that fact that in airsoft you can't compete. Players use honor when exiting field. Is this honor aspect enough to keep paying premium for paintball?

All and all, there is now options in how to spend your time in the woods shooting people. One of them seems to be taking alot of your customers, especially on the milsim field. Everyone needs to face the fact that gimping tournament paintball is not the answer to problems on your field. If this means that sport aspect of paintball and rental go-carting needs to be two completely different things, then separate them, but stop taking both down the drain.

Anonymous said...

To the guy with a big post.

Whats a good solution to lower the costs of practices?

Assuming that the practice should be as similar as the game itself, except some drills (drills ain't enought), if the game as a limit of paint or a low ROF, you wont need alot of paint to do your practices.

In the end you practice more and get better and better.

And having an equal rules for ALL players will allow the good ones to shine and get up on the ranking. The game, being expensive as it is, only allows the rich and talented to be on top, instead of just the talented...

Crusificton said...

The only promising solution is .50 cal as a practice paint. Conversion kits for most guns will come out soon, and they tell us the paint will be cheaper s it just makes sense.

At the prices G.I. Milsim has eluded to I would be willing to pay roughly another $20 a day to buy an extra case to practice.

I currently pay $43 a week to practice and scrimmage. If two cases cost me somewhere near $60 then I wouldn't have a problem forking it over for a longer day of practice.

I don't think layouts made for TV have hurt the sport. In the case of the X I think it's helped. No more superfluous bunkers that don't really do much except intimidate younger players.

From what I've heard some limited paint events do well. Like the RPL. I think it's a hopper + 2-3 pods, which is reasonable as an introductory league. But, Paint companies have a vested interest in you shooting higher volumes of paint and should otherwise they would start to move from this industry to another.

Anonymous said...

Heh. Have you guys ever tried what happens when you put two d3 or better teams to compete against each other with hopperball as a rule?

If you tell them, that its not for jokeplay and try your best to win, the game slows down to a complete halt. Its impossible with just an hopper to force people to go inside their bunkers to be able to make any moves. You can kiss thrill and action goodbye.

Good example of hopperball in reality is 10+ minute 1 on 1 points in PSP when guys are low in paint and refuse to make a move, just playing a game of peak a boo behind their bunkers. Boring, tedius and players hate it. The situations end in someone making a desperate move while having handfull of paint left.

Face it, paintball and grittyness of the sport is built by fast reactions, massive amounts of paint shot to create ability to move around the field and to push players into their bunkers so that they lose visibility on their targets.

Highskill people playing hopperball and you can kiss all the action goodbye for good.

raehl said...

You can't take D3 players who don't know how to play paintball at anything other than 10-15 bps ramping, put them on a field, and expect them to play well at hopper-ball the first time, any more than you can take a D3 7-man team, put them on an XBall field, and expect them to play XBall well the first time. Hell, if you look at the way teams played XBall when XBall first came around compared to the way they do now, even at the Pro level there was a learning curve.

But I think it's a moot point. If we don't do something to contain competitive costs, here won't be many people playing at all (and we're already seeing that happen). Cutting gelatin use seems to be a natural place to start looking at getting costs out of the game, and a paint limit doesn't just keep pushing the peak rate of fire down.

Reiner Schafer said...

Gee, how any years have we been hearing paintballs need to get cheaper and then tournament ball will flourish? And paintball prices kept going down and down. And then when they were lower than ever before, tournament play started to decline. And now we hear again that paint prices just need to go down much lower than that and everything will be fixed.

I don't care how tournaments are played and how much paint flys around. I really couldn't care less. Just understand that whatever format is used and whatever product that format creates will determine who and how many people will participate. If tournies want to go to a format where markers never stop shooting paintballs at high rates of fire and all you need to do is point the barrel in whatever direction you want the stream to go, go for it. It will be the ultimate extreme experience. Just remember there may only be a handful of guys to play against.

What tournament paintball chooses to do, does not affect my rec field. Not at all. But if you don't think what rec fields do, affects the number of participants in tourney ball, I think you better think again. Ask the guys you are playing with where they played their very first paintball game. It's rare for a tourney player to have played his first game at a tourney or a tourney team practice.

anonachris said...

Was it the GTO or GWS or Pan AM that had limited paint? Was it hopper ball or hopper + pod ball?

I can't remember, but I played a 10man in it a long time ago...

And in fact, our strategy, even though we normally played NPPLs, in this other limited paint league, was to have 8 guys completely watch their zones and not come out of their zone until 50% of the time had passed (or unless the "code word" was called). We were just screwing aroudn at first because we thought it would be funny/unnerving for the other teams to not see a single player except for the two back guys.

It actually worked, and we won all the games we played that way. (too bad we came up with the "let's screw around and do something odd strategy" after we had no hope of moving on)

anonachris said...


Tournament paintball has a tremendous affect on your field.

Most of the guns and equipment that we see heavily in use at all fields today were driven by a desire to excel in tournaments.

Paint manufacturing technology/methodology influenced by an attempt to gain a competitive advantage in tournaments?

Tournament players get laughed at when they think the world revolves around them. Rec players should experience the same when they make the same mistake.

We're all united in this circle of paintball life, when Ollie Lang flaps his wings, Scenario Steve feels a cool breeze on that wet sponge he has tied to his forhead. Now let us all hold hands and sing songs of togetherness.

Anonymous said...

How about just reduce the timeframe where layouts are available? If we can all agree that problem is cost and especially amount of paint shot during practice, easiest way of reducing the cost would be limiting the actual preparation practice.

When field layout is released months in advantage, teams will grind that layout alot. Much of this grinding is done by using the lanes and moves you would use in a real match. Hence, alot of paint is shot during multiple practices on the layout. Also, I have to admit, it gets really boring and tedious to grind the layout for weeks.

Release the layout week before the tournament and lets bring back more fun practices where you just toss bunkers here and there and play for fun and at the same time learn. This alone would cut costs of practice enormously.

PRO for years said...

I didnt have the patience to read all the prior threads, limit the total game to hopper and a pod for all levels. I think that would really make the game interesting. As we all know the largest sponsors are the paint distributors unfortunately PSP will never allow this to happen. Politics will block this idea trust me, it runs paintball.

raehl said...

The paint companies are in a tight spot. I don't think they really LIKE the high-volume low-margin paint business. Actually, I'm pretty sure they somewhat despise it.

BUT... it's the unfortunate result of free enterprise. Lots of people jumped in the paint game and kept driving down the wholesale costs. That, in and of itself, is OK, except that we didn't hold the line at the retail level. Since retail costs also went down, cheaper paint meant more paint shot meant higher volume allowing for lower margins, rinse, repeat.

If fields maintained high pricing and low volume, and tournaments limited paint use, manufacturers would be able to restore their margins without having to worry about another upstart running in to undercut them. I don't see a good way for manufacturers to lower volume on their own. They can't all agree to raise the wholesale price of paint, and they can't be the only one to do it. But I don't think they'd necessarily mind if per-player paint use went down and gave them room to raise margins.

Plus, I think the paint companies also realize that selling higher-margin paint to more customers is more profitable than selling lots of low-margin paint to few customers. Especially those paint companies that also sell things other than paint - which right now is pretty much all of them.

Brandon Lambertson 909 said...


Your right, paint manufactures did create this monster sport of paint consumption, and I think they can uncreate it. They are pushing this .50 industry standard thing, it should be just as easy to change the paint limits and ROF as a standard like they raised it if they wanted to. But like you said, why would they want to.


Glad we agree on one thing, but I'm pretty sure we agree on two....let me test that theory and try and explain. When I said let them shoot what ever they want, I didn't mean leave it "open" and let them decide from event to event to bring whatever new fast technology is available to get an edge. I meant, once they decide how fast they want to go and make it standard, let it be as long as it's not wide open full auto, because even I think that's just plain stupid. If they "all" decide they want to shoot full auto (cap at 18) and carry unlimited paint, then let them.....because everyone will be shooting the exact same speed. If they decide to cap at 15 and go ramping, let them. But no, don't leave it open like it was originally in X-ball and teams like Miami Effect (wink wink) had weed mode on our guns when no one else did. A win like that doesn't feel the me.


Don't take this as an attack, but I could just as easily say that the way your talking makes it sound like your the type that is worried that if they limit the fast guns and unlimited paint to the pros only, that you or others you know will never have the chance to play that way. Like Chris pointed out to me, there are LIMITS in sports that competition depends on, well I say to that, there should be and there ARE, LEVELS in sports in which you must climb from the bottom to the top. You referenced go-carts and hockey. Karting happens to be something my friend is heavily involved in and even though I'm no expert in the scene I do know that they have driving levels and motor size limitations. Direct drive and clutch karts, vs shifter karts, and they don't mix them. I played hockey and most leagues didn't allow body checking until the adult leagues. Now you may not think that is the same as limiting ROF, but if you haven't played in both leagues (or even just played hockey) then you don't know how greatly the added benefit of allowing body checking can change the game, and more importantly, who plays in that league and who doesn't. Yet hockey players still get to keep that "bad-ass" gritty rep. City football leagues even have weight limits on kids so they don't hurt other kids. It's nothing new. All sports start out that way, from t-ball to hockey to football. There are limits and levels to keep it "fair" for everyone so they all feel like they can compete.....and they all THRIVE.

It sounds like your coming from the perspective of the "now" player who will be most effected by such a change and you don't want to potentially lose your current way of playing just to help bring in new players. I get that. This is all just our ideas and opinions......nothing is set in stone, it could go so far as an having entire league (from d7-to pro) allowed to shot laser guns so that even people that will never be able to play pro can still play gritty bad ass paintball with laser guns. But..... there should be a level system in general across the board that allows people to dip there toes in before they are forced to jump in up to their head. I think most people would agree that being in the actual military and seeing combat, is one of the most bad ass gritty things a guy can do, but the military image is what held paintball back for so long. Saying "yeah it hurts, deal with it", isn't the way to bring in new players, and that's the real point to all of this.

Baca Loco said...

Hey kids
Good stuff. I'ma try to address the comments that require a response.

raehl #1--sure, those situations occur but they occur most often with mediocre players and they occur within the context of the game the way it is played now. What you shouldn't do is assume certain features necessarily carry over from one situation to another.

Brandon--a sensible compromise but I wonder if the idea of national level competition runs counter. I also expect there will be more interest in the idea in the not too distant future.

raehl (to Brandon)-- if I may paraphrase, Brandon's point wasn't that there should be no limits, only that the pro game should reflect the peak performance of the best players and that necessarily requires a playing environment beyond the ability of the rest.

Anon parts 1 & 2--always good to get a strong, dissenting point of view. Don't be a stranger.

Anon #2--I've posted on this before and have suggested for 2 plus years that the PSP NOT release the field layout in advance. It would force teams to practice differently and would remove the premium on scrimming the event layout.
However, the PSP opposes the idea because field owners fear loss of business. Late release amounts to the same thing. And there is some validity to it in the sense that most teams don't know how else to prepare to compete.
In the long term it would profit competitive paintball but that isn't the current priority.

Crusty--A) What makes you think anything coming out of the GI Milsim camp is in any way certain or reliable? Seems to me the cheap paint for the customer has morphed into bigger margins for the retailer.

Cuda4 said...

Wow, I have heard everything I want to hear regarding hopper ball! First, slowing the rate of fire only hurts the industry/manufactures but in a different way. Listen up boys, you know those pretty hoppers that sell for $150.00 who needs them if when only need to fire at 10 bps? How bout those really cool boards that give you all those neat settings? What about those nifty bolt kits and upgrades who needs those? I can tell you who, NOBODY! You guys think you can cut paint down to nothing and save the game, you fooling yourselves. You would be better served by telling the paintball population we just want you to buy a Spyder with a gravity fed hopper and one pod, go out and enjoy. Laughable, that's what this is completely laughable. You people out there wake the hell up, these manufactures are trying to stay afloat because the profit margins are to hard to reach now. Look the economy took a crap, deal with it. Don't come out here and tell use the saving grace is hopper ball or lower paint consumption. Notice how we didn't hear them saying "we need to save paintball let us help you the consumer by lower our cost on our $1500.00 guns or our extremely high priced gear"? It's all about the paint because that's where they got us by the balls,(no pun intended) and we can't do a thing about it. As far as G.I. Milsim goes, I shot those crappy little .50cal balls in there 25ft shooting range at World Cup. I like Baca and everyone else am still waitng on the "NEW" safety requirements their gonna need, along with the costs. I haven't seen any savings associated with them just another idea to get you to spend money. Lastly, I don't put much stock in anything anymore because it's difficult to trust anything anyone says as being truth. The one thing I have learned over the last year though is if Chris Raehl wants something done, it gets done. If ever there was a man who controls a organization/industry he would be it. Good luck to us all, and if anyone wants to buy a fast gun, fast hopper and some extra pods hit me up! jk

raehl said...

The nice thing about paint limits is it doesn't cap peak rate of fire - so in critical moments, you'd want to shoot 15 bps, and you'd need the hopper and gun an air system that can do that for you.

Besides, what good is selling a $150 hopper if there are only 10 people left to buy it?

Don Saavedra said...

The main reason for the paint limit in the OSC is to avoid having to spend even more effort limiting the pump technology to keep the events fair. It's easier to limit paint than, say, auto-triggers. Likewise in semi-play... you can allow any kind of ramp or full auto (at or above certain skill levels) and not care because they don't have all that much paint to shoot at that speed.

Cuda4 said...

In other words, sit in the back of the field and wait for someone to be dumb enough to run out in front of you. Let's see that makes for a boring game of paintball in my eyes.

Why would there only be 10 players left? Are you implying that paint is the only savior for the industry?

Reiner Schafer said...

Don, that's basically the reasoning I use for pricing my paint from $120 to $160/case at my rec field. Technology that has been developed and screwed up most rec fields and as a result keeps players from coming back a second time doesn't affect us. We are thriving. Players pay the same for a day of paintball at our field as they do other fields, the only difference is they get less paint, and as a result have more fun. This is subjective of course. Those that get their thrills shooting higher volumes move onto the speedball fields.

I'm not advocating the same philosophy for tournament ball, not at all. But if tournament ball doesn't get their act together and figure out a format that will not get most players playing at their bottom of their pocket, their days are numbered. So tornament players can choose to hold near and dear to their hearts current formats, but I see a lot of dark skies on the horizon. I really don't think sticking your proverbial head in the sands is an option.

Don Saavedra said...

I also don't think limited paint works past a certain level. For instance, I wouldn't limit paint at a national tournament series. Unless, of course, they run a beginner or kids division like PSP Chicago.

Cuda4 said...

Well Reiner you must live in a different country. I can assure you that I'm not getting that at my field nor is any of the fields in the surrounding areas. Were lucky to get $25 for entry and $45 for a case a paint. Now I'm sure that your saying to yourself, "well he just doesn't know the industry" but the surrounding fields that charge the exact same are owned and operated by current pros in the sport. I surely will not be charging $120 for a case of paint because if I do it will be the last time I do.

Anonymous said...

High volume paint usage kills the tournament guys because of the cost.
High volume paint usage discourages people to play at their local fields.
Low margins on paint hurt manufacturers and retailers.
Low margins on markers hurt retailers.
Less retailers means you can't buy product locally.
Less retailers means less equipment owners.
Less equipment owners means less sales of paint and equipment which hurts the manufacturers.
No manufacturers, no retailers = no paintball.

Reiner Schafer said...

Cuda4, if your competing field operators are current pros, they MUST know what they are doing.

I don't know what your local rec scene can support and what it can't and I'm not about to guess. What I do know is what $45/case rec paintball has done to the industry as a whole. It's created an environment that a lot less people enjoy and those people aren't coming to play rec ball. And if they are not coming to play rec ball, they certanly aren't going to go on to play tournament ball. So when you look to the top of the page at Baca's current poll and you see that other than "The Decline in the economy" as a choice, the next most common belief people feel tournament paintball is in trouble is "Too few new players entering the game", you might start to understand the connection between $45/case rec ball and less people showing up at tournaments.

But most people don't want to see that connection. Why? Because they feel there is f*** all they can do about it.... and they are probably right.

Anonymous said...

God forbid a field owner actually watch the rec games going on at his/her field and stop the wannabe-tourney players from going out and stomping a mudhole in the first-timers. You know, cuz it's so hard to tell which player showed up in full-body zipped up cardhart's and rented a gun and asked "how much paint should I start with" versus the kid with all 2010 gear and a Luxe that picked up 2 cases of paint.
Get off your collective arses and pay attention...then you won't have these horror stories from first timers.
It's incredible how lazy you people are. You'd rather rip people off on paint instead of manage your field.

Reiner Schafer said...

Or....I can manage my field well, have lots of staff on hand to pay attention, but still get rec players to shoot less paint because I know that is what the majority prefer. But of course I can't afford to do that at $45/case, if I only want them to shoot 500 and not too much more. They also aren't going to shoot just 500 if they can buy another 500 for $11.25.

It has absolutely nothing to do with laziness, but is a result of paying MORE attention.

Anonymous said...

boink boink

anonachris said...

Ya I don't know why all the blame is on the manufacturers or the tournament guys. Fields are a huge part to blame as has been said by a couple.

Yes manufacturers want to sell more and confuse market share with profitability. Yes tournament guys want to shoot up whatever moves. And field owners want to be lazy as hell and complain its everyone elses fault.

Reiner sounds like he's doing a good job. Or at least saying he's doing a good job... Either way, the fields need to have a professional approach to managing the experience of their players.

Is anyone surprised at the result we're getting when you look at people reffing local fields and manage the games?

Maybe it's ok to have 16 or 18 year olds reffing, but its certainly not ok to have them in a position of ultimate authority on the field. Someone who can actually use their brain, exercise empathy (to look out for the first timers and almost "cradle" them through their first experience), and have a respectable authority/presence on the field so everyone knows not to break the rules or go against what they say. There are a dozen more things of course... but really let's look at who is actually running the games on a day to day basis at fields across America. It's either well-meaning kids, punk-ass kids who have the contract killer mentality themselves, or an every vanishing number of old timers who might just be a bit to burned out to care.

Paintball fields should be hiring recreation managers, getting internships from programs like that etc. I'm not saying everyone has to be staffed with a rec management degree, but when your occupation is recreation, you'd think you'd look for someone with experience in recreation, rather than just finding someone who likes to shoot other people and knows how to do it fairly well.

Baca Loco said...

Hey Anonochris
See post above, there's an opening. :)

Cuda4 said...

First let me try an address Anonymous, High volume of paint isn't killing the tournament guys. Paint is a small portion of the cost for us as a tourament team. The thing thats killing them is the cost for entry into these events. You won't hear tournament players bitchin about how much paint cost because they're at the event to shoot the hell out of it. High volume of paint usage hasn't discourage our rec-ball scene at all. These nice folks are coming out and enjoying a long day of paintball and are buying lots of paint. What's killing it at your local field is us as tournament players getting on the smae field with them and kicking the living crap out of them and acting like yoour a bad ass for doing so. I personally have 3 fields and never let tournament players on the smae field as the rec-ballers or new players. It makes for a more enjoyable day. I also promote that us a tourney players go over and give tips to ensure that they feel good about coming back. Low margins hurt manufacturers/retailers, well your dam right they do but if my competitors are charging what I am then I'll be dam if I'm gonna charge twice as much and tell them it will be more fun if we all shoot less paint. Low margins on markers, well that my friend is somewhat laughable. We all know that it costs roughly $250 to $400 to manufacture a marker some even less. So less see if it cost $300 and your charging me $1500 whose making out there? Less retailers, that doesn't hurt anyone except for the retailers themselves. Most of us are buying stuff online now because of the ease of shipping and the availablility. Most of the retailers can't stock enough so they could'nt keep up for the demand now. Just so you know retailers aren't going to crush paintball, as a matter of fact they sometimes tend to hinder it based on location. An example of that would be smaller metropolitain areas may only have one local store. Once the store owner figures out he's the only game in town he then marks up everything an additional 5-10% and then were suppose to support that, I think not. It's happening now in very community I live in and I will always condone shopping online to my players. You have to remember friendly competition is a good thing and keeps everything fair. Now, as for Reiner you sound like a very intelligent man and you obviously know what works in your areas. Unfortunatey therein lies the problem seeded deep in this issue. What works for one location may not work for many locations. Thus might statement that "paint" can not be the only cure for the problem. There must be other ways to make changes for the better. I'm just tired of the whole paint issue whether it be ball size, cost or colors we need to focus on other avenues also if we hope to reach a solution. P.S. Baca you rock in my book, this is a great venue to discuss issues in a intelligent way!

Cuda4 said...

P.P.S, Sorry for what ever type "O"s there might be I'm a bit rushed today.
Thank you

Don Saavedra said...

Cost to manufacture a gun doesn't cover R&D.

Baca Loco said...

Thanks Cuda. The more the merrier, glad to have you on board. Now I gots to call you out.
It may be that paint is not a big deal for your team but it is a huge deal for the pro teams.

Cuda4 said...

Maybe "no big deal" was a poor choice of words but never the less it's still not as large of an issue than the rising cost of entry and issues associated with the event. I understand that most pro teams are not getting their paint free nor would I imply they would. They like all of us have to pay something for it. However their cost for the cases of paint at the events are far cheaper than if you were to purchase it at your local retail store and bring it to the event. This is do to the amount of volume they, meaning the team/field move for the manufacture. The more your selling the better your deal is going to be in the long run. If I only purchased a case or two from KEE every month,then when I asked for some kind of break at the events it would be difficult to get it. But when where moving two pallets every month then its far easier to get those breaks. Point: The pro's are paying for their paint sure, but are they paying enough to hurt them or to keep them away from tournament ball? NO. These teams are full of very intelligent businessmen, they maybe dressed in paintball gear but they have suits underneath. I applaude them for their negotiation skills. I think though if you want the answer to that question you may ask them. Judging from my current issue of aquiring new players for our team, the issue isn't paint it's overall cost for the events. I think some of the general player population may not understand that these teams have to factor in a number of thing's beside paint. Let me give you an example, airfare this season ranged from $325-$395 for each event, then van rental went from $65-$115, hotel was $35-$75, then paint and food per person. The concept that only paint is killing us is not actually correct it's the whole pie not just a slice of it. Now take into consideration that some these pro teams are traveling all over the U.S. to practice against each other and that just exacerbates the problem. Look it's difficult for them for sure and I in no way want this to sound like I'm condeming them for the way the do their business. I just wanted to use their situation to point out that the issue still isn't just paint, it's everything as a whole.

Baca Loco said...

We're getting off track here and I don't see any virtue in arguing this with you. Of course, all expenses are relevant but the critical one that is killing pro teams is paint. You may not think so but I know so. :)

raehl said...

Wait, Cuda, are you asserting that an entry fee that has gone up over the course of the past 5 years at less than the rate of inflation is a big problem, but shooting $3,000 in paint an event when you could be shooting $750 in paint an event is not an issue?

That just doesn't make any sense.

D2/D3 XBall Entry Fee in 2004: $2250. Now? $2500 and $2350.

Man, it's gotta be those killer entry fee increases!

Cuda4 said...

First let me apologize if I by some way was getting off track Baca. I was merely trying to explain some of the other issues involved with tournament costs. Although you may say you know so I will agree to disagree with you at this time, no argument meant. Now with regards to Mr. Raehl statement I was not completely, absolutely narrowing it down to the rising costs of entry, merely letting evryone know that again it's not just paint. By the way how many cases of paint would I be getting for that $3000? How may players are on that teams roster splitting the cost off that paint? Finally how much are they paying for that paint per case? I'm sure you know, yur a numbers guy are'nt you?

anonachris said...

If Baca's team is having trouble paying for paint, just tell your guys to win or lose their points faster.

Baca Loco said...

Quite right. Faster is better.

I can count on one hand--even after the industrial accident--the number of pro teams that don't have to worry about paying for paint and fotunately we are one of them.

And faster is still better.

Cuda4 said...

Just out of curiousity what team is your Baca, If you don't mind me asking?

Baca Loco said...


raehl said...

At the local level, paint is well over half of the budget for a team if you count practice. Even when people are getting on planes, paint is the largest budget item when you count practice. Shoot two cases a player at the event and a case at 8 days of practice and you're at $350 in paint per player per event for most teams.

And I don't know any way to get airfares to cost less. I don't know any way to cut entry fees unless play time is also cut. I do know a way to cut people's paint bills. A lot. Without impacting game time.