Without rewriting the classification rules in simple English I’m hoping to get through this subject relatively painlessly. That means, 1) if there’s any follow-up questions don’t hesitate to ask and, 2) there will be a second part regardless of how long this post ends up being. The second post will cover the one area of weakness in these new rules.
Fortunately it should be a relatively short post as the new rules have done a very good job of addressing some past issues. The new system puts players in the position of earning their rank (by and large.) The new system is more flexible in that it has a structured consistent methodology to handle player movement both up--and down. Which is a big and positive step. The mid-season movement qualifier is protection against outliers moving players prematurely. And the dropping of the high score in the calculation of the player’s rating helps confirm the player’s ability as well as reinforcing the idea of earning the rank assigned. There is no automatic movement up the ranks based on which division a player is competing in. And there is a rational floor built into the system that assures players (teams) that simply aren’t competitive or even average won’t be forced to move up beyond their ability (in most situations.) Put it altogether and it’s a significant improvement. Add it to the regional affiliates inclusion this season and the Big Picture concept of a universalized competitive paintball environment regardless of where you play or what level you compete at and the new system is an essential, perhaps the essential piece of that puzzle. It’s not perfect–but what is?–but it is world’s better than the old system and even without the addition I’m going to suggest in the next post it will work well for most players in most circumstances. It is the new state of the art.
Okay, perhaps a bit about how the new system works is in order. In some respects it’s just a more nuanced version of the old system but it is the new flexibility, and the way the accumulated numbers are valued, that makes all the difference in the world. The event score formula simply assigns a place value to any number of competing teams in a range between 10 - 100. First is 100, last is 10 and everybody else falls in-between. That’s not where the changes are. The key to the new system is the multipliers and the idea that players play themselves into the rank(s) they achieve. The disparity between the top ranks and the lower ones may seem extreme but the relationships between each rank and within those ranks is consistent top to bottom. The same event results in each division will result in the same outcomes. A D3 player becomes a D2 player in exactly the same way as a semi-pro becomes pro. For example the "floor" of each rank is around the 69th percentile. That means as a D3 moving up to try D2 if your season sees scores in the bottom third of the D2 scores most of the time those players would almost certainly retain their D3 rank. This means the standard to move up a rank is to consistently score in the upper two-thirds so that a player’s accumulated rating minus their best score moves them into the upper two-thirds. Conceptually, with a floor all players will eventually find their place within the divisions in a largely non-coercive system.
In the larger divisions I don’t see any real issues with the new system. However, there are vestiges of the old issues in small divisions and I’ll discuss the problem and suggest a fix tomorrow.