Monday, March 1, 2010

The Monday Poll

The question I want to ask this week is: Where is the line that competitive paintball can't cross? The line between value and competition. When does it cost too much? Or when are you getting too little for what it does cost? Obviously there's no way to formulate that into a poll question but those are the questions I'm asking myself and those are the questions behind this week's Monday Poll.
The competitive game has been all over the map in recent years. A dozen years ago we paid around 2 grand for 6 prelim games of 10-man in the woods. Initially divisional xball teams played double elimination. 25% of a division only played 2 matches for their entry fee. 2 years ago the pro teams paid 5K (6K) for Race 2 - 9. In a couple of weeks it will be $2500 for a 3 match prelim Race 2 - 7. 7-man once had a 10 game prelim in Euroland. Many local events have entries in the low hundreds. Others charge seasonal fees. In some respects the price of competitive paintball is always changing.
What keeps teams and players coming back? What drives them away?
Since I can't figure out how to ask the question I want I'm going to pose a somewhat related question: Where do you get the most satisfactory competitive paintball experience for the money?
I'm not differentiating by format and I'm not giving you a price range. I want you to take into account your personal priorities, preferences and resources and vote accordingly. The distinction between "compulsory series" and "series" is in the former there is an upfront fee and commitment and in the latter just the intent to play a series.

Monday Poll in Review
Last week's poll wanted your opinion on the introduction of 50 cal to competitive paintball. A sizable majority viewed it in a negative light; a commercial flop (23%), demonstrate inferior performance (43%). That's 66% compared to the 4% who think it will revolutionize the game and the 14% who expect small ball to be a viable alternative to 68 cal. The remaining 14% didn't expect it to make any difference. The poll question was asked within the context of competitive paintball but I wonder how many of the voters took that limited context into account or if the poll tends to reflect the general opinion that is out there regarding 50 cal paintballs. No way of knowing of course but one thing is fairly clear--the backlash against small ball has connected with players across the paintball spectrum.


Reiner Schafer said...

Baca, I think all this weeks' poll is going to tell you (and I'm sure you already know) is that VFTD draws from a broad spectrum of readers.

As far as the question you really want an answer to, I think competitive paintball, at least in its present formats, will always cost too much (in time and dollars) for the vast majority that would like to play to actually participate in in any kind of long term way. The amount of dedicated people to make the sacrifice is just too small to burst out of the little bubble they are in.

It might be noteworthy to point out that the Pump Division at Huntington sold out with many teams dissappointed they couldn't get in with the 16 team cap. I know most will not consider that (pump) real competitive paintball, but it is of interest to note that formats that are cheaper to compete in are growing while "normal" competitive paintball is heading in the opposite direction.

Anonymous said...

And you, still fail to grasp that it has never been price of the tournaments, but price of the practice. No other sport requires 100$ a week to practice in.

Baca Loco said...

Without doubt there is a dividing line and the tourney side of the game will very likely always be the minority--but the distinction I'm polling has always existed and it isn't always just about the money. But the money does matter. I'm not close to being convinced the so-called diversity of the readership plays much of a roll. This is really about how rewarding different peeps find the competition at different levels.

And Anonymous's point stands. The cost of competition is really the cost of preparation and the higher up you go the tighter that competition becomes and the more you need to prepare--and spend.

I find the pump info interesting but hardly conclusive. I also think you're limiting the idea of competitive paintball in ways I don't with your "normal" definition. I'm all for niche pockets of competitive paintball whether it be scenario style or straight up Old Skool woodsball. The required skills aren't universal but there remains a lot of overlap amid shifting priorities.

Reiner Schafer said...

Yes, I totally understand Anonymous's point. It's the point I was trying to make when I said the cost is too much (in time and dollars) for most that would like to take part, to actually commit to taking part.

"Normal" may not have been the best choice of words. I knew that and that's why I put it in quotations. Maybe, "the current, most common" would have been better.