Wednesday, December 8, 2010

PSP 2011: Rumor Edition

I had a perfectly good post almost ready to go and then the phone started ringing. Have you seen ProPaintball's latest? It seems the kids at ProPaintball have a scoop or a balloon, of the trial variety. Either way, it's going to raise a ruckus. (First ever appearance of the word, "ruckus", on VFTD.) Seems someone has leaked some proposed details of what the PSP may, or may not, be considering for 2011. I suggest it is very likely a trial balloon (an intentional leak) simply because the circle of people having any say in what the PSP does is a small one. The only other alternative is a legit leak from someone in the know breaking trust or else it's complete rubbish fit only for the smackbox--and since that isn't where it was posted ... A number of the rumored elements have been discussed for a long time and aren't really anything new. So what do the rumors amount to?
Beginning at the beginning rumor 1 & 2 are what I've taken to calling 'The Amodea Solution' as the suggestion was made a few months ago by John Amodea of X3 magazine to enlarge the playing fields and add larger bunkers towards the back of the field in the hopes of reconnecting with an older more affluent group of players. Despite what I know will be the impact on the play of the game I would support such a move if there was any reason to believe it will work. Does any such group of players actually exist today? Playing scenario maybe? The number of competing teams back when the PSP transitioned from 10-man to Xball doesn't hint at it unless they are some very patient ex-10-man players. Even so, it might be worth a trial period to see what happens.
It has been suggested some local fields will be ill-equipped to add twenty feet of length. It could happen but field dimensions have changed numerous times in the last dozen years and I can't recall any previous outcry. What exactly, while I'm at it, is the PSP's responsibility?
What will happen is not hard to predict. Dimension and design changes will tend to make fields more defense-oriented with wider open lanes and less middle of the field play. The result will be slower game play--potentially much slower game play. It would be a real step backwards for the pro division.
Now about that trial period. How about from D3 down? After all, what classification are these wished for older more affluent players likely to have or receive? If the PSP wants to see if there might be some advantage to the Amodea Solution go ahead and give it a try where the bulk of the "new" players would likely play and where the effects of the change will impact the play of the game the least.
Next on the list is the elimination of pit side coaching. Right now in divisional play the pit side coach is the primary coach and can roam along the net to the fifty, or thereabouts. On the pro field we can't move past the end of the pit. I'm assuming here the object is to try an attract all those teams out there deadset against coaching. Except, again, how many of them are there really? Is the NPPL full of them? Is the NPPL full? And what about the snake side coaching? What's the point of trying to turn the pit side into a tennis match when there's still snake side coaching and a noisy crowd supporting the competing teams? Is a half measure really gonna change anything beyond pissing off the regulars? And how is this going to be enforced? Are the referees going to start calling penalties for off the field actions that will penalize on field play? Really? For the six guys on the internet who will never play if there's coaching?
Finally we come to a move that makes sense--one that I've been advocating for years. Don't release the field layout early. Versions of my case in favor of no release are here & here.
Lastly, rumored event locations in Phoenix and Riverside. Cool. If the league can or will improve their bottom line with new locations more consistent with the economic realities I'm on board. Hopefully they will work out. Until we see them it's hard to offer a real opinion.

Larger field: (neutral-ish)
Bigger bunkers oriented toward the back: (poor)
Eliminate pit side coaching: (huh?)
No field release: (excellent)
Cumulative: (a step back)

UPDATE: Seems the PSP via their website and Facebook are confirming the posted rumors on ProPaintball. That has pushed me to re-write some of this post. (I left in my initial speculation so you'd know what I was thinking.)

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem with not releasing the layout prior to the event is now I have to take another day off of work to get to the field and walk it. It can't be done in an hour after you check in on Wednesday/Thursday afternoon. It's going to take time to do it as a team.

Baca Loco said...

Show up earlier on Wed/Thurs

Anonymous said...

Some people don't have the luxury of doing that with there jobs.. so once agains the teams that can get out earlier have that advantage over others that can't no? iknow with school most of the guys on my team couldn't show up till late weds before the event and had to try nd check out the field the next day.. with the new rule changes it would make it hurt the team that much more

Anonymous said...

Where will Tampa Bay be for 2011?

Anonymous said...

cant please everyone...

ryan said...

yea the layout needs to be released 1 week prior to the event. taking that extra day off of work to prepare is a killer. id consider not playing in the psp becasue of that....my job is what allows me to pay that increasing entry fee the psp has!! plus longer games now....that means rather then catching a late sunday night flight around 7pm after we win. now were looking at monday morning and another night in a hotel....wake up!

Mike said...

Does the larger bunkers at the back of the field imply simply adjusting placement and (for example) not making a cake a corner bunker. Or does this mean the development / implementation of new shapes?

theone said...

I was thinking about the whole "not releasing the field layout prior to the event" last night and thought of something really key to this whole situation. With this move PSP has effectively given itself a monopoly on the format. (sorry for not being better able to format that statement and hopefully my following explanation will help.) For instance, now, most smaller regional tournaments follow the set-up that the PSP uses as a way of attracting teams who want to use that event as a warm up for the actual upcoming PSP event. This helps the regional series owners because it draws those extra teams who spend their money to get some actual in game practice on the field layouts. Now, after removing this feature from regional series ability to attract these teams the PSP has effectively denied the tournament market to the struggling feeder series because they have lost that appeal to the teams that regularly play the PSP and use the regional series as a warm-up/practice so to speak. I can think of 3-4 tournament series alone that have as their major selling point the fact that the event layout that they'll be using for their events is the same as the one of the upcoming PSP event. Now, those series have lost that selling point and even further restricted a sport from growing that is in a serious stage of decline.

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Of course they'll make new bunkers so that the fields have to buy new bunker sets / upgrade kits in addition to redoing all of their fields/turf/netting. But don't worry! All those fat, old, rich players will come a'floodin' right back and pump LOADS of money into the sport and we'll all live happily ever after!

sdawg said...

theone: or, maybe, PSP is helping local series because teams will choose to play in more tournaments that don't necessarily have the next PSP layout, rather than chose to just practice on the local field that has the next PSP event's field.

Baca Loco said...

Anon #2
Same for everybody with players in a particular age bracket. Maybe the league could release the layout at 2 or 3 pm on registration day.
If you played a PSP event before 2010 you burning those extra days you're concerned about now.

Anon #3--playing both the PSP & NPPL.

Ryan--the clock is still the clock. Longer points, lower final scores.

Mike--at this time it doesn't mean new shapes. There will be a new shape in 2011 but it's got nothing to do with the new design requirement.
BTW, I am told the PSP neither requests new shapes or refuses to accept them. It's the Sup'Air kids.

theone--don't see that as necessarily a negative nor do I buy your spin on the how or why. If there's no release and teams planning on competing in a PSP event want some real competition as part of their preparation they will play anyway. And disconnecting a local series from the PSP track makes it more inviting to teams that have no real interest in national level competition. The series you mention may very well be doing themselves a disservice now by limiting their primary appeal to national track teams.

theone said...

Thanks Baca. I was just trying to see different arguments as to the not releasing the layout situation. I think that its a good idea because it prevents the teams with money from just playing a layout over and over and over again and then going out there and killing every other team that might not have had the economic ability to do so. But, at the same time, it takes an optimistic person to think that there isn't the potential that the layouts, as they had been released previously, won't still make it to a few teams that are deeply connected with the league and doesn't that only exacerbate the differences between the haves and have-nots? I know that when I used to play competitively in AXBL/CXBL/PSP that I'd seek out fields that had the PSP layout so that I could get practice in on that field. But, I guess my point of view is not like that of a lot of other competitive players today?

As for the other issues, I could care less about expanding the field by 10 feet except for the potential impact on fields/field-owners. Although, I've played on plenty of fields that were off a couple feet here and there in the past and the disadvantage was hardly noticeable. As to the larger bunkers, I'm a skinny guy but tall so if they make the bunkers taller I'm all for that. The no side-line coaching thing is interesting for, as you brought up, what are the REF's going to do if people do side-line coach? What happens if its not a member of the team on the field at that time but just prepping in the pit that makes some comment and then the team on the field is penalized? What about counter-coaching? Why allow it for the snake players but not the dorito players?

Baca Loco said...

In the PSP all the designs come from Damien of Sup'Air and he usually has more than one to choose from. The decision on which one will be used happens when they are ready to release it.
My only real concern is with the new design restrictions it's going to be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome the defensive bias and if a field is not to anybody's liking Damien will get the blame unfairly. Designing well balanced fields isn't simple and the bigger bunkers in toward the back is going to make it nigh impossible.
I'm sure your point of view is very similar to the majority of players whose competition arc is xball. It's not right or wrong. I happen to think there are better ways to develop players than rote repitition.
The no coaching on half the field rule is just plain dumb.

Mike said...

I don't like the big bunkers rule either... I agree teams will slow it down way too much. Fill up the back line and carry stupid numbers of pods and just lock it down.

Mark790.06 said...

I'm old and chubby, but I sure don't need a Mayan Temple as home to start the game from.

So WTF happened since the WC layout was released to realize the stupidity of a small dorito home or a TCK snake corner?!?!?! Those were certainly not "better suit[ed] to wide variety of players" but yet rather than right those wrongs to see how many old players flock back to the game, we got to lengthen the field too!?!?!?!

Anonymous said...

like it all except for the coaching...not sure why they nixed that.

ryan said...

baca: your right, the clock is still the clock. i overlooked that.

franktankerous said...

ryan if they release the field layout 1 week before the event. Teams will just not practice as much in the prior weeks to save their money to get 2 - 3 times the practice time on the layout. So that still doesn't solve the problem. I could see them releasing the layout wednesday, but even if they did it on tuesday, the teams with more cash will have a night practice before they leave for the event.

Anonymous said...

Friday before the event is optimal. Better for teams to spend their money practicing the weekend before than taking an extra day off work.

The fields that have 2011 bunker sets, if they are smart, will then charge a premium to practice the layout. That gets them more money in a way that doesn't involve making players shoot more paint.


The field length thing has got to go however.

ryan said...

frank, your right. the teams with there own field will get a practice in before the they leave. i own my own current xball field and i would have it up an hour after the released the layout.

as for charging an arm and a leg to practice the layout the weekend before the event. i can tell you this right now that at my partner field CPX Sports chicago i would continue to charge my same rate as before. yes i could charge more because of demand, but thats not why i spent all this money out my pocket to build what i have. i do it for the love of the game, and if you knew what i charged for a premium case and entry to our field (which i cant advertise on here, its not my place) you would understand im not making anything. i do it for the love of the game. i just want paintball to be strong again, but until there is some sort of stability, i dont think much will change.

Reiner Schafer said...

Definitely hearing some grumblings from field owners about this, most regarding the change in field size. Was it really necessary at a time when many field owners don't have a lot of extra cash kicking around for renovations?

Baca Loco said...

This is the latest variant of the old classification scheme in that the goal is the same--draw in more players from the base by dumbing down. In this case they hope to pull the older, self-sufficient perhaps less athletic player back(?) into national level competition. To do this as conceived, yes, the field needs to be longer in addition to designing with that player in mind. The length will mitigate for slower movement and the unavoidable (in places) wider gaps.
Unfortunately xball alienated these guys back at Day 1 and to now expect them to pump up the customer base when even the local 5-man numbers have declined (and where you'd likely find this player type to begin with) strikes me as improbable.

Anonymous said...

If lengthening the field is good, cutting the FPS to 280 is even better. Not only do big guys have more time to move, even when they do get hit it'll probably bounce.