Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Latest on PSP Classifications (& the UCP)

Some of the weaker among you will have shut their eyes tight, begun whimpering incoherently and rocking quietly unable to read past the title. Like shell-shocked soldiers they know only too well what another classification post will likely bring. There have been so many. It's not fair. They tried to read them all but somewhere along the line it became too much. (Because I can't leave not well enough alone.) Ground zero for classification posts begin here. Followed by here, here, here & here--for a sample. And last year around this time there was this one, and then this one. More than that and we approach a threshold that should not be crossed.

Fortunately, none of this year's changes are a step backwards so I'ma dispense with most of the UCP and focus on the (one) remaining issue. It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the same concern I had last year (after the otherwise excellent progress of the improvements leading into 2010). Moving down. Oh, sure, the issue was addressed. Both last year and this year. Which is progress (and I'm not complaining), it's just not enough. Last year it was possible for a player's ranking scores to eventually drop 50%. (Which effectively meant a single division reduction, for the most part.) This time around it is possible for ranking scores to be reduced up to 75%. But it takes too long and the conditions (in part) are counter intuitive--to put it politely.
Let's go Big Picture for a second. The issue isn't the mechanics. The issue is how fluid are the skills required to play competitive paintball? Once you've worked your way up to say, D1, is the average competitive player legitimately going to remain a mostly D1 player? Keeping in mind there is a distinction between talent, skills and experience the answer is player specific. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. From my perspective the answer is far more often no than it is yes. With that a given I am convinced organized competitive paintball needs to more accurately recognize reality & be willing to be more flexible--despite the possible sandbagging complaints--and potentially keep more active tourney ballers playing.
The latest rule for reducing ranking points is initiated by either time passing or events played. I understand time passing, particularly if the player is no longer competing at his (her) highest level. But what I don't get is equating events played with time passing. The new rule means is that if a player plays enough events they can accelerate the rate ranking scores reduce. Need two years to drop to a 70% value? Play 12 or more events instead. But don't additional events played equal more opportunity, more experience, more competition? If it isn't helping to make a better player it's certainly contributing to maintaining whatever level of skill they do have. Even more nonsensical, to reach the lowest reductions in ranking points possible (65%) (75%) the rule is time & a minimum number of events played. For example, a player last competed in a PSP event in 2006 but until he competes in at least 3 more events his ranking points won't drop? That's how it reads.

This latest version is an improvement but it's not enough and the rules, as they appear to read, are in part contradictory to the concept being dealt with. Why not a simple formula? I recommended one last year. You'll find it in the last link above.


Anonymous said...

what's that sound? Crickets?

Baca Loco said...

Peaceful, isn't it?

Dan said...

How I read is that events played helps reduce point because if you're playing events,and your points are not continuing to increase, then you're not succeeding. If you play 4 D3 PSP events and place top three every time, then for the next two years place 20th or lower in those same events, your obviously no longer in the top of D3 class. Essentially it pushes the most recent -and most relevent- events to the top.

Baca Loco said...

Except that is the case regardless. No matter how many events you play if you suck you aren't going to move up in the classification rankings.
Playing versus not-playing is the comparison however being made in the portion I objected to.

Dan said...

I realize that, but using the events in between makes the move down more likely. those top 3 PSP event will sit at the top for 3 or more years. I played with a player last year who's 2007 D2 scores were in his top 4. that's not relevant right now at all. SO as soon as he hits the "event played" mark, those score will be reduced from 50% to 35%, and the more recent D3 (2008-9-10) scores will be pushed to the top. with the old system that would not be the case. 16 D3 events, 4 D2 events. the player is D2.
I think this is less about moving players up when they should, but rather balancing divisional lines and players. Though you are right when you say its fairly irrelevent becuase 1) if the player is active, theyll hit the time mark well before the hit the events played part, and (2) it effects a very small portion of the players.