The following piece was written for and previously appeared in WELT digital magazine, the short-lived project from the folks who brought you PGi.
Moonbats, Drillbits & Semiauto
There is one subject that drives me to the brink of gleeful homicide--the blindly willful utter nonsense spouted by the "semi-auto" advocacy crowd. This includes a few friends of mine so y'all please feel free to delude yourselves that little bit more and believe I mean everybody but you.
It started when I was skimming a long thread at the Nation–yes, I realize I brought it on myself-- devoted to speculation about the (then) upcoming changes at the PSP. A few posters just had to toss in the opinion that what the PSP needed was preferably uncapped semi-auto. Everybody is entitled to an opinion–even an idiotic one–but this particular brand of paintball superstition is like being a member of the Flat Earth Society and really believing the Earth is flat. Or participating in Renaissance festivals because you are convinced you really are Richard the Lionheart reincarnate.
Hey Tulip, you're nutty as a fruitcake!
If you've been living in a cave maybe I better explain. Like Knights of the Round Table (or in this case, Empty Head) there are some die hard fantasists forever chasing the semi-auto Holy Grail of one pull, one shot. True semi-auto (as if such a beast existed in the era of the micro-processor and electronic gun) is a swell dream but fails to correspond with reality. The truth is the majority of diehards don't actually understand how their guns work even if they can use the right words to construct a coherent sentence. If they did they wouldn't be Knights of the Empty Head. For starters their trigger pull doesn't actually discharge their marker. The proprietary software in the micro-processor on their board 'reads' a signal from the switch – which can be any one of a number of different types of switches – and decides what to do about the received signal and the result can vary as widely as the parameters of the software allow. And, of course, within that process the micro-processor tells the gun when to shoot, not you. Then there are the assorted forms of actuation that are 'mistakes.' Stuff like bounce, both mechanical and switch. Every software package in the business has filters designed to minimize, to varying degrees, the 'mistakes.' But guess what. All you semi-auto is a skill clowns set your filters to the lowest possible 'legal' setting because, miraculously, your skill improves when the filters interfere as little as possible.
And it's even worse than you know because there are manufacturers who swear on your mother's life that their software is pristine and innocent and would never intentionally add a shot or three or six. After, of course, offering the standard pious disclaimer about user error. Yet it does–and many of you like it that way because you've worked ever so hard to develop your "skill." Still, these disciples of the true semi-auto continue to insist that semi-auto is pure paintball and that ramping is an evil corruption despite the indisputable evidence that all electronic guns add shots and the only real quibble is over the definition of intentional and unintentional.
One thing we can agree on is that if such a thing as true electronic semi-auto existed in the modern game it would be better than capped, ramping guns. But the place you gotta start to see that happen is with sufficient standardization across the manufacturers so that the gun you're shooting is essentially identical to the one Joe Bob is shooting. At that point you can reintroduce the idea of skill again. And trust me, most of you semi-auto worshipers wouldn't like that one little bit.