Okay, "wars" is definitely over the top but the whole topic is just plain silly. It's laughable. Deserving of ridicule. (That's where VFTD comes in.) And if that wasn't enough the proponents are positively delusional. They haven't just jumped the shark, they were jumped while they jumped the shark. (And yes, even I'm a little confused by that one.)
But as a pretense of being fair and open-minded let's first list the virtues of the glorious 7-man format. It doesn't have much of a history. It's only been a nationally recognized format since NPPL 1.0 (Pure Promotions) transplanted it stateside from Euroland circa 2003. Less than a decade. Even by paintball standards that's not very long. (Yes, 7-man was around before that, here and there, played mostly as the poor man's 10-man.) (And, maybe you can make a case that 7-man as a format and style of play continued in the tradition of 10-man--after 10-man was gone--minus 3 guys and on a field a fraction of the size. Of course for a couple of years the NPPL's 7-man was competing against the remnant of the PSP's 10-man format so, then again, maybe not so much.) But (and it's a big but) 7-man is played on a field that's longer and narrower than xball. With carwash bunkers. Can't forget the carwashes. And 7-man still has semi-auto and sneakiness. Well, except that it doesn't really. Is sneakiness a format feature? Or is it a result of no sideline coaching or crowd participation? And then there's the factoid that the recent All*Star demonstration allowed grandstand side crowd participation so ... Okay, but hey they've still got semi-auto! Capped. At 15bps and as every semi-auto aficionado knows tons of 7-man players can easily exceed the cap with their crazy fast twitching skillz. And no way to determine if the guns are ramping, bouncing, etc. Only whether or not they go over the cap. Which is a warning and/or a penalty.
Maybe the best thing about 7-man is the NPPL's willingness to change with the times. To hold on to tradition and still reach out to the majority of competitive players. Why over the last year they've considered multiple point matches, crowd participation, capped markers, shorter points and they're thinking of adding buzzers and getting rid of the flag, at least the station flags. Can bells & whistles be far behind?
And then there's the fact the rest of the world plays 7-man and if we're ever going to legitimize competitive paintball we--what? The Eurokids don't play 7-man anymore? The Asians either? They play what?!? Xball Lite? Race to 4 or 5? Really? Well, that's not very helpful, is it?
But still, at least 7-man isn't xball, right, and that's what's important.
Time to be serious for a moment. The move to capped markers is a concession to the fact the NPPL has never been able to adequately regulate guns or enforce legitimate, workable rules--until now. And anybody who spends 5 minutes at a NPPL tournament knows 98% of the guns are ramping, bouncing, adding shots, whatever you want to deny in order to rationalize the "skill" involved. (The other 2% are pumps.) The move to multiple points is a concession to the fact the outcome is both fairer and more likely to advance the better team. Everything the NPPL has done to improve their format has brought it closer to xball (Race 2). Undeniable fact. All that's left is the dimensions of the playing field and the number of players per point. So here's your compromise. Use the current PSP field dimensions as they're closer to NPPL than old xball layout. Add a few bunkers to the basic set. 4 will probably do the trick. Keep the current PSP rules regarding sideline participation and keep the spectators far enough away that all the noise is just that, noise. Field 5 guys because now isn't the time to try and force the world tournament community to change--again. And hey, we'll all go "semi-auto." Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.