Actually not so much really. At least not enough to merit that post title but it got your heart racing, didn't it? (Most of you excited, fewer of you horrified.) [I'd gladly apologize for leading you on except of course I'm not sorry 'cus I think it's kinda funny. In an admittedly cruel sorta way.] Rumor has it stuff like revisiting ROF and notions like limited paint have been part of the discussions. And I don't mind saying I find it a little disconcerting. Mostly because too many of the people at the table have no business being there unless you count enormous egos, entrenched opinions and self-interested motives as appropriate first principles. Did I sugarcoat that too much? Do I need to be more forthright? Was that really necessary? Naw, but I enjoyed it--and frankly, it's the truth. Hey, I always say once you start digging a hole, dig it deep!
As you might have guessed the real subject is paint usage. And as it happens I have some numbers available. But first I want to offer for the record, again, that there is no data that supports changing the ROF as a paint saving measure. (We've had ROF changes based on the notion that it will trickle down to local recreational fields and/or that it will lower the threshold to tourney entry. How's that worked out? We've had the PSP change their ROF three times and if there's any data to demonstrate those changes made any quantifiable difference in paint usage I haven't heard about it.) Now of course if the change is substantial enough, 12 bps to Billy Ball, yes, there will be lower paint consumption as a result. But with that significant a change you're also playing a different game too.
Uncertain? Other paint usage factors include pack size, pod size, (total paint carried) bunker placement & game time. Without taking the other factors into account how can anyone categorically say--and possibly change the game again--on the basis the change will somehow save paint. Will it really? If so, how much? And what consideration is being given to potential peripheral consequences? If you really want to save paint leave the ROF alone and open up the OTB shooting lanes. If laners OTB increase their kill percentages you are guaranteed to save paint. First that eliminated player won't be shooting the paint on his back and when you remove 20% or more of your opponent's players off the bat the game transitions into a close almost immediately. Of course doing that may not make the current player base particularly happy, but hey, it saved paint.
The same applies to limited paint--which is a practice already in place. Everybody plays with limited paint. What is meant is a restricted by rule limit to the maximum paint allowed on the field at any one time. However, depending on just how limited an amount of paint is being discussed it will, without any doubt, alter the nature and play of the game. In the lower divisions this isn't necessarily a bad thing but it would a terrible decision at the pro level as it would dumb down the game considerably. (See the link to an old post below which discusses this in more detail.)
And now for the numbers I promised. For the sake of round numbers let's say the current ROF is 12. Let's also agree that a hopper (loader) holds 180 paintballs. And let's use D1/D2 Race 2 format of a 15 minute game Race 2-5. The game parameters then is fifteen minutes of game time or first team to 5 points with a max number of 9 points played per match. At 12 bps a player could conceivably shoot 10800 paintballs in 15 minutes. A team of 5 could shoot 54000 paintballs. In practice that potential is limited by the number of pods a player carries. If we assume an average of 7 pods--which is probably a little high--plus hopper a 5-man squad is carrying 5100 paintballs; around 2 and one half cases. How often does a team shoot that much paint in a point? (Almost never.) And what are the game conditions that promote heavy paint use?
At 12 bps a player empties his hopper in 15 seconds. At 10 bps the same player empties the same hopper in 18 seconds. Is that 3 seconds a hopper fill going to save paint? (No.) Does it reduce the amount of paint in hand? (No.)
Take a moment and revisit the PSP Galveston event where an attempt was made to both encourage older, fatter, slower players into coming back to tourney play along with a field layout that would promote faster points. (Faster points equal less paint shot per point potentially.) How did that work out? My point isn't that the league screwed up. My point is that making singular changes alone, especially the ones being discussed, are unlikely to achieve the results desired unless the change is so dramatic it changes the game too--and even when an effort was made to "improve" the pace of play the desired results didn't occur because even with the best intentions and best efforts the complexity of the game wasn't properly evaluated or understood.
The last thing a newly unified league needs is a host of changes the results of which can't be predicted with anything like certainty.
For more on ROF and its relationship to how the game is played today read this post from the archives. (I'm feeling more lazy than usual today and didn't feel like repeating myself. Again.)
In other rumorology there's lots of behind-the-scenes talk about the off season musical chairs of pro players already--along with some speculation about the future of a few pro teams as well. It's too soon to start talking names and details because as far as I know nothing (much) has been finalized just yet. But as soon as these rumors start turning into near factoids I'm sure Mr. Curious will have the skinny. (And I don't mean Kevin.) Okay, here's a taste; could be some Ironmen on the move and apparently Yaya is dialling up a serious phone bill calling ballers.