Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
UPDATE: Virtue sent the ProPaintball kids an email claiming Damage had chips in some guns in Galveston. Since they say we did I don't doubt it's true. My comments above were based on what I thought I knew--and it wasn't something I followed closely once I was comfortable that it wouldn't affect our guns.
Every indication I have seen suggests they work as advertised though I don't think we had them in long enough to judge potential impact on battery life. Even so, as a practical matter it seems to me any concerns of that sort are probably over-stated.
That said (typed) (keyed) (whatever) I do have some concerns. The timing is poor to say the least and if I were on a team that had no prior experience with the chips I would flat out refuse to accept them at this late date. I might be otherwise convinced if the purpose was purely testing at HB and I had the option to opt out if it appeared there was any loss of marker performance. But that's just me. Beyond that we have no idea how the ROF will be enforced. Let's agree the chip accurately monitors the firing of each and every paintball. So what? There is a 15 bps cap on a gun shooting in a semi-auto mode. [In the PSP with ramping guns enforcement measures the time gap between shots. A dirty little secret is most ROF violations are both unintentional and outside the player's control.] It seems to me semi-auto mode assures inconsistent gap times between shots while the cap theoretically will limit a marker to 15 bps regardless of how fast the trigger is being pulled. So my question is what constitutes a ROF violation? How does the chip monitor for that? And how does that data result in pulling the appropriate penalty? Finally there's the question of the collected data. The idea is that accumulated data has potential value. If so, who is collecting it and how does the league assure it won't fall into the wrong hands? Or is it the league's intention to make all the data available to anyone who wants it?
And what about the schedule? Yeah, buddy. At HB the league is not only beginning the 2011 season it is undergoing a critical test with a live streaming webcast on ESPN3 and chooses to go with a new format in which up to one third of all the scheduled games may not be played. Looking at the schedule there is already extra time plugged into it--I'm assuming for some extra TV type stuff like interviews and player info--but still, if those third (and deciding) games aren't routinely happening I can foresee a lot of empty air time. Fingers crossed.
Monday, March 28, 2011
The live streaming broadcast of the Surf City Open via ESPN3 will be:
A huge success, exceeding everyone's expectations. A success as the final numbers don't reach ESPN's goals but are close. A moderate success even though totals are low but a stronger than expected international presence. A toss up as the total numbers fall well short but are consistent throughout the weekend. A failure because of an insufficient lead time to campaign for paintballers participation. A failure due to general apathy among all paintballers.
Monday Poll in Review Last week's poll question asked y'all to pick the four finalists in this week's upcoming NPPL Huntington Beach event. The results are unlikely to come as much of a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to 7-man competition but the interesting elements are in the details. Which I'll get to in a minute. First though I'd like to talk brackets. (Having just come off the two big weekends of March Madness it's kinda cool to be able to frame a paintball competition using bracketology.) The following are unofficial but should be correct as I've used the current rule book and last season's rankings. A= TBD, XSV, Vendetta & X-Factor. B=Impact, Legend, Mutiny & Uprising. C= Infamous, Avalanche, Arsenal & Thunder. D= Blast, Dynasty, Xplicit & Aftershock. (I removed Naughty Dogs from rankings--as a non-ownership team nobody was in a position to buy their spot--and added new teams alphabetically according to team name.) Two teams come out of each prelim bracket to be reseeded. B & C play Friday and A & D play Saturday. (I think.) The two remaining brackets after the prelim round will play Sunday morning to determine the semi-finalists at which point the 1 seed plays the 4 and 2 plays 3 with the winners advancing to the finals. Does that alter how you voted? Probably not.
The top four vote getters were Dynasty (87%), TBD (62%), Impact (50%) & Infamous (47%). A close fifth was Arsenal at 44%. The rest of the teams, in order of percentage of the vote received, are Blast (20%), X-Factor (14%), Vendetta (11%), Aftershock (8%), XSV (6%), Avalanche & Mutiny (5% each), Uprising (3%), Xplicit & Thunder (2% each), & Legend (1%). The numbers for a resurgent Dynasty are understandable but what about Blast, X-Factor & Vendetta? Is Blast low, and if so, why? They were top 4 last year and series winner the year before that. Are X-Factor fans remembering the team's past successes or are there just lots of Texas fans. (They made enough noise in Galveston.) Double digits for Vendetta? Clearly the voting sample isn't that large--we're talkin' paintball after all--but look at a team like Xplicit that has worked hard to build a fan base and only garner 2% of the vote. What percentage of voters are voting last year's results? Or the return of Ollie to Dynasty? Or for a favorite team? Or even some combination of all those possibilities.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
But before I get into the details I have a request: Hey, Matty, how 'bout mixing up your booth partners in order to get reps from all the teams involved? There's nothing wrong with Matty & His All-Star Friends but maybe a little love for the rest of us? (Assuming the league is going to continue with the event videos.) I know, it's out there ... but it might work. Just saying.
The matches, or as I prefer to call them, the kinetic motive activities too often focused on elements of the action, even on the breakouts where a single team was featured or the split screen and camera angles couldn't keep all ten players in sight. The elevated camera view that encompassed most of the field was the most useful angle for film study. With film study I'm focusing on one of two s. Either I'm confirming my guys were attempting the play called and analyzing their execution and following thru to success or failure or I'm observing an opponent for patterns that may occur over the length of a match or things like tendencies exhibited by specific players. The patterns reflect either intentional or unintentional actions or routines that may be predicted beyond the patterns that are a nearly universal element of playing the format. For example, you don't need film study to know that if an opponent loses a corner player they are likely to try and re-fill the spot quickly. But film study (or live study for that matter) can tell you that #34 always goes to a particular prop OTB or that Team X shows a strong tendency to fill a particular prop on the delay or as a secondary move. Unfortunately, the way the match videos are edited they don't provide enough consistent info to make those sorts of determinations.
What the Galveston videos may provide is some how-to (or even some how-not-to) info for developing players on playing specific positions on the field. There is quite a lot of snake play in the videos as well as lots of shots of individuals playing particular props that might be useful to some players.
For any teams interested in film study let me suggest you focus the majority of your efforts on filming and analyzing your own team first. Knowledge of an opponent may provide useful information but the advantages gained are seldom the difference between winning and losing--though they can be. Breaking your own team down will deliver larger rewards, faster. The first priority is a team's ability to go out and execute their game plan. And while it's nearly impossible in practice to keep track of every detail and every player the capability of going back and reviewing film over and over can reveal weaknesses and mistakes that are easily missed otherwise but just as easily addressed when you become aware of them.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
For those of you finding my mildly upbeat attitude disconcerting (distressing) (disorienting) (discombobulating) (I could go on) relax. I do not have my fingers crossed. I am not jumping up and down with glee. Or excitement. Or even repressed anxiety. I am not even slightly hopeful that this latest foray into competitive paintball on (almost) TV will work. Paintball's track record isn't good. This is but one, modest hurdle that must be surmounted before additional hurdles are put in our path. Yet, for all that, it remains an opportunity. An opportunity whose success you can contribute to simply by signing up and tuning in. (You don't even need to watch if you don't want to.) If you have any interest in competitive paintball being on TV tune in. (My laptop will be tuned in at our HB hotel while we're at the field.) It doesn't matter if you're skeptical. Or that you expect it to go no where--again. It's about making the most of the opportunities that come your way, and make no mistake, this is an opportunity. Tune in.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
It's odd because it's the extremes that make it appealing. To me anyway. The isolation, privation and hardships create a completely over the top and separate from anything else in the paintball world type of challenge. Of course I'm not going to go. I'm not even going to try and get a ticket--even though I love the idea and can imagine myself doing it. My problem is I don't really like that kind of paintball but it promises to be a rare and virtually unique experience for those who do. I also have issues with scenario games based on real modern warfare. I wouldn't call it immoral but I find it, at best, to be in poor taste. But that's just me. Looming larger as a concern (for me) is just how play-acting combat goes over as a competing representation of what paintball is with the general public.
With respect to the actual Call to Duty series of events it looks like the organizers are trying to out-do their last event--which is both cool for the players and understandable--but it's got to end somewhere, doesn't it? Is parachuting into a real jungle one step too far? The last game had players that suffered various degrees of hypothermia. The organizers talk about the players being personally responsible but don't the organizers bear some responsibility if anything ever went seriously wrong? Enough hand-wringing. (I'm my own buzzkill.)
If you're looking for the ultimate in extreme paintballing look no further--and check out what the guys at guerrilla paintball are doing next. It's awesome but is it good for paintball?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Oh, and you know, you might want to consider how the brackets are gonna shake down--standard snake seeding--before you make your picks so that your chosen outcome is at least possible given the modified format. Wait, what am I thinking? That involves work, again. I apologize and take it back. Just get out there and vote. Or you could be the next target after Libya. Just saying.
Monday Poll in Review
Last week's question wanted to know what you lot thought of the PSP deciding to do videos of the pro event without mentioning the fact before hand. I was (mildly) concerned my list of "answers" skewed toward the cynical and so I invited alternatives to be posted up in the comments. As usual, that was too much like work and required thinking so it was, of course, out of the question. Personally I'm inclined to think all the optional "answers" had some merit and Patrick "MWAG" Sporher specifically referenced the option of undercutting the whiners who wanted their free videos faster as the reason for not making a formal announcement in advance. (And since the whiner scenario played out before when the effort was made to turn webcast matches into downloadable videos it's no great surprise it was a consideration this time around.) Even so, it was scant months--if not weeks--ago the PSP was fearful of its continued existence and then they go and make the decision to spend money on a reduced cost variant of the old webcast. It's at least curious. The top vote getter at 38% was YouTube views are the next best thing to live webcast viewers. I am inclined to think that reflects a generally positive opinion about putting out the videos rather than the more sophisticated if incremental approach to building a demonstrable audience for the product. 2 of the remaining 4 options relate to competing with the NPPL's ESPN3 webcast of HB and a combined total of 26% votes opted for one or the other. The final 2 choices both related to the league trying to avoid some initial negative responses--making the videos available too slowly and/or not as good as the old webcast--and that combined vote totaled 34%. Overall, given the options to choose from, I think the voting reflected favorably on the PSP and the videos.
After all the point wasn't to turn Race 2-X into Snooze 2-2 (or 3). And it wasn't to shoot a third (or more) more paint--yet here we are. And if anyone at the PSP is thinking of raising the ROF in order to compensate, don't.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
I don't know how well this post is going to go over. I guess we'll all find out together. Btw, if you're hoping for dirt you are out of luck. The last thing I need is to antagonize (any further) the other pro teams. But you never know, some peeps have delicate sensibilities.
The new kids on the block (CEP) benefited from the rules changes as first event pros--yes, that's an opinion, feel free to disagree--but also gave indications they have some real potential. In the recent past a large part of the transition for newcomers was adjusting to the pace of the pro game. The Galveston field and new field dimensions neutralized that factor and allowed CEP, for the most part, to play within their comfort zone. More importantly the team demonstrated it has the ability to evaluate its own performance and make positive changes and improve on the fly. Now they just need to get used to the officiating and cut down on the penalties.
It's apparent Vicious used the off season to build on lessons learned last year as they came to Galveston and played very consistent team paintball. The execution of their game plan was of a high order and they played confidently yet within their limitations. If they continue to play like they did in Galveston they will have successfully made the transition to competitive (and dangerous) pro team. Kudos to Greg as well for maximizing the team's results and minimizing their weaknesses.
Much the same might be said of the new (or is that the old?) and improved X-Factor. They have technical similarities to Vicious but are, I think, less predictable and more versatile. And I fully expect them to break through at some point during the season. They are a well-balanced team and as long as they can maintain their focus and keep a unified eye on the prize will always be competitive.
I'm somewhat undecided on the Ironmen. Don't get me wrong, I think SK is doing an excellent job and the mix of youth and experience is good. And it's hard to argue with results. The Men came in and knocked off the Legion and, until the last point was scored in their last prelim match, had a chance to move on. With the loss of Oliver and with Mikko missing Galveston I doubt anyone--except the guys on the team--expected the Ironmen to be that tough. And yet I remain unconvinced. The new field is a great equalizer. It mitigated the explosive potential of some of the teams. At the same time some of the young Ironmen have some real physical tools. Overall I think the new field is a net plus for the less experienced and/or less physically gifted teams. But if the kids focus on learning and the Old Guard remains hungry the team will challenge everyone they compete against.
The new rules do not favor the Red Legion. The new field slows the game down. (Have I mentioned that before?) (If I had a nickel for every time I ...) It also tilts the balance back toward the mental game--not all the way but a little closer to equilibrium. Of course the mental game needs to be accompanied by the will to act and take risks. And the lack of an extended opportunity to break down and evaluate each layout minimizes one of the team's long time strengths. Does this mean they won't win anymore? Not at all. Like the rest of the pro teams they will adapt and find new ways to be successful. It would be rather ironic though if their ultimate solution is to loosen the reigns on (some of) their players.
Infamous is not only a very experienced team (perhaps the oldest team on average in the league?) but more importantly that core of experience has a tremendous will to succeed that is the key to their results and consistent competitiveness. It almost doesn't matter how old any of them are or whether or not they can match the athleticism of some of the other teams. They can't; too many lumberjacks, not enough pirates or ninjas. But they continue to compete and be successful. Something of a pro's pro team. The field change won't be a problem for them, it may even be a plus--although I hesitate to give the changes much of an impact because Infamous has a proven track record that covers both leagues and every sort of field imaginable.
A number of teams underwent significant roster changes in the off season; Shock, Impact & Dynasty. Clearly Dynasty made the transition with hardly a hiccup. The return of Ollie, a core of champions, experienced and talented young players and a willingness to relinquish control to Hinman's leadership looks like it's accomplished exactly what was hoped for--and needed. The flipside of change is that it's always a roll of the dice. In any team sport the intangible of chemistry can override all other circumstances. Beyond that it frequently takes time for a new mix of players to work out how best to play together and when you consider the limited time available now to learn the competition field it's not surprising that all the pieces didn't fall seamlessly into place for Impact & Shock. So, while Galveston results may not have met expectations those results are also no real indicator of future performance. In Impact's case the team also brought in former Philly coach Jason Trosen which added another layer of change. Even so, Impact's results, while likely disappointing, were still competitive. In Shock's case their results are definitely shocking. A little bad luck and perhaps a little complacency and you have a recipe for an unexpected disaster. If nothing else it should serve as a warning to the other pro teams that the new rules and field are a leveler and that the division may exhibit unprecedented parity this season as a result. Fortunately Shock is young, hungry & resilient and they will fight back.
Lastly we come to Damage. Damage is a laid back team. It is both a strength and a weakness. There is steel under the relaxed exterior but no killer instinct, no stoked furnace of desire constantly burning to be the best. That doesn't mean that winning or losing don't matter. It does. But it does mean the team must rely on its strengths and execute the game plan with greater consistency and more confidence. The greatest accomplishment in any sport isn't reaching the top--it's staying there. After being focused (frequently for years) on achieving a singular goal the tendency after the fact is to relax. And that can lead to complacency because it's hard to find the same motivation, to stay hungry. The one real weakness Damage has is a lack of internal leadership among the players. This sky remains the limit--the question is: How bad do they want it?
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Rule 3.1.2 states, "At no time during any team points or matches, may anyone communicate from the designated staging area to any Active Players."
Which may or may not be fine but wasn't the "rule" enforced in Galveston. The actual rule (mostly) enforced could be written as follows; Any action, aural or physical, including non-verbal sounds and gestures or patterned movements or the use of devices like signs that could be interpreted as an effort to communicate with persons on the field during the play of the game by any person within the staging area is prohibited.
Worse was the stated determination to extend an unwritten and personal opinion of "fair play" to the spectator sideline. The rules no longer address any coaching issues period. The rules for 2011 are blind to any notion or aspect of coaching. Given that fact there is no basis in the rules for deciding one thing or another is either allowed or "fair play." The claim at the time was that it fell under unsportsmanlike conduct but that's self-serving nonsense as well. Without a definition it simply becomes a catch-all that allows an ultimate (or a commissioner) to do whatever they want. I don't care who you are nobody has any business making up the rules as they go along. Or, for that matter, enforcing rules contrary to how they appear in the rule book.
(Do I treat this kinda stuff more harshly when it's the PSP than the NPPL? Yes, because the PSP represents itself as the league promoting paintball as sport and I take them at their word.)
By and large the field at Galveston played the way I suggested it would far too much of the time; slow & boring. Unless this was part of some masterplan to incrementally move the two competing national formats closer and closer until they are indistinguishable from one another it didn't do the PSP any favors either. Whether it's called xball or Race 2 the format was in a conceptual shambles at Galveston. Part of the issue was the longer field and part was the specifics of the layout chosen. (In leveling this criticism I am not blaming the field designer. Some of you may know who it is but I'm not naming him purposefully. In recent years he has developed a good general understanding and works very hard to provide new, unusual but still playable and entertaining designs--which isn't an easy task--and the new mini A's aren't helpful either.) The problem is juxtaposing the need for secrecy against the notion that including some added voices of experience into the process could be beneficial. Or it might not. I'm also unconvinced there are enough bunkers for the new field dimensions. Fortunately there's time between now and Chitown--oh, wait, we don't yet know, despite the rash of recent rumors, if there will be a Chicago event this year--to consider possible improvements to the process.
UPDATE: Harrass and you shall receive. PSP has posted info on the Chicago area event.
As a resort community Galveston is West Palm Beach compared to Palm Beach. For those unfamiliar with Florida Galveston is like the promise of The Strip in Vegas when reality turns out to be the million-and-one-lightbulbs of La Galleria de Jackpot on the east side of town surrounded by check cashing joints and RV parks. If that didn't do it for you think dinner at Denny's at Ruth's Chris prices. The event was held on a lumpy patch of ground with nothing to commend it other than the grass was decent and there was enough room for the fields. I understand the league is economizing and if you gave me a sheet of optional either/or choices to check off I would pick those that enhanced the competition every time over those that enhanced the venue--but that's really what it is coming down to. At events like Galveston there is nothing there to justify the time and expense except the competition. If the competition falters ...
Back to a few numbers. In the Day 1 & Day 2 reports VFTD noted that nearly 50% of the prelim matches in D1-D3 went to time instead of score. If D4 Race 2-4 was included in the total it would be well over 50% of all those matches went to time. Kick in the playoff matches and the total drops to slightly under 50%. While I'm at it I also want to object, on competitive grounds, to the way the pro division is playing out with a 10 team division. This time 4 of the 10 finished with identical records and will be ranked 5th-8th based on point differential despite not all of them sharing common opponents. I acknowledge that is the rule but it strikes me as woefully unsatisfactory for what is supposed to be the epitome of competitive paintball. Why not rock, paper, scissors to decide. A return to last year's formula would go a long way toward assuring each team earned their ranking and would create some added Sunday excitement.
I'm running way long so I'll save a pro team round-up until tomorrow. Y'all come back now, ya hear. (Oh, and can some kind-hearted Texan tell me when Texas decided to take the bone outta a T-bone steak and smash it round and thin? Two different, relatively high priced restaurants passed off the same sorry piece of meat as a T-bone steak.)
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
PS--a recap of Galveston is coming. I'm not blowing it off, just trying to get my thoughts in order.
Monday, March 14, 2011
What is the PSP trying to accomplish with Project YouTube?
YouTube views are the next best thing to live webcast watchers.
Doing what they can to preempt NPPL's ESPN3 broadcast
An early announcement would have resulted in cyber-whiners complaining the matches were coming online too slowly
An early announcement would have just compared unfavorably to the old webcast
Feeling the need to compete for fans and supporters beyond those who participate
Monday Poll in Review
Last week some of y'all voted on which teams would finish on top in the D1 division at the PSP Galveston Open. Not many, but some. There's a reason bookies make book on sports betting. Most bettors bet their heart. Oh sure, they talk about the odds and they can always find a rationalization to confirm the bet they want to make. The one that really has little or no chance of paying off just because it's their team. Apparently it's a good thing you people can't bet on paintball results 'cus you'd (collectively) lose your shirts. Top vote recipient LIFT didn't make the Sunday cut. In fact, only two of the top five did (but they were the right two as it turned out); TKO & 187 crew. (What the hell is the deal with capitalizing random letters? It's stupid.) Back to the votes. NJJ pulled the third most votes and Texas Storm had the fourth most votes with Assault in sixth followed closely by Hustle & VcK.
The poll just goes to show what much of the vote was really predicated on--who you wanted to do well and/or which teams you have a personal connection to. I'm just saying.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The PSP is filming the pro field with the intent of uploading largely raw video footage to YouTube in full match form. (Check it out and see what's there.)
In today's prelims in D1- D3 more than 50% went to time instead of score. (For example, if it was Race 2- 5 that means winning scores were less than 5.) Yesterday the total was over 40% so for the total prelims nearly 50% of all matches played failed to reach their race score max. (And there were plenty of really low scores.) Of course the same was true of the pro field where less than a handful of scores went to 7 points.
The weather continued to be amazing and despite being breezier than yesterday it was a terrific day to play some paintball and tomorrow promises to be more of the same.
There won't be a report tomorrow but (hopefully) on Monday I can go into more detail and discuss Sunday along with putting the event into perspective relative to the new rules (or even the made up rules.) (Yes, that was a tease to make sure you come back.)
Friday, March 11, 2011
Weather today was excellent. It's a bit windy but we're on a gulf island--it comes with the territory. Pro field is close this time largely, I'm guessing, the vendors are close to the fields but without the players being forced to hike past all of them. The "grandstand" reflects the expected crowd. It's actually 5 or six three row bleacher sections. It could be standing room only Sunday afternoon but the majority will be players, friends & families. (We did meet a restaurant hostess tonight who will be at the event tomorrow because a friend of hers will be playing.)
Fields are somewhat uneven but the surface looks like it will hold up okay. (Fingers crossed.) Parking is in an empty lot across the street. The venue is (realistically) pretty low rent but everybody seemed more focused on the competition. Still, after the fact, it won't surprise me if people express some disappointment. Is it serviceable? Yes. Does it fire the imagination? Not really. In part I think because Galveston itself isn't particularly special either. (Sorry, Texas.)
In reviewing prelim results in the Race 2-X divisions scores reflect VFTD's expectation about low scores and slow games. Across D1, D2 & D3 more than 40% of all the matches went to time. It appears if the games were competitive they more often than not went to time. Most of the matches that hit their race goals were 5-0 or 5-1, 4-0 type games suggesting one team in the match was definitively superior.
A number of the pro teams used the unexpected off day to leave the event site and go to another paintball field--about 40 minutes away--to get in some last minute practice.
While it still hasn't been announced the PSP looks to be preparing the pro field for filming. Camera platforms were up inside the net on the snake side as well as some elevated remote cameras. And, yes, this is what Mr. Curious was referring to the other day. There is every indication the league will be filming the pro competition but it will not be webcast live. Just what the league has in mind VFTD doesn't know.
More tomorrow with the first day's pro matches.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The new meme seems to be to keep working away on Big Announcement-type efforts while keeping it all on the down low. Not unlike the maybe (could it be?) ESPN deal with the NPPL that the NPPL refuses to comment on officially--for the most part. So, while Mr. C wouldn't say it--it appears the PSP has a Big Announcement they decided to keep under wraps too.
Curious? Fortunately you won't have to wait too long to find out what it is.
The Grand Tour just recently posted that they will soon be posting event info for the 2011 season. They haven't yet but wanted every interested party to know event info would be coming soon.
Over in the Millennium; a curiosity. The league has capped all the divisions for 2011. Not locked, but capped. D2 is capped at 28. D3 is capped at 24 and M5 is capped at 12. I thought at first the league was looking to create a scarcity and perhaps drive teams to register and pay early in order to assure their spots. It could also be the MS chose to pre-determine the scale of their events this season to have more control over the logistics and event costs. Or even both. Right now it looks like 9 or 10 D2 teams will be outta luck and that the league will cancel the M5 as only 1 team has registered to date. I'm also curious about how the numbers were chosen. I mean more slots in the higher divisions? Seems counter-intuitive but it appears to have worked out okay.
Of course the league spent much of the off season drumming up new teams to commit to the upper, locked divisions, too. I wonder how many of them paid the licensing fee. "Please, Guv'ner, take my cap, it's filled wif all the pennies I's got." Really? I don't think so. And frankly if I was part of a locked division team that had been paying the extra fees all along I'd want to see some documentary proof the new kids on the block paid too. (I keep saying this and I know some of the Euroballers agree but does anybody ever do anything except quit playing the MS?) Actually I'd probably refuse just to see if there was a deal to be made--but that's me. Cynical, suspicious & cheap. (If it's any consolation I still think the Longchamp venue is dynamite.)
Over in NPPLand registrations for HB are at 133. Which is a mighty decent number no matter you look at it and if the final participation numbers are in that ballpark the league will have gotten off to a good start in 2011--even if it proves to be the biggest turnout of the year (as it was last year.) It's all about operating in the black (one way or another.)
I remain curious as to what effect, if any, Stay, Play & Save is having on teams making the final commitment of paying their entry fees and confirming their hotel registrations.
And then there's the mystery of the true TV dealio. Will they or won't they? Who knows for sure and why hasn't the league confirmed or denied anything? Seems to me they would at least know what's happening at HB by now given it's less than a month away. I'm told there's a done deal so why isn't the league using that info to drum up more excitement and sell more grandstand tickets or whatever? The closer the event gets without some sort of definitive info the more it looks like another TV flim-flam.
UPDATE: Harrass and you shall receive. NPPL made a formal announcement about HB live streaming on ESPN3 Wednesday evening. Not that VFTD had anything to do with it, of course.
And finally there's the new pro format. If you've been keeping up you know I'm slightly unhappy with how the PSP pro brackets are going to play out in Galveston given the ridiculous influence I expect tie-breakers to have in the outcome. Well, the NPPL's move to S7 (or whatever name they've given it; Race 2-2?) is going to have a similar impact. In any bracket where a team goes 3-0 only 1 other team can go 2-1 which satisfies the determination of who moves on but leaves the remaining two teams tied at 1-2. (At that point they will be ranked in the bottom eight somewhere despite never having played anybody else along with the very real likelihood that most of the rest of the bottom eight will have identical records. Perhaps the wizard who devised the NPPA can come up with a suitable formula for distinguishing final placements.) Of course in any bracket where a team goes 3-0 it's also possible for the other three teams to go 1-2. Now one of them will move on into the top eight while the other two end up in the bottom 8 despite having identical records. If no team goes 3-0 a bracket could end up with three teams going 2-1 where two move on and one goes home, once again, despite having identical records. And with or without tie-breakers how satisfactory is it for the teams or the fans to have tie-breaking rules determine so much of the final outcome of the event? Does anybody ever pay any attention to the consequences of their decisions?
One final word for all those VFTD readers who think I'm too negative too often--if the people making some of these moronic decisions removed their heads from their hindquarters more often you'd be amazed at how positive I might become.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The upshot of the first fresh tourney experience in years was a near unanimous more please. In the process a number of the guys had to buy gear, some used, some new, arrange a practice or two and calculate what the hit to their personal budget was gonna be--all before they had competed again. And despite a less than stellar performance that included a number of penalties for violations the guys didn't realize they were committing for things like ROF. (Two guys got their settings wrong and one guy's gun was semi-auto out of the box and it was still the fastest gun he'd ever shot.)
Not only do they want to do it again but more of the old gang are hoping to jump in and join them. At this rate they could reconstitute two or three former teams in fairly short order. Follow-up conversations have broached the subject of making tourney days family days as they discuss the prospect of bringing out wives, girlfriends and children next time hang out, enjoy the atmosphere and spend some time together.
And as the plans become more comprehensive what was originally no more than a one off, let's have a few laughs, is already looking ahead to the next event and the rest of the season. If they stick with it, it will mean more gear sold (or re-sold) with more people returning to the field and who knows just where it leads next. It could easily expand to a group of fifteen or twenty players and two or three teams. That could sew the seeds for the next generation of players as their families grow up or, if one or two get seriously hooked (again) it could prove to be the beginning of completely new teams. The sky, as they say, is the limit. Or was that 300 fps? (I know, really lame joke.)
The one place this return to the tourney game is unlikely to lead is the PSP. (Or the NPPL, for that matter.) Questions have been asked and prices given. For the majority it's out of the question. Nor is that sort of competitive paintball really what most of them want. Sure they want the competition. They want the heat of battle and they want to win--but not at any price. Not at a totally unrealistic price in time, resources & money. That's way beyond what most of them are willing to even consider.
So call it good news and bad news. There are former players out there who may not need more than a little push to jump back into playing again. Guys with families that would create bridges to the next generation. Guys with experience (and resources) who could help new teams develop. Guys who are unlikely to ever play the national circuit again. But why stop with ex-tourney players?
Monday, March 7, 2011
And this week VFTD wants you to pick the winner (wow, what a clever segue) in the D1 division of the upcoming PSP Galveston event. As with last week's pro pick 'em (shamelessly stolen from Cade) you get to pick a top 4. Don't abuse your voting privileges and don't be a lazy slacker. (Yeah, right.)
Monday Poll in Review
Thanks to all you lazy slackers for voting last week blah blah blah. Last week's actual question wasn't about picking the winner, it was about picking the top four finishers. Damage & the Russian Legion topped the voting finishing within a percentage point of one another. Finishing a close third was Dynasty where off season moves have inspired y'all to expect big things this year. Picking the Russians is pretty much a no-brainer but the popularity of Damage frankly surprised me a bit. Sure, there's brown noser or three out there and then there is the great unwashed (who usually turn out to be uninformed too) countered by what I call the "recognition lag." Almost all teams (except Vicious) are subject to recognition lag. A team performs for some period of time and whatever results they achieve aren't really recognized until later on. Think of it like baseball players finally scoring a giant long term contract. He's really getting paid for what he's already done--and management is hoping he will do again. That's recognition lag. Anyway, there was a lot of interesting off season action that Damage didn't participate in, until the last minute (last week) that most of the voters didn't seem to consider all that big a deal, except for Dynasty of course. As it turned out Impact grabbed the number four spot a few points ahead of Infamous. And despite their World Cup success 'Shock came in sixth. Rounding out the rest of the pro division the voters chose X-Factor, Vicious, Ironmen & CEP.
I could make the case for some of these other teams--I really expect an intact X-Factor to break through at some point of the season because I think the new rules may favor their style. And how about Impact? They were in the hunt all year long last year and haven't done anything to diminish their potential. And did anybody consider the brackets before casting their votes? Whatever the merits of the poll or wisdom of the voters (I hope y'all are right on target) we'll see your collective results next week and see how close y'all got.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Anyway, that got me wondering about a couple other items. One is a rules question and one is more of a procedural question, I suppose. On the procedural front I'm curious about the order teams play one another. Is there a standardized formula in place depending on the bracket size etc. that comes into play automatically or is the playing order for matches somehow determined randomly?
Regarding the rules I am curious about 3.1.2 which states, "At no time during any team points or matches, may anyone communicate from the designated staging area to any Active Players."
What I'd like to have clarified is the word "communicate." (Yes, I have a very specific reason in mind.) And since the term 'Active Players' was used specifically and active player denotes a very specific status in the rules, does that mean communication with anyone who isn't an Active Player is okay? And perhaps how the determination will be made between an intent to 'communicate' to someone outside the staging area as opposed to someone within the staging area? Or to someone other than an 'Active Player'?
188.8.131.52. "No person appearing on the roster of a team may employ an electronic or mechanical device to communicate with any other person during any of their team’s points or matches."
I understand this particular rule but I wonder why there is no rule to address the loophole scenario--particularly as it has occurred in the past. A person using such equipment proximate to the team or rostered players who then communicates information gathered in violation of the rules to a team or players.
Hey, when I get really bored I'll start in the NPPL rule book.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
In case you missed it, it seems DC Arsenal (T4's personal money pit) has not only been reconstructed but has picked up the final CPL spot from a grateful Millennium Series.
And while I don't normally do this--in other team-related news TB Damage has made it official and added Alex Delannoy to the team roster. Nicknamed (as of last weekend) "Deuce" because he's the team's second Alex, behind Spence, Alex was one of those who attended a recent by invitation only tryout. Despite being French Alex proved to be a very solid player. He has the work ethic, attitude and desire to learn and succeed. Bon chance. (By the way I expect this to improve jersey sales to France. Get 'em while they're hot.)
Anyone want in on the betting pool for the date GOG paintball files suit on a patent infringement claim? (Did you get it? No? Think about it a little longer. It will come to you.) Dollar a day, winner takes all (minus overhead and administrative costs, of course.)
On the subject of getting old farts to play competitive paintball again I'd like to announce a tiny success I had absolutely nothing to do with. Some of my old teammates are putting the old team back together to play the next CFPS event in March. A bunch of them were out practicing the layout this past weekend and had a great time. In fact, from the moment Ed first suggested it the idea seemed to capture the imaginations of most of the guys despite the fact some of them hadn't touched a marker in as many as 6 or 7 years. And they weren't put off by the ROF or an xball field even though one of the guys insisted on using his Revy--unaccustomed as he was to the new heavyweight hoppers. There is no point to this happy little anecdote other than it took one guy to step up and say, "Hey, why don't we play some paintball? We haven't played in forever and, call me crazy but it sounds like fun."
On the downside the old team isn't playing the PSP despite the new rule changes and it's very unlikely they ever will. Most have families and the responsibilities that come along with that and don't have the drive, time or commitment anymore. But who knows, having gotten a fresh taste of the paintball drug they just may prove to be semi-regulars on the local scene again.
Speaking of the PSP it looks like the most official attendance numbers for Galveston will be 124, which is a 15 team improvement over last year's Phoenix season opening event. 124 is a very positive number given the number range the PSP was considering in their worst case scenario projections. It's important now to solidify a good start and build on it by getting everything in order (and the information out to the playing public) on the next event. The lack of continuity and sense that the near term future isn't settled is, in a word, unsettling.
NPPL 3.0 also has 124 teams registered for HB with plenty of time left for additional teams to get on board. While it isn't clear how many of the registered teams are paid the registrations alone indicate at least as much interest as last year. I am curious though as to how teams are responding to the new Stay, Play & Save policy and whether or not the league will really enforce the policy id or when push comes to shove. Regardless the Blast on the Beach appears to be on schedule and on target to help launch the 2011 NPPL season.
Oh, here's another one; Charlie-ism that is: "The only thing I'm addicted to right now is winning." Call me crazy but at least in the world of competitive paintball you could do a lot worse.