Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Brockdorff Fallacy

Okay, fallacy is probably a bit strong but it sounded so good I couldn't resist. Not unlike 'The raehl Solution' 'The Brockdorff Fallacy' does have some merit and deserves consideration as a viable option in the quest to preserve the game and reduce costs (and produce better players in greater abundance.) On that score I think Nick's idea for reduced ROF is more widely applicable than raehl's restricted paint. Some of you may recall the PSP briefly attempted--a couple three years ago--to tier their ROF by divisions and that VFTD supported that effort. You may also recall that it was the teams that got them to reverse that policy after a year as well. (Which was when standard ROF went to 12.5 bps.)
Since I'm going to shorthand the argument--again--if you'd like more details look here & (particularly) here for a pair of old VFTD posts from 2008 that speak to the issue at hand. Or visit the link given in yesterday's post, 'The raehl Solution.'
The issue, as it was with restricted paint, is balanced game play. The current ROF limits reflect, more or less, the upper limits. Given the present playing environment ROF provides/creates a challenge for the very best players--and as a result can be overwhelming for less able players. The answer isn't to dumb down play for everyone; it's to balance ROF versus ability to move. (The links are particularly helpful in defining what movement as a game function is, too.)
Last season the PSP lengthened their field by 20 feet as part of an effort to provide a more "friendly" playing environment for a potentially more diverse player base. What I tended to call an invitation to the old, fat & slow. While the measure of that success is debatable what isn't is that the longer field increased paint use and produced slower points as a significant percentage of matches went to time rather than score.
The flipside of that decision was the one taken by the Millennium in their field designs last season which tended to compress the playing area further in an effort, at least in part, to encourage more aggressive play. Different layouts met with greater or lesser success but all of them, overtly or more subtly, also altered the priorities of the skills in play--just like the changes the PSP made even if the results were different.
The point, once again, is that what may seem like simple changes will almost certainly have unintended consequences, game changing consequences and should only be undertaken after the results are known and understood. Unlike with restricted paint however the relationship between ROF (and to a degree velocity) and Movement does allow for perhaps greater flexibility than other sorts of changes might. It is readily apparent that many, if not most, lower level competitive players struggle to move against the current ROF. A reduced ROF will, at some point, balance out against the limited skill of the lower level players. And that would be a very good thing as it would both encourage more movement, allow a larger pool of lower ability players to enjoy all aspects of the game and incidentally passively develop superior gun skills.
But as with restricted paint at some point the skill level of the players overwhelms the lessened ROF and you have to make other alterations to restore balance--and the challenge for the very best players.

In one sense reduced ROF if tiered for the skill level of the players will allow for a game that is, in every other respect, universal. It's just that the ROF itself can't have a universal value.

And if you'd like to dig a little deeper into what sort of changes might prove both workable without drastically altering the game take a look here. The only problem left is convincing the next generation of aspiring players that they would be better served and ultimately enjoy the game more (and probably longer) if they don't jump into the deep end of competitive play right away.

50 comments:

Nick Brockdorff said...

Man, my very own branded fallacy, I like it :D

I accept that, at the highest levels of the game, universally lowered ROF, will give an extra advantage to movement, over shooting.

But, I must admit I fail to see that as a problem.... I do not believe it is a fallacy, because I do not believe we need to balance out movement and shooting to make the game great again.

Personally, I remember the days when Dynasty first hit the scene, in a low ROF environment, and started running all over everyone.... and it was GREAT.

I would welcome an environment where all the top teams could play that style, I believe it would make for exiting watching.

ctrlaltdel said...

When was Dynasty ever in a low ROF environment? They started running over everyone because they had Angels with cheater boards? It was always said about Dynasty, that they have two bunkers to hide behind, the prop on the field and one in their hands.

Baca Loco said...

Nick,
I knew you would.
The problem of course is that they wouldn't be top teams--at least not in the sense of the very best players--because they wouldn't have to be.
You're also indulging in a little rose-colored revisionism. The Dynasty you want is predominantly the 7-man team because the field dimensions and props matter. The 2003 Dynasty exciting paintball fans in the newly reformed NPPL was--and wasn't--the Dynasty playing Open/D1 xball in the PSP. Different environments, different games.
And of course the game has changed substantially in the near decade since. The Dynasty revolution came and went and left dozens upon dozens of Dynasty wannabe teams in its wake.
Btw, I chose 2003 because it was the first year the current formats were played as the dominant formats.
Then there's the matter of the ROF. Don't kid yourself, it was plenty fast and depending on where you were playing completely unregulated.

ctrlaltdel said...

Nicky B (I think a "y" adds more flare)
I think what you and others are really after are days where there was a huge disparity in gun ROF, some were fast, some were slow and that was a factor in some crazy games. Of course skill with the gun was the dominate factor, but it looked really impressive when you combined fast guns against legal guns. They could still shoot 12+bps back then... (what we shoot now)

I even remember back when we could use the 8.75 Shocker "turbo" for a season, after SP were forced to lower the rof sense it was proven to cheat, and it still provided a strong advantage in terms of ROF against teams that didn't have that kind of consistent bps output. I vividly remember staring down streams of incoming paint controlling lanes with a lousy 8bps because the other guy could get out a consistent stream against me. Oh those were the days...

Anonymous said...

"couldN'T get out a consistent stream against me. "

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, the Dynasty was just an example - but to clarify:

Dynasty started as a 10 man team in 2001, prior to the PSP/NPPL split in 2003.

They won the 2001 WC over Shock and next year started creaming everyone, eveywhere.

In those days, people were sporting Viewloader Revolution loaders, so nobody was doing high ROF.... that came later, when we started realising the path we were on, and instituted the 15 BPS cap.

The example was meant to demonstrate, that even on narrower fields, with more players (7man), an aggressive and watchable playing style was possible.

You may say there are other reasons, but I believe ROF is the major difference, between now and then, because field dimensions and format should have made movement harder at that time, than is should be today.

I don't necessarily see ROF as something we can't turn back - lots of sports have done similar things over the years, when things get too crazy.

Today we have guns/loader combos realisticly able to do 25 BPS, in a few years, it might be 50... that doesn't necessarily mean the sport should allow it.

We are to blame ourselves, for making ROF a primary focus point for manufacturers in the mid 2000s - had we capped ROF lower, earlier, the focus would have become something else, like we are starting to see in the last few years.

The Millennium Series went from 15, to 12, to 10 BPS, and in my view, every limitation has benefitted both team expenditure and the way the game is played.

I agree, there is a bottom level, below which we start to change the sport too much, but I do not believe we are there yet.

Maybe 6 BPS is too low, maybe it's 8... but I definitely do not think 10 is low enough, if we want to make the game more about movement and less about domination by paint.... and at the same time make it cheaper for new kids to get into the sport.

Nick Brockdorff said...

"The Dynasty thing" it should have said ;)

Reiner Schafer said...

Nick's idea of a universal (top to bottom) format is a nice concept, but not necessary. There are lots of sports where there are differing rules for different age and/or skill levels. Paintball, being what it is (combatants shooting at each other with projectiles that can often cause discomfort) just screams to me that lower skilled/age levels should have some sort of common sense restrictions. I guess for years this was not a problem when technology was slow and each individual paintball was relatively expensive. But that's not the case anymore today. The technology evolved and paintball prices dropped considerably. The rules unfortunately haven't really evolved yet.

It would be sort of like letting all age and skill groups race Model T's around a track and then continuing to let all age and skill groups race cars around the track as technology changed them, to the point where they would be racing Formula 1 carts around the track. Sure anyone can step on the accelerator and turn the steering wheel, but we all know that there would be a lot of maimed and dead drivers at the end of each day. That comparison might be a little over the top, but the point is, it's common sense to put restrictions in place for younger and/or less skilled players in many sports, including paintball.

In my opinion, sports in general should be inherently simple, at least as far as the rules go. The simpler for the players and the officiating staff, the better. Monitoring and policing ROF is not particularly simple. Counting pods of paintballs is simple. Yes the game changes with limits on paintballs. So what? I got news for you. The game needs to change (and I don't mean little tweaks like minor ROF changes, or bunker size changes or filed size changes). I understand that people don't like change. That's not news. That's human nature. But just because something is currently one way, doesn't mean that another way isn't better. It doesn't matter what rules are in place in any sport, there are going to be those that would like to see the rules be different. Just go to any paintball forum and you can find thousands of posts with differing opinions on rules. But that's why we have people in charge as the heads of leagues. These people are supposed to make the rules and everyone else is supposed to follow them. Letting the inmates run the asylum has never been a good idea.

We always talk about changing things to attract a greater number of players into competitive paintball. But for that to happen, major changes need to be made. The leagues' heads though, seem to listen only to those currently playing (those that haven't been attracted to the sport yet are obviously not going to voice much of an opinion). Those that are currently playing aren't going to want major change. So the major change that is needed, never happens. Why doesn't it happen? Because major change in competitive paintball is like starting a new business. Everyone knows new businesses usually lose money for the first few years. What league can afford to start over, lose money for a few years in the hopes of establishing a larger market in the long run? None. That's why we see only little tweaks of changes, hoping the tweaks aren't big enough to alienate the current market (players), but will attract a few more. But the tweaks are so minor, they really make very little difference in attracting a new market, yet the current player base has no problems jumping all over the changes and expressing their dislike for them (instant communication on the internet helps this). Why? Because it's change and nobody likes change.

Nick Brockdorff said...

CtrlAltDel:

No dude, I am not after disparity in gun ROF, I want everyone at the same cap.

I am after it being less effective to try and dominate and contain through shooting.

I am after giving players better odds at moving, on the breakout and during the game.

I want to make it easier to regain control lost in a gunfight.

I want lower expenses for new players.

Preferably, all contained within 1 universal game format, that can be played from the local rental field, to the highest level of Pro paintball.

Nick Brockdorff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick Brockdorff said...

Reiner:

When you say counting pods is easier than monitoring ROF, you are inherintly saying ROF should not be monitored... otherwise it's an argument for nothing? :)

So, do I understand correctly, you are onboard with the Raehl idea of unlimited shooting modes and ROF - but just limiting paint?

As for resisting change:

I started out playing 15 man in the woods, then 10 man in the woods, then came Mags/Cockers and 10 man Hyperball, then came 10 and 7 man SupAir, then came original Xball, then came the current formats... and I have embraced every change, because on a personal level, I didn't care, as long as I could compete at the highest level.

This is not about what I want for myself as a player - this is what I think is best for the sport.

If I was to choose from a personal perspective, I'd like unlimited ROF and shooting modes, cause I would kill a guy every single break, instead of every second ;)

Reiner Schafer said...

Unlimited ROF is OK as long as the paint is limited enough. 50 bps if you only have 500 balls would need much consideration. But there could be a ROF imposed. But with limited paint, it could be monitored less loosely. Make it a severe penalty if caught, but don't have the officials spend a reckless amount of time trying to catch it. That way it will keep players at least in the close neighborhood of the official ROF.

I was generalizing about the resistance to change. I can fully see that you actually have a head on your shoulders and can see things for the greater good, unlike many who seem to only consider the malaise it will cause them if the rules get altered a bit.

As to your last sentence, you also would lose team mates on every single break, so no advantage to you would come of it. ;)

Chris - Virtue said...

Hi Reiner
I just want to say, we can monitor ROF. It's not easy, but comes with a lot of other benefits.

I could also tell you how much each player shoots. So if you want to monitor ROF and put a ceiling on total paint consumption per player or per team, etc. etc. we can do that. We have the technology. Hopefully, we'll have a lot more on this as the pre-season progresses but also as the technology moves forward.

Reiner Schafer said...

That's great Chris-Virtue. I know it's being used and will probably expand at the higher levels of the game, but can we realistically see this technology at the lower levels and at every tournament in the country/world?

Using the technology at the higher limits with bonuses/penalties for less/more paint shot might be something worthwhile looking at. We may not need to limit paint for pros or upper divisions, but instead devise a system that rewards winning with less paintballs. I kind of like that idea. Basically put a scoring-cost per ball in place. Players can shoot the balls, but if they shoot too many, it's going to cost them points that will affect their standing. I can see coaches like Baca shivering at the thought of that now. :)

Nick Brockdorff said...

Depends what you mean by "monitor loosely".

If you mean a ROF check over the chrono, upon entering the field, that is fine for local and regional events.

If you mean ROF just being a rough guide, that people can elect to follow, it won't work with most paintballers, that are used to pushing limits (they all do, at every level)

As for 50 BPS being fine.... I shudder to think what a noob would say to being hit with that.

As for me shooting a guy every time off the break, and the opponents doing the same, that would really rapidly develop into "fort back centre" for everyone, game after game.

"ok" you say, "put a small bunker back centre"

- yes, that would solve the problem of "fort back centre", but do we really want a game where runners have a very high chance of being eliminated, every single game, off the break?

Granted, it would be very effective, in 5 seconds every game would be a 1 on 1.... but come on, who wants to play that game really?

This whole notion of NOT capping ROF, to me, is absolutely insane, from noob to Pro level.... I cannot see any good reason for it, except Raehls preoccupation with enforcement being a little difficult.

But honestly, it's not like ROF enforcement is hard today... even the presence of a single handheld devise being able to do it, and the usual event ban for breaking the rule, is enough to scare everyone away from trying to break the rule... and you only need a deterrent like that at high level... at local/regional level, you just need to test people going in.

Refs can hear if you are over, and once that happens, you have a ref on your ass with a handheld, for every second, for the rest of the event, trying to catch you, or they will simply rip the marker out of your hands and take it to the chrono.... it's not worth it, for any player.

Reiner Schafer said...

I agree that unlimited ROF is probably a little too extreme. That's why I suggested ROF rules, but not be anal about enforcing to the decimal point. If for instance the ROF is 10 bps, any ref can hear the difference between 10 and 13 bps. If suspected of obviously shooting above 10 bps, use one of the tools available and then as you stated, ban him from the event. Make the team play a player short for the rest of the event and you will not get many players shooting very much over 10 bps. Players know the rules and if the choose to chance pushing the limits, they might put their team in jeopardy. Only a foolhardy player would push the limits very far.

Couple that with a "reasonable" limit of paintballs for the team in the applicable division and you can create a game that is affordable for the players, tame enough at the lower levels to attract a wide demographic, and intense enough as you move up in the divisions to make it exciting to participate in.

raehl said...

Who would set their gun to 50 BPS when you only have 500 paintballs? Maybe for a second or two on the break, but I just don't see that as being a successful strategy, so it's unlikely anyone would do it...

Anonymous said...

Reiner hit the nail on the head when he said we need a simpler game with easy to understand rules.

Take your average noob/rec baller, and try to explain to them all the rules of X-ball/Race-2 and just watch their eyes glaze over. Never mind throwing them into an actual game, where they have no concept of what's going on or what they should do.

This was the simple allure of 10-man, it was simple and anyone could jump in. You weren't going to get blasted off the break, you understood you just needed to kill everyone, and there was a flag in the center of the field you wanted to get. The larger fields and bunkers slowed the games down, even with fast guns. But is that a bad thing? Remember Bob Long using a warp feed shooting 15bps? That didn't have much of an impact on the games did it?

Remember that goal: making a game that's FUN for the average person to play - not to look good on TV. Maybe if we had the huge 10-man size bunkers and fields with the longer, slowed games, more people would be inclined to try playing, like they used to be.

The arms race is over and pandoras box is open. You can't put ROF and paint usage back in the box - if I buy a ferrari you can damn well bet that I want to take it on the highway and go fast. Same goes for that guy who just paid $1500 for his paintball marker and $150 for that hopper. We might as well go back to gravity feed and cockers if that's the case.

Kine said...

I write this comment with great respect to everyone here whom I assume have been involved in competitive paintball for much longer than I have.

Honestly guys - ROF, paint usage, movement, field dimension, number of props, layout design are all variables of the same equation.

I voted for a change of format in the Monday poll simply because changing one element in isolation of any other variable isn't going to improve paintball competitively.

And by improving I mean raising the depth and dilemma of the sport above and beyond what is required currently to win matches. Hopefully increasing it's entertainment value in the process.

The current format of speedball is ultimately a race and competition for key positions on the field between 2 opposing teams. This is fine. But it is shallow because when you strip everything else down, that's all there is to it about this sport.

Denying your opponents from getting to certain positions while you try to get to yours. It's a repetitive dance over and over again with not much else in between.

Yes there are choices, variations and some level of dilemma now and then (heavily dependant on layout design) but nowhere near the complexity of other successful competitive sports.

I'm not American so I'm probably allowed to write this but paintball is pretty similar to baseball. And both are boring to watch. In entertainment value golf or biathlon is probably more exciting on television. Which is strange coz one would assume team sports should always be better on camera.

I yearn for a format that uses 2 teams of menacingly clad gun toting athletes better. Unfortunately I have no idea what that would look like so I'm stuck with our current version. We look so cool on the field but yet not television worthy. That's gotta say something about how we play no?

Baca hinted he might have one so I'm still waiting on that.

LOD said...

I agree with Nick, I think the ROF to 10 (for example) is fine, will help the game and to spend less paint, but the PSP has to adapt that system and the rest of the world will follow. If the PSP use 12.5, all the leagues will continue using 12.5
Regards

Reiner Schafer said...

Kine is right. In essence paintball is always about a game of real estate. The team that can hold the key positions has a greater advantage, everything else is less important.

What paintball lacks from a viewer's perspective, in my opinion, are the fancy, high skilled moves that you see in other game like hockey, basketball and soccer like the one on one or one on two deke or fake-outs. I watch hockey quite a bit and I can say that if all goals were scored by shots straight in from the blue line, I would stop watching pretty quick.

But this is not new when it comes to paintball. We all know that paintball is not, and probably never will be, a sport that will get much viewership. So for competitive paintball to be "successful", it needs to be fun for a wide demographic to take part in. Unlimited paintballs and 12.5 bps, at the lower levels is not fun (or affordable, which is just as important) for a wide demographic. The combination of fun and affordability makes up "value". If fun AND affordability are low on the scale, guess where "value" lies?

Nick Brockdorff said...

Anonymous:

No speedlimits where you drive your Ferrari? ;)

Explaining X-Ball is hard? "You start 5 in each end and get a point every time you kill the other team" - What more is there to say?

The rulebooks for Tennis, and football and soccer, are way bigger than the PSP and NPPL and MS rulebooks.... it's just up to you how nerdy and complicated an explanation you want to give, and how many little details you want to include.

Kine:

If you boil down NFL Football, it is also really "just about field position"... and that league does moderately well IMHO ;)

You are correct, paintball and baseball are both boring to watch. Baseball gets huge viewer numbers, because everyone can relate to the game, having at least played little league, with more or less the same rules.

That is why we need a competitive, universal game format, that can be implemented at every level, so that 10 years from now, there is a large viewing public, that have relatable experiences to draw upon, when watching paintball.

LOD:

10 BPS is a good starting point in the US, it will help greatly in cutting cost... we are alredy there in Europe, and have been for 4 years.... and my personal experience is we could easily go lower, without adversely effecting the game.

I do not think the Xball format, as it is played in Europe, is flawed, I just think the ROF is too high, to make it a viable part of most rental businesses.

As said ad nauseam, the key to growing paintball as a sport, is that the general population actually get to try it, rather than playing soldiers in the woods.

Nick Brockdorff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick Brockdorff said...

Reiner:

I totally disagree paintball "will never get much viewership".

I just think we have gone about this TV thing ass backwards.

The people who put paintball on TV in the past, completely overlooked the fact that they put something on TV, that very very few people had actually ever played and could relate to.

They took the SGMA numbers, and based paintball on TV around so many people having tried it.... when in reality, very few had tried what was being shown.

UWL would fare way better on TV, if it could be produced in a way that made it possible to see what was going on.... because UWL is what 95-98 % of people that have played paintball, can relate to.

We CAN become a broad sport, and a TV sport, but that requires us to start at field level, with a format that relates to what the Pros play, and is financially viable for field owners and average customers.

If we get that part right, "never" becomes "in a few years"

Nick Brockdorff said...

Raehl:

I would - and I would get a kill every single breakout (sucks to be a runner down the other end when you give a competent shooter 50 BPS ;))

Theoretically, an "average" paintball player, gets a kill every second game (yes, I know, not everyone is shot every game, but let's keep it simple - and the "survivors" would benefit my point anyway ;)).

So, if you can kill a player every game, you are double as good as average, and highly beneficial to your team.

If I get 5 guys with a kill average of 1/game, I win every game (not counting the rare draw here and there).

As such, we should shy away from creating a format, where such a large emphasis is put on breakout shooting, that players can become superstars, simply by doing well for 5 seconds of every game.

At least, I would prefer we created a game where the more versatile players became our stars.

raehl said...

Nick:

Sorry, but I'm just not seeing it. I think you're falling victim to the common problem of, when visualizing a change, imagining how it would be different for you personally without considering how the change impacts the entire environment.

It's not just you who has the option of shooting 50 BPS. EVERYONE can shoot 50 bps. So if you decide to come up on the break and shoot 50 bps to get a kill... well, what are the odds the other team is going to just launch 50 bps right back at you?

I suppose it's possible that every point just turns into a 5-second duke-out, but far more likely that the threat of the OTHER team to shoot 50 bps (at least for 4 seconds) will prevent you from doing it.

But, doesn't really matter. If it's not a problem, it's not a problem, and if it is a problem, put the cap back on, rearrange the bunkers, or do something else to make simply shooting 50 bps on the break ineffective.


Baca:

You seem to be assuming that I don't understand how limited paint effects the upper levels of play. It's actually that I don't care. They can have higher limits or no limits at all, the precise format played by the top levels of play isn't what gets or drives away the players that matter. We need limited paint D5, D4, probably D3, maybe even D2. If the pros want to toss cases of gelatin at each other that's ok.

Baca Loco said...

I leave you people alone for a few hours and this is what you get up to.

Reiner--you should have just agreed with me and let it go at that.

Anon #2--10-man didn't have a center flag. You sound like Reiner in that ir almost seems as if you want to dismantle the sport and make it more like rec ball. Not exactly the point.

raehl--trading 100 of my 500 paintballs for an OTB kill is a no-brainer. I give up 20% of my paint for 20% of his team and his 500 paintballs. All day, every day.

Kine--all variables are NOT created equal.
The kids will be trying out my idea tomorrow (and there's some UFC tomorrow night) so I'll probably have a post on Sunday about it.

Baca Loco said...

raehl--then you need to frame your position as something less than all-inclusive. You already know I have no issue will restricted paint within a limited scope although I would limit it more than you do--you just want to imagine playing at a higher level personally. ;-)

The fact that the other team can do the same (50 bps) is NOT a deterrent, it is almost a guarantee that both will do it.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Raehl:

You always do this, when people don't agree, it's because we are selfish, and only look at the implictions for ourselves personally :)

Look, for the umphteenth time.... you are creating a format, when using unlimited ROF/shooting modes, where anyone get's deterred from moving anywhere, on the breakout.

Now, you may solve that, by letting people start in their bunkers, og instead of a base, say the entire backline is a valid starting point.... but then we are getting to the point where you are changing things that everyone loves about the game, just to make an inherintly flawed idea work.

I'll be happy to discuss the implications of limited paint, and where that limit should be, but you have got to drop the notion of not capping guns at a particular ROF

No format that has players start at a small central starting point, will work with it, because it so heavily favours anyone standing still behind a central bunker and shooting at a slight angle.

It will restrict movement immensely, on both sides.

Now, please, for the first time in your life, can you concede a point? :D

raehl said...

Ok, so what happens when both teams launch 50 bps at each other off the break?

I don't think that will turn out to be a viable strategy, but I could certainly be wrong and you end up with points that take 10 seconds because everyone just throws 50 bps at each other right away.

Regardless, we're not going to predict every consequence of a change like going to limited paint, but we can certainly adjust as necessary - the same as happened when we moved to XBall.

raehl said...

Let me put this a bit differently.

If we can cut paint use by 75%, the cost advantages of that change are so huge that any other issues are noise by comparison.

Nick Brockdorff said...

What happens?

A whole lot of people get shot - a lot - every break - or - everyone hides behind a giant centre bunker and waits :)

At 25 BPS it's half as likely

At 12.5 BPS half as likely again

The lower the ROF, the more movement you will see off the break, irrespective of what amount of paint players are carrying.

Further:

When you restrict paint use, people shoot when they have a target

When paint use is unestricted, people shoot all the time

So, if you want restricted paint to make the game more movement based, you need to restrict ROF also, because otherwise every move becomes just as risky, as it would be in unrestricted paint, and thus, you achieve nothing, except for the reduced paint bill we can all agree on.

This is why I have been preaching low ROF all the time, not just on the breakout, but throughout the game, it favours the players that want to move, and puts those that want to sit and shoot at a disadvantage.

And no, you can't predict every consequence of a changed format, but I would hope you can predict the obvious ones, otherwise the format will be flawed from inception :)

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, this is probably where we differ the most.

I want the game to work, at the lowest possible cost.

You want low cost, and then adapt the game to whatever is possible with that cost maximum.

I believe strongly, that the game comes first, and if we end up with then precluding the poorest in the population from playing, then I am truly sorry for that, but it is still more important to me that the game still works, from a sporting perspective.

I think the nature of the game, being high tech and with a constant expenditure of ammunition, is such, that some will not be able to afford it, untill we can make it completely free, by shooting "Coca-Cola balls".

But, where we DO agree, is that it needs to be cheaper than it is today, to include a broader part of the population.

Baca Loco said...

Nick,
Glad to have you hanging around. Saves me a lot of effort--of course I don't actually argue with Chris anymore. :-)

Chris - Virtue said...

I used to agee with "the refs can hear it" people. Except until we were catching guys every event shooting over the limit... anywhere from 17 or so to as high as 23 if I recall right. Most it would seem were genuine mistakes in just not setting up their guns right... some I think may have been trying to "push the limit". None of these cases a ref noticed anything. Whatever the case I'm certain at events and divisions with sporatic enforcement coverage there are a lot of people getting away with exceeding the rof either through just not setting their guns right (funny when even some manufacturers set the guns wrong...) or through intent. In either case I no longer buy the "I can hear argument". Maybe when you're trying to listen for one gun but reffing is hard enough and you get beatdown enough over time and miss even obvious things. I can't imagine you can keep up the attention span straining to listen at multiple guns all the time and actually do a quality job reffing consistently. Just my opinion though but now I feel a little more confident in it after being in the trenches... obviously I could be accused of bias but no more so than others who are biased to defending their own perceptions of reality. (Actually sometimes I have to ask myself if life can really be "real" for me to be living in this crazy world if paintball... I couldn't dream up a cooler life!)

raehl said...

Nick,

I wouldn't phrase our differences EXACTLY that way - I think the lower the division, the more important "accessable" is vs. game play. I wouldn't compramise game play at all at the Pro level. At D5, I don't care about game play at all beyond the extent it makes things accessible and fun for new players.

And virtually every major sport is set up this way. Nobody complains that when a 7-year-old learns to play baseball, they put the ball on top of a stick right in front of him and let him swing at that. There is usually a lot of hockey played on a frozen lake before someone finds themselves on a rink with manicured ice and standard-sized goals.

Here's the other thing. If we can set up a game so that 1 million people want to play it, and we can set up a game so that 10 million people want to play it, but the people who used to play it the 1-million-people way are convinced the 10-million-people way is "wrong"...

...maybe the old farts are wrong?


Not that I necessarily agree with that. Almost NOBODY plays football the way the NFL plays football. They can't. It hurts too much. But there are lots and lots of people who have thrown a football around enough to appreciate what is televised and be fans - and that's what we need. We need something that lets many people have enough experience with paintball to appreciate it when they see it so they too can be fans.

I used to absolutely hate the idea of watching golf on TV... until I played some golf. I suck at it, but even that exposure was enough that I don't immediately change the channel if I turn the TV on on Saturday and there happens to be golf on.


So I guess what I'm saying is, let the Pros (and divisions leading directly into Pro) play what they want to play. But at the entry level, our goals should be entirely different.

Reiner Schafer said...

"So I guess what I'm saying is, let the Pros (and divisions leading directly into Pro) play what they want to play. But at the entry level, our goals should be entirely different."

I think a lot of people with common sense have been saying that for years.

Reiner Schafer said...

"You sound like Reiner in that ir almost seems as if you want to dismantle the sport and make it more like rec ball."

Do I really sound like that? I'm actually quite a competitive person. I truly believe competitive paintball should continue to be competitive and totally different from rec ball. I just think the lower levels should be toned down some, so that more people are willing to step into the arena to experience it. Then after they get their feet wet, they continue on their journey to ultimately become pro (or what ever level their limitations lets them achieve). Just because the lower levels would be shooting less paint, doesn't mean it becomes less competitive. The competition is just different, as it should be at lower levels of any sport.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, if you are talking about 7 year olds, then I have no problem at all with a wide range of changes: Limited paint, lower velocity, lower ROF, etc. For my sake they can play with nerf guns.

If that is what you have been talking about all along, then I appologise for misunderstanding you.

If, on the other hand, you are talking about high school kids and upwards, then I disagree the game needs to be "easier".... I only think it needs to be cheaper.

If you go watch High School football, or baseball, or basketball.... they don't pull any punches. There may be minor differences in the rules from the major leagues, but essentially they are playing the same game, and they all do it dreaming of being a Pro some day.

So, I don't agree the Pros should play a different game, that's exactly where we are at today, which is a catastrophy.

Our universal game format have to work, both at the highest and very lowest level.

It might be lower ROF or restricted paint use, or whatever at low level.... but it needs to be on the same field, with the same bunkers, with the same equipment, and the same game rules - otherwise we completely loose the relatability, which can make paintball a widely popular sport down the road.

Now, if you accept all that, then you have to realise, that whatever rules, fields, equipment, etc., works at the base level, also have to work at Pro level - it has to work both ways, to be truly effective....

It makes no sense to create a format that has no relation to the top of the game, as that is just changing our current situation, to a parallel version of the same

All that having been said, in the world of realism, change has to start at the top anyway.

This development has to be driven by the major leagues and in part by industry, it can't start from the ground up, because even if you are successfull, and not just another Moneyball - then you just create a new PSP/NPPL situation, with bickering about what format is best, and leagues warring eachother, when they really should be focussed on working together to bring paintball to the masses.

For instance... you can change your own organisations format all you like, but as soon as people leave college, if not sooner, they will all be looking to get into the "real leagues" - and thus changing format away from yours.... again, unless you are looking to compete, like PSP and NPPL do today ;)

My view: You need the major leagues onboard.... and they need to realise their responsibility to grow the sport at all levels... by coming up with a format that works at the highest level, and is both affordable at the lowest level, and viable for rental businesses.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I don't get you Reiner.

Why do goals have to different at the lower levels?

Should the object of this whole exercise be, to find common ground, and a format that works at all levels?

Wouldn't it be wonderful, if most rental fields could run fields that were identical to what the pros play on? (yes, they still need to cater for the scenario crowd too, it doesn't have to be one or the other)

Wouldn't it be great, if every rental customer had the option to try playing paintball as a sport "like the Pros do"?

Wouldn't it benefit our sport immensely, if all rental customers were actually exposed to the sport we all love?

I fail to see the downside.

All that is needed, is to find a format that will allow field operators to still make money on groups opting for the "tournament game".

And honestly, that is not that hard.

We do it at my field already from time to time, and it's a concept we plan to enlarge very much this year, to make it our primary business:

- Full size Millennium fields
- Xball rules (with longer turnovers)
- Tournament jersey and pants for all
- High end guns and loaders, set to semi and capped at 8
- free paint

99 out of a 100 customers we have run this concept with LOVE it, and in every group there is at least one, that asks where he can sign up for practices and teams... and where he (or she) can buy gear.

raehl said...

I don't think the game NEEDS to be different than the Pros at the lower levels; it just needs to be cheaper than it is now. If that also means being different than the pros or means pros move to limited paint too, cheaper at the lowest levels is more important than anything.


And, I don't necessarily mean cheaper per year even. Making it so that people who spend $2,000 a year playing paintball can get 20 tournaments out of it instead of 5 might be enough.

Reiner Schafer said...

Nick, I don't have a problem with fields dimensions and virtually all rules to be identical to Pro rules. The only thing I would like to see is limited volume and possibly lower ROF. Why you feel the need to have one format (same ROF) for all levels is beyond me. You realize that the ROF coupled with unlimited paintballs is keeping the sport from expanding, but your solution is to have EVERY level shoot a low ROF. That's like saying the NFL and everyone else should play Flag Football because it will get more people playing football. It might, but it's not necessary and lessens the skill sets needed to play at the higher levels.

Put limits where limits are needed and will serve a purpose. Get more people playing at the lower levels and upper levels will take care of themselves. There will be more money available for the upper levels as well, if the lower levels are more heavily participated.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, because I feel the ROF is too high at national level too - so I am killing 2 birds with 1 stone :)

Lowering ROF across the board, makes games more dynamic at national level, and lowers cost across the board.

It's a simple solution, that the major leagues can implement, without upsetting the rest of the applecart.

Ole-Henrik Aker said...

Nick B.

Keep the format to x-ball or millennium. But change the numbers of players needed....

My suggestion is to introduce 3-mann psp/millennium style as an entry level format. Most 5-manns teams that are short on people would have the numbers needed to play the format. And you would need less refs and smaller fields...

Nick Brockdorff said...

3man does not make paintball cheaper, it just lowers how much time you spend on-field, while each minute costs you the same :)

So, in terms of cost, there is no difference.

You might as well keep 5man, and go from race-to-5 to race-to-3.... effect is the same

I agree 3man makes it easier to form teams.... but then, if you are struggling to find 4 people to play with, the problem is not the format - it's that enough people don't play paintball in your area.... and that takes different and more profound solutions, that lowering team size.

3man also makes paintball less of a team sport and puts more emphasis on personal skills.

We have had a 3man league in my country for years, and it's great fun, because good players can win points 1 on 3.

Ole-Henrik Aker said...

Well.. i had a 3man format at the national championships in norway last year... and i also sold paint. And i sold less paint per head in 3man than in 5man.... And we used the same field for 3man and 5man same number of matches etc..

But i do like the idea of 3-mann i the recruitment class combined with a lower ROF. Then you could progress the ROF and going 5-mann as you progress up in divisions...

Well at least in norway we have so few players we need to make it easy to form teams, and inroduce them to the speedball format in a manner thats not frightening for the brand new players.

Then again. Do you want to cut the cost for the mayor league players or the ones that play regional series ?

Nick Brockdorff said...

Why does it have to be one or the other?

Ole-Henrik Aker said...

No. But some changes might work in the lower divisions while someting entirely different might work for major league. Like in lower divisions.. it might be entry fee and travel, hotell etc... In higher divisions it might be the pallet of paint you would need to spend to practice a field layout to be compedative...

Nick Brockdorff said...

You said "Do you want to cut the cost for the mayor league players or the ones that play regional series ?"

My answer is:

Both

That's what I meant

Ole-Henrik Aker said...

Understood.