Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Poll in Review

No Monday Poll for you! No, you didn't do anything. You are, after all, a lazy slacker. I just didn't have a good poll topic--so no poll this week. If you've got any ideas you know what to do with them. (Take that however you like.)

UPDATE: I lied. There is a Monday Poll. The off topic who will win the SuperBowl Poll.

Last week's The Monday Poll asked about the best way(s) to improve tournament paintball. Since much the dialogue lately has revolved around the virtues of restricted paint and/or reduced ROF it's small wonder they were popular categories. Perhaps most interesting was that the only category that didn't receive any votes was Lower maximum velocity. Not a one. Less energy, less pain on impact, right? Less energy maybe more guns can consistently shoot more fragile paint. Less energy fewer breaks at longer ranges more live players after the breakout. And not one vote. The next 3 categories with the fewest votes look to have split the M. Carter Brown voters with 3% favoring a return to woods tournaments, 3% longing for the larger fields of yesteryear and a whopping 6% ready to dust off their cockers and automags and go mechanical. When semi-auto was really semi-auto and a man was a man and an enormous drop forward let you tuck that 118/3000 in nice and tight. (Right.) I'm not sure I believe it though 'cus the PSP has tried offering Tactical Race 2 [mech guns] and it ain't like they are turning teams away. The fact is even the UWL hasn't garnered much interest in all mech gun teams so those who say they want it either don't really or are so broke they can't play anyway. Four categories tied at 9% each. The pipedream universal industry standard semi-auto board or chip or whatever. Even if all the obstacles involved were overcome nobody would really want it if they had it or, more to the point, were compelled to use it because it would be too slow. I can pull faster than this, it's ruined my gun, this is no fun, etc. Also at 9% were restricted paint and lowered ROF for the lower divisions of competitive play. Of course when the PSP tried to tier ROF by experience the crowd that would have benefited most raised the biggest ruckus. And while limited paint leagues existed in the past I don't know of any currently in the U.S. Whatever plusses either option has it ain't gonna happen if nobody is willing to play that way. (At the same time it's possible to educate--or in raehl's case, browbeat--the tourney crowd into eventually seeing that a recommended alternative might not be such a bad idea after all but it's necessarily a time consuming process.) Last of the 9 percenters was more props. Fill that field up. More choices. Closer together. More angles and lanes blocked. Heck, if you stay low it almost becomes a game of hide & seek--which everybody knows is way better than capture the flag.
Next at 10% was bring back the 10-man game. I hear this a lot. What I haven't heard is anyone trying to bring it back and having any grand success. I keep suggesting to the PSP that Masters play ought to be Race 2-2 and that they'd get more geezers playing--but maybe they wouldn't. Tactical has been about as popular as a pick-up artist in a lesbian bar and for all the 10-man nostalgia I haven't seen any evidence that anybody would show up if they built it. At 11% we have the lowered ROF across all divisions of play which is, if nothing else, a testament to Brockdorff's tenacity, enthusiasm and good cheer. Which brings us to the top 2 vote getters; a completely new format (14%) & restricted paint across all divisions (17%). One thing this poll result suggests is that there is no widely held opinion of what the answer is or ought to be. Even so I'm mildly surprised that nearly 15% opted for the unknown which I think tells us more about some level of present dissatisfaction than it does an expectation of what the unknown format might deliver. I find it curious but as with all these results I think most of the votes are soft votes in the sense that you people (the voters) aren't do or die committed to your choices. Any of them. Although apparently raehl's restricted paint crowd wants to make sure everybody suffers if they have to or else maybe they imagine a time in the near future when restricted paint will allow them to play at the upper levels of competition.
So apparently if we restrict paint, lower the ROF, add props, enlarge the field, use mech guns with 10 players per side using a brand new format tournament paintball as we know (and love) it will be saved. Hurrah!


Nick Brockdorff said...

Spelling error:

"which is, if nothing else, a testament to Brockdorff's tenacity, enthusiasm and good cheer"

Should be:

"which is, if nothing else, a testament to Brockdorff's intelligence, visionary brilliance and good cheer"


Baca Loco said...

Consider yourself lucky, Nick. Before I ran it thorugh spell check the first time it read, " .. a testament to Brockdorff's narrow-mindedness, pig-headedness & faux bonhomie." :)

Reiner Schafer said...

Haha Baca. Your last paragraph pretty much describes paintball of 20 years ago.

Nick Brockdorff said...

You must be on Windows Vista then ;)

Mark said...

"Haha Baca. Your last paragraph pretty much describes paintball of 20 years ago."
With the exception of more props and the omission of: horribly-biased reffing, crappy prizes, sandbaggers, 500yds to the air station, spending 12+ hours on-site to get a schedule, the old-boys network, mosquitos, snakes, gross cheating, losing games from the coin-flip it sure did!!!!!

Baca Loco said...

Mark--Outstanding! You've inspired a new post--coming later in the week.

Mark said...

Yes, occasionally my pessimism for the days of yore strikes a cord.

ctrlaltdel said...

Ah but Mark, did you have fun back then? Maybe it's the fog of age, but most old schoolers point to 15 or so years ago and say they had more fun "back then" (when we were getting beat up by sandbaggers, crappy reffing, shoddy fields, etc. etc. ).

Mark said...

Oh gee, that's a tuffy. Did I have more fun at 26 than 41?

Let me get back to you on that.

I guess the point I wanna instill is that despite the maddness of 15+ years ago, we eventually got the sport to the heights that was 2004-2008. Of course their were format and technological changes that precipitated that golden era, but was it 10 man, 10bps, 10 different fields to walk, or $10+ trillion in debt that killed the golden goose?

greenvertboy said...

If part of the "golden era" was "getting beat up by sandbaggers" why are people so adamant about lowering the ROF and restricting the paint? I thought the point of those was to get more interest from people just gettiing into the sport...sorry ctrlaltdel, not meaning to pick on you...but it seems to me the little guys get beat up on either way no matter the guns or rules.

It seems to me, thinking back on the last 11 years in the sport, that its nnever been the fire power or the pain of the game that has kept people from getting deeply innvolved with the sport but rather the skill differences involved. Its losing that keeps people away. People are going to lose no matter the rules or the format. Time and time again I've seen people local to me quit playing for that very reason...I've seen many of my friends, including the kid who so enthusiastically got me involved, move away from the game simply because they could not or did not know how to play the game better at a fundamental level.

And with all of that mumbo jumbo out of the way, I propose that the the problem with the sport does not involve the rules, the format, or the way we play the game. It is with the sports structure at the bottom, the field level. And I don't think one single field has gotten it right yet. Unfortunately its an almost impossible fix. But in a perfect world...

greenvertboy said...

Just to clarify a bit more...I think the big problem is that the skill set differences between the occasional rec player, the regular rec player and then the tournament players is too wide of a gap for lots of players to make the jumps just to the local or regional tournament scene. its not the guns or the firepower that's making it difficult. Lots of kids were quitting for the same reasons when most players still shot mech guns at a local level, and a half case in a day was a LOT.

Reiner Schafer said...

I've personally never heard anyone say they stopped playing because they were losing or they couldn't make the transition. That's not to say that some may have felt that way, but I don't think many people would ever admit that to others. The most common reasons I have heard (and again, this is just what I have personally heard) are (I will try to list them in order of frequency):
Too expensive (been hearing that for close to 20 years);
Not enough time to commit;
Not my style. Too much cheating and/or asshattery (i.e. bonus balling);
My friends/team mates quit;
Found something else to spend my time and money on.
Being too expensive is #1 by quite a margin, but often is linked with not enough time (there may be something to the saying, "Time is Money"). Most of the time, it's a combination of two or more reasons.

I find it a bit ironic when players come back to our recreational paintball field buying a bag of 500 balls for $35-$40, telling me they quit because practicing and competing at $40/case was unaffordable. It has to do with the volume and frequency needed of course.

raehl said...

Skill differences are a big issue - at unlimited 15 bps paint.

The high school league we have very experienced players playing against complete tournament newbies, and it doesn't matter, because it's hopperball. The experiences players still win, but they're not doing it in a way where they're absolutely terrorizing the new players with an overwhelming onslaught of paint.

greenvertboy said...

I fail to see how skill differences aren't just as big of a difference at any ROF. And I might add that within skills I would include experience and knowledge of the game. I find it more difficult to play against less skilled, less experienced players when everyones shooting 15. But put a pump in my hand against the same players shooting mech guns and i'd run around the field like a tiger stalking them. They'd have less of a chance.

It just seems to me that if new players had a better understanding of the games fundamentals more oof them would stay in the game despite whatever the rof was. Why do they get overwhelmed by the firepower? Why not alter the way people are introduced to and learn the game as opposed to changing the game itself?

And I wasn't trying to say my experiences are the norm or that most players leave the sport because they lose. I was just trying to suggest that those players that do leave because they're overwhlemed by the volume of paint may be more likely to stay if they had a better understanding of the game and therefore would be better equipped to deal with the rof. What do we expect when new players are just thrown in to the mix while we just hope that someone more experienced at their field takes them under their wing?

There are too many variables involved with the sport. So far I haven't seen anything that is much more of a quick fix at best. I think we need to collectively widen our views.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Lowering ROF in no way changes that you need the appropriate skills to compete at any level.

Lowering ROF is only about 2 things:

1. Lowering cost
2. Making movement easier and domination harder

First part is the major reason, second part is a slight tweak.

Thinking that lowering ROF will make the game "easier" for noobs is wrong... they will still be up against better players, till they get their own skill set in place.

However, as Reiner stated, the (by far) largest reason for people quitting paintball, is cost, and we as a sport, should address that.

Yes, it may seem ironic to some, that people still go and buy field paint, at an inflated cost.... but once they are no longer on a team, they have no commitment to practice regularly and play events regularly... and it's that regularity that makes our sport expensive..... it's not the one off experience.

We have got to make paintball more affordable, to more people, if we want growth.

Reiner Schafer said...

You're right Nick. Until the sport becomes more affordable, everything else is pretty much just an exercise in futility.

Paintball, the way it's played 99.9% of the times, is an arm's race. The team with the most firepower has an advantage, all else being equal. As long as the team that can afford the most paintballs has an advantage, teams will feel they are forced to spend as much as they have to, to win. Until you stop the arms race by everyone having similar equipment and the same amount of ammo, those who want to win, will be forced to live in poverty (except for the few who are independently wealthy or have someone else supply the paint for them). How are you ever going to seriously expand a sport if the prerequisite is living in perpetual poverty? Especially in a sport where there is no outside money coming in now or in the foreseeable future.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, I wouldn't quite put it like that.

I don't think anyone is getting beat at paintball tournament, because of a lack of paintballs, or inferior equipment.

I just think people take one look at equipment cost, and cost of paintballs, and decide not to play paintball as a sport in the first place.

And, I also think many teams are faltering before they get off the ground, because team members quit for lack of money, once they realise the cost involved with getting good (practices, evetns, etc.).

I would never advocate similar equipment for everyone, as it would decrease our industry's wonderful ability for innovation.... I would just cap BPS, and be done with it.

Reiner Schafer said...

New players/teams quickly realize that they WILL lose if they don't keep up and shoot a similar amount of ammo as their competition and if they want to increase their chances, they will need to budget for more. I agree that many know beforehand that the cost is too prohibitive to get involved, but I also know there are many eager, wide eyed, bushy tailed new players with great intentions, who after several months quit because they just get beat down by the never ending (big) expense. The way it is right now, it takes a VERY committed person to get involved and stay involved for any length of time due to the expense. Definitely more than most other team sports.

As far as similar gear goes, I think we are already there. I don't think we need the same gear for everyone, just limitations on the gear so it ends up similar, which is what we have.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, I guess we agree then ;)

Nobody is losing games due to lack of gear or paintballs.

But people are qutting paintball for lack of money

Reiner Schafer said...

Yes, and I think most people agree that it could be curtailed but I also think most people currently playing don't want to do what they feel needs to be done. For them, it is too drastic of a departure from what they know and love.

One day a new league will form using either a limited paint format or severely reduced ROF (or a combination). I know there have in the past already been small leagues trying this, but one day the right promoter will come along and it will catch on. The key to the promotion will be "fixed cost (low cost) competitive speedball". There is an abundance of people out there that would love to play the game more competitively but can't afford it. When the right promoter comes along and convinces people they can play a serious competitive paintball game at a low cost instead of having the mindset that they are playing a "wimpy" version of competitive paintball, it will spread quite rapidly. Especially if it can be structured so that the local field owner can provide it and still make a profit. That's what is needed. A fixed cost for the player and a profit for the field for any form of competitive paintball to take off.