Saturday, February 4, 2012

Desperate Measures

Spirit of Paint (SOP) a French website has the skinny on the new bunker kit being foisted on the PSP & Millennium Series this year--and not so incidentally on the local fields that support competitive paintball and on us too! (Link is the title.) In the recent post, Supporting Adrenaline Games, VFTD takes the PSP to task largely for past sins as it turns out the Sup'Air people have intentionally put the league in the position this season of having to accept the new kit in order to have enough fields available for the 5 events this coming year.
Perhaps worse is the change being made. Check out the SOP article for pictures of the new props. For those who don't read French below is the Google Translation:

Here's a preview of the obstacles that will be used this year on the land side snake in Europe and the United States on the PSP system!
You find that the spectator side became boring? You will be served. With these new obstacles to former Lower adorning the grounds of major tournaments, and the new L-shaped design, players will have to be more technical on this side.
The Upgrade Kit will consist of at Supairball 4 "Chips" (Beams in the Angliche) and 4 "L" (for Elbows). They will replace the six fries usually found on the lands of last season.
It'll just test them to tell us what happens.


Previous field kits had 6 Giant Beams in Sup'Air speak. The new "upgrade" apparently reduces that number to 4 Chips--which appear to be the same except slightly narrower--and 4 L's. As they are displayed in the article's photographs they are damn near worthless as playable props. There is nothing "technical" about them. They will remove much of the skill of playing a snake effectively while shrinking the size of the snake at the same time. All the new bunkers demonstrate is Adrenaline Games lack of imagination and desperation in trying to force us into buying and using these pointless changes. (It may be possible to find alternate uses for the Ls but that's clearly not what Sup'Air intends.)
And does anybody know what the full field kit will be comprised of this season? Are any other bunkers out besides (apparently) the 6 GBs of the past?
I don't know that anything can be done now but at a minimum Adrenaline needs to pay a price down the road. I bet the kids at Ultimate can make a Giant Beam package available pretty quick to replace the "upgrade." Then nobody would need the upgrade because the league wouldn't be using those new props. I know but I can dream, right?


Jii said...

I think that the whole practice of the manufacturer deciding the "official field" for the two major leagues in the world is ridiculous. What's stopping the leagues (well, PSP at least as its not part-owned by the manufacturer) just plain and simply announcing "these are the bunkers we will be using for the next 3 seasons. We will buy the shapes from the manufacturer willing to produce them.

It's the manufacturer's responsibility to keep the bunkers in stock. The claim for the lack of 2011 bunker kits is totally ridiculous. You have the resources to produce a gabazillimillion new kits and upgrades for the season, but not 20 on last year's specs? Did you suddenly forget how to make a round beam? I'm seriously hoping for the leagues to step up and stop this.

No, I'm expecting it.

Reiner Schafer said...

Yeah, the we haven't got enough, so you will have to buy different stuff is total BS. Building bunkers is what this company does. They have seen for a while that their inventory of the old bunkers wasn't going to be large enough. They could have/should have been manufacturing more. Don't they have someone employed whose job it is to monitor inventory?

Anonymous said...

why stick around with sup'air? if they're giving everybody the shaft, just move on. Somebody will offer a better product at a better price to the specifications you require.

nickgibson said...

Worst bunkers Ive ever seen what are those little fast kids supposed to do in there?

Douglas Grider said...

This is nothing new, I call it "Got you by the Balls" and it is all about money on both sides of the fence. If you have exclusive rights to something the easiest way to make more money on it is to change it so everyone has to buy your new widget in order to participate.

This issue puts the field owner in a "No Win" situation, they have two options, buy the new props or lose the event. It is money out of their pocket ether way and money in Sup'Airs pocket ether way as any new venue will have to buy the new lay-out.

There is a solution to this problem, allow a field 3 years to use an approved prop, this gives them an opportunity to recover the cost of the prop. If the players want the field to add the new prop they can become part of the solution by helping raise they funds to buy it.

The other issue here is how much money does Sup'Air give the PSP? I am pretty sure it went something like this, "Our sales are down, so if you want us to continue supporting you we need to change the field lay out so we can sell all the fields new props". Well PSP maybe it is time to find a different sponsor. I know I have oversimplified the issue, but I believe it is close enough for this discussion.

OK, I can hear the screaming already, this won't work because all the fields won't have the same lay-out! And I say "SO?", maybe this will add a new element to the game, how well do you adapt to a changing environment, now it is about all your skills not just gun play and memorizing a single field lay-out.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Paintball companies are supposed to make money, because a strong and healty industry, means our sport is strong and healthy.

But, when they make their money actually hurting the sport, it is time to kick them to the curve.

This is no different than if the NBA changed hoop and back plate size every 2 years, and incidentally, the owner of the offical "hoop & back plate manufacturer" was on the board of the NBA (in this example, the NBA is the Millennium Series, not PSP).

Anywhere but paintball, this would create outrage.

Brad Johnson said...

I just don't understand how you are supposed to play the thing. Although do remember the PSP is yet to "officially" say anything.

Anonymous said...

Not sure I see what the big deal is - yes, these bunkers are not terribly playable by themselves, but a giant beam isn't playable either. Giant beams are combined with other bunkers to make a playable snake, and that won't change with these shapes.

Anonymous said...

Then why is the illustration done with only those bunkers? The original giant beams were always illustrated with the cubes, to show how they would be played in reality. The L's are obviously meant to replace the cubes at the end, being the only bunkers in the snake.

Did anyone check their French calendars to see if there was a February Fools day?

Baca Loco said...

Anon #2
Are you implying that 2 fewer beams and some green macaroni is an improvement? And if it isn't an improvement what justifies either the PSP accepting it "sight unseen" or forcing local fields that support tournament paintball to pay for such an "upgrade"?

Nick Brockdorff said...

The "big deal" is, that field owners and leagues are now forced to buy a new set of bunkers, for $ 1,100 a pop - which does absolutely nothing - if they continue using cakes for knuckles anyway.

But, SupAirs plan is the opposite with this new snake set: For it to have only 1-2 bunkers added to it.... and otherwise to be good enough as is.

How do I know? - Because they sent me a bunch of suggested uses for the new bunkers, and half of them have no bunkers added at all, and the other half a couple of pins or a couple of small cakes.....

Anonymous said...

Anon#2 here... I meant big deal with regards to the shapes. The forced kit purchases are a big deal.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, as for the shapes:

The angles are supposed to replace the cakes as "knuckles"

Only, they are a worse shape, for various reasons:

The lack of added height, means that the snake player can't block out part of the field when coming over the top. He will be exposed to being shot from a full 90 degrees.

The angles being used as knuckles, opens up the player to drop shots from across the field quite easily, when he is playing the wire - because he is missing the fat back part of a cake, to protect him from the side.

Moving up this new snake will be way harder than before, because that lack of added height makes it much easier for back players to drop paint into all open areas.

These new bunkers, in my view, are completely pointless, and just a money grab for Adrenaline Games, with absolutely no benefits to our game.

If anything, it will slow down our game even more, and make it even more dependent on high paint consumption, because snake players will be forced to play extremely conservatively, to stay in the game.

dannefaerd said...

It's an interesting one - and as a person who has a new 2012 PSP field on the way at the moment ... I'm disappointed.

I think the Ls will be used for the ends of the snake only - and we'll still use minibricks/cakes/etc to provide knuckles to move up.

What will be interesting is the design that comes out for Galveston, and afterwards what people think about it.

Nick Brockdorff said...

The only really good application with this bunker kit, is to make a diamond, with a can in the center, like old school SupAir and Hyperball.

That wasn't possible with the former field, as the lack of angles would make the whole thing too small to put a big centre bunker in it.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a diamond at the first PSP event, as a throwback to "the good old days" (a bunker that actually worked well and let players play creatively).... They could even put it in the centre, like the original Badlands Hyperball field, and move the half A to one of the wires ;)

After that, they are stumped for the next event, because this upgrade kit is pretty useless.

Anonymous said...

This is totally wrong for our sport. Manufacturer decides what kind of field we use.

Lose the M! It is o l d, too big and boring. (center bunker in millennium series)

Nick Brockdorff said...

The M is the worst bunker ever.... it is rarely playable, especially after they made the genious decision to get rid of bricks, and replace them with mini Ms, which are terrible too btw.

But hey, its good for branding..... how else would we know we were looking at the Millennium? ;)

I look forward to the day when PSP (Millennium will be the last to do it, for obvious reasons, so PSP has to go first), arrive at a set number of shapes, that they stick with, for years and years, instead of changing every 1-2 years.

Once they can make public they are sticking with a field kit for 3 or 4 years, it will give field owners confidence to buy a field themselves.

It does not have to be complicated.... Doritos and Cans especially, as well as Temples and Mayas, have stood the test of time, so we are halfway there.

I thought the beams had too, but apparently they felt the need to mess with what was working, instead of fixing what was broken.

k. said...

Why not call out to field owners and tournament holders to boycott the new props. I think a lot of players would agree and understand.
After all it is an age of protest, occupy etc.

nickgibson said...

Anyone else notice ag did not reply on pbnation its been awhile now.

CFP said...

I don't personally mind the "forced" upgrading each season. It wasn't too long ago that fields didn't last long enough to upgrade just a portion, but instead we needed to buy whole new fields each year. Even though it's a false choice between the two, I like this way better. The new props always generate some excitement and help keep things fresh.

I don't like the new shapes at all and I especially don't like that such a huge change could be implemented without the PSP even knowing it was coming. Even if it is part of the agreement, it seems like they would have done some opinion gathering before totally re-vamping something as iconic as the Snake. There was absolutely zero player demand for something like this to happen.

It would also be nice if someone could detail for me what "the snake being technical again" is actually supposed to mean. Sounds like some platitude a politician would say.

Chris said...

I guess I'm the only one who thinks the shapes will be better.

But one thing is certain, and it's not an opinion, but pretty close to fact.

If we started with this snack/shape combination first, and were now moving to the old version, would people still find reasons to complain and come up with a littany of reasons (as done above) as to why the change is a bad one?


Another thing to consider. What are the odds, of the old shape combo being exactly "right". What is the chance that Sup Air had previously nailed some Platonic, Ideal Shape and now they have departed from it?

Pretty slim odds to both questions. This is a bunch of sour grapes if you ask me.

Now, I'm not saying you can't make a good case as to why it's a bad bunker. And I'm not saying it won't have some pluses and minuses. But the fact is most people resist change. Inertia works on more than just physical objects...

I will say the one valid criticism I can see is... what is the benefit? Why change if no one was complaining? If they can list what the benefit is (convincingly), then the change would be "worth it" in my mind.

Nick Brockdorff said...

That is absolutely incorrect Chris

When the cakes replaced the tombstones, everyone (with a brain) said it was a great upgrade, because we got rid of the rounded bunker edges, that made the tombstones less "regular" and less "versatile" as bunkers..... not to mention that bunkers with rounded seams kept leaking, so field owners were repairing or replacing them all the time.

People also applauded the introduction of the medium cans, and the big A.

Ofcourse some will complain at any change, but if you poll the majority, or at least those that have a bit of experience, you will find people are pretty fair minded, and not just resistant to "everything new"

Baca Loco said...

I guess you are.
No, it's an opinion.
Nobody has made that arguement--except you.
Nobody asked.
Blah Blah Blah
The bigger issue is the conduct of AG in this fiasco and the arrogance on display in trying to dictate to both the PSP and the players for no reason beyond their bottom line.
Now go back to PBN where you belong.

Reiner Schafer said...

It'll probably only be for a year or two when the caterpillars will most likely turn into butterflies.

Anonymous said...

What is it about people who apparently care enough to respond to a debate, yet fail to even try to comprehend what the other side is saying? Chris must be a member of no lables.

Reiner Schafer said...

Give the guy a break. He's just expressing his opinion that he might like the bunkers better and that many people seem to complain just for the sake of complaining. He's right about that. If you read his last sentence, he's basically agreeing with everyone else anyway.