Thursday, February 16, 2012

Last Word on the New Snake Props

Let's get the big question settled up front. The PSP Galveston layout is a playable design with a potentially very active snake that is capable of promoting (or inviting) explosive action. [In large measure because it's going to be damn difficult to intentionally shoot anyone out of it. It will however be possible to spray a lot of paint around and clip careless, large, clumsy and unprepared players all day every day.] Will that necessarily happen? No. How a field is played is ultimately in the hands of the teams and players but this layout is not the slower play norm propagated last season--although I suspect that's more of a happy accident than anything else.
It could also very easily prove to be a very difficult field to play but that too will be dependent on how teams analyse the layout and execute their game plans. If you want to play vanilla it will play vanilla and you can drag points out--particularly if your opponent settles for the same. If they discover a trick or two you aren't aware of it will also be possible to lose a few points very quickly. Do your homework.

Okay, that's the short term positive. What about the longer term? I think the layout confirms every concern that VFTD and others had from the first release of information and images of these new bunkers. The bunkers clearly don't function independently. They do not free up props for other uses or placements. They dictate the rest of the field in order to accommodate the new props and they certainly don't help fulfill the PSP's desire to offer a fully competitive but more forgiving playing environment. Did I leave anything out?  Probably but if you've been following the prior debates you know the score. No need to re-hash it again.
Here is where I would have liked to tell you why this decision and not something else. I can't because I don't know. I do know a number of options were considered. I strongly urged a different decision and I did so based on my concern for how these props will play in the lower divisions. (Of course all dressed up like this Galveston layout it's a different scenario.) Even so the apparently widening gulf between rec and competitive paintball at the grassroots isn't helped by this new, technical snake either. Still, I'm not privy to all the in's and out's and it's easy to focus on one potential concern perhaps to the detriment of others I'm unaware of.
Unfortunately there is also something of a Pandora's Box quality to having chosen to go this route. Even with the limitations involved it shouldn't be a problem to generate 5 designs that will satisfy the PSP and its player base for 2012. (That said by mid-season and after there's a good chance we see some consistent themes emerge.) But it will be an ongoing issue. What happens in 2013 or 2014? If everyone acknowledges the bunkers were a mistake what happens? Another kit undoing the effects of this one? Or a different kit of new props making the new snake more versatile and no longer holding the rest of the design hostage to the snake layout? Or the status quo carrying over trying to avoid another year another bunker kit upgrade? I'll be honest, none of those options sound like winners to me but I also don't see a better option given the path we're now on. For whatever reason the PSP made the call to accept the new props that choice also locked them into some future decisions.


steve said...

I keep coming back to making the game more accessible to less athletic and/or older players. This kit is the worst of two worlds. It makes the snake smaller and more technical and the bunkers it frees to fill in around the field are small (cakes and mini races). The idea of bringing older players back to the sport (they have money) is sound, why are we not moving in that direction.

BTW, I just paid for the upgrade kit. I am not looking forward to paying Sup Air another grand to fix this next year, but if we start moving in a positive direction I guess it will be easier to accept.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I agree with everything Paul said in the initial blog.

One possible solution, is for PSP to return to the 2011 bunker kit next year.... it's not like field owners are going to throw 6 beams out.... they will keep them in store.

laurent H. said...

I am not going to speak about the new snake. I will do it later (In april) with a clear explanation of all the reasons. It is obvious that a lot of people do not to get it which regarding all comments, i can understand.

The subject which is the most important is that today the paintball sport game we have create through the past years is not suitable anymore for old/non athletic players and it will be more and more the case. We have create a real sports which is now not compatible anymore for all customers.
We (EPBF-PSP...) are working on a new game concept for this kind of people which today do not and can not have fun anymore with the paintball sport game like it is today.
Like in other sports ( car racing for exemple), we need to create for this category of players (which have money)a game where they can have fun, where the athletic part is not important. People like john Sosta in England for exemple and he is not the only one are testing new format which are very successfull and it is according to me the way to go.

Anonymous said...

The Formula 5 Sosta is working on is a crap format that deadlocks into boring games and standoffs easily and is trying to fix issues that are not even broken in the first place. It has no following outside Sostas peer group.

For commercial reasons you are trying to split formats, strongarm both leagues and don't even get me started about this "EPBF" which is basicly Millennium board appearing as "player federation" in Europe.

It has nothing to do with popularity of paintball as a sport, you are artificially trying to create "slobs"ball and "sport"ball, when there is absolutely no need for such divide. Make standard large bunkers, stop making shitty small bunkers that even the pros don't want to play. Create interesting layouts instead of the crap that was MS 2011.

You might have forced PSP to accept this shit this time, but there are others who can manufacture bunkers, its not exactly highend technology..

Every time someone critiques these aspects, your lament that particular player or organization to be "against paintball" so public discussion is impossible. I wonder how long it takes you to diss Nick in public for calling out your BS?

Now in a blog you claim you are going to divide paintball even further into multiple different formats, to what ends? Yours it seems.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, in all fairness, Laurent has never called me out publicly when I criticise, so I don't think it is going to happen this time around either.

He is (usually) a person that can handle critique, as long as he knows it comes from an honest place, and is well thought out.

Also, as I have written him personally already, before all the public debating started, I have a great deal of respect for what he and the MS has achieved in the past.

However (which I also wrote him), I feel they have grown complacent, and have become more focussed on milking the cow they have, rather than trying to expand the herd.

The new snake is not going to "save" nor "destroy" paintball - it's a pointless "upgrade", that, if anything, makes everything slightly worse - and that is my key argument: "pointless" (except for making money off field owners).

That the props themselves are ill conceived, just compounds the problem slightly.... but my real issue, is the thinking it is indicative of.

Paintball is not going to be changed for the better, through making props harder to play... but really, that is not what's important either.

What IS important, is how to get a much broader base for our sport.

We are still in a place, where (an estimated) 90 % of people that try paintball, never see an airball field, nor have any clue they can do paintball as a sport.

THAT is what the MS board (and PSP board) should be focussed on, because if they can come up with a format that trickles down to local fields, and makes entry level paintball SPORT affordable, then this sport can once again see double digit growth numbers.

They should be looking at paint consumption, fire rates, fields designs, bunkers "average Joe" can play, etc. - not messing about bunkers to make them "more technical" (which is really another way of saying "hey, let's make the snake really hard for 95 % of the players")

Baca Loco said...

Thank you Laurent for posting your comments. At it's best I like to think this happy little blog provides an opportunity for something closer to real dialogue than the typical forum.

Setting aside for a moment the specific issue of the new snake--after all it is a done deal for now and I think everybody has a clear idea of where everybody else stands--the new snake (and Laurent's coments)bring into stark relief one of the umbrella issues facing paintball as sport: What is best for the game moving forward and how do we get there from here?

Baca Loco said...

Which is fundamentally the issue Nick is addressing.

Reiner Schafer said...

Yeah, I'm not convinced having a separate set of bunkers for a less athletic version of speedball is the answer. It certainly doesn't make much sense from a field owner's point of view. The extra cost associated with buying different bunkers as well as the logistics of setting up either two seperarate fields with different bunkers sets or worse, taking down and setting up a different set alternately, doesn't sound like something most field owners would relish.

So in this case, I'm with Nick in that it makes more sense to have one and the same game, at least as bunkers go, from top to bottom.

Having said that, I'm not adverse to the idea of having the game be somewhat different at the lower levels, as a matter of fact, think it should be quite a bit different.

Anonymous said...

I get a kick out of it whenever someone says people who are not athletic are no longer interested in the sport because of the bunkers, or the ROF, or whatever.

The reasons non-athletes don't enjoy competition anymore is simple:


Athletes that shoot at you.

Trying to make competitive paintball attractive to non-athletes is simply never going to happen, because no matter what you do, the athletes are going to beat the non-athletes. And that's simply not fun for the non-athletes.

This is not a paintball thing. It happens in ALL team and head-to-head competitive sports. That's why virtually everyone "ages out" of sports like football, basketball, baseball, soccer, etc. If you're not enough of an athlete in high school, you quit. Not enough of an athlete in college, you quit. Don't make it pro, you quit. That's reality. Fighting it is stupid.

If we want more people to play competitive paintball, the only people we have a chance with are athletes, and the only way to get more athletes to play is to cut their costs to compete.

We are never ever going to go back to the days where there is a place for old fat people with money to play paintball tournaments. There is nothing we can do to keep them from getting killed by young, fast 16-year-olds.

Anonymous said...

Old Fat People Sports:


What do they have in common?

A bunch of 18-year-old athletes showing up to play doesn't affect your game at all.

Nick Brockdorff said...

The term "athletes" is being thrown around a lot lately, but I think different people understand the word differently.

Let me use an example I think most will understand:

Would Babe Ruth be able to play MLB today?

- Those that understand "athlete" as being in peak physical condition, will say no

- Those that understand "athlete" as having trained to get really good at a skill, which is inherintly important in the sport, would say yes.

I am part of the second group.

Babe Ruth is - arguably - one of the greatest hitters of all time, and that one skill would still have value in todays MLB, despite him not being even at High School level in any other part of the sport.

Paintball, being a highly technical sport, is the same way I believe.

It doesn't matter if you are slow, fat and old... if you get a kill every point, because you are great at break shooting and laning, you are still a star.... Ask any Pro coach, if he likes a guy that averages a kill per point, and he will tell you yes, irrespective of that guys physique.

So, our sport has ample room for different types of players.... and it should have.

To purposely make our sport harder for those that are not athletic, is shooting ourselves in the foot - what's the point of taking that route, except to decrease the playing population?

It's not like the pro division today, is overpopulated with old, fat, slow players - they are the exception, rather than the rule.... so why the need for a change, that really mostly has an impact in the lower divisions, where the "less athletic" players are more commonly found?

I'm not against change, in fact I regularly advocate it, but change in a direction that will decrease participation is insanity.

Nick Brockdorff said...

One of the things paintball does really well, is allow people of both sexes to compete, even well into their 40s.

It makes us a sport many can take up, even late in life, when they can no longer compete in other sports.

Change that, and we become like any other sport.... and then suddenly we have to compete with them on their terms, where we are weakest, because we lack both history and social integration, in most communities.

Anonymous said...

There is the possibility of the league trying to make the points faster. The faster the games the more money the league makes and the less paint the teams shoot.

Baca Loco said...

Last Anon
Sup'Air provides the layouts. The PSP okays them. In the case of Galveston Sup'Air made a concerted effort to allay concerns over the new snake.
As to the way any given field will play I am unconvinced anyone actively part of the process has a good handle on making that kinda judgment. :)