Saturday, March 31, 2012

HB Thursday & Friday

We flew in Wednesday night. All of us except Timmy who arrived Thursday morning at John Wayne. At the venue we picked up some paint and two bags of pods from Galveston transported by our friends at CP. Then it was off to Whittier Ranch to get some field time practicing the HB layout with Infamous. Turns out Whittier Ranch is really a working ranch--just off the 605 in Whittier. Manure to spare. When we arrive Infamous and Legend have been there for an hour or two already along with divisional team TCP Machine. By 3:30 pm we've run through our paint and are beginning to feel comfortable with our lanes, breakouts and general game plans. Communication will need to improve but we're a lot closer to ready than we were before.
Returning to the beach--and the venue--we worked through the registration process--which remains just another NPPL revenue stream but at least it's more efficient than the Millennium process was last week--and then we walked the grandstand field as the sun dipped toward the Pacific horizon. Divisional games were played for much of the day Thursday. We heard field two, beside the pier, was closed for a time due to paint bouncing off props and over the netting onto the pier. There was talk of raising additional netting to protect the pier and passersby. There was also a minor surprise on the field itself. The newest set of NPPL props (from Adrenaline Games) have shrunk and once again, it looks to be a decision made by the manufacturer without consulting the affected league. Full-sized Cans are about five-sixths the size they were before. The same holds true for the Mayan Temples, the Cubes and even the Wings. Otherwise everything looks to be in order although there's no sign of how or where the webcast cameras will be positioned. (Sometime Thursday night or early Friday all that was taken care of though I heard during the day on Friday that there were issues early Friday with the broadcast being down or inaccessible.) Well, everything except the pits. The pits are at one end of the field and there's less space in each one than in a comparable PSP pit yet each is expected to serve 2 7-man teams plus staff at the same time. It has proved over the course of the first day's play to be workable but only just. Each pit has a flat screen displaying game data like score, time outs, time to play and the countdown to game on clock. Similar but larger screens are on display for the grandstand incongruously zip tied to supports made out of two by fours. The info is there but it's hard to see at any distance.
The weather reports say Friday will be the warmest and nicest day of the weekend. The morning begins cool, overcast and hazy. Our first match is at 10 am. When we arrive Dynasty is playing Vendetta. We're scheduled to play at 10 am in the third set of the morning against Arsenal. The Race 2 format as translated by the NPPL is a solid improvement over the traditional 7-man format. And as the teams and officials get acclimated the schedule allows for a little laxity in running the turnaround between matches. Even so every now and again a team burns a time out in order to get all 7 players on field for their next breakout and more than once teams started down bodies. Despite the occasional blip the whole runs smoothly.
I still don't know how Sunday will break down for the Pros but it doesn't matter as long as you keep winning. Also no word yet on the data collected from the Virtue chips or the stats promised from that data. At the moment it doesn't really matter.
Today's game play saw 2 teams from each bracket go 2-0. In one group Dynasty & Infamous went 2-0 and in the other it was Damage & Impact. 2 teams in each bracket also went 0-2 leaving 3 teams in each group at 1-1. Nothing is setled yet so there remains hope for those teams that started slowly. In three matches on Friday teams reached 5 points.
Throughout the day's play we kept making minor changes and our game improved as the points accumulated. We enter Saturday's play confident but not overly so. Things can shift from match to match and even point from point but we had a strong showing to begin the event. The plan is to build on that beginning and continue getting better.
Among the pro teams the word is two teams are shooting GI Sportz while eight others are shooting RPS with the remaining four teams are shooting Valken. Another curiosity is the rumor that the league is insisting that on site vendors not sell Dye products. It has been confirmed by a few but I hesitate to claim that is really what's happening as it sounds so outlandish on its face. There is also talk the banning isn't limited to Dye but also includes Kee stuff as well. If true what's the point for some regional retailers to support the league if some percentage of their stocks can't be sold on site? More if hear anything further. And more tomorrow on the results of the Pro prelims.

18 comments:

Dan said...

I like playing 7 man, but holy crap some things that league does is strange. Surprise bunker change, banning sale of a brand of product. Thats one step short of not allowing gear onto the field not made by a league sponsor, just as the paint already is.

Neal said...

1. I thought those Maya temples looked weird.

2. Ban kee but put an image of Dynasty rocking Vents on the main NPPL landing page?

3. You were at Whittier my home field? I should have taken thursday off!

Full Bore said...

This event seems to be a shadow of the HBs of old, the webcast is lamentable, poor camera placement, terrible mixing and laggy transmission and intermittent sound. Bless Bea, she is so out of touch after her time out, it shouldn't be that the guests in the box are doing a so much better job than the anchor!

Wish I was there, er, no, not really!

Baca Loco said...

Neal
Sorry we missed ya.

Full Bore
Realistically no venue is gonna last indefinitely while maintaining its original appeal. People get used to things and the shine wears off--even HB. Which is why a league's focus always needs to be on the paintball. Deliver a quality competition time and again and the players will play.

Anonymous said...

You know what would be nice? A scoreboard where you could actually tell what the scores were.

Anonymous said...

Or a webcast where you could actually watch the webcast...

Baca Loco said...

Anon
Fair enough but unlike times past the effort is being made. Yeah, the webcast is low rent but it's free and ain't cheap.

Anonymous said...

The psp webcast is free and does not suck balls. Sorry, at some point we have to stop giving nppl credit for trying and start recognizing that the result is always failure.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff. I didnt know about the different bunker sizing you mentioned - now we are all looking forward to your take on Saturday and Sunday, and specifically the very end of Sunday.

Baca Loco said...

April Fools Anon
I don't disagree--at least not strongly. My point is a different one though. First, despite the opinions of some of the targets of VFTD, I try to be as open-minded and fair as I can and when it comes to stuff like webcasts there are a number of ways of looking at them and the resulting product. For example, does League A view their webcast as principally a cost with little other than public relations and perhaps some promotional value? Does league B simply have a very limited budget and are doing what they can to make it work best as they can? These and other questions are ones I don't have an answer for in every case and since the webcast is a freebie I'm inclined to give some benefit of the doubt.

Anonymous said...

The was a similar prior-issue with Dye back in 06/07. They don't want to support the league as a manufacturer/sponsor but still want the substantial sales that come from the HB event. They ask California paintball stores to attend and sell their product instead. Often they even provide the store with the inventory to sell on an SOR basis.
The league tried to prevent this at the time, but it's not realistically possible to do. Dye are being cheap and working the back-door, which isn't something they should be proud of, but the league can't legally stop them from being represented by a 3rd party.

Baca Loco said...

12:30 Anon
I'll take your word for it--except that bit about substantial sales--maybe in another era--but I was mostly addressing the retail vendors who did show. If the league is gonna enforce that kinda policy on retailers they're gonna lose them too, seems to me.

Anonymous said...

Historically HB does provide the 2nd best sales-numbers at MLP events for vendors, after the cup, which is for a full week and usually has more new product launches.

Missy Q said...

man some memories are so short...

the NPPL webcast result is not 'always failure'. The NPPL (under Pure Promotions) were the first to have a webcast for paintball, they pioneered it, and did a very good job. Such a good job in fact that the PSP decided that they had to have one too.
So, don't 'give them credit for trying', instead give them credit for the creation of 'the paintball webcast' which now, according to the fickle fans of today, leagues HAVE to have (for free, obviously...)

Unknown said...

The webcast wasn't great, but the parts that worked weren't all bad either. I've seen worse webcasts from both tournaments. That being said, what was up with J-Rab in the finals? What was the argument with the ref before he went ballistic?

Mike said...

Anonymous said...
"Dye are being cheap and working the back-door, which isn't something they should be proud of, but the league can't legally stop them from being represented by a 3rd party."


I think it makes good business sense to allow your distributors the opportunity to make some money at HB. If Dye showed up and set up shop they would be in direct competition with the locale business's that represent them ...

Anonymous said...

you mean like at every other event? The righteous angle only works if you do it across the board.

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