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.