Okay, I lied. About that last post being the last MS related post for a while. The thing is I had intended to incorporate this post into the last one--but changed my mind. (Even the title of the other post was chosen because of the content in this one. Oops.) So it wasn't exactly a lie, more an unintended consequence of thinking the assorted ideas through. You should be used to it. Happens all the time in paintball. (No, not the thinking things through part, the lying part.)
If you've been reading the St. Tropez posts you may recall a comment or two that was mildly disparaging of the Euro style of play. I want to expand on that theme. (Making friends and influencing peeps.) (It isn't all of the teams but it is an easily recognizable pattern common to many of the teams.)
While none of the major leagues have a functioning game philosophy they all have some general ideas about the direction the game has gone in recent years and what future developments they may want to institute. For example, the PSP has a not-quite-guiding principle that as much as possible all the divisions should play the same game and it is a concept taken into consideration when changes are discussed. (Except when it isn't.) The NPPL's guiding precept is solvency--despite the for the player rhetoric--hence the wholesale changes looking for a formula that will at least break even. (Hey, desperation isn't necessarily a bad thing--unless it involves giving Pev an open mike.) The MS is a bit different in that there are more voices at the table that expect to be heard, more bickering and more agendas being pursued. For purposes of this post though only one agenda is relevant. It is the one that envisions the ideal game of paintball being a fast & furious explosion of action resolved quickly and repeated as rapidly as possible. A notion that the Euro players seem to have bought into as well. (Here is where I confess I too am largely persuaded that speed is the ultimate killer. But that's not exactly what the Eurokids put into practice. Too often it looked like aggression for aggression's sake regardless of the situation or the player's awareness, or lack thereof.)
In support of that idea the MS stayed with the prior field dimensions when the PSP changed. They have also followed a tacit plan to design layouts that promote that style of play--or at least discourage anything remotely defensively-oriented. On the other hand they lowered the cap on the ROF. And introduced the 'technical' snake. Both of which are mitigating factors given the way the league seems to want the game to be played.
And what do changes of these sorts accomplish? If left in place long enough they change the way teams will practice. They reorder the priority assigned to the various skills employed to play, etc. In myriad subtle ways they change how the game is approached, conceived and played with most everyone involved seldom, if ever, giving it a second thought.
Then there is the cornerstone of the league's officiating policy; don't ask, don't tell. No, that's not it. It's no unobvious hits, no need to make a subjective call. Which should, in a rational universe, have a chilling effect on play and yet doesn't seem to. Let me explain. What situations are most likely to result in refs calling 1-4-1's? (No, not players cheating. Well yes, but that isn't a situation, that's a choice. Not the same thing.) The situation is players on the move, shooting their guns, intent on being proactive. Getting shot in that situation is practically the MS definition of a 1-4-1. Given a moment to consider then one might reasonably presume that greater risk attaches to such action compared to the likely reward. Doesn't it follow then that taking that risk should only occur when the player has a reasonable expectation they are in control of the situation? And yet point after point the Eurokids run around with no more apparent rationale than excited molecules with the refs running about throwing flags and pulling bodies. Is the outcome of points like that truly determinative of superior play or skills--or is it a crapshoot based on what the refs saw or didn't see? Or acted on or chose not to act on?
So what makes teams play that way? Are they committed to attempting a style of play they don't know how to execute? Is the reffing less rigorous and consistent than claimed making the risk versus reward balance more closely in the players' minds? Both? Something else?
Does the Millennium ever think about what sort of game they want to be promoting when they make decisions about how they will run their events?