Monday, September 10, 2012

NITPN: Alternate Leagues & Formats

NITPN = Not in the Paintball News. I saw a notice on Facebook yesterday. (The only reason I was "on" Facebook is I was being held hostage by pirates who were trying to break my spirit and I was about ready to spill the beans when they lost their hotspot and ... that's all a big fat lie, of course, but it might have been true. Have I ever mentioned I despise social media? Well, I do. Hate Twitter with a passion. too.) Anyway, what I saw was a notice for the new intermediate division RT5 to be offered next year by the CXBL. The Canadian (not quite good enough to be American) Xball League. If you know anything about the CXBL you've probably heard they play "real" xball--and they do--but that isn't all they do. They have a beginners division called CX4 that plays a variant of traditional 5-man except with 4 players per side and a no ramping capped at 10 ROF. RT5 will be a modified xball lite/Race 2 allowing ramping but still capped at 10. The idea is the two pre-xball formats lead step by step into the full on xball format. It seems to me there's still a pretty big step up from RT5 to RXL but that's not what interested me. It's the different ROFs. Yes, I know the PSP wussed out and bailed on progressive ROF a couple of years ago but it isn't a dead letter issue and the CXBL proves it. The other thing the CXBL proves is that there's still room for different brands of competitive paintball. (Granted, the majority of world competitive paintball is now an xball type variant which suggests the game is slowly coalescing into a world game.) And there still ought to be an ongoing debate about what is best for the game and its players--and progressive ROF is an overwhelming good.
The fledgling NPL recently closed their first season. (Link here & here.) Whatever else you may think of their brand of competitive paintball--and how its structured--to my mind the key is that they are truly local. It isn't an overly complicated game. It's fast paced (and on a slightly smaller field of play) would probably prove to have real potential for improving the all around skill profile of new to speedball players. What I like here--at least conceptually--is that the NPL is a format that may be able to bridge players into competitive paintball in ways that perhaps the more highly regulated APPA family of league and affiliate leagues perhaps can't. (Their focus is on creating a universal vertical hierarchy of players and I'm unconvinced it's the best option for beginners.)
So what's the point? Not only does competitive paintball have room for more than one game it almost certainly needs more than one game in order to reach its widest audience and grow in popularity. Each game variant, each format is a laboratory of competition with the potential to improve the game and its players. While it runs contrary to the nature of competition itself (somebody wins, somebody loses) perhaps we should embrace the different possibilities as they offer the prospect of making positive contributions to the sport of competitive paintball in the future.

9 comments:

nickgibson said...

I'm hoping to play 10 man at world cup and I'm excited.

Anonymous said...

The CXBL is a failing format. Too expensive, that's why they are watering it down. Looking to Canada for MLP idea's is not the way forward. They went from 3 conferences to one, and their participation has shrunk more than MLP in the US.

Baca Loco said...

Nick
Good luck with that. I know I'll be at least catching a game or two to watch just for fun. I am mildly disappointed that Open doesn't really mean open as I was kinda hoping to see an OG Strange or Trauma team play.

Anon
If CXBL is a failing format what are Canadians playing instead? Or is it more accurate to say that participant numbers in competitive events is down?
Progressive ROF is still a good idea. :)

Reiner Schafer said...

Canada is a very big, sparsely populated place. National leagues don't work very well here. Teh CXBL never took off in western Canada, because it's even less densely populated. When there are only a handful of people in a few cities dedicated to taking part, it's bound to be a failure (at least in paintball where there is no outside revenue to speak of).

On the west coast here, local competitions seem to be trying to pick up the pieces. But in general, it seems participation in competitive paintball is still very low in general. This from an outsider perspective.

Anonymous said...

Reiner has it right, national competition is being replaced by regional events, with the more serious teams opting to travel to NPPL or PSP events to get the MLP fix.
CXBL is a controlled series, in that they tell you what paint you can shoot and how much you're going to be charged for it. So not only do teams have to play 'real Xball' and absorb those associated costs, they also get gouged on the price of paint, and even have to buy their jerseys from the league (if they lose the jersey they have to pay a $200 fine. It's not a sustainable format, which the US leagues realised years ago. As the league has shrunk the CXBL have actually increased costs so that they still earn well. The whole thing is a house of cards.

Anonymous said...

Why couldn't an OG Strange or Trauma team play? None of those guys should still have Pro classifications.

nickgibson said...

Im a little upset about the not so open thing myself

ScotchMonster said...

Did I ever tell you I hate Blogger? Frustrating @ best-just like CXBL-Anon 12:12 has good points-I posted on TDot the sentiment that as consumers we vote with our wallets and that competition is healthy, attributes which Canadian paintball lacks right now since both money and competition are scarce on the sponsor front. Baca I agree progressive ROF is good for player development which I have always respected in your posts. But CXBL manufactures and dictates the league-DOH! Something players should consider when they chose which league they support. Sometimes being independant has its advantage-I do see one local series doing well in the hood but who else here has sold their soul just to shoot cheaper paint?

Dan said...

I play in Canada and really enjoy it. So much that I'll be cutting down my American participation (read: nppl)I don't what you guys think is "too expensive" I played three mxl events last year for the cost of 1.5 psp's.
As far as I understand it the jerseys are part of the franchise fee, not an additional thing. And its really not difficult to keep track of it for 4 months.
As I also understand it, the elite division is exempt from paint restrictions.
The cxbl is sustainable as long as it doesn't get beyond itself.

Anon 9:44... What exactly have they watered down?