Tuesday, October 30, 2012

World Cup Wrap-Up

As you've likely noticed I failed to post everyday of the event. There were a couple of other things I failed to accomplish as well a little higher up the priority ladder, I'm afraid. Next time perhaps. In the meantime I'd like to congratulate all the teams and players who participated especially those who came home champions. Well done each and every one. There is no feeling like it to be had in competitive paintball.
Now for the snarky part. With all the divisions of play presently available there are like, what, four or five hundred winners now? The league was rushing peeps onto and off the podium like it was the conveyor belt scene in the candy factory from the old 'I Love Lucy' show. Does the fact there is a D5 Race 2-2 World Cup champion diminish the accomplishment? I'm just asking but do a bunch of old guys who play once a year really get to claim they are World Cup champs for a once a year novelty division? I'd be cool with Masters Division champions at World Cup but when every Tom, Dick & Pietro is claiming World Cup champions status it almost makes a mockery of the title, doesn't it? Or am I just an elitist snob?
Now that I've riled everybody up let's move on to 10-man. First I want to correct the VFTD record with regards to just how the latest bunkers (inflatable camo walls, etc.) from Sup'Air found their way onto the 10-man field. Prior speculation was consistent with known facts but I tracked down the 'rest of the story' while at Cup. The PSP asked Adrenaline Games [AD] if they could make a one off old school 10-man field. AD said they could but given that the league didn't begin promoting a 10-man division until relatively late in the season the league didn't want to commit to buying a field for a division that nobody might sign up for. At which point AD volunteered they had some new bunkers they thought could work. The PSP said okay and there you have it. The truth then is that AD didn't do anything (this time) other than offer bunkers they had available and the league, looking to hedge its bet on 10-man, accepted. I remain curious about when (or if) the league discovered just what they were getting. And, as it turns out, regardless of what they expected or wanted the majority of 10-man players I spoke to liked the field and enjoyed playing. (While not a done deal VFTD believes the PSP will continue to offer 10-man play in a limited way in the future.)
One of the few places where this World Cup struggled a bit was in scheduling and one place it showed up was late Saturday afternoon on the pro field. The issue here wasn't that the schedule was wrong but that it probably should have been done another way, by divisions, even though teams within the divisions wouldn't all have played common opponents it would have produced clearer results. As it turned out with the last game played, Dynasty v. Heat, eight of the fourteen pro teams finished with 3-1 records. The problem, only 6 move on to Sunday. The top seeds--by margins of victory--were Damage and Heat which received byes into the semis. The next two, Ironmen and X-Factor had identical records and identical margins. The next tiebreaker is head-to-head but it didn't apply so their tie-breaker went to points scored making X-Factor the third seed and the Ironmen the fourth seed. Here it gets tough. The next three teams; Vicious, Infamous and the Russian Legion were all tied through point margins and since there were 3 teams the tiebreaker went directly to points scored which eliminated Vicious. (If there had been a head-to-head Vicious would have put out Infamous.) And finally there was Dynasty with the lowest margin of all so they too were eliminated.
All the pro teams played hard, win or lose, and there was a rumor going around the pits on Saturday that CEP would be playing Shock to retain their sponsorship. I don't know if that proved true or not but how's that for a strong incentive? Do you rise to the top or fold under the pressure?
In top divisional play Sunday delivered a few surprises (Florida Kings in D1) but mostly saw the consistent podium teams back on the podiums as the winners from D1 thru D3 were also their division series winners as well; T1 Topgun Union in D1, Revo in D2 and Palm Beach Venom in D3.
Despite the proximity of Sandy and some unseasonable temperatures the weekend provided some excellent paintball playing weather excepting Florida was only able occasionally to live up to it's nickname as the sunshine state. Compared to some past years when it's been blisteringly hot this was probably a welcome respite. As is often said here in Florida if you don't like the weather wait an hour.
Word on site was that while it wasn't the most teams ever (and it definitely wasn't) it was probably the most players ever at a World Cup and by the daily crush in the parking lot it is hard to disagree with that assessment. It also seemed to me--though I didn't spend a lot of time or energy on it--that there were considerably more fans, visitors, spectaters, friends of players about than we've seen in recent years--and I saw a lot more people carrying bags around like they'd been in to see the various vendors and had actually bought stuff. Purely anecdotal but reports from the big vendors will likely leak before too long so we'll see. There was a lot of new and different stuff on display.
A quick clarification on the webcast. I am told that there were points where Damage was playing and the new feature that shows which players were on the field sometimes only indicated four Damage players. That happened not because of unexplained penalties but because the PBA apparently didn't have a photo of Daniel Holliday to show so he was our mystery man all weekend. I didn't see any of the Cup coverage and haven't gone back--yet--to watch any of it so can't comment on the latest improvements.
On a personal note to everyone I ran into at Cup--especially those I haven't seen in forever (Ronan, Big Dave)--it was great to see y'all again. Friends are a great tonic for some of the nonsense that surrounds our game and helps keep everything in perspective.
And finally both last and least I was tapped for 3 interviews during Cup and guess how many of them actually happened. If you guessed none give yourself a cookie. MattyHo you can't keep dodging me forever. (Well, actually you probably can as I get older and slower every year.) If I didn't know better I'd swear it was a conspiracy of silence but as long as VFTD is here then so am I.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Baca, I think you're a bit off on the Vicious - Infamous - Legion tiebreaker.

With the 5 teams tied at the same margin, head-to-head doesn't apply, so you would advance XFactor and Ironmen as you mentioned. Then you restart the tiebreaker order. Dynasty had the lower margin, so they drop out, leaving Vicious - Infamous - Legion. Vicious beat Infamous, who beat Legion, who beat Vicious, so head to head doesn't apply. They were all tied on margin, so points scored was the next tiebreaker. Infamous had the most points scored with 23, so they were the 5th seed. That left Legion and Vicious, and since Vicious lost their match against Legion, Legion got the sixth spot.

Anonymous said...

obvious to anyone with eyes is the strong distaste Damage has for XSV and vice-versa. Maybe not unlikely enemies if you know the backstory (I don't) but kind of unusual regardless. Rich Telford was talking about how good it felt to smash Damage during the Splatmaster competition which I thought was brash seeing as Damage missed OT by a few seconds. I hope the beef can be squashed as I think XSV has a good energy to them. The webcast keeps getting better and there's a glimmer of legitimacy. Lets hope PBA doesn't go under, what do we do to prevent that, buy a DM13?

Baca Loco said...

Anon #1
Will you be available for the next tourney?

Anon #2
You are entitled to think what you like.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Webcast was better than ever - I especially enjoy the feature showing in almost realtime, who got killed by whom.

The webcast is definitely also better when both Chris Lasoya and Todd Martinez are on deck - one gives a good coaching perspective (and is funny as hell - "I'm Todd Martinez and I approved this message" :D), the other a good tactical perspective..... and in many instances, Matt Marshal might be better off acting as a moderator for those two, rather than as the lead anchor, as he is getting a tendency to be very repetitive, which is probably understandable, with all his airtime :)

Anonymous said...

Agreed Nick. Marshall wants to shoulder too much. A good leader lets others take the main role when they can execute. Case in point is their telestrater madden style thing. Marty should not be doing it. He wasn't effective at combining it and his primary role of filling the silence.

Missy Q said...

Was the Field really that sticky? It seemed that, the more evenly matched the teams, the longer the points were, until the games actually became tedious and a little frustrating for the crowd, who showed their displeasure by 'booing' during the slower points, and through the Pro final.
Games on Thursday & Friday were exciting enough, but from Saturday onwards games went to time, and even to overtime, too often. It also seemed in your pro-final game that the field just didn't allow for any kind of ingenuity or aggressive play. Was this something you were frustrated with as coach?

Anonymous said...

The slow play seemed to start with the Impact vs. Ironmen prelim game Saturday 11:30am.

Nick Brockdorff said...

The slow play is a result of the ever shrinking fields, paired with teams and players getting better and better tactically and technically.

It happens almost every event, as the teams get more and more field time, the games slow down.

Adrenaline Games need to focus on changing the bunker kits, so that the centre of the field becomes a viable avenue of attack, rather than just a place you use to contain attacks on the wires.

Anonymous said...

I don't claim to know anything about live broadcasting but I remember when they tried in Dennis Miller on MNF it became apparent that 3's a crowd. Generally two analysts is enough, 1 color, 1 stats/facts. I think they could stand to lose Lasoya, he's not really contributing anything. Also I feel like there's too much "that's not what I would do" type commentary. Obviously Matt and Todd and Chris are pros but after the umpteenth match it comes off as daft. One thing Matt could apply is the less is more approach. Al Michaels once said you gotta know when to shut up.

Baca Loco said...

Part of the issue of slow points and matches is highly predictable layouts with limited viable movement choices--and adding a few more bunkers and eliminating the A (or the M) would open up the design potential--

But, I think it's more about risk aversion (or fear of making a critical mistake) that plays a bigger role. There is also the issue of play styles and the majority of teams are counterpunchers so it's little wonder things slow down as nobody wants to give the other team the small advantage they need to take the tight, highly contested point(s).

That said I do believe expanded bunker kits would go a long way to resolving that "problem." Though I wouldn't leave it in AG hands exclusively for the obvious reason they've already demonstrated they are more interested in what suits AG as opposed to their primary customers.

TJ said...

How do you fix slow points?

Increase the point limit. Then players will be more willing to try crazy moves because there is more time to recover from mistakes. Also, the fields need to change a lot. Adrenaline games DOES NOT need to be involved with the field creation process. If anything, they need to be dropped entirely, but we all know that won't happen.

As for the webcast, I thought this event was OK at best. The wind shaking the bird's eye view cameras was extremely annoying and made them almost unusable at times. The commentators remain a giant clique using the same vocabulary that has been beat to death already. They focus on players / teams that they seem to have a relationship with in some way and it's really annoying.

Grant said...

A few observations...

Field layouts, especially the new snake set is making for boring play.

Having 8 teams all with the same win/loss ratio is always going to make people cry foul! Are 4 pre-lim matches enough?

The amount of paint players are allowed to bring on to the field is still, in my opinion absurd given how game-play is slowing down and how ongoing paint costs continue to be the nail in the coffin for many of the lower division tourny teams.

If anyone caught the Millennium webcast then you probably wouldn't bag Matty so much. All in all it was one of the better webcasts - the on-field girl reporting did a decent job and for once players didn't swear but would have liked to hear more comments from coaches after games.

A little improvement to the webcast would be a field graphic pointing out the most used lanes or most used primary bunkers.

Missy Q said...

I agree that the commentators need a proper color-guy. 3 pundits is a crowd and no-ones willing to be the guy that's not the expert, or ask the questions people want answered. They need a pundit & color-guy armed with the post-point analysis, then a straight-up commentator for the points themselves. There are some ego's in play for sure, so we will see what happens. The most interesting news is that Pat Spohrer is no longer involved in the webcast.

Anonymous said...

My Mr. c (lower case) says 4 props may be added next season, and they are familiar ones (i.e. ones that are currently in use, just more of them).

nickgibson said...

I like todd and matty alot with more todd talking during the actual playing myself.

Anonymous said...

Todd is definitely the best one at his job. He helps drive the content forward. It's interesting to listen to Todd. It's interesting to listen to guys like Telford as well.

Matty is really good when he shuts his mouth, and thinks about things before talking. When he takes some time to put together his thoughts he's really incisive.

But his attempt to sound analytical all the time ends up filling the air with noise.

Have Todd talk more, since he's enjoyable to listen to 60% of the time, and then Matty can follow-up with something insightful after he's had a chance to compose his thoughts.

Mike said...

Honestly, Matty does a good job with interviews etc, but yeah I also agree he gets repetitive / boring.

Todd does a really solid job.

I loved Davey Williamson. He calls the play well but also makes it entertaining and is pretty funny.

George Kalkowsky said...

The webcast is great. It's never been done before so for anybody it would be a learning process. Matty has a good background (English) but he should get like super critical on himself and break down his tapes and upgrade his shit. Seems to have plateaued in his development. Should try to build a system for commentary, just like hockey and football or basketball, it's a dynamic script.

George Kalkowsky said...

One of my real peeves though has been the commercials. Paintball commercials suck. Like top to bottom illegitimate. But they're getting better, and the number of commercials aired is increasing. This is exciting because mainstream sponsors may come and sprinkle in their outside money. Probly not enough to put a dent in the webcast budget yet, but with the introduction of PBA and their marketing it seems like paintball has a better chance than ever to be accelerate its growth.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Yep, and this time around, some of the advertisers have even paid ;)

Missy Q said...

I agree that the ads suck. They don't just suck as visual stimulous, they also suck because they don't perform for the people that create them. There's no call to action, and no means of measuring response or value, which is entirely possible with web-based marketing. It's like no-one knows how to market themselves these days.

Nick Brockdorff said...

"These days"?

Come on Missy - did paintball companies EVER know how to do marketing? :D

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