Friday, November 2, 2012

PSP Pro Bracket 2013

This is going to be interesting--not to say a serious complication in all likelihood for the league next season. The 14 teams at Cup carried the pro event over an extra day which extended the webcast by a day. It relied on a scheduling methodology that worked--excepting it produced an 8-way tie--that was resolved by rule--but was still less than ideal because none of the teams played in sub-brackets of identical opponents which means the tiebreakers are largely arbitrary. And the play of the games at Cup reminded everyone there are a couple of areas that need some work; improving layouts and the rules covering overtime for starters.
So re-write a rule or two. What's the big deal? Nobody knows right this minute who will or won't be in the pro bracket next year but rumor has it both Impact and XSV want (or need) to stay and then there's this season's D1 series and Cup winner T1 Topgun Union who is likely to be hoping for/expecting a seat at the table. From a bracketology perspective 15 teams is fine but only for purposes of creating useful prelim brackets. And then there's the deep background rumor of another well-funded international team interested in joining the PSP pro division.
Fifteen teams works for the prelim bracketing but it creates a logistical nightmare. With one pro field, one pro ref crew 15 teams means either 4 day events for the pros all the time or it might be possible to carry over some prelims to Sunday morning and pack the Sunday webcast schedule with pro matches only. The results would be some likely near back-to-backs along with the removal of the divisional finals from the webcast. More than 12 Pro teams means earlier set-up for the pro field. More crew for more days. An extra day paying and maintaining the refs. An extra day of the webcast and its costs?
There are teams now that jigger their flights to try an accommodate working/student players so they don't miss too much time from work or school. Adding an extra day to each event may make it impossible for all the teams to have their complete rosters present all the time. (One way to diminish the impact of unavailable players would be to expand rosters slightly; to say 12)
The layout fix isn't simple but a good start would be to eliminate the giant A and add a few more bunkers. Without the A a lot of new design possibilities open up--and a return to the old snake wouldn't hurt either.
In the case of OT make the overtime period an extension of the match, not a first point scored wins and make the overtime period long enough to encourage teams to play; perhaps 10 minutes. Alternatively maybe a shootout like soccer except each team takes their top five players in the order they choose to play one-on-ones. Two minute periods and if no one wins no point is scored. The team with the most points after the shootout wins the match.
Whatever happens it's going to be an interesting off season.


Neal said...

My impression of the original Xball game design is that X or A in the middle of the field was to speed up the games by eliminating crossing up from the back line. Players would be forced to play more edges and mirrors head to head resulting in fast points and chaotic, exciting gameplay. Obviously since then, the field got longer by ten feet and the props get smaller and there is a great deal of crossing up from the secondary props in effect as evidenced by pro matches at cup. If you removed the X, what would you suggest to replace?

Nick Brockdorff said...

I'm curious - why don't you like the giant A?

(and yes, I agree generally there needs to be changes to bunkers and the bunker kit)

I'd say 3 brackets of 5, that play round robin, race to 6 (saving some time, as it is only in the rarest of occurances that a team wins 7-6 anyway).

Top 2 in each bracket progress, with the best 2 bracket winners going straight into the semifinal.

There is time to add by starting at 8 AM instead of 10 AM all days, and also there is lots of gaps in the Sunday schedule, if we part ways with the notion of only qualifiers playing sunday.

But, all that's only a temporary solution.

In the long run, the PSP needs to start doing promotion and relegation.... as more and more divisional teams get serious about making it into the pro division.... and as older pro teams get tired.

I get americans like the current system, because it resembles the NFL, NHL and NBA.... it's familiar.

But is paintball really in a place where we need to be concerned with building franchises in markets and building a fan culture there? - I think not.... I think paintball is better served with being a sport where every team can reach the top, if they do the work and have the talent.

An added benefit to promotion and relegation is that come cup time, the lower ranked teams are still interesting to watch, because they are fighting against relegation.

Cup might even do a relegation playoff on Sunday, to make it even more interesting to watch.

Baca Loco said...

If that's what it was for it isn't working. (Never heard that explanation either.) The field is twenty feet longer.
It doesn't need to be replaced, it needs to be removed. If the complete bunker set is expanded by 4-6 props a whole new universe of field designs becomes possible.

I don't like the A because it inhibits field design options.

Do you really think with 12 teams on a 3 day schedule games are starting at 10 am? And since your so willing to fiddle with our format why don't we just go to a Eurostyle 3 match prelim to save even more time and then every bracket can be diecided by tiebbreakers all the time.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea best of 5, 1 v 1 for overtime in the pros. Great idea baca!

And get rid of the A for sure.

J.Stein said...

3 posts in 4 days????

I think the Pro Division is pretty well watered down already. I'd rather see contraction than expansion.

Missy Q said...

re. OT

How about as soon as full time is up, the game continues as sudden death. If a team had a numbers advantage they get to keep it, which is fair, but the next player eliminated loses the match for their team?

Then there's Lanes idea, which I love - deflate a bunker at random every 15 seconds until there's no-where left to hide.

Nick Brockdorff said...

No dude, the european system sucks - which you know I think - 3 prelims games race to 5 is a joke :)

But, 4 x race to 6 should be ok, in terms of not have anomalies/reffing mistakes/etc. impact the results adversely.

Either way, you posted the topic, and I am assuming you want feedback/ideas/input?

Maybe a solution is to play some pro games on field 2.... I don't know how much "worse" the reffing is there?

I don't think the giant A restricts design options.... I just think field designers have gotten into a bad habit of thinking it always has to be placed the same place, facing the same way :)

Mike said...

I like the shootout idea actually.

Anonymous said...

Sudden death overtime is good. Just make it a 2 minute point. Neither team wins, keep starting over until someone wins.

None of this shootout, 3on3 crap. Play the game as it is designed, just increase the time scarcity.

You could go 5 minutes for the first sudden death match, still tied, reduce it to 3 minutes, still tied, reduce it to 2 minutes, still tied, reduce it to 1 minute until someone wins. Someone is bound to win based on the sheer luck of the breakout lanes.

Baca Loco said...

Either way, you posted the topic, and I am assuming you want feedback/ideas/input?
Just because I allow comments doesn't mean I'm soliciting them. ;)

Do you really want matches decided by "the sheer luck of the breakout lanes?"

Anonymous said...

any reason as to why you believe dynasty left empire? Was it just money or is something larger at play?

Anonymous said...

any reason as to why you believe dynasty left empire? Was it just money or is something larger at play?

Sully said...

For the 10 min OT period, what would be the incentive for the teams to have a "shootout". Why wouldn’t one team just cross it up like it is now and just wait it out for 9 minutes? At least with the current OT, its one and done which I feel puts more excitement into the OT period like Football.

For the A, I like it concept, but I disagree with how they have been using the center in general. I like one big bunker in the center but having 3 big ones like the recent world cup layout I feel allows a team to cross it up and slow down a game to much. I think one big bunker is enough which is why I like the A, I just don’t think we should have multiple big bunkers that can considerably slow down a game, but maybe that’s just me.

For the 15 pro's, just kick out CEP. I see no reason why they are still considered pro's. I like their heart and determination but another year in D1 wouldn’t hurt especially since I think a couple d1 teams could easily beat them. Aftershock at least makes games close and they also have a long history with the PSP so I can see why they should stay. To fit the schedule, I would play the lower ranked teams on other fields. No one really wants to see a match between 2 lower ranked pro teams such as Thunder and Aftershock, fit the schedule back to 3 days to reduce costs by putting lower ranked teams on say the D1 field. If the teams make it to Sunday, good for them, they get to play on the actual pro field. Playing prelim games on Sunday and kicking out divisional finals I think is a terrible idea because pro teams could have up to 4 matches in one day, (1 prelim, 3 playoff) and it gives divisional teams something to strive for and try to achieve.

Overall, I think sticking to 15 teams but finding another team to replace CEP and placing the lower ranked teams on another field would save costs, allow easy scheduling, and give divisional teams some extra prize for their otherwise unrewarded efforts.

Nick Brockdorff said...

So, if the consensus is 12 teams is the best solution.... what is the best way to determine who those 12 are - now and in future?

Baca Loco said...

Anything I said about Dynasty sponsorship would purely be speculation. Given their history and experience however I'm sure they'll be fine.

Neal said...

@ Sully...IMO some of the more interesting games involved thunder and Aftershock. Technical, fundamentally sound mega points aren't exactly compelling after six minutes, and I like to root for the underdogs.

Parity makes a good league and so for the PSP to say next season we are putting CEP Shock and Impact on d1 field no webcast would be discounting their own product.

Grant said...

While nodding off while watching many slow played games during Cup I was thinking maybe in Pro games only, maybe an extra bonus point system could be put in play for finishing points in under 2 minutes. It would encourage aggressive play and add another layer of suspense. Just an outrageous thought...

Nick - while I agree the concept of relegation is probably fair it's probably not that workable in paintball because PSP divisions aren't locked to x amount of teams, sponsorship issues and the fact that some teams have alliances with lower divisional teams.

Can anyone tell me if there is any hope on the horizon for cheaper paintballs given that it seems that there is an international push to make 5 man Race-to formats an international format?

While this is great for the sport, it really puts pressure on teams from developing paintball countries to stay afloat. We don't have the sponsorship opportunities that US/Euro teams have and so it has a reverse effect over here (in Asia) of reducing the number of tournaments teams can compete in or increasing the rate that teams disband due to rising playing costs. Paint over here at an international tourny costs US$65 -$75 a box (sometimes more) and while registration costs are cheaper, you have to factor in average wages over here are really low.

Just a little reality check on my mind...

Reiner Schafer said...

Grant, interesting comment on the push for the same format around the world and paint costs. If paint is twice as expensive for players and thereby players are basically going to use half, even if the format is the same, the game played is still going to be completely different.

Anonymous said...

Overtime can be solved the same way it was in the traditional 5/7/10-man formats.

One 5-minute overtime period.

If no one scores, both teams receive a loss.

Baca Loco said...

That happens now--in the prelims. The issue is resolving a similar situation on Sunday when someone has to win.

Anonymous said...

What? Prelim matches currently have overtime, and they never end with both teams losing.

Would have to do something different for playoffs.

Baca Loco said...

Sorry for the confusion. Somebody told me during Cup about prelim ties which turn out to be a Race 2-2 possibility (4.1.5) but not in any other Race variant.
The pro field has always been different but the league is trying to integrate the rules top to bottom.

Nick Brockdorff said...


Well obviously, when introducing a promotion/relegation scheme, divisions covered by it need to be locked to a certain number of teams also (except for the lowest division you can be promoted out of).... and I don't think that part would be an issue, as it is no different to the PSP today arbitrarily deciding how many are in the pro division.

That having been said, I don't think promotion/relegation is a practical problem - I think it is a philosophical one.

Personally I like it a great deal - but maybe that is because I am european, and used to "all sports" working like that.

I just like it that a team can graduate through the ranks, rather than being stuck at a certain level, from where their players are then snatched into the pro franchises.

NewPro said...

Relegation/promotion only works when their is a talented surplus available or at the least, a financially stable team available. This would def be possible in PSP, NPPL, not so much. And...if it comes down to financing as the bar, there goes the talent/depth. I really think we should be taking a hardf look at the qty vs qly. I would rather see a reduced number of pro teams and a "new" semi-pro or expanded D1, than a watered down Pro div. 8 Pro Teams. However, this still goes back to the "what constitutes a pro team"?. Is it anyone who pays the money, is there a criteria. Is there a want to bump up a division with the goal of becoming a productive/competitive team (a.k.a Vicious)

Nick Brockdorff said...

To my mind, a promotion/relegation system creates a much broader base of "serious" teams (and yes, what you think of as "serious", might be entirely different to what I think).

Now, I don't want to debate the merits of US ball vs Euro ball, because there is no doubt the quality of play is still higher in the US, baring possibly a couple of russian teams.

But, what has happened in Europe, since the introduction of the promotion/relegation system, is that we have gone from maybe 20 "serious" teams on the entire continent, to 16 in Pro (CPL), 32 in D1 (SPL), 34 in D2 (Div. 1), and around 10 in D3.

Granted, that has happened alongside the sport becoming more serious and professional generally, so it is hard to quantify exactly how big a difference it has made..... but my feeling is it is quite a lot.

The thing is - and this is what I think makes a world of difference:

Any young european D3 or D4 team can sit down tomorrow, and decide they want to spend the next 5 years making it to Pro..... and provided they have the talent and dedication, it is an achievable goal.

Whereas, in the US, baring an established team folding, the aspirations to become "pro" are largely individual - as in "if I do good, one of the big teams will pick me up".

And yes, I know quite a few new pro teams have entered the scene in the last 5 years.... but you have to remember, that has happened during a large financial crisis, which has seen teams and companies in our sport fold in droves.... you can't bank on that for a "system" in the long run.

So, all in all, I think a promotion/relegation system at top level, brings about a healthier and more vibrant tournament community all the way down the ranks to local level, even if the system does not apply there.