Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Only Constant Is Change

If you've already begun your pre-Christmas whining ("Why aren't the event dates out yet?" "The PSP hates Cali." "I have tests that weekend!" "I wanna go back to the old MAO venue." "I hate the old MAO venue." "Can we just play one year without rules changes?" "I bet ID prices go up again. What a rip-off." "I already bought my plane tickets!") knock it off. First the NPPL is operating under a severe handicap. Everywhere they go they all dress up and travel together in this really tiny car. [Wait a minute. It will come to you.] And the PSP is having their off season meetings in the next few days. I don't know if anything definite has been decided in either camp yet--well, except apparently that "everyone" agrees four more mystery bunkers from Sup'Air is just what Race 2 needs to get back on track. What I do know is there's a substantive difference between moaning and bitching on the internet, or worse, calling me on the phone to personally moan and bitch--you know who you are, knock it off. I'm totally serious--and making an argument supported by *gasp* facts and stuff. (Stuff can be mighty persuasive you know.)
Today's post is both a reminder and an opportunity. Change happens. You want to be heard? Have something to say worth listening to. It's also an opportunity for me to get a head start on arguing what that change should look like and what it shouldn't. (If you want to join me you know where to find the comments. And if you don't I don't want to hear from you anyway.)
The one change that ought to happen is to return the field dimensions to their pre-2011 size of 150x120. Hell, let's go all in and go back to the original 150x125. The numbers don't lie. You want Race 2 matches, go back to the old dimensions. While not irrelevant field designs had less impact on how matches played out simply because of the changes to the angles involved. And, bonus feature!, if anyone is seriously concerned about too many peeps getting shot OTB Adrenaline Games can go ahead and shorten the gaps between inserts--as per the sample World Cup layout--using the mystery props and problem solved. Win, win. (Well, there's still that damned "technical" snake but one or two things at a time.)
If regular matches were long and tedious (and plenty were) overtime points required extra operators on duty at the local suicide prevention hotline. This is a rule that needs to be changed. And while we're at it I'm not a fan of either the 60 second rule or the overtime swing point on a major penalty. While the 60 second rule has a rational basis (a reasonable argument can be made in its favor) not so on the overtime swing point. In both instances however there has to be a better option than to award a match to one team. That's simply contra everything that sport is supposed to be about.
I'd also like to see a referee's guide supplement to the regular rule book. Something that literally gets all the refs on the same page. The problem is such a guide should not be available to the rank and file players and how you manage that I don't know. Maybe it's limited to field ultimates who are then responsible for directing their refs. That way there would sanctioned interpretations of the complex or unclear rules that would hopefully lead to more consistency in the officiating without providing new boundaries for the players to try and exploit.
Okay, still up in the air is what happens in the pro bracket next season. Whose in? How many teams? What are we playing? If you've been paying attention you know I have some thoughts on that subject. Thoughts I will expand on next time.
In the meantime if you've got something PSP on your mind here's your opportunity to make your point.


Lawrence said...

I knew you were avoiding my phone calls :(

Baca Loco said...

Just keeping it real.

Ethan said...

You have convinced me on the field length. I hope the PSP reads this blog. Shorten the field, add the bunkers, keep the "technical snake" and see how many matches go to time.

Anonymous said...

Dood, run-on sentences lacking commas and the like are really confusing to readers and me when a point is trying to be made with several arrghhh interjections and other stuff. I know like it's your blog and stuff and that you like to to communicate as though it is the same manner in which you speak but people like me and everyone else typically don't read with the same jumble filter we listen with.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Interesting ideas. I strongly agree with the field length issue, as the key 50 bunkers no longer have those dangerous angles that they used to.

Anonymous said...

Based on your factual analysis, I would too agree that the field dimensions should be reverted back. However, I'm not so sure that's going to happen this year. Typical troubleshooting is more cautious and if they are adding bunkers this year, then I think they may ride this season out with the one change and determine it's feasibility.

I know it may not be ideal, but I would hope that if the PSP isn't seeing the results they expected after the first couple events, maybe they would consider a mid-season field dimension change. However, I don't think that's likely.

I think the OT rules need adjusting. OT should keep spectators on the edge of their seats and not nodding off while two teams play hopper ball for 10 minutes. First, there should at least be time limits established for points. I propose either a 10 minute sudden death or a best 2 of 3 with 5 minute limits. If there is still a tie after that, then how about reverting to a shoot out style format. Each team selects their 5 best players to play 1-on-1s. The first team to win 3 1-on-1s takes the win.

Now, the 1-on-1s would diminish the team aspect of the game, but from an excitement and general spectator point-of-view, it may not be bad for the league in potentially bridging the gap to more general audiences.

Reiner Schafer said...

Anon, 11:46

The shoot out thing is interesting. Hockey went to a shootout tie breaker a few years ago and when you talk to those who watch hockey, many don't like it. But when you watch the audience during the shootout, rarely do you see more excitement.

Anonymous said...

I've spoken to people unfamiliar with paintball about lengths of the field. One issue was how much easier it is to shoot people OTB on the 150' length. Someone running to a corner is almost always shot. These spectators found this to be absurd that you would have a 5 on 5 game almost never start with 5 on 5 set pieces.

2011 had even slower games throughout the season to my recollection with enormous gaps before the 50s. In 2012 they compensated by having a lot of dead space in the back of the field.

I believe the problem hasn't been angles from the 50s, but rather the angles being blocked by those large 40 yd line towers and cans in the center of the field.

They need to bring the aztecs back (the short temples). They're more versatile location and playing-wise.

They also need to make the fans sit on the bleachers on the Pro field. Very simple fix for those that don't like the snake-side coaching imbalances for certain teams.

And def a shorter OT with 1-on-1s for double OT. WAY more exciting.

Anonymous said...

LOL - yeah, good luck getting those people to sit down....

First you would need 5 security guys, for 3/4 days, then you would have the issue of people complaining that another team should be penalised because they didn't have their fans sit down. I would love people to have to sit in the grandstands and not lean up against the railings, but it is not a 'very simple fix' by any means.

Anonymous said...

Does paintball need a free throw or a penalty shot?

Penalty shot =
Have one opponent stand on the opposite side of the field and the player/team who was "fouled" gets to fire 1 or two shots at him (depending on the severity of the penalty)

If he gets hit, it's an automatic point. Or if that's too severe (or easily accomplished), if he gets hit, the team starts down a guy.

The one fun thing about the penalty shot, is we then get to rate players on accuracy (stats!!!! OMFG!!*$&@& MONEY BALL!!!!! FANTASY PAINTBALl!!!! ESPN will be knocking on our doors in no time...er...wait...)

Baca Loco said...

2:20 Anon
You've spoken to people unfamiliar with paintball ...?
And they told you too many peeps are shot OTB running to corners before the field was lengthened or you told them?
Simple fix for that--stop running to the corners if you can't make it.

Coaching, countercoaching, supposed unfairness and the crowd noise has never been a pro field issue. It's the divisional kids who have problems.

other Anon
Are you stopping the game to assess your penalty shot?

Anonymous said...

No overtime in prelims.

In playoffs, 5 minute sudden-death overtime, if no one wins, no one advances, next team gets a bye.

In finals, 5-minute overtime, then 5 one-on-ones.

For the 60-second rule, don't stop the game until game time is over and the leading team doesn't have any majors. That solves the major thing the 60-second-rule is designed to stop, which is players on the leading team just refusing to leave the field until too much game time has elapsed for the opponent to successfully score.

Another option would be to bring back the automatic point when the last player on the field is eliminated by a major, and if the refs have a situation where a player is refusing to leave the field, just call multiple majors until everyone is dead.

Baca Loco said...

7:48 Anon
Actually the thinking was just the opposite--that the 60 second rule would inhibit attacking teams from risking major penalties at the end of games when they were behind and desperate to score a point.
I can't recall a time I ever saw a major called on a player who wouldn't leave the field--though I've seen more than a few times when it could have been called.

Tim-njj said...

The field dimensions need to change. It wouldn't cost the fields one penny 150x125 would make it fun again

Anonymous said...

7:48 anon here:

Baca, if you have a behavior, and you change the rules to stop that behavior, the very definition of success is no longer seeing that behavior. The 60-second rule is very effective at preventing the defending team from intentionally playing on just to prevent the attacking team from scoring, because doing so give the attacking team the score.

If you want to determine if the rule is necessary, you can't look at team behavior with the rule in place, you have to look at behavior before the rule was in place, and before the rule was in place teams defending a lead at the end of the match would absolutely force the refs to drag them off the field because even with penalties assessed the attackers wouldn't have time to hang.

With regards to the attacking team, the attacking team has no choice but to attack, 60-second rule or not, so that's why they do get the penalty - the threat of a point loss in the last 60 seconds isn't much of a threat when you have to get another point to win.

That's not to say I like the rule. Just need a better option, and just striking it isn't an improvement.

Except in untimed overtime - no reason for the 60-second rule there.

Baca Loco said...

7:48 Anon
Thanks Anon, I appreciate the thoughtful comments but ...
I disagree with your first claim. The rule isn't effective, the refs simply aren't looking to make that call--at least not on the pro field--where the defenders frequently fail to leave the field in a timely manner after being eliminated.
As for para 2 I don't have to do anything of the sort. My greater objection is that the 60 second rule is contrary to the nature of sports and the spirit of the game. If there are legit enforcement issues within the time frame the current rule purports to cover then find another way but the refs have no business determining the winner.

Missy Q said...

In the case that the teams show no interest in determining a winner (many of the OT points at WC were just people 'trying not to be the next guy shot'), then something/somebody has to do this. Otherwise it's farcical. Why not award the point to the last team to score a point? Not fair either?
I would understand the squealing a lot more if the teams weren't getting an opportunity to win the point/match, but they are, and they are failing at accomplishing that, even after 10/20 minutes of overtime. Why blame the field-size/refs/rules/anything else for the teams own failure to win the point within the time limit that everyone knew about before the match started? I say do away with OT. Make the game a draw, and worth less points. You get 20 minutes to win, if you don't win, it's because you failed to win, and therefore you get fewer points. If teams want to bitch about that, they can bitch to themselves, their coaches or staff, but they don't get to blame anyone else. That's just childish.

Christian said...

MissQ - except you lose one very exciting part of the game. In fact, probably the most exciting part of the game. Watching a team come from behind and then force an overtime point.

Those are without a doubt among the best games to watch, and it happens quite often.

The problem is not the existence or timing of overtime. It's as Baca pointed out, the combination of field dimensions + layouts (including the prop selection) is making it too easy to lock down fields and force a stalemate.

And here we see the problem with central planning in general on a micro level. Introduce one thing, change one thing, etc. and you create another problem. Now we're talking about changing other things to solve another problem.

(note, this is not saying there is never a time or place for central planning, but it does have adverse affects)

Anonymous said...


Agree the current rule needs improvement. But we have to accept that as long as there are officials the officials will influence the outcome of the game. That IS the nature of sports. We just want to minimize official influence as much as possible.


Good plan, for the prelims. What do you do in head-to-head playoff matches that are tied at the end of regulation?


A team can come from behind to tie the match... exciting enough for the prelims. The question is, if you allow ties, what do you do when two opponents both only need a tie to advance? Does make it a bit easier for a.. gentlemanly agreement.

Overtimes would be less of a problem if more matches went to points instead of time.

Missy Q said...

Missy's Answer:

For Finals games tied at the end of regulation time - I guess I would allow OT to follow on from the final point (not additional time with a break before-hand) IF the headcount is the same, otherwise I would decide it on headcount at the end of regulation time. If headcount is the same then it's sudden death, with the next elimination deciding the result. If no eliminations after 5 minutes the win goes to H2H, then the team with the best win record at the event. Unless one team has the advantage of the better record going in, the other guys won't play the point. We can't continue to give teams the option to sit and do nothing for 20 minutes. Its bad for the game. If they can do it, they will, so take away the option altogether and force them to play paintball. That's what they showed up to do after all.

Christian said...

"We can't continue to give teams the option..."

Spoken like a true central planner :)

And if you have the tie go to the team with the most bodies, you've basic planned yourself up a season where teams will shoot one body and cross up. Another unintended consequence.

Again, if the fields were shorter, and design made more use of bunkers and better layouts, we could probably have similar rules to what we have today and prevent the boring overtime games.

Look at it this way, the Xball variant of paintball has been played for quite a few years already. Overtimes only became a huge and frequently occurring issue this season.

A good planner would look at the field of play and say, "what things can we do to allow the game to progress naturally the way teams can win" not, "what artificial rules can we put in to force teams to behave a certain way."

Paintball players do not play paintball because they want to sit on their but and zone-up. That is a strategy that is sometims applied based on various circumstances. If the league continues to "plan up" various circumstances that encourage teams sitting and crossing up we will continue to see it. Changing the tables one more time and saying, in effect, "we will pass a law that discourages zoning up for too long" is just silly.

Why not construct the field properly that allows the games to flow.

Or we can keep creating a world where were we expect rivers to naturally flow up hill and then pass more rules that increasingly muck things up when gravity continues working its course.

Anonymous said...

Christian has it right. More layouts where making the 50 on either side allows the player to wreak havoc on their opponents would do the trick.

Then waiting around is just giving your opponent the opportunity to get there first and win.

Have to be careful with the extra bunkers - if they show up in the middle of the field, they block shots from the 50's.

NewPro said...

Did someone say a free throw, how about a trick shot? Between the legs over the 50 under the netting and into the crowd. 1 vote right here