Monday, May 6, 2013

More MAO Talk: Post Event Observations

OXCC
Before delving into the couple of problem areas that arose during the MAO (or continued to be problematic) I'd like to take a moment and be positive--beautiful weather, beautiful venue and the shuttles running back and forth from the expansive parking area were greatly appreciated. Now if only the league would stop making all the pros hike past all the vendors to get to our field every event paintball life would be nearly perfect. I mean really, how much stuff are pro players gonna buy on impulse if you endlessly walk them past the vendors? (I know, the idea is to make everybody else trek past the vendors to go watch the pros, and maybe buy stuff, but I'm old, slow and cranky and your rational explanations are wasted on me.) I want a shuttle! I want a shuttle everywhere we go. Or at least a radio dialled into the frequency the Paintball Central air crew are using 'cus Roy will hook a brother up. (Okay that turned out a little less positive than it seemed in my head before I began.) Suffice to say it was an excellent event that appeared to run like clockwork and while OXCC is off the beaten path a ways it has proved to be a hospitable venue.

Reffing
Here is where things go negative. Nobody else will say so publicly and I'ma be circumspect in how I discuss this because of the very real possibility of on field ramifications but the reffing has suffered lately. Badly. At least the pro field reffing has. (I didn't hear any great hue & cry from the Challengers field so, fingers crossed, let's hope they did a solid job as I'm told most of the Challenger's crew are refs pulled up from D1 duties in the past and it would be a real plus to see they've made a rapid transition to the pro game particularly given the new rulebook and so on.) 
Maybe a little background is in order first. When past NXL (PSP Pro) commish Tony Mineo left to join the NPPL in a similar capacity the league simply passed many of Tony's duties to the pro field head referee. While the new boss had a different style the refs as a group generally did a commendable job. With the addition of the Challenger's field the former head ref was promoted to supervising both fields and that loss of direct contact I think has seen things get out of hand to a degree on the pro field. During this past weekend there were some very poor calls made at very inopportune times and worse the consistency of the officiating has deteriorated. Here are a couple of examples: Player in his snake 2 attempts to bunker an opponent out of the snake 50 dorito. The ref signals the player in the dorito eliminated, pauses for a slow two count then throws a red flag on the aggressor. For starters those actions are inconsistent. If the player was eliminated cleanly there's no flag and if he wasn't he should be wiped off and left in the game. In another instance a player runs down an opponent in the snake shooting that player in the pack then dives into the opponent's snake. For a moment they are laying next to each other. The eliminated player makes a questioning hand gesture to the nearby ref because no call has yet been made. With no signal from the ref the player shoots his attacker who promptly fires back again--at which point the refs throw red flags on both players. If, however a ref had simply made the call without delay none of the other action would have followed--and the ref in question did see the first player get hit. Admittedly paintball in some situations is very fast and its difficult to officiate but that is a fact, not an excuse. There are also refs "playing" out of position and duelling refs arguing over whether a player was eliminated or not and players being penalized for playing after a different ref has called them clean. It hasn't deteriorated to a free for all yet but if the fundamentals aren't addressed it will only get worse.
While I'm at it it would enhance the webcast considerably if there was a way to relay reffing decisions to the boys in the booth. They currently do the best they can but they are also sometimes simply guessing as to what the calls made were predicated on. It would also be a positive way to improve reffing accountability.
There was also some uncertainty in a couple of situations about how or if the rules applied so you've got to wonder if the group is up to speed on the new rulebook too. (Beware, Raehl has his hands on an editable copy so who knows what will suddenly change overnight. You think I'm kidding. I'm not. Much.)

The Pro Game
On the flipside the pro game has become more and more tedious to watch just when the league and PBA are making a huge and expensive push to promote our sport. It's boring and it doesn't help our prospects for the future. The slow game is not good for tournament paintball. There, I said it. And I'll say this too--the PSP doesn't know what to do about it. (So, like usual, I'ma help y'all out.) For starters the reffing ain't helping. If as a team you don't have to risk crapshoot officiating why would you? One thing the slow game does is take the refs outta the game to a large degree. And paintball is like other sports. If a team succeeds (Heat last season and to a lesser degree Damage before them) playing a particular style it won't be long before it's being copied by other teams. And in large part what that means is that teams and coaches around the league are breaking fields down focusing on defense. How do we deny our opponent movement up field? We are talking counterpunch paintball with a heavy duty dose of defense. And of course the layouts are contributing. In part because the league doesn't know how a chosen layout is going to play (and apparently neither do the peeps generating them.) And, and I really hate beating this particular dead equine some more but those wretched "technical" snake beams ain't helping either. You put all those pieces together and you gets slow play paintball. You wanna change that it's going to take a concerted effort on all those fronts. (Hey, I didn't say it was gonna be easy.) 

Our Event
We missed Sunday by the smallest of margins but part of that calculus was dependent on what other teams did and consistent teams, winning teams, don't get lucky or routinely sneak in the back door of success. They control their own destiny. So, sure, it was a little disappointing but we've already been over the webcast of our matches and there's lots of room for improvement. Improvements we will begin making immediately in preparation for Chicago. And of course it's just that much harder to make the cut this season while fighting through every match to keep the relegation monster at bay. It's brutal and nobody is exempt, not even the storied Russian Legion.

Thoughts on Champions and Challengers
Even though 3 of the top 4 teams in Challengers were former Champions I must say the new kids on the block put up a better performance across the board than I expected. Good for all y'all and well done. None of the former Champions came through the prelims unscathed (though Vicious only lost to Thunder) and Shock and XSV got thumped. I confess I didn't expect any of the new Challengers to perform that well but this result bodes well for the concept of Champions and Challengers given the idea is that the second pro division is intended to build competitive pro teams to Challenge the Champions.
Despite the fact the whole relegation and promotion thing is brand spanking new and has only just been initiated--it needs a tweak. Let's not call it a fix. Rather a tiny upgrade. Here's the thing: the idea is for the Champions division to be the 10 best teams in the world at any given time. So all the rigmarole around fighting off relegation in the Champions and battling for promotion in the Challengers is the right idea but the wrong application. If the goal is to always have the ten best teams compete in Champions then what needs to happen is for the bottom teams in Champions to play the top 2 Challengers head-to-head. Winning Challengers doesn't make a team better than the worst Champion--beating that Champions team does. Best of all it would be more intense and exciting than the battle to avoid relegation among the bottom four Champions, it would be a direct one off war to be or stay a Champion.

Things You'd Never Discover Without Paintball
On the way to the Philly airport we pulled off the highway early to get gas. The first station was on the other side of the road and we were already in the wrong turn lane have followed Siri's directions. The next one proved to be a Wawa market--no gas. (Since when does Wawa not have gas?) The third one was a private gas station for the service buses working the airport. Finally we found a station willing to sell us gasoline and were rewarded with the gas station radio network. Piped through tinny outdoor speakers we were reminded that buzzed driving is drunk driving which was followed by Tom Petty's 'American Girl' as muzak which was cut short as we pulled away from the pump with an identifier that we had been listening to "The Gas Station Radio Network."

Top Super Secret News
VFTD can report that a rep of a very large multi-national was on site over the weekend checking out the event and the webcast. The unnamed company targets our demographic and is very active in the sporting world. I have no idea what they were looking for or expecting to see or what they thought afterward. I suspect the league doesn't know either--at least not yet--but the fact is the league has been working behind the scenes quietly pursuing the kinds of outside sponsorship we've all been hoping for for years.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

The reffing on the empire field (d1) was downright awful. So bad in fact the crew was warned by Tim to shape up or be replaced. Also many of missed calls on the pro field that I saw.

sdawg said...

Last night I had trouble falling asleep, so I watched the replay of the pro final. It worked. Not kidding.

Anonymous said...

The Pro games are ridiculously slow and boring. It's almost painful to watch.

Also, someone from Aftershock (Rob something?) posted on PBN about missing the Pro refs greatly.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Speaking of beating old equines..... the key to speeding up the games again, is still (and will always be) lowering the ROF.

Others have before spoken of lowering the amount of paint a player may carry, but as is evident from the games this weekend (and the past year), that would only slow the game to a crawl even earlier.

Increasing the number of props, size of props, and more attention to field design would also be beneficial btw.... but it's a fine line to walk, because you still need fields to work for spectators and the webcast.

NewPro said...

Excellent points, bigger snake beams and 10BPS.

BTW,stoked that vicious fought their way out of the void. Was it the addition of Todd, the play of Rezar or the levelof competition in the challengers div?

Anonymous said...

Reffing on the Challengers field was limited to pulling players out and very rarely calling penalties. The opposite of red flag tony.

Anonymous said...

I had thought that Tom Cole was supposed to be taking on some of the commissioner duties of Tony Mineo. There is still a hole where Tony used to be and I feel we are seeing the effect of that now with the quality of reffing. QC tends to slip over time rather than drop like a stone...

Anonymous said...

What a great Idea on the challengers playing the bottom Champs you are a genius.

EC Lil Baller said...

"Unfortunately, I feel like exciting, passionate paintball just took a punch in the face."

- Rich Telford upon Damage winning their semifinal game in OT following a 4-4 tie setting up the final with Dynasty

I thought the prelim games were quite entertaining especially watching Impact and some of the marquee match-ups like Heat/Dynasty. Sunday's games though were far more drawn out and the finals itself was almost tedious to watch. Disappointing to end with a snooze-fest but I understand a lot is on the line and overall it's still better than most of last season's games.

Baca Loco said...

1015 Anon
It is a good idea and I'd like to take the credit but a number of peeps in assorted pro camps were discussing it on Sunday at MAO.

Nick
I won't reignite the lower ROF debate except to say when teams are intentionally posting up in D1 seconds into a point intent only on shooting the snake the real problem is one of choice--it isn't being pushed on them by ROF.

sdawg said...

I stand by my analysis a couple of weeks ago. The dreaded three-point spread makes it clear that, when facing a team of equal skill, playing conservatively/defensively makes more sense. It seems like the slow style of 7-man and the "x-ball style" have finally met somewhere in the middle.

Anonymous said...

How about a master game clock and point clock. Each point only lasts three minutes tops. Is there a way you could do on field substitutions like in hockey?

Nick Brockdorff said...

Baca:

The problem will always be one of choice.... as you know as a coach, the game you choose to play is largely dependent on the situation, at least at the Pro level, where skills are largely similar.

The issue then becomes, to make the choice of being conservative (read "ultra defensive") the least attractive choice.

I firmly believe (still) that we need to take away the power of the modern laner to some extent, in order to make paintball a faster and more free flowing game again.

Changing props and layout will not have a major impact without adressing the ROF issue, simply because there will always be some gap (however small) to shoot a lane, unless the fields become ridiculously cluttered.

If the games on sunday had been played with a ROF cap of 2 BPS (yes, silly example, but just to prove a point), the games would have unfolded very differently..... and we (the sport) need to find that sweet spot, where there is a balance between aggression and defence - personally I think 10 BPS is a little on the high side - and that it should probably be 8 - but I have zero proof of that theory :)

Anon 12.02: If points have an expiry time, it will make it even more attractive to be defensive when ahead, unfortunately.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Forgot a point that I feel the need to add:

There is no doubt, that "us coaches" prefer the status quo.

The more the game is dependent on proper game planning and players being disciplined, the easier it is to coach (assuming the players do what they are told and are proficient at it ;))

However, in terms of the sport being exiting to watch and play, we might want to give more power back to the flamboyant player types, who excelled back when our gear did not allow us to shoot 10-12 BPS solid :)

Anonymous said...

Sideline coaching killed the fun of watching paintball . The points were not shorter but a lot more enjoyable to watch.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how taking away the power of the modern laner will lead to faster, free-flowing games.

The slowest game play is when both teams make it out 5-Alive.

Reducing a laner's ability increases the amount of 5 on 5's, thus slows it down.

Please elaborate.

Mike said...

Paintball is for adrenalin junkies and lowering the rate of fire will make it less exciting for players and I don't know how LRF would speed things up. Laining is a skill set so why discourage that? Getting those early G's off break closes the game out faster. Designing layouts where getting to the 50's causes carnage, makes the reward worth the risk, and that is entertaining to watch.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, this may seem logical to some... but anyway:

Because the power of the modern laner, is to restrict movement on the other team.... that is his whole purpose.

Put the same guy in the same position, but restrict his ability to lock down the lane as effectively - and as a logical consequence, the opponents will have an easier time moving.

Seems you are confusing breakout shooting with in-game laning? - But even if you are, dropping the ROF generally, will make longer breaks feasible - so in my view, it is win/win to drop ROF :)

And yes, the slowest points are when you start 5 on 5, but that (again) is due to the fact that the players are holding down lanes and restricting movement, once they hit their primaries.

If you ask me what the ROF should be, the honest truth is I don't know - your guess is as good as mine.... I am merely speaking to the theory here.... trial and error will be needed to find the right level.

And yes, I realise there will be a lot of resistance to this idea, since nobody likes getting out of their comfort zone.... but I'm pretty sure, if you played the modern game with gen. 1-2 Mags and Cockers - or outlawed agitated loaders - it would be a whole lot more entertaining to both watch and play, simply because a lot more would be going on.

Now, I'm not advocating we go back to mechanic pneumatic markers, or outlaw agitated loaders - that would destroy our industry.... but as it is already operating under restricted ROFs, dropping it further should not be a big deal.

But I AM advocating dropping the ROF, to a more balanced level, where aggression pays higher dividends in paintball than it does currently.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Mike:

Why would it be less exiting for "adrenaline junkies"? (and BTW, I play paintball too ;))

And yes, laning is a skill set, that will be harder with decreased ROF.

Just like making aggressive moves takes a certain skill set, which we are discouraging in todays game.

I'm not saying we should make one impossible and the other easy.....

I'm saying the balance if off in the way the game is played currently, and we should address that.

It's not a coincidence that in the last few years, we have seen a lot of top level back players wear recball harnesses, because those were the only ones able to hold enough pods.... and that manufacturers are starting to bring out 5+6 harnesses again for the tournament market.... something we have not really seen since the early 2000s.

I recently purchased a 5+6 myself, because 9 pods just doesn't cut it anymore..... I have not carried that much paint since we played 10 man 15 minute games.

Ken said...

It seems as though the field designs is the bigger issue. A lot of guys seemed to get into the 50s but then didn't have a ton of shots across the field. A few years ago it seemed that once you made it into the 50, a body or two would drop almost immediately.

Is this a correct observation Baca?

Anonymous said...

Turn any Dorito not on the 50 so that one edge is parallel to the endline instead of the sideline.

Would help balance out the (lack of) playability of the "technical" snakes.

The mini-race bunkers are also poor - all the disadvantages of the dorito (can drop shots in) without and of the advantages (ability to easily switch between sides, and extra coverage from across-field shots.) Putting mini-race bunkers in the snake instead of cakes or bricks further reduces the incentive for players to move up the snake.

Mike said...

Hi Nick. Well the more balls flying down the field the more intense the game. I think lowering the ROF would affect laining off the break meaning it's more likely you'll have five men alive thus a longer game. If you did get a G it would be more from luck then skill. Fewer balls makes it more likely you'll make it pass the lains. Locking down zones is part of strategy dependt on the layout and the breakout your doing. So fewer balls going down the field would affect that too. I think your idea of lowering the ROF would push players faster down the field and the emphasis would shift to gun battling skills. But it could lock up if the layout is designed to where pushing too deeply isn't worth the risk. Ultimately though I think the answer lies in designing layouts where aggressive play wins the game.

Anonymous said...

Intense action on the field and exciting play to those off the field are polar opposites.
No one moves anymore or at least not while under fire. The guns are too fast. It's no longer a calculated risk. It's suicide.
Being pinned down with 3 guns blistering 12.5 bps at you may be intense. But it's boring as hell.
Viewers want to see movement, big plays, and risks taken. Anyone who doesn't think lowering the rate of fire would help accomplish that is thinking illogically.
It may well make current players fall to the wayside. That's the argument against it. But, for the record, when the game experienced its biggest growth, no guns shot 12 bps.

big_murph1986 said...

Nick:
I played when the PSP lowered divisional ROF to 10.5, and it sucked. You could watch players run right through your lane off the break and snap out into your lane during the game. Fewer players eliminated during the break out and the inability to control a tape and get the guy in front of you down the field makes for slow paintball. I see where you're coming from with your argument that it would make for bigger break outs, but I think that the effect would be negated with teams keeping 2 or 3 guys at home to shoot the lane for a high priority bunker. Also, it's frustrating as shit knowing you have a good lane and watching a guy go right through. At the Dallas event, the pro finals were really fun to watch. At MAO the only difference was the field layout, and the Sunday games were basically unwatchable. Field layouts are the problem.

Anonymous said...

Hah, you guys are silly. I played NPPL/PSP when ramping was limited to 8.5bps.

Games were still slow if teams wanted them to be, and they were fast if you made moves.

Blame the ROF, blame the teams, blame the layout, blame the coaching, etc. Keep tweaking these to your hearts content.

The fact remains, risk is risky. It will always be more risky to move than to sit. In skiing they have a saying that every fall begins with a turn. If you move in paintball your odds of getting shot increase.

Boring games are hear to stay not because of the level of the ROF, but because they reduce risk. The more you reduce risk, the more likely you are to win.

If you want to beat a sitting team, you have to have superior technique to snap shoot them out, etc. In the lower divisions, this happens because there is such a disparity in skill level.

At the pro level with Damage v. Dynasty, you're going to see sitting, no matter what.

Back in the day when people were blowing others off the field at the pro level there was more of a disparity in technique and rate of fire (cheater guns) and even fps (cheater guns). Of course, when everyone has cheater guns the disparity disappears.

If you want to see blowouts, there is only one way to see it. Introduce more potential for disparity.

This involves giving up some control, rather than trying to increase it. Perhaps it means changing layouts every day of the event. That will create a disparity between the good and bad field planner teams. But even that will still end up with Dynasty and Damage slogging it out because they'll have the field zoned out within a couple points.

Maybe it means changing the field for the finals? Maybe changing the field halfway through the finals?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone watched pump on an airball field lately? Boring and takes forever. Players locked on zones dinking shots from crossed up positions. LOW ROF TAKES FOREVER AND IS BORING.

Maybe the real discussion is not that sup' air or the PSP can't come up with a fast layout, but the Pros are so good that they can manipulate and control any field to dictate a pace they feel will give them and advantage.

Baca Loco said...

Ken
If the reward matched the risk it might help insentivize more agressive movement.
Or when sitting teams start to lose--should such a time come--they'll change tactics asap. And the only way I see that happening is by manipulating the design of the layouts.

Anonymous said...

@big_murph:

Players not being able to move simply because another player is constantly shooting a line of paint in front of where that player would like to go is EXACTLY THE PROBLEM.

We've had high ROF for so long that players think they're good if they can just put a line of paint up that no one can move through.

That's not good. Good is seeing a guy move and shooting him with A paintball.

Really good is seeing a guy move and shooting him with 3-4 paintballs because, instead of just waiting for him to run through the lane of paint you put up, you lead him and shoot him a few times.

And if your opponent can't do that, then you will move up the field, get to a key bunker on the 50, and shoot up your opponents.

Assuming the layout has 50 bunkers that let you shoot up your opponents.

If you take away player's ability to lane, either they will get good enough that they can shoot players on the move without having to lane them, or they will get better at moving up the field so they get to the key havok-raising bunkers before their opponents do.

splatkid10 said...

Anon 10:24 -

I don't think holding lanes is as easy as you lead it to be. One needs strong gun skills to do it as close to perfect as possible.

Have fields where the 50's are dominant or a snake where I can make it pass the 50 and into their snake, that makes a faster game.

I think it's time for people to realize that zoned up paintball, however boring is quite effective in obtaining 1-2 g's, and assuming you can close out a game is one way to play paintball that works quite well.

Reiner Schafer said...

Thinking waaaaay out of the box here (and I have a feeling it may be too much for the ref staff to handle), but what about having a time limit (sort of a like a shot clock in basketball) where players are not allowed to stay within a certain distance (say 10 feet) of their current position for more than..say 20 seconds.

One of the biggest arguments we get for the unpopularity of viewing competitive paintball is the boredom of watching guys stay too long in one place. This would eliminate that.

This can be coupled with a much lower rate of fire (to reduce laning and make it easier to move), which in turn reduces the cost of participating.

Coaches aren't going to like it much, because it puts most of the strategy and control of the game in the players' hands. But it's also more likely to single out stars, which is another asset when trying top popularize the game with the general public.

Like I said, waaaay out of the box and a huge departure from the status quo (which I believe is needed).

Nick Brockdorff said...

Splatkid:

Nobody (at least nobody experienced) is saying it's easy to hold down a lane - especially if it is an angled lane, where the gaps get increasingly shorter as the opponent bumps up, and gunfighting skills play an ever increasing role.

It IS a skill - and frankly, I'm pretty good at it myself, so I know it's a skill ;)

However, at Pro level, which is the topic of this debate, because the backs are so skilled at laning, it slows the game to a crawl.

You might respect that (I do), and you might find it interesting to watch (I do) - but the fact of the matter is, that most people in paintball (the PBA audience) don't, and NOBODY outside paintball does..... and there in lies the rub.

It will help somewhat, to stop releasing layouts ahead of events, as teams will be unable to work out the kinks of a layout at practice sessions.... but come Sunday, we will pretty much end up in the same situation as today.

Reiner:

I must admit I dislike that idea, because it messes with the natural progression of a point, which changes from point to point depending on the breakout and Gs, by forcing players to make moves solely for the purpose of beating the clock.... not because the move is "there"

I think the result would be a lot of games would become crap shoots - much like we see when teams need to win a point in 30 seconds or less.

It's entertaining - sure - but to me it would become less of a sport... because we force players to go against the natural rhythm of the game.

Michael Brozak said...

I have agreed with Paul about the field design and it having a major effect on the speed of the game - but to what degree? (one can only guess) - Not sure if any folks had a chance to catch any of the NCPA Championship - if you did then you witnessed some very exciting paintball - the focused team here is FGCU Eagles who took the title from Long Beach - these kids flew around the field and destroyed guys - their moves were calculated and efficent - fun paintball from a spectators point of view - if you get a chance check it out -

Now to the current debate - I understand ROF - but what say we just leave the ROF as is and reduce the FPS to say 220 from the 280-300 we see now? Wouldn't that force player to close gaps and move up the field? Less G's OTB but would get more player involved instead of them sitting back on their knees shooting across field (corner to corner)- DON'T SHOOT TILL YOU SEE THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES!!!

Nick Brockdorff said...

An added benefit to Michaels suggestion, is that we can then half the size of the fields and half the number of props - it will become dirt cheap to organize events....

(yes, that was irony)

Anonymous said...

It depends much on the field design.
If you take a look on the CPS event in Europe at http://new.livestream.com/accounts/1090661/events/2085622 you can see much faster games. They are playing the Millenium layout which is similar to the MAO layout. Just by leaving out some bunkers on the snake side and rearranging the snake it becomes easier to get into the snake and get some quick cross shots.

Michael Brozak said...

Nick - I think your on to something - its about time some one offered an original idea -

oh but wait... hasn't Baca been suggesting those very ideas when he said that the field was to long and that the addition of the extra props would slow things down even further...hmmmm - my bad, but nice try anyway -

Nick Brockdorff said...

Baca never suggested lowering the FPS dude :)

Lower the FPS to 220 like you suggest, would mean most entered the field with their guns set to 200-210.

Now, if we forget for a second that a lot of guns don't cycle properly at those speeds.

And if we forget how many more bounces would happen in games (even with reformulated paint).

What would effectively happen, is that nobody in the pro ranks would ever lose a gunfight - and nobody in the pro ranks would ever win a gun fight.

(yes "ever" is overstating it, but it's just to make a point).

You drop the FPS 70-80, and suddenly it becomes feasible to simply move from a paintball, even at a few yards..... and at range, it becomes even easier, because the speed will drop off a lot faster than we see today.

You are right, that we would see a LOT more movement, because the chance of getting shot would drop dramatically.... but it would be to a point where a lot of the inherint skills of the good paintball player would no longer really factor in much.

I'm sorry, I commend you for the suggestion, but it is not a practical solution to the problem, if we want paintball to keep the same primary set of skills that mark great players.

Michael Brozak said...

Nick - you are right... Baca never did mention reduced FPS, but then again I never said that he did - so now that that is settled "Dude"...on to your point (which is a valid point I might add) makes really good sense...(no really it does)- so then what is the answer? There has to be something that can make this game more exciting to the mainsteam - we are all here because we love this game - it speaks to something inside us - it's life or death (well... not so much the death part, or "is" at least until the flag is hung)- I watch it because I play it I have experienced it first hand - unfortunately if its not fast folks won't watch for very long - if at all - Is there truly a preverbial "magic potion / silver bullet" that will help? Your guess is as good as mine....

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, I think a combo of changed props (especially the snake elements and mini race/Ms), better field designs and lowered ROF is the ticket.

They can all pull the game in the right direction somewhat, but I think none of them can take it all the way on their own.

Personally, I think ROF is the major one of the 3.

I dunno if anyone watched the CPS webcast last weekend, but if they did, they would see the european game is much faster these days.... and in Europe, everyone shoots 10 BPS.

Now, arguably, in the CPS, there is a large quality gap between teams, even at the final stages of the event... so I look forward to seeing how Bitburg (especially Sunday) will play out in 1,5 weeks, when we will see Art Chaos, Tontons, Infamous, Impact, Heat, etc. play a field very similar to the MAO one.

Bear in mind, that the bunkers at MS events are both fewer (2 less Mayas, 2 less pins and 2 less mini race) and smaller (Mini Ms are way smaller than Min Races).... so unless we put it down to very poor quality of play, it should be more difficult to play a fast game at Bitburg, than it was at MAO.

Time will show ;)

Anonymous said...

Nick,
Since the NXL came up in another thread, let's compare here. Back in the days of Oakland Assassins unlimited BPS would anyone accuse their games of being sitting games?

I'm talking 2003/2004 when all the pros had cheater modes and were ramping at unlimited BPS.

Dynasty was not a sitting team back then.

Your theory is quite frankly not only unproven, but contradicted by history (rof has declined from 20s to 15 to 12.5 and games have slowed).

10.5 or 8 is not the magic number. There is no magic number. Certain teams can play a very effective game if they choose to slow the field down. Dynasty, Damage, and Heat is very good at this. Impact is not as good at this, which is why they don't do as well against teams that slow the game down on them.

In Europe, you have a greater skill disparity in CPL so you might see some faster games, but that's because of the teams themselves, combined with the disparity between teams, not the ROF.

Again, as has been said here before, watch pump guys play on an airball field. They plink-plink back and forth the whole time.

Time already has shown. Higher rates of fire on small fields lead to faster games.

If we want to keep ROF where its at or even lower it for political or economic or safety reasons, well, that's fine. But we can't expect that to speed up games.

The only thing that will speed up games is set of rules that prevent zoning up for extended periods of time. Other sports have evolved rules to prevent delaying tactics. We should do the same.

Address the problem directly, not through some perceived indirect theory that's unproven at best and as I said likely contradicted by history.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Well, you may disagree, but to me it seems fairly logical, that fewer paintballs fired per second, amounts to fewer kills - unless ofcourse everyone hit with their first ball, and the rest are just fired for the hell of it.

Now, obviously, it also means fewer kills OTB, but to me that is less important, than in-game moves being easier to complete succesfully.

It's not that different to lower speeds in traffic ammounting to fewer kills... or fewer guns in society amounting to fewer kills.

Now, if you like to drive fast (I do), or you like to shoot guns (I do), you will always tend to argue those points.... but that doesn't take away from them being fairly logical.

Personally, I'd like to play 20 BPS - because it suits my current skill set best (now that I am old and decrepit) - so I hope you understand I am not arguing for selfish reason here - I firmly belive in the theory :)

I accept your examples of 2003 and pump, but in both cases I would argue that they have more to do with a lower skill set (in terms of both pump and 2003), and a vast development in gun and paint quality (in terms of 2003) than being relevant to a ROF debate in todays game.

Today, we shoot way more brittle paint effectively and the skill set has developed tremendously, even at Pro level - and that is why we are having the problems we are these days, in terms of games being slow, boring and technical.

In 2003, whenever you made a move, you knew there was a 50 % chance that, even if you got hit, the ball would bounce.... that is most definitely not the case anymore.

As for Europe, I encourage you to watch the Bitburg webcast in 1,5 weeks... at last event, 3 of the top 4 were european teams, despite Impact, Infamous and Heat being there - and btw - the team you singled out as being least effective at dealing with teams locking down the field, did the best, at 10 BPS ;)

All that having been said, props and field design IS a factor also, as mentioned earlier... if you have huge gaps and bunkers that are hard to get out of fast, we could lower the ROF to 6 BPS, and still have issues :)

Anonymous said...

The fact is ROF won't change. 10 would be the lowest ever, and you're not going to see it in the USA anyway. The PSP takes a lot of flack for changing and changing and changing, and dropping down to 10 is problematic. Not least of all because it starts to look and sound like the kiddie league if the NPPL is blasting away at 15.

The point is, you don't make a rule in basketball that limits how big or small the ball or hoop is in order to affect slow game play.

Similarly, tweaking field design and gun technology via rules in order to influence an outcome is misguided.

Simply look for rules that will require a player to change his behavior to adjust to the rule.

Your approach is indirect, hoping that game play might evolve in a certain direction. My approach is direct. You don't want players sitting in bunkers too long? Make a rule against it.

How? The team on "offense" (Defined as the team up on bodies) can't camp in their bunkers or the refs call a penalty (if you're up on bodies you have 30 seconds to have one of your players move to a new spot. Every 30sec a player has to move... either they move up field or they get shot making a useless bump). This is just a bogus idea, not worthy of implementation, but is in the correct direction. Or as suggested we have the point clock in addition to the game clock. The point clock could either tick away and end the game, or it could be that once expired an opposing player is allowed back on the field (or a player is pulled from the offense). Or the point resets.

There have to be other options... take basketball.
"A five second closely guarded violation may be called against an offensive player with the ball when that player is guarded closely for five seconds or more and does not pass, shoot, or dribble within that time"

You can't just stand there with the ball for more than 5 seconds without doing something.

We have that exact same thing happening in paintball. Your analogous solution in basketball is to supposedly, best case, make the hoop bigger and lower so it's easier shoot baskets. Well, except for the fact there is no proof your solution makes it easier to score points. It might actually make it harder.

Target the problem with the rule. Speeding is a problem? Issue speeding tickets. Don't propose we dig pot holes in the road so drivers will be incentivized to slow down.

ROF is some bogus pancea that has continually come up on this blog. It was to blame for the decline in paintball participation at local fields, it was to blame for the decline in high end manufacturer sales, it was to blame for the decline in tournament play (even though lots of people continued to sign up for years during the "wild west" period of rof).

Now it's to blame for slow games. Give me a break. You're wrong here. And all those who attributed industry troubles to ROF a couple years ago were wrong too.

--none of that says that lower ROF is not prudent anyway.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Since all of Europe plays at 10 BPS, it makes no sense to say there isn't a basis for claiming lower ROF means faster paintball.... it is evident.

When speeding was the issue, society did not issue speeding tickets - that came second - the first thing that happened was that speed limits were imposed.... so you are kinda making my case for me with that one ;)

The basketball example is way off, since people don't get eliminated from the game for not shooting the ball.... it's a completely different dynamic with far less severe penalties for not honoring the rule.

Yes, ROF has been blamed for quite a few things the last years.... maybe there is a clue hidden in there somewhere, since it comes up? regularly as a problem area ;)

Anyway, it is quite clear we are very far apart in this debate, so I guess it's easier for both of us to not debate the issue, since we'll never agree anyway.

Michael Brozak said...

Well now - back to beating the ROF dead horse again and again (isnt that the definition of insanity - doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result)- so let me get this straight - Nick you stated that the paint these days is far better then in the "Good ol' Days" and is more brittle and breaks easier.... Right? So tell me again what makes the reduction in FPS not make sense? You said that a reduced ROF also reduces G's OTB and I said in and earlier post that reducing the FPS will also do the same, then wouldn't you consider that a wash? - Soooo....then what does that leave that will help achieve kills on the field? Gunfighting? Whether FPS is the same or in the case of your arguement reduced and you're having to gunfight for your kills and typically you dont get to ramp (12.5 bps)when doing this anyway - then whats the point of BPS other then to just hold a lane and or prevent movement? Answer this: what is it that "everyone wants to see?" what gets the oh and ah factor up? Drum roll please..... that's right? Seeing somebody run the field and bunker the crap out of guys.... so the theory that a reduced FPS wouldnt work as well as the reduced ROF just doesnt seem to hold water or paint or whatever considering the close proximity with which one bunkers another... What about reduced FPS forcing players to move up field? Hmmm? If you have to get up the field to effectively get kills and balls are less likely to break when shooting from back bunker to back bunker, aren't you going to move? or are you going to wait for guys to come to you? Either way movement will happen don't you think? I know it's a stupid theory, but it's my theory and I'm sticking to it -

Nick Brockdorff said...

But Michael, I never said reduced FPS wouldn't have the same effect - it would!

Problem is it would have some adverse effects as well, which reduced ROF would not.

That was the point I made in response to your earlier post.

Let's break it down:

Breakout: Same effect
Laning: Same effect
Long range gunfighting: Adverse effect
Short range gunfighting (snapshooting): Adverse effect
General accuracy: Adverse effect

So, I am in no way saying your suggestion would not have the desired effect in terms of creating a more fluent game.... I'm just saying it would also dramatically impact the core skills that have been inherint to paintball, since the first semiautomativ gun hit the market.

Meanwhile, I believe reduced ROF have less of a negative impact on the core skills of "good players", as is evident at the major european events today.