Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Novelty Formats & Major League Paintball

Normally I'd be cruel and include 7-man in the coming litany of has beens and never was but I have a soft spot on my head for 7-man and besides, it's not a failed format in my estimation, it's a format that was failed. In fact most of the other formats I want to mention are all good, clean paintball fun--they just don't have any business being grafted on (like mismatched body parts on a Frankenstein's Monster) to a perfectly fine national series featuring variations of the Race To format. You know, stuff like Young Guns 3-man, gimme a freaking break. Or more recently pump, mechanical (Dare I say it?) UWL or even 10-man. [And if push comes to shove I'm not a huge fan of any division D4 or lower playing at the national level with the exception of World Cup, but that's just me being all snobby and stuff.]
I can appreciate the notion of the league trying to cater to diverse player interests but there has to be a limit and for me the limit is when the whole thing is little more than a sad laughing stock parody of what was intended. Nor do I lay even most of the blame on the league--with one exception--but on the caterwauling players claiming that players will show up in droves to play [fill in the blank] if only it was offered.
Well, it's been offered. Over and over and over again and the same 12 guys and that loser with a duffel bag full or Airsoft crap keep showing up.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all about Young Guns. I'm down with 3-man events. It's great to see pump play make a revival. And if mechanical markers only were taken seriously I think it would open up truly competitive play to a much broader participation base and I love seeing some Old Skool 10-man and I'm even willing to extend nook space under the big tent of competitive paintball to the UWL. My problem isn't with the formats, it's with the fact that no matter how loud the hue & cry gets to add this or include that at the end of the day nobody shows up. Okay, not nobody but not nearly enough bodies. And the PSP shouldn't be in the business of trying to be all things tourney paintball to all people. In part the truth is not all that many people are really interested and a national stage isn't the right place for some of the others. For the league it's a distraction and it dilutes the brand.
Then there's the exception I mentioned earlier. That would be 10-man. 10-man can't stand alone at this point in time or likely draw a real field of competitors from less than the national scale and nobody else is in a position to offer 10-man other than the PSP. (Except perhaps as a one off and the risk would be very high the promoter would lose his or her shirt.) But if the PSP is gonna to make the effort they need to do it right and quit treating 10-man like the red-headed stepchild it was at Cup and at Dallas. For now it ought be promoted only at the Chicago event and Cup and potential players need to know at the beginning of the year (when and where 10-man will be available) if the league is even vaguely serious about giving 10-man a real shot.


dan. said...

I agree, you can buy the Model T in any color you want, as long as it's black.

Different divisions / variations have been offered over the years and ultimately we are where we are today because not enough teams (people) continued to play 10 man., (cough) 7-man, . . . . however,

I hope this JT Splatmaster intro to tourneys thing really works at Chicago. I look at it not so much as a 'new' division, but more of a Test Marketing Effort. If it fails, gather the info, what went wrong - not enough interest? are the people coming to watch really spectators? more interest in tourney style speedball? honestly a thousand angles it can be viewed. IF all these people are coming to watch the teams play, why aren't they playing? But if they enjoy watching, what products could they buy to support their teams?

If you look around there are many many dads/moms bringing their kids to these events to spectate and their children typically have a good friend in tow. How do I know? I ASK. If I'm out in the parking lot before / after i play and see a family go by, I engage them, talk to them, get them excited, try and answer any questions - point them in the right direction.

so please take all this info and do something with it. The haters gonna hate if 'x' amount of teams don't show that it takes so many teams to be successful. There can be unseen value hidden in what doesn't happen too. Don't shelve it and forget about it.

sorry about the long rambling $.03 worth.

Anonymous said...

Fuck 7 or 10 man.

The players have spoken, and 5 man race to 7 is the preferred format. This has been proven.

I understand there is a fond nostalgia for 7 and 10 man play. There's also fond nostalgia for hockey without facemasks.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I don't think 7 man failed.

I think the standard CTF format failed (primarily) and the NPPL (as an organisation) failed.

Players like going to race-to events, because there is always something going on, all the time, on every field... and you can get involved from the sidelines if you like.

It makes for a much more dynamic experience - paintball events are not just about the games you play yourself, as 90 % of the time is spent doing other stuff than playing.

Yes, the NPPL tried introducing a race-to format, but that was way too late - had they done it back when everyone played their events, the reality of the sport might be different today..... because, let's face it, 5 man race-to is incredibly repeditive and field designs leave little room for creative game play - so 7 man is actually more interesting to spectate in most cases.

Add to the PSPs large first move advantage on the race-to format, that 5 man (generally) has benefited a lot from the economic donwturn the last 5-6 years.

Granted, less so at national events, where people often bring extra players and support staff anyway - but at local level, it most definitely has had an impact, because it makes quite a difference to not need those two extra guys (who don't have money, or quit the sport, or whatever).

Last, but not least, the PSP has far outperformed anyone else out there, in terms of creating feeder leagues, and at the end of the day, if your local fields and local league has PSP field kits and play 5 man, there is very little incentive to go play 7 man at national level.

Personally, I liked 7 man fields and 7 man game play better - as a player - but as a paintball traveller and event attendee - the 5 man race-to format completely destroyed the competition.

Nick Brockdorff said...

Oh, and one more thing:

Another thing the race-to format has over traditional 7 man, is that you have way more spare time to be social and to enjoy yourself at events.

Back when 7 man CTF was the format of choice, you could easily spend 5-6 solid hours per day playing, walking back and forth from your games, preparing, waiting in your pit for your next match to be called, scouting 5 different layouts, etc.

Today, that time is - at least - cut in half, leaving players with a lot more time to do other stuff - and they actually still get the same net field time - if not more.

Anonymous said...

Why is X-Factor playing the NPPL?

Anonymous said...

^^^ Yes, why?

I'm guessing they gave you a break on your registration fee for NEO due to not paying your prize for the win at HB, but who's to say they won't fuck you over this time as well?

I don't see anything for you to gain by playing in the NPPL, although I guess that would be the owner's decision and not the coach's.

Baca Loco said...

Anon 625
Because the players want to play and because there are some positive sponsorship contingencies involved for success.

Anon 745
I'd almost be surprised if they didn't.

See above answer. My concerns are the scheduling limitations competing in the NPPL forces on the team when it comes to preparing for PSP events--which, in my estimation, are far more important but we're doing what we can to minimize any negative impact.

Nick Brockdorff said...

"because there are some positive sponsorship contingencies involved for success."

This makes total sense.

And the same is probably true for a couple of other teams.

But next year - those contingencies are gone....

Anonymous said...

Disagree with lower divisions being at national events all you want. But we all know the so called professionals are not self sufficient without the lower divisions signing up.