Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ripped from the Forums of PBN

Pretty dramatic, uh? As long as it got you this far the post title has served its purpose. And in fact today's post is commentary on items found over at PBN. But before I get to that there's this little anti-PBN rant I've been saving. About the ads now appearing in every second "post" of a thread in the forums. Really? I know, research says they get seen--actually noticed--by a higher percentage of users than other ad placements but there comes a point where y'all cross over from being a forum for paintball players and become a forum for paintball (and other) advertisements. S'all I'm saying. Oh and I bet users can't turn them off either.
There's a moderately interesting poll asking if the shell color of tourney paint should be regulated--by the promoters presumably. The notion being that brightly colored shells are easier to see by spectators--webcast viewers?--and that helps them understand the action and get a better sense of the speed and energy of the game onfield. I'm not convinced that from the normal spectator viewing angles it would make that much difference but even so it's a no-brainer to giving it a try--isn't it? In fact it's such an obvious no-brainer I can only conclude that for some reason (product differentiation?) that the manufacturers have objected in the past. And if they didn't I can't imagine how such a simple idea was overlooked.
Then there's (another) thread about player reclassification--this time in the PSP forum--wondering if there's a way to get a friend reclassified so he and his buddies can all play Cup together. In this particular case the player in question was supposedly never ranked higher than D1 and hasn't played since 2006 but is still D2 and the team is signed up to play D4 RaceTo-2 or something. I wasn't paying much attention to the details but it got me thinking. (And not for the first time on this subject.) Everyone (with an interest in competitive paintball) is always decrying the seemingly diminishing numbers of players while constantly encouraging all and sundry to do their share to get more peeps playing. Which is all well and good but what about all the people who used to play but have since been discarded by the game because of classification? What about them? Former players. They don't need to be sold. They need to be given an opportunity to play again. Instead, in some misguided effort to be "fair" we've doubled the number of competitive divisions and booted out untold numbers of players who loved the tourney side of the game.
What is tourney ball to the majority of players? It's a competitive outlet where they get do enjoy sports mostly with their friends. Especially at the lower levels. Instead of building on that we've driven the demographic down and helped push the most stable sustainable base of players out. And then we wonder where all the players have gone.
Yet, if the powers that be attempted to change the status quo tomorrow the hue and cry from the present rank and file would refill Lake Mead with their tears. Because it would be unfair. Because there just might be a few more players competing better than them. 

26 comments:

Brent Kotchman said...

Modern UCP in the APPA is a hobby killer. Rank up D2 and its get on a plane to play as a team or disband.

Simon Stevens said...

You can turn the adds off in the second posts simply by having an account and logging in... Those ads only show up for people browsing without accounts or without being logged in.

sdawg said...

This situation is essentially the same in all sports. If you are a 5.0 in tennis, you are not going to find a lot of USTA tournaments or leagues to compete in that do not require a lot of travel.

Anonymous said...

The ranking system was good at first but now is reducing the opportunities for people to play. Those players are finding something else to do. It is hurting the local tournament scene and tournament paintball in general. We have ranked quite a bit of players out of paintball. These are the same guys who start and hold teams together.

Baca Loco said...

Simon
Spoil sport. Stole my thunder.

sdawg
No, it's not. How many 3.0s is tennis kicking to the curb? Classification initially hammered D1 level players but today it's greatest impact is at the non-PPS level where it's pushing local players out of the tournament game.

ThisISPaintball.ca said...

How about bringing back the Masters Division with the team having one player aged 30. Draws back all the older guys plus some of the not so old players.

Anonymous said...

Another subdivision of players is not going to help. You cannot keep splitting what does not exist (players). The current system denies a person to participate in events unless they go on a national level. You know, the guy with all the cash and the passion to play. Problem is that he is not going to fly around the country to pursue that passion as it is a HOBBY to him.

Anonymous said...

No one is saying these guys can't play. What they're saying is that they can't freely play in any division they'd like, they need to play in the division appropriate for their team.

This guy that's supposedly D2 isn't trying to come out of the wood-works to play several local events - he wants to play on the biggest stage. There's nothing lost at the local level by asking that team to play in the appropriate division.

That said, I question whether there's interest for higher divisional players to play local events where they're not sandbagging. Last time I scrounged APPA, anyone that offered an open division had a shit turnout. So you guys are crying that there's too many old D2 players, but when they do have opportunities to play they don't. What exactly should we, as a sport, cater to? I'd rather see these older players, hopefully with more expendable income now than before, go out to their local fields and play every weekend than see them at a tournament - odds are better they'll bring more people into the game that way.

Anonymous said...

Ooooo, let's bet about the ads on PbNation! What do you want to bet? Hint: you're wrong. Just log in to turn them off.

Baca Loco said...

636 Anon
And Simon beat you to it. :p

bigbob21 said...

Your right Anon...
An exception should be made for a player who's since retired comes back to a national event...
I've seen it done, albeit through the grey channels of "I know a guy who knows the guy who runs the thing"

The solution could be as simple as: local tourneys should use APPA for player classes but not use APPA scoring, so not to rank up the hobbyists.

Although, in some areas,
The local scene had bowed down to the larger regional
Circuits and that idea wouldn't therefore work.

NTran said...

APPA is crushing local teams that may want to play some nationals.

My local team is ranked D2 because of APPA and do not have finances to compete nationally but when here is an event available to play we just won't play because we were improperly ranked.

PSP loses a team that would play an event then unless they don't care about the teams that are committing the whole year to compete.

I think if every team played nationally, then the APPA ranks them appropriately. But it forces teams up the ranks to quickly locally because it values local tournaments equal to national tournaments.

raehl said...

There are a lot of feelings about the classification system that don't jive with the numbers.

The current UCP mainly:
- Keeps D5 for new players so they have fun playing other new players
- Moves up teams doing very well to make room for other teams
- Keeps very experienced players from playing newer players.

The D2 bump:

A team bumping to D2 has been playing a couple years, is the best team in their area, and has usually picked up the best players around.

With the system, they can then travel to play other D2 teams or split up their talent to other teams in the area (or both).

Without the system, the choices are the same, it's just messier.

The team doesn't move up. Other teams in the division get sick of playing them and quit or switch leagues, teams from lower divisions won't move up, and the division dies.

The team can now travel to find other teams to play or split their talent up onto different local teams.

Same result for the team that would have bumped, plus a bunch of other teams quit, and some other teams stayed a division down recreating the problem there.



Individual D1/D2 Players:

This is a problem that virtually doesn't exist. There are few D1/D2 players, they do have places to play, and most of them ARE playing.

Most D1 players can play on a D3 RT4 team.
All D2 players can play on a D3 RT2 team and most can play on a D4 RT4 team.

There are 1192 D1/D2 players in the ENTIRE system.

76% have played in the past year, so only 288 have not.

But there are really only 778 current D1/D2 players (played since 2010).

88% of these D1/D2 players are still playing, leaving a mere 95 players who are not.

That's higher than all the other divisions:

85% of D3 players played in the past year, but only
61% of D4's did
29% of D5's did
11% of Beginners did

So to increase participation, we should make everyone D1 - 90% of them stick around.

Obviously I'm kidding.

But the huge group of D1/D2 players who would jump right back into the game if only their classification were lower simply doesn't exist.


If the issue is more players, here's the real problem:

4,511 people played their first tournament in 2010.

2,980 of them (66%) never made it past D5.
3,043 (67%) didn't make it to 2012.
2,416 (54%) didn't even make it to 2011.


Thousands of players each year buy equipment, make a team, find an event, pay the entry fee, show up and play...

...and more than half don't come back.

When two thirds of people who make it all the way to an event still give up within 2 seasons, maybe we should focus more on what's keeping the THOUSANDS of them from playing.



Final thought:

In most sports, people who "age out" don't expect to come back and play at all... they coach or get involved with their kids or ref - or just tune in to watch.

Those sports with coaches and involved parents and good refs seem to do a much better job of retaining new players than we do.

raehl said...

@bigbob21:

You haven't "seen it done". The last PSP reclassification expired in 2009, and looking through the names. APPA doesn't reclass people at all.


And hobbyists don't rank up. They stay D4 pretty much forever.

raehl said...

@NTran:

If everyone is playing under the same rules, it's almost impossible for us to move anyone up too quickly - because everyone moves up at the same rate.

You think you've been promoted to D2 too soon. Ok, we change the rules and don't promote you to D2. But it's not just you who goes back to D3... Everyone else in a similar situation does too. So what changed? Still playing the same teams, just in a division with a different number.

Of course, at some point, there is a line between divisions, and some teams will be just over that line and some teams will be just under that line, and I'm sure lots of people would rather be the team just under the line. But everybody can't be the team just under the line... if someone just over the line this year, it's because they were just under the line last year.


As for local vs. national participation:

Previously, local participation didn't count towards national participation. You'd play D3 locally, show up at PSP, and play D4.

But so would everyone else, so you'd be playing D4 against all the other teams who played D3 locally.

Now the teams who play D3 locally go to PSP and STILL play other teams that play D3 locally... just in D3.

The benefit of that is the teams who play D4 locally can now go to PSP events and play... other D4 teams!


Going to your situation in particular, pretty much the same thing. Yes, you did well in D3 last year, and are now D2... as are all the other teams who did well in D3 last year. So when you go to PSP, you're still playing the teams you would have been playing in D3 under the "old" way, just in D2 instead of D3.

Also remember that D2 now is not at all like D2 in 2009. Just like the level of team that played PSP D4 in 2009 now simply plays PSP D3, the teams that have been playing D2 are now in D1, mainly because the level of team that used to be at the top of D1 now plays in Challengers or even Champions, making room for the teams that used to be playing D2 to now play D1, and of course the teams at your level who used to play D3 are just in D2.

Same opponents, different division numbers.




And won't let me delete/edit; that one above should have said "and looking through the names I don't even recognize anyone."

Anonymous said...

Raehl,

Thanks for the data - your point is strongly made. Like they say, numbers don't lie.

I think one fair observation is the number of people not sticking around for very long might have to do with the issue of sandbagging - too many times our young kids get torn up in tourney play and find something else to spend their money on. Being former Army, I am not for wimps and we don't tolerate babies on our team; however, competition implies some sort of rules and fairness - otherwise it is war and may the strongest SOB win.

While I don't know if we have the best system (not having taken the time to study the issue fully), it is something that at least attempts to establish that fairness - I am not interested in watching Lang beat the crap out of some 12 year old. The current ranking system appears to account for most factors and while I recognize the issue facing the higher ranked players, I also believe it vital to retain a balanced ranking system. Personally, and speaking for most on our lines (we have players from D3-D6), we appreciate the APPA system and the attempt to keep the playing field level.

Anonymous said...

A lot of those new players are just people making a new appa to sandbag. Also I have friends that have lost the password and couldn't get in contact the right before the tourney so they make a new account.

raehl said...

Yeah no.

Dupe accounts get combined on a regular basis, so they're not affecting the numbers.

I'm not going to say we catch 100 percent of people who make fake accounts to sandbag, but your odds are not good. If you're good enough to sandbag, you're good enough for someone to know who you are and call you on it, and we do catch people.

MQ said...

A lot of the attempts to 'sportify' paintball have pushed cash-carrying customers away. But that's what the vocal minority wanted - a 'Pro Sport' that (one day for sure) enters the Olympics and makes every pro-player a millionaire overnight..

problem is, that never happened. Now we have a bunch of super-fit super-skilled broke-guy athletes that need someone else to pay for them.

Anonymous said...

Here's 'out of the box'
How about do away with the Pro division altogether, and allow 2 pro's per team.
This way teams that have a couple of top pro's would maybe get sponsorship easier, and they could bear the cost of their pro players themselves. It means a lot more teams would become competitive overnight. Talent would be way more spread-out.
Too 'out there'?

sdawg said...

I still stand by my analogy. A 3.0 in tennis is essentially entry-level league and tournament competition, i.e., D4/D3 level players. 1.0 - 2.5 would be equivalent to rec-ball players.

It's apples and oranges, but all sports a similar problem to a certain degree.

Baca Loco said...

Chris
How many players in the system once held a D1 ranking?

108 Anon
Get ready for the new era of even less sponsorship. And what exactly is a "pro" player when there is no pro level competition? Just a couple of guys way better than most?

sdawg
And how does one attain a higher ranking in tennis?

Anonymous said...

So it would seem with the higher retention rate of D1 players, these guys are more naturally committed.

Lower div guys don't have as much a reason to stick around. Maybe, ahem, making the events more "fun" for the recball style tournament player (ie, the d3/d4 guys) would increase retention rates!

Did somebody say beer & webcast tent? Why not just call it "Lane's Tavern" or something ;)

Anonymous said...

hasn't been much fun since Angel went away.

Mark said...

"Those sports with coaches and involved parents and good refs seem to do a much better job of retaining new players than we do."

Very true. I've seen it countless times: A former, highly experienced player takes a team under his wing, before long the one team becomes 6 teams. For the most part they all experience some form of success. Then ego's within the organization inevitably collide bringing the whole thing crashing down. Happened to Rocky in Rocky V.

MQ said...

True, and sometimes the players have to adapt to a new set of circumstances, like that chick out of Legally Blonde who becomes a top-flight lawyer, or the hot dancer chick from 'Bring-it-on 2' (Bring it Back), who had to adapt her ballroom style cheers to fit the hip new street-style cheers of LA.....

There are a lot of appropriate Hollywood parallels Mark, so glad you see it too!