Monday, December 29, 2014

Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New

Mostly just some miscellaneous musings on the old (news) of the day while we wait for the new (year) to deliver something fresh. In actual news Upton 187 finally got around to announcing the pick-up of Nick Slowiak, formerly of Heat. It's nice to see a nice guy get another opportunity to continue competing but--being a half empty kinda guy at times I can't help wondering about the fate of all the other "pro" players in limbo currently without a team. What does 2015 have in store for them? (Perhaps more Open divisions at the regional level?) This move certainly won't hurt either Nick's or 187's popularity but whether or not it improves the team remains to be seen.
There's also a lot we don't know about the fate of some of the other pro teams. Rumor has it CEP is teetering on the brink of disbanding and who knows what impact the plunging ruble will have on Russian Legion--but odds are it won't be good. And there's still one other team out there I expect to call it quits sometime before next season. Which leaves the fate of the PSP's Champions and Challengers uncertain as well. Is Challenger's worth sustaining if it's made up of mostly unchallenged recently bumped up D1 teams? (Assuming the league can convince enough D1 teams to make the jump.) The announced pro rule changes seem to assume the status quo--but who knows?
I also want to take a closer look at those rule changes plus the laundry list of changes announced by the Millennium. Let's start with our Euro friends. The interesting question is why? In the past the MS has often done an admirable job of shooting itself in the foot so routinely rumors of the PSP going to Europe were met with much hopeful rejoicing. So what changed? I don't know but it may have something to do with following recent trends in team turnout. Over the last three seasons the league has worked hard to keep the locked divisions mostly filled and in the process they have reached out to just about every corner of Europe and beyond. At the same time open divisions have slowly declined. They've also felt pressure from the growing popularity of national leagues. So across the board the league focused on small ways they could make competing more economical while also trying to create new ways for new players and teams to give the Millennium a try. If nothing else the changes made earn the league some goodwill and fresh credibility that will help keep the league in the forefront of tournament paintball in Europe.
Meanwhile on our side of the pond the experimentation continues--maybe. And who knows, they might not be done yet either. Dropping divisional ROF is good for the majority purely from a play of the game, learning the game perspective and should have come as little surprise to most. Conceptually the pro changes are fine too except that they were taken haphazardly ("we'll figure out how to make it work later") and contradict past league practices. When the NXL was subsumed into the PSP and RaceTo was introduced part of the rationale was that it was important the game be uniform top to bottom. That D4 would play the same basic game the pros played. That's now out the window and even if the league can make their high speed cameras work the chances of bringing that technology to divisional is likely nil. And no sideline coaching isn't trickling down any time soon. (The secret to regulation is butts on bleachers, not crowds lining nets or rope lines or bicycle racks.)
The PSP tracks the participating team numbers very closely.  Last year approx. 70% of all entries were paid by casual competitors, teams that only play the PSP once or twice, and as a consequence aren't committed to the series. One might think that would encourage consistency and deliberation when contemplating changes. If recent seasons are to be relied upon one would be mistaken. 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Baca,

You are, as always, spot on - the PSP should quit making changes every year that impact the basic play of the game. Pick something and stay with it - and for damn sure it makes no sense to have the "pro" guys playing with a different set of rules. Be consistent, and give time for teams to get used to the rules.

splatkid10 said...

It's an interesting point for sure. Other professional sports also change rules, but they are very slight. Adding instant replay to homeruns in baseball for example...on a close ball we'll check. On the other hand, in paintball when we change the guns from ramping to semi-auto I'd equate that to like making the angle between foul poles greater or something. The leagues do changes rules often and drastically which the more I think about it is ....what's the point? What end game are they trying to achieve? TV deal?

These changes are typically geared (From what I can see) towards the pro-divisions. Those teams generally will always be competing, but increasing the total # of teams participating will come from the divisional ranks. Maybe focus more there - targeted advertising - instead of on rule changes? I don't know...I'm only a mildly OK B-school student.

Anonymous said...

After being involved in the tournament play of PSP for the past 8-9 years and now a casual observer, the only thing that is consistent in the PSP is its desire to change something at the beginning of every season. This year has not let us down.

Anonymous said...

The camera is a ruse like the old microphone pact timer. It occasionally worked but was useless on the breakout where the strongest incentive to cheat was. But some were duped and complied while the elite could still cheat.

I expect the same. Gradually elite players will cheat and insinuations will fly. To be honest it will make good theater though!

MQ said...

I like a bit of controversy too. Hopefully the 'semi' rule will spark off some bans/suspensions that make it all a bit more interesting. It's like watching everything in B&W these days -too sterile, too 'party-line', and when you hear the players being interviewed, its the same script every time. No-one is even trying to stand out. I get that the top pro-sports athletes have to be careful what they say, but lets not pretend it's 'just the same' for paintball players. I think players are scared about upsetting sponsors, but don't realize that the sponsors want the attention. They want additional focus on their teams, and for their teams to be the topic of conversation, and this is not achieved through banality. The whole league needs a shake IMO. There's being professional, and then there's being boring as all hell...
2 teams, if they were smart, would start a crazy rivalry, and then make a real attempt to live up to it for a season. You see this in Hockey, teams are not afraid to say that they don't like another team and are out to F them up. The players from the 2 teams probably get along just fine, but they play into the theater, and the game becomes more interesting for the viewer.

Ryan Langseth said...

XSV just announced that they would not be playing the 2015 season. Is that the team you were expecting to leave or do you think there is still one more team disbanding?

Baca Loco said...

Ryan
The XSV move was expected. I expect at least one more US-based team to fold and I do not think we'll see Russian Legion in the PSP in 2015.