Sunday, January 18, 2015

What Will PSP Pro Look Like In 2015?

An excellent question. I'm glad I asked. In order to offer some ideas it must be assumed the stated changes will be in affect and no radically different additional changes will be added. The league seems to believe (hope?) that the changes will free up the unique creative potential of each team and with less sustained streams of paint in the air facilitate more action packed aggressive paintball--and cost the paint sponsors less. (Seriously. The paint guys will tell you they lose money pretty much every event.) By the way, this is gonna be a long post so I'ma break it up into sections given your limited attention span. No need to thank me.
That outcome is predicated on the notion that no sideline coaching, no early layout release and the so-called "true" semi-auto firing mode will change the nature of the game in ways that will encourage that result. The no sideline coaching is intended to reduce the amount of game flow information snake players have (and can respond to) in real time with the expectation it will result in more aggressive snake play or at least more random snake play. No early layout release forces teams (and players) to evaluate the field and devise plans for competing based solely on their understanding of the game and their inclination as a team. The expectation (assuming some actual serious consideration applies) here is that team styles will emerge creating more dynamic spectator interest and that in general those efforts will be more aggressively-oriented (than the trend of recent seasons.) And the new firing mode is intended to make it easier to move, harder to defend (or deny movement) and tip the risk/reward balance toward faster more aggressive playing styles.
Could things work out that way? It is possible but I think it's unlikely. (The only element that will work as planned is the less paint shot and that will happen for different reasons than assumed though ROF is a contributing factor.)
Interestingly both the PSP and the Millennium are attempting to achieve similar outcomes but are choosing radically different methods. Both want faster more aggressive play. The MS is attempting to alter play balance with their latest bunker kit. They have eliminated the MTs (Mayan Temple, tower, rocket, etc.) and added an extra snake beam and 6 cones. The cones will prove to be difficult to nearly impossible to live in particularly in comparison to the MTs. Per the example the league provided it seems reasonable to expect layout designs that use the cones in important positions that will force them to be played to one degree or another. And high risk props in positions that normally ought to be played will result in some quicker eliminations and/or some new strategies introduced into the game play. At least that seems to be the hope. And that too could work as desired but runs the risk of also alienating some percentage of the players as well. [There is some tipping point between making the bunkers so "technical" game play goes from challenging to just plain frustrating. Will the cones be that point? We'll see.]
The least significant change is the no sideline coaching. It should encourage better on field communication and for some players who may have gotten a little lazy it will push them to prepare better. Otherwise, the principle impact will be a loss of real time game flow information and less information means more uncertainty and uncertainty never has encouraged more aggressive play. Still that's the least of the changes in practical terms. (The only caveat is the rare occasions when players "get lost" and their opponent has no idea where they are.)
No early layout release will have more impact on practice than on the play of the actual matches. Even so I do expect more diversity in breakouts especially on Fridays. Team tendencies will effect play calls and different teams will evaluate the possibilities differently and that will result in more variance initially. However teams will have to learn quickly what is working and what isn't and (hopefully) adjust accordingly. By Saturday and certainly Sunday the teams will have scouted the other teams and everyone will have seen what everyone else is doing and much of the newness or wrinkles in play will have evened out by that point. By Sunday the matches will be about execution more than tactical choices, as usual, and teams will play the matches consistent with their philosophy, in other words after a fashion they believe gives them the best chance of success. [More on this later because it's important.] Should things play out as I've suggested it means that the Friday game results become the most uncertain in outcome in clashes of unexpected and unprepared for breakouts and game plans. Consequently smart teams will focus on getting successful results and (again) depending on philosophy this will tend to make teams more, not less, risk averse early on. And of course the nature of Race To hasn't changed. A team may start out balls to the wall but if it doesn't work odds are they won't keep at it. Conversely a team that is more deliberate by nature only becomes even more defensive. Nobody wants the point spread to get out of hand ironically because PSP claims justifying the move to Race To initially--a 3 point spread is the kiss of death--is now the conventional wisdom.
The introduction of "true" semi-auto could make the biggest difference. If everyone adapts without too much trouble and most players can shoot around 10 when stationary and upwards of 8 on the move then the impact on game play will be insignificant. If however there is a wide variance among the players in how well they adapt or if the moving ROF is closer to 5-6 the outcome is less predictable but could go either direction--to retaining the status quo or giving the PSP what it seems to want, more action, but that isn't exclusively a function of paint in the air or knowledge of the layout.

Next time VFTD will take a look at how the changes might produce some unintended (and unwanted) consequences.


Anonymous said...

Do you believe PSP is already set on this "true semi" firing mode??? Or will adjustments be made before the first event?

GAKOcrew said...

Good breakdown always. Wouldn't it be easier to limit the amount of pods carried? Seems to give the same effect. What are your thoughts on that?

Baca Loco said...

I haven't got a clue but given that manufacturers are actively coding their guns if it isn't this version I'd guess it's likely to be something similar come Dallas.

Yes, it would be vastly easier and more effective but not the same effect at all. There's another post coming that will dig deeper into this.

Unknown said...

Do you think there is enough time for these guys to learn how to maintain high fire rates on the move with this new system? What do you see as the priorities in both team and individual practice regimes now with these changes?

Baca Loco said...

No, in the sense that they'll get better given more time. Without knowing more about enforcement procedures I'm completely serious when I suggest you can easily cheat the intent of this rule without exceeding the defacto 12.5cap.
Regarding your second question since I've got an upcoming clinic with a Champions team paying for those kind of answers, among others, I'll withhold commenting for the time being.

Anonymous said...

Ref shoots the gun over a Clock. Sees 4 shots in a row at 12.5, player is ejected for an illegal board.

Now what if the player gets a little smarter and sets his gun up with a cap of 10.5 and a lower debounce so he can reach that 10.5 consistently.

Unless the refs are going to check every gun's settings this player would probably never be caught. So basically we're back to "add shots until you get to 10.5" but you have to work slightly harder (ie, not 3shot burst).

Sounds ok?

Baca Loco said...

First case depends on how many times the ref pulled the trigger.
Second scenario still gets caught by radar chronograph if the space between any two shots is less than 80ms.
That said it's still possible to cheat this system--just not the cap or the gap.

Anonymous said...

"That said it's still possible to cheat this system--just not the cap or the gap."

I'm sorry, but then I'm not seeing how it's cheating. Unless you're implying a spike in fps? Or once the trigger is walked at a high rate it perfectly ramps up to exactly 12 or so (ie. hold a consistent 8 to 10 bps and the board cheats the rest)?

Anonymous said...

If a player has his gun shooting 10.5bps using untrue semi, he will never have a gap of less than 95ms. So he'll appear legal. He will be legal according to their max bps, legal according to their delay ms, just not legal according to their internal board logic. Which no one can check anyway.

The cheating is presumably dependent on whether or not the manufacturers want to risk hell by allowing their teams to use non approved boards.

Baca Loco said...

1056 Anon
No spike but otherwise you're in the ballpark.

1101 Anon
It depends on how the cap is achieved. If it's simply a cap as it's normally done now that doesn't necessarily address individual gap times, just max ROF per second.
Which is why they aren't calling this version a capped ROF at 12.5. It is only a defacto cap because the 80ms gap between shots mean the gun can't exceed 12.5--but it isn't capped at 12.5 the way capped max ROF otherwise works.

Another thing the manufacturers will discover is that the "true" semi programming may be the same or thereabouts for every gun but some of them will be easier or harder to shoot with any consistency. I saw 3 different guns this past weekend and each was a bit different in how hard or easy it was to shoot and the manufacturers that get a rep for being hard aren't going to like that very much.

Anonymous said...

Trigger ergonomics become critical. We may even see trigger jobs and single fingers back in fashion. Now on the cap and gap. To program a gun with a cap you don't code 12.5bps but rather 80ms. Max rof per second is meaningless in programming because the gun can't predict the future or change the past. It can only say, is this trigger event 80ms after the last one? OK, go for it, or no, shoot later (or void the pull and wait for another).

Anonymous said...

The slow motion camera makes it impossible to cheat, unless it can't see you/ isn't looking (in the chaos of breakouts, or certain field positions). Do they actually have a plan for using real time footage? Who knows..