The Downsides of Exclusionary Paintball.
I did not want to clutter other peoples threads regarding inceptions of "limited equipment" play, but wanted to voice some opinions and open discussion on gear-driven game format.
I think there are some valid perimeters for limited play, and one of those is the pump limitation. That format works well because there is an easy and recognizable definition of what the gear is doing. You have to physically and manually load or trigger an action to reset a paintball to fire. Stock class is just as easy to describe and enforce.
But what about the broad term "mechanical"? How about "blowback"? Or the popular thread "back to basics"?
My basic question is why do players want other players to limit themselves? If you enjoy that gun, why can't you just go shoot it and be happy? If you can find a team's worth of like-minded individuals, why not form a team and play within the established realm of tournament play?
CCM did this very thing years ago, by inserting themselves into the highest level of tournament play with what could be considered a handicap. My good friend John along with the rest of the core team were just forming their business, and wanted to make sure their product was recognized as a top tier option to be considered alongside the electronic markers of the time. Rather than become exclusionary, they simply infiltrated the system on it's own terms. How did they thrive? By training incessantly, searching out good teachers, and not only working the confines of their product, but exposing limitations of high volume electronic play and exposing team's weaknesses that used their equipment as a crutch.
Which brings me to a reason I think exclusionary paintball keeps rearing it's ugly head.
The fear exists that if you handicap yourself with a mechanical gun that you either cannot compete, or cannot enjoy your game. This player tends to get smoked in competition and blames the very equipment he enjoys playing with, rather that to define what the actual problem is. The gear has nothing to do with it. The problem is the ability to win games. So the solution, on the face of it, is to limit what everybody else uses, increasing the handicapped teams chances of success. Somehow, if everyone else is limited to defunct technologies, that will increase "my" enjoyment of the game. The problem is that the gear has zero to little effect on that. Paintball has evolved from continuously from its inception. I won't go into all the thousands of obvious iterations, but there is no "basic", and therefore you can not get "back to" the basics.
But you may want to argue, "what about pump then". That's completely different. You only have to define what it does, not how it does it.
First, to define a mechanical marker opens up a huge problem for definition on the paintball field. There are any number of ways to enhance the actual mechanics of a marker beyond the physical triggering of the firing sequence. Are you to say that the triggering sequence must directly engage a sear? That is impossible on some guns. What if I were to devise a way to, purely mechanically, ramp the firing speed on an autococker? Still one pull per ball, but say I can operate it skillfully at 30 BPS. Will I still be in compliance?
What kind of grey areas are referees going to have to manage now? Remember, you are talking about local small time events, not giant well staffed affairs.
There any number of other points I want to offer, but let me summarize for now with this; Perhaps exclusionary players should try to function in the general populace to the point where their selected gear is NOT detrimental to their play, or enjoyment of the game. If you excel, more of the herd will naturally gravitate to you and WANT to be part of what you have, rather than shun it and degrade it (see CCM Factory).
Maybe look outside the box a little, and possibly devise a plan for contingency rules that reward podium finishes with additional prizes should certain gear be used.
Rather than block out certain gear users, invite them in. That way your efforts will be rewarded, rather than just fade out after one overly complicated tournament using one-time-use legacy equipment.
All of this has been tried before, many times, with every limitation you can think of, and what you get is general disappointment at worst, or "that was fun, let's never do again" at best.
You have to make players, "those players", Want to be a part of it.
I tried to be as broad with the mechanical thing as possible everything was open as long as it was mechanical just required a 12v agitating hopper. Thats pretty straight forward.
I would agree with this post for the most part.
However, to me its not so much about limiting everyone, but asking people to try a completely different style of play. Case in point: back in my high school days I shot nothing but electros. I never would even think about trying pump, until someone loaned me one when I didn't have a gun.
It also seems that each one of these different types of play invites different types of players. For example, a speedballer will most likely have a different frame of mind when they think of bunkering someone than, say, a stock class player. I know I've grown tired of playing with whiny 14 year olds who throw 2 cases of paint down the field, so I chose to play a different type of game. Not saying that this is how it is in every genre, or that this description fits speedballers, but I for one can understand how the mindset of certain games could make someone want to leave and maybe try to bring a friend or two with them to a new format of play.
"The fear exists that if you handicap yourself with a mechanical gun that you either cannot compete, or cannot enjoy your game. This player tends to get smoked in competition and blames the very equipment he enjoys playing with, rather that to define what the actual problem is. The gear has nothing to do with it. The problem is the ability to win games. So the solution, on the face of it, is to limit what everybody else uses, increasing the handicapped teams chances of success"
Eventually you reach a point where gear does have something to do with it. Many players will never reach that point and it's not really applicable to the weekend warrior. Your post is specifically about competition.
During what I believe was the 2006 or 2007 season, Tippmann Effect (which turned into Rhythm, who ended up playing Division 1 and AXBL) was doing pretty well in PSP Division 3 X Ball. A lot of people saw this success and saw it as proof that the gear was competitive. While blowback technology has really improved lately, let's not kid ourselves. A mechanical gun without eyes operating on mid to high pressure at very high rates of fire is a disaster waiting to happen. One ball break turns into a bunch. Thick paint will actually inhibit movement of the front bolt on a Tippmann so badly that the gun will not cycle. The players on the team just happened to be very good. When you put "normal" guns in their hands, it increased their potential.
When I'm playing pump for recball, people notice that I can gunfight and then point out that I'm shooting very accurately. They attribute it to the gear, the "inherent accuracy of a pump gun", which is rubbish. I can be competitive in a CERTAIN CONTEXT with a pump gun, but I could do a whole lot more with a mechanical gun and, above that, a high end electronpneumatic gun. Proper gear lets players realize their potential.
I don't understand what you're arguing here. Who are the exclusionary players? Is your focus on tournament organizers who should be giving this special recognition to people who don't use "modern electropneumatic guns"?
This is my beef with most of these arguments. As far as I'm concerned, the enjoyment, the drive, and the competitive element of playing with non standard gear is that it is significantly more difficult. The reward is internal. If a player feels he can't keep up with his or her current setup, there are two obvious choices. 1, change gear. 2, continue to train with current gear and try to reach the apex of one's ability with that gear. Option 2 is tedious with brief moments of rewarding revelations. Option 1 is necessary in the context of being "truly competitive", and by that I mean being as competitive as possible in a "normal" tournament, every event, every game. Option two is sort of the underdog, silently noble approach that only other people who have been through can truly appreciate.
Finally, from a practical point of view, I don't see how you can reward people in any consistent fashion for simply playing with different equipment. The nature of our paintball competitions is constantly based on subjective decisions so I only see prejudicial crossroads that would lie ahead of that sort of decision process.
private games, limited paint & tech is the only way to fly.
When I've been working on a marker (regardless of type), I'll drag it out for recball to tune it up and get a feel for it. It's fun, mainly because it's different, and just recball after all.
I have to say though, we have the Texas Pump and Pistol games, and as Interceptor noted, everyone is of a "like mind". These games are a lot of fun. I don't know if I would notice the difference with some sort of mech/semi only game, but I understand the reasoning.
Context of my opinion pertains to organized tournament play.
So you could ask why the electros would not be allowed in a pump tourney. Its a specialised format, if you don't get the right gear, you don't play in it. Period. Whats hard to understand about that? I think the interest is that not everyone can afford or wants to go get a super fast high end gun and shoot cases of paint just to play in a tourney. With mech, pump, or blow back you slow the pace of the game down and also open up the playing field for people with those guns to have the opportunity to complete in something that they normally wouldn't do. I don't really do tourneys anymore as they are currently, but a woodsball, mech, or pump tourney I would be all over because its fun and reminds me of better times.
And to be a bit of a snob, the current oganized tourney players need not apply. They need to stick with their game and leave us to ours.
Several years ago SCP held a open class pump tourney in Dalton GA. Some of the members here probably attended. That was some of the most competetive and fun games I have every had. Great people, great attitudes. The refs were stunned that we were calling ourselves out for hits instead of calling paint checks. THAT is how paintball should be. I still remember the KP2 vs KP2 duel :-)
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