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Old 04-10-2018, 01:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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A fine line between Caring and Coddling

This has all been rather swimming around in my head over the past few months as unrefined thoughts and experience at my favorite local field as it pertains to 'new' players and loyalty to the old ones.

One of my favorite things about my local field is that the owner demands that players there participate in fair play and is very safety oriented. It's rustic as hell but always been a good spot for some ball. I have played at this field since around 97-98. When I started there paintball was HUGE, growing leaps and bounds. The 'arms race' was just getting going, so at the time there were no effective ROF caps. Really, given that the fastest loader around was a Revi or Rico, it was a non issue. Most of the on field markers were semi or pump which could easily keep on par with the very few Electronic markers that made it our way at the time. The field had a 300 FPS cap and allowed bunkering. Any given weekend over half the crowd out were teams and new players got mixed right in. You learned the ropes fast, or you quit playing.

Within a couple of years there were faster loaders and faster markers in the mainstream. It was the wild west before the 15BPS cap became standard and actually SLOWED things down. The field broke games up into "fast" and "slow" guns. You could participate in whichever one you wanted but had to handicap your ROF and methods when playing in a slow gun match. Essentially shoot back what is being shot. This basic idea has stayed the same at this field since then, nearly two decades. During this time the rules enforced on the slow gun games became more friendly. 280FPS, no bunkering (15 foot rule), surrender rules, etc. It was during the early part of these years that the tourney scene was going full blast as well, so there were loads of fast gun games that mirrored the rule set in w/e series was mainstream at the time. The field organized and participated in an owners series that was well received for several years.

When the tourney scene around here imploded and the rec ball scene followed the field was really scrounging for a few years to get ANYONE out to play. With the support of a core group of long time players and the windfall of a good trickle of private parties the field seems to have weathered the storm but some fundamental changes have occurred that have altered the game considerably from what we old timers started playing.
During this time the owner opted to stick with CO2 for his rental fleet. During the coldest parts of winter the velocity would be 'adjusted' to be consistent with whatever the rentals would make. Started counting bounces since it was harder to get the paint to break at lower velocity. These changes have been a BOON for (a certain type of) the private party/new player aspect of open play. The changes slowly became 'global' and expanded into warmer weather. It wasn't uncommon to only have enough players for "open" (slow) play...and rather than cater to the core group of older players it made sense from a bread and butter perspective to stick with the slower speeds.

Up until just over a year ago the future of this field was in question. The above changes have made party reservations go up. Obviously the experienced player crowd hasn't been a fan of the changes and many of the folks whom have stuck with the field over the years were choosing not to play. In response to that the field owner and I discussed the issue and decided that the events that I have been promoting would be treated as a "private party" and we would not mix with open play. Anyone could come play with us on the understanding that we can go with whatever velocity, ramping, bunkering, etc. that we wish on agreement as said group. We use no field ref and are pretty much a take care of our own for fills and such. The response has been very positive so far. Turnout has been good over the past couple of months in support of it, which seems like a win, win.

Then we come to this past weekend. It was the culmination of all of the things that could go wrong with an idea like this. There was a small group of new players there, and we had a 'fast' guns game planned. One of the 'teams' (members) brought another new group with them from the field they scrimmage. That particular field doesn't make a distinction between fast/slow, it's an all for one anything goes location. Any time a new to the field group comes out there is a particular field we start on to check for mask awareness, barrel cover, etc.

Since not all of the fast gun people were there yet we opted to 'chrono down' in order to play with the other group that came out. We get a couple of quick games on and the field owner approaches me telling me that he is making us go play on our own, that he can't have us "picking on" the new players like this. Never mind that myself and two of three other "fast" gun players had played two games and shot all of ten paintballs between us...I mean, really playing about as dumbed down as we can and still participate. In addition to that, half of the open play group he is asking us to separate from came with the guys there to play fast and wanted to join in. It boiled down to there being around 15 or so people at the field, which all but three of wanted to play fast gun rules regardless of what they were shooting. Field owner put the kabash on it stating that if we were going to play "open", then all players had to cater to the rules of that play. 12 willing players being overridden because, due to the rules he has been cultivating, these 3 players were scared to play some "real" ball.

Don't take me wrong. I am not one for picking on new players. They are the future of the sport. At the same time though, playing paintball is supposed to be exciting and even on a certain level fear inspiring, adrenaline sport. When you dumb it down to this level the new players coming up don't have an idea of what the sport could be. I can also understand the owner doing what works for paying his rent. The situation that resolved was that about half the people playing that day went home early. We had a few spirited games of 2 or 3 on 3. The kids that were originally against the 'fast' play ended up sitting most of the day anyway. The team players and associated group left and probably won't be back.

I love this field. I have done a lot of work on my own time and dime to help bring players around and get good games going again. I won't say it isn't also a personal gain that this field is closest to me, I like the best, and is BYOP. I felt as if we came to a good arrangement for our group, but then to get torpedoed like this just on the upswing for attendance could stop momentum fast. The next two nearest fields are the "mow your kid and mom" stops, and I really haven't had a lot of desire to go back after semi recent visits. The only other good field(s) around are hours away.

At this point I tentatively have one more 'fast" game/event on schedule. I want to see if turnout bounces back and if we get to play unimpeded. I am not sure at this point what or if myself and the field owner should even try to discuss. I really feel like he has allowed himself to forget where paintball came from and is turning his back on long time supporters and experienced players in lieu of the easy game money. I can't blame him for "getting paid" but wonder if there isn't some constructive way to approach the issue and solution.....
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Last edited by punkncat; 04-10-2018 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It has been my experience that the fields focused on making rental players happy succeed and grow. The fields that cater more to enthusiasts often do not make it.
I think your field's owner is making a good business decision.

Ask yourself this: how much money is the owner actually making off of you and your "fast" squad? You mentioned he is allowing you to BYOP, so probably not too much. You might be more trouble than you're worth.
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Old 04-11-2018, 12:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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On the other hand this can be quite frustrating. You've supported this field for years and years and now we're finding yourself squeezed out no matter how "slow" you play. I'm now over 40, fat and slow, playing with a 10 shot stock gun, walk on the field with 4 tubes of paint, and have been pushed out of open play. I tried brass but shiny is scary.

So, I've ditched my jersey, I wear ratty sweat shirts. Got a mask that looks close to a standard rental. I really try hard not to stand out anymore. If you get noticed, they don't want you to play with them. Doesn't matter if you're using a single shot gun and a ball bag. They're just intimidated because you know how to play. Trying to blend in is sometimes the only way to get a game. So I don't bring my tool kit and fix guns for free as much. I just try to stay under the radar.

Last edited by spece108; 04-11-2018 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by spece108 View Post
On the other hand this can be quite frustrating. You've supported this field for years and years and now we're finding yourself squeezed out no matter how "slow" you play. I'm now over 40, fat and slow, playing with a 10 shot stock gun, walk on the field with 4 tubes of paint, and have been pushed out of open play. I tried brass but shiny is scary.

So, I've ditched my jersey, I wear ratty sweat shirts. Got a mask that looks close to a standard rental. I really try hard not to stand out anymore. If you get noticed, they don't want you to play with them. Doesn't matter if you're using a single shot gun and a ball bag. They're just intimidated because you know how to play. Trying to blend in is sometimes the only way to get a game. So I don't bring my tool kit and fix guns for free as much. I just try to stay under the radar.
That is really a shame. There are ways to mix the two groups without forcing the people who wear jerseys or look scary out.

One field I went to had "new player rules" for all walk on games. No more than three shot burst at a time, 10 foot surrender rule (if you surrendered you were fine but if you made any movement then you were fair game), 5 foot no shoot rule, chrono to 285.

If you were a walk on you just joined the walk on group. You had to reserve a private party to not be in the walk on group. When the field rotation got to the speedball fields you were given a choice: One speedball field kept the new player rules, the other went to full tournament style rules (bunkering, uncapped ramping, 300 fps, etc). After a few games on these fields the open group rotated and everyone went back to new player rules.

In my experience this allowed for everyone to have a good time.

At another field I played with they operated on full tournament rules all the time. It really seemed like the new players with rentals did not enjoy the game as it was hard for them to keep up with the more competitive players. The exception to this was when the experienced players "adopted" a renter. They showed them the ropes, let them plink around in the range with the nicer gun, and gave them confidence to enjoy the game.
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Old 04-11-2018, 01:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by spece108 View Post
I really try hard not to stand out anymore. If you get noticed, they don't want you to play with them. Doesn't matter if you're using a single shot gun and a ball bag. They're just intimidated because you know how to play. Trying to blend in is sometimes the only way to get a game.
Amen to this. One can wear and use PB gear made before the rental players were born and they will still assume you are “pro.”
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Old 04-11-2018, 02:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by maggot View Post
It has been my experience that the fields focused on making rental players happy succeed and grow. The fields that cater more to enthusiasts often do not make it.
I think your field's owner is making a good business decision.

Ask yourself this: how much money is the owner actually making off of you and your "fast" squad? You mentioned he is allowing you to BYOP, so probably not too much. You might be more trouble than you're worth.

This may well be true.

For real, I understand the situation with "bitchy tourney" players wanting discounts, etc. etc., blah blah. I know the field owner had had more than an *** full of the whole situation after being one of the two driving force behind the GFOA series.

At the same time...our combined business can range from anywhere around 10-100% of his business any given weekend. 90% of us buy our paint from him. We don't use a field ref, and do our own air. It doesn't get a whole lot more trouble free than that. We don't even get his rentals dirty.

I guess the whole rub to the situation IMO is that we rather covered this ground in discussion, came to what was to be an amiable solution and he completely backtracked on it mid game over the wishes of 3 of the players, less than 1/4 of what was on field that day. HE was the one that agreed we could play how we wanted separately and that others could join if they wished with the understanding of what we were doing.
A few weeks ago there were not (m)any long time attendees returning because they couldn't get their game on. Getting the word out has seen that number increase (mostly) over the last month and then due to ambivalence I have a good number of guys that likely won't come back.

I have no manner of issue with slow games, I really enjoy playing more than sticking to a specific style. I typically will just throw on a revi, chrono down and have a good time regardless.
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Last edited by punkncat; 04-11-2018 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 04-11-2018, 02:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by spece108 View Post
On the other hand this can be quite frustrating. You've supported this field for years and years and now we're finding yourself squeezed out no matter how "slow" you play. I'm now over 40, fat and slow, playing with a 10 shot stock gun, walk on the field with 4 tubes of paint, and have been pushed out of open play. I tried brass but shiny is scary.

So, I've ditched my jersey, I wear ratty sweat shirts. Got a mask that looks close to a standard rental. I really try hard not to stand out anymore. If you get noticed, they don't want you to play with them. Doesn't matter if you're using a single shot gun and a ball bag. They're just intimidated because you know how to play. Trying to blend in is sometimes the only way to get a game. So I don't bring my tool kit and fix guns for free as much. I just try to stay under the radar.

My paintball garb is typically along the line of homeless-anista....lol, if I sat somewhere and put out a hat I would likely get change thrown at me.
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Old 04-11-2018, 03:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maggot View Post
It has been my experience that the fields focused on making rental players happy succeed and grow. The fields that cater more to enthusiasts often do not make it.
I think your field's owner is making a good business decision.

Ask yourself this: how much money is the owner actually making off of you and your "fast" squad? You mentioned he is allowing you to BYOP, so probably not too much. You might be more trouble than you're worth.
Yep. I TRY (not always succeed) to find the renters or obviously newer players and just make the day about them. They ask "Where should we go?" and I just tell them to go where they think it will work and I try to back them up. Doesn't always work. But fields and their regulars need to keep the new players coming back. (easier said than done)
Quote:
Originally Posted by spece108 View Post
On the other hand this can be quite frustrating. You've supported this field for years and years and now we're finding yourself squeezed out no matter how "slow" you play. I'm now over 40, fat and slow, playing with a 10 shot stock gun, walk on the field with 4 tubes of paint, and have been pushed out of open play. I tried brass but shiny is scary.

So, I've ditched my jersey, I wear ratty sweat shirts. Got a mask that looks close to a standard rental. I really try hard not to stand out anymore. If you get noticed, they don't want you to play with them. Doesn't matter if you're using a single shot gun and a ball bag. They're just intimidated because you know how to play. Trying to blend in is sometimes the only way to get a game. So I don't bring my tool kit and fix guns for free as much. I just try to stay under the radar.
I hear yah. I've tried to play down as much as possible, and some days there is no open play, just private groups. So I try to squeeze in a few games, but if they don't want to play with somebody outside of their group, that's their choice. New players use to be scared of the BDU guy that was in 'Nam. Now it's the "pro" looking guy. Can't win them all.
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Old 04-11-2018, 03:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by spece108 View Post
On the other hand this can be quite frustrating. You've supported this field for years and years and now we're finding yourself squeezed out no matter how "slow" you play. I'm now over 40, fat and slow, playing with a 10 shot stock gun, walk on the field with 4 tubes of paint, and have been pushed out of open play. I tried brass but shiny is scary.

So, I've ditched my jersey, I wear ratty sweat shirts. Got a mask that looks close to a standard rental. I really try hard not to stand out anymore. If you get noticed, they don't want you to play with them. Doesn't matter if you're using a single shot gun and a ball bag. They're just intimidated because you know how to play. Trying to blend in is sometimes the only way to get a game. So I don't bring my tool kit and fix guns for free as much. I just try to stay under the radar.
I suck but have always had at least a nice mask. First time renters commented on my gun "it's a pump you must be good!" (Hah I suck and don't care to get better I just play for fun) and commented on my MCB jersey, but never seemed intimidated - I think because the rof is slow and I just genuinely want to have fun and don't care about winning or losing. Not saying you're not like that, but I think attitude has alot more to do with getting along with new players then gear
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Old 04-11-2018, 03:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
This may well be true.

For real, I understand the situation with "bitchy tourney" players wanting discounts, etc. etc., blah blah. I know the field owner had had more than an *** full of the whole situation after being one of the two driving force behind the GFOA series.

At the same time...our combined business can range from anywhere around 10-100% of his business any given weekend. 90% of us buy our paint from him. We don't use a field ref, and do our own air. It doesn't get a whole lot more trouble free than that. We don't even get his rentals dirty.

I guess the whole rub to the situation IMO is that we rather covered this ground in discussion, came to what was to be an amiable solution and he completely backtracked on it mid game over the wishes of 3 of the players, less than 1/4 of what was on field that day. HE was the one that agreed we could play how we wanted separately and that others could join if they wished with the understanding of what we were doing.
A few weeks ago there were not (m)any long time attendees returning because they couldn't get their game on. Getting the word out has seen that number increase (mostly) over the last month and then due to ambivalence I have a good number of guys that likely won't come back.

I have no manner of issue with slow games, I really enjoy playing more than sticking to a specific style. I typically will just throw on a revi, chrono down and have a good time regardless.
I hear ya, it sounds like a frustrating situation. I'd be bummed too if I were you.
At the end of the day the owner has to choose what's right for his business. One would think there's a good middle ground b/n having renters and enthusiasts at the field, but it can be tough. All it takes is one bad apple to ruin the day for everyone and it sounds like this owner doesn't want to take that risk.
If you think about it there's not really any other sporting activity that pits experienced and well-equipped veterans up against first-timers, so it's not an outlandish concept that owners are increasingly turning their backs on us weekend warriors.

I'd let things settle for a week or two and try to talk to him again. You might just have to resort to using a Tippmann or just move on to another field.
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