With the recent news of the return of the NXL and the rumors of their format. It looks to be that the NXL has dropped the ball, or is it paintball(s). Dropping the pod? However you want to say it, they did it. With the growing distaste, and frustration between players and the PSP. There was so much potential with the return of the NXL, and they’re really wasting it.
The PSP has become quite known now for their constant and unnecessary changes they make every year. They make changes without consulting players or teams that currently play the game. Not only that, they knowingly make the changes after people have paid entry, booked their flights, and hotels so they can’t withdraw from their decision to play the event after the changes. They never give any justifiable reason for the rule changes, or clear the air of questions and concerns. The players are getting sick of it. A great example of this is their showing the first event in Dallas where the number of teams were no more impressive than one of the regional events.
If you were to take away the constant rule changes, poor decision making, and shady treatment of players. The biggest problem for the PSP is their format for their tournament. And the NXL is adopting that over for the most part. Although, it said to be a little different, it’s still going to be relatively close. If you were to look at the attendance of the PSP over the years, they’re always losing team attendance. They got a spike of growth which was just from when the NPPL died off, and teams went to the PSP to play, but the teams do not continue to play tournament paintball at the PSP because the cost outweighs the experience they are given.
For thousands of dollars you’re hardly even playing unless you’re one of the two teams that makes it through the elimination rounds to make it to the finals. You’ll be lucky if your team plays 22pts in prelims given games are interesting and go to 4-2 or 4-3 games in the short 12 minutes of game time allowed. Which it isn’t too often that is the case. The pro teams get 20 minutes in their Race-To 7 matches and they tend to end around 4 or 5 points scored on a team if it’s an interesting game.. They’re able to actually blow the horn too in order to reset because they have points to play with. In Race-to 4, you don’t get that opportunity because you never need to blow the horn until 2-3 points down and when time starts to dwindle down. Which you basically throw the game away at that point because the other team can easily hold you off for a minute or two left into the match.
As we all know, there are 5 players on the field for each team. However, since paintball is such a high cost you have to have a team of 8-10 to just afford it at a semi-reasonable cost. So your team may be lucky if your team plays 22pts in prelims given games are interesting. But if you’re one of the 3-5 extra players on the team, the cost is so high you’re still paying a thousand dollars to go and you might see play time in 5pts if your team is nice… That’s why the regional series are doing well and the PSP is continually losing teams. Team play or not, no one wants to play thousands of dollars to sit and watch. And in Race-to 2, five man, you get 8-12 points in prelims. The rosters for Race-to 2 are usually 7 players to make it affordable. And with five man you get more time between points to rest, so if you’re a sub, you might see maybe 2 or 3 points if your team is nice. No one wants to pay hundreds of dollars to play a couple of points. At the end of the day, with the cost to play time and experience, any format of Race-to is not worth traveling to a National event for.
I’m all for competition, I firmly believe in being the best. I don’t believe in the, “although you lost, you tried your best and everyone is a winner so you get a cookie” mentality. But I am also realistic. There are going to be a number of teams who do not make it out of prelims, and those teams make up the majority of the tournament. Regardless if they’re not good enough to win, they still need to have a good time. I don’t mean a fun time, because losing isn’t usually fun, but at least feel like it was worth the experience to even go and pay the money to play. The PSP’s Race-To format doesn’t offer that; so by the NXL adopting this format is just shooting itself in the foot at the start.
If the NXL chooses to do Race-To, they will gain teams from the PSP for the shear fact that the PSP is ran ridiculously. But just like the PSP, they’re going to continue to get teams that play then quit because the playing experience totally freaking blows. And the experience doesn’t outweigh the cost burden over regional event offering the same experience.
There are so many things that need to be changed from top to bottom to offer a better experience. But the best place to start for Nationals events should be to make the format Xball and regional affiliates should keep the Race-To format. Perhaps, they could have affiliates offer only an open class that is strictly Xball at regional events and would give points towards the National series. This would give people a better experience at National events where the competition and cost is at its highest. It also gives the regional events a way to keep growing the sport and still offer a good experience at a cheaper price. By this method, national events would have something unique, be used as a great marketing tool for the series and tournament paintball, and offer a better experience for the cost. All while, the regional events would still serve the purpose of growing the sport, and feeding the National series.
Author: Kiril Grozdanovski