Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Woodsball – The Solution for Newbies?

Our newest field at TNT Paintball is in the woods. It’s one of our larger fields and it’s definitely the most dense, as far as foliage goes. There are lots of trees and lots of undergrowth; the type that you can crawl through and might not be seen and is hard to shoot through to eliminate a player even if you do know he/she is there. It has man-made bunkers, but they aren’t densely placed. To survive, and gain real estate, a player pretty well needs to use some of the natural cover.

We were very excited about it during the building process. Our first field was a predominantly woodsball field and it’s what started our ascent to popularity. However, that field never had the amount of natural cover the newer field has. We were excited because we thought this would be a field that players can find cover and not be in the thick of the action right away if they didn’t want to be. Basically we thought this field would be a great field for newer players. I know I’m not the only one that has/had the belief that larger, denser fields were better for newer players.

As it turns out, this field is probably our least popular field of the five fields we currently have at TNT Paintball. It’s the least popular with many of the regulars but it’s also not that popular with the newer players. It hurts a bit to admit that. We put a lot of effort and time into building this field as the bunkers, although only 22 of them, each took quite a while to build (and considerable expense). For the longest time, I wouldn’t admit it and to be honest, couldn’t quite understand it. But I at least think I understand the reasoning a little bit now, after a couple of years watching players play on the field and listening to players that opted to sit out playing on the field.

You see, playing on this field is much more unpredictable. Due to the dense cover, players are constantly being shot at from spots that they had no idea an opponent was occupying. Players don’t like that. Regulars definitely don’t like it, but even new players don’t seem to like being shot from places that to them, made little sense.

Then there is the ground cover. Sure, it’s great that you can use it to hide, but once discovered, a player has no real defence, unless he/she stays cowered on the ground. If the player lifts their head to try to get some shots off, a hail of paintballs come their direction and they are forced to dive for cover again. It’s difficult for even the most experienced player to get out of that situation and nearly impossible for a new player. I could only imagine how much worse this would be at a field where the average player shoots many more paintballs than our TNT customers shoot.

That brings up another issue, that the field lends itself to sucking ammo out of players. Now some field owners might consider that to be in their best interest (sell more paintballs), but that’s not us. We like people to use about 500 rounds in a day, and if they are wasting too many shooting at players in the dense bush that are difficult to eliminate, they have less to play on the other fields, which means their day will be shorter, or worse yet, will feel we tried to suck more money out of them by getting them to shoot high volumes of paintballs.

I think we have no choice, but to clear out some of the undergrowth and add more man-made bunkers, so that this field will become as popular as our other fields, both with our regulars and our newbies.