East Side Paintball (ESPB)My experiences with this field were from a couple of years ago. I tend not to do negative reviews about fields that I haven't played at lately, but since this location has a relatively neutral (not...
A couple bad courses, rough road to get there, MUD
My experiences with this field were from a couple of years ago. I tend not to do negative reviews about fields that I haven't played at lately, but since this location has a relatively neutral (not bad, not great) feel to it, I'll post my general experience, and break it up into sections.
Getting there: The toughest part about playing here is actually getting there. While the roads getting there aren't undriveable, it's not fun and I wouldn't encourage anyone with a lowered car to tackle the drive. The road you take is a dirt road up the side of a mountain/hill and isn't very forgiving to street oriented suspensions. Granted, you can easily get there with a sedan-like suspension, but if you drive something that is somewhat low, or even low-ish, I'd encourage you to have your friend drive.
First impression after arriving: There's a few tents setup to keep you out of the rain, and a large shipping container which the refs and sales people hang out in. They sell food (very limited selection), water (thank god), and paint (or at least they used to). There's lots of parking, and there's immediate close access to a couple of their fields.
Refs/Customer Service: Overall, I'd say that the customer service is above average. They had a couple of refs that seemed like they were interested in being elsewhere, however, over the 4-5 times that I've been there, this is not the norm. They're friendly, frequently outline the rules of each game/field played, and do a good enough job of keeping on top of the games. The one thing I would say is that because a couple of the fields are big, I'd encourage the field to assign ref(s) by field, and not just by party as a couple of the larger fields need more than 1 ref.
Fields: This is a tough one. They have 2 VERY VERY good courses, a couple of pretty crap courses, and 1 OK one. Those are just off the top of my mind. The 2 best fields (the big shaded one by the parking lot, and the one with the cow bell) are by FAR the better courses to play on. They're also huge. These fields should have more than 1 ref on them to more accurately doing paint checks and watch for wipers, etc. The "great" fields are extremely fun if you have a larger party count. Now for the bad fields.... "King of the hill" and the "valley". They're garbage in terms of fun. If you were legitimately wanting to do some military training, they'd be awesome courses, but they are NOT fun to play as the people on the bottom of the hill are never going to win, and the people on the other side of the valley are f*cked. The KotH course is too steep and can't be attacked by enough directions. The "Valley" course is just too big. The paintballs can't travel across the valley far and fast enough to break, so one team always has to move in closer and closer until they're too close and get eliminated. The "ok" course is actually a part of the "Valley" (you walk through it on the way to the valley) is just that. Ok. You do lots of hiding behind bunkers, and not much running/moving.
Environment: This is where things kinda take a hit. Be prepared to get MUDDY. I mean seriously. Because of it's elevation and location in the mountains/hills, it gets pretty foggy/rainy, which means a lot of mud. If you're gonna play here, you should have boots of some sort. not all the fields are like that, but the ok/bad ones are. And if it's not mud, it's decomposing paintballs. The "Ok" course is soggy with old paint that it may as well be a mud-hole. Also, because of its elevation, it's not exactly warm, but you will warm up after running around (if you're not stuck in the mud).
Eastside paintball has the potential to be a VERY good location. At least a couple of years ago it did as I put paintball on hold the last couple. Its strengths are its staff and a couple of very good fields. Its weaknesses are as stated. Extremely wet environment, and 1/2 the courses just aren't worth playing.
Overall the biggest weakness is the fact that it's closed to all but private parties. A few small changes and the entire user experience would improve, however, you can't build a good business/field w/o players, and walk-ons are essential to keep a business like this running in top order. If you can't go without a group of people, a lot of people simply will not experience.
Recommendations to field owners: Find a new hill for KotH, and retire the valley. On the "ok" field that I mentioned, periodically do something to clean up the ground. Focus field play on the better courses and open it up to walk-ons.