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Old 02-26-2013, 05:43 AM #1
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Bringing people to Paintball, a common sense approach......

Reading through a few older posts and found that we don't have a definitive guide that would help people bring fresh blood to the sport. It's more of a hit or miss deal.

I'd like to see people's thoughts and experiences that led them to continue to want to play. This isn't intended to be a end all be all use this/that and you'll be picked up by Dynasty thread. It is intended to help people who don't know how to teach/mentor others.

Think of it as being a Diplomat.

Great points will be posted here.

1. Never push someone into something they don't want. This is a surefire way to build resentment and make it pretty much impossible to ever get them to come back. Always push to get people into something they express interest in. You never know how far they will go.

2. There are a thousand ways to teach or instruct another person along the way. Only a few of them will be good ways though.

3. If they show interest, help them out. Let them use your top end marker and mask (within reason) and use the backup. They will thank you for it.

4. New players won't have a very good sense of what to do or how to do it. I can think of a hundred questions a newb can ask when we use our very specific jargon. Break things down, but don't make them look foolish or stupid for not knowing.

5. New players require protection against those who don't give a damn about them and would rather overshoot than teach. Set the kids up against each other. Play hopperball (no pods allowed) to both get people used to paint flying and used to relying on strategy rather than a spray and pray approach. This will build essential skills that can't be replaced at any level of the game.

6. Instill a mindset of safety before you walk on the field. How many kids have pulled off their goggles and wondered why you just yelled at them.
Markers aren't toys. There is a huge stigma against guns in today's country. Don't be someone that adds to the problem.

7. Every single time you step onto a field you have the opportunity to teach someone something. Make sure it's the right thing.

8. Every decision is a opportunity to learn. So what if you screwed up a play. The worst thing to happen is that you don't try to learn from the mistakes you and others have made.

9. Hits can hurt. learn to were padding or live with the scars/brusies. I hear chicks dig them anyways.

10. Fear will pass.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:45 AM #2
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GhostJedai brought up excellent points to do this very thing and I felt it needed to follow the idea.

Thread seen here: http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.p...hlight=gf+game

Post quoted for ease.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GhostJedai

So, I haven't played recball in years (just did a scenario last month, after a 5 year hiatus), but my gf's best friend is going through quite a bit of personal turmoil, and wanted to get some agression out. After a quick scan of what local fields were still in operation, I went back to my old standard and we went out for a few hours.

My gf's brother donated his Spyder and we grabbed a rental when we got there. With her friend using the Spyder, my gf using the rental, the ref had us play 2v1 with the girls vs. me. Fun stuff, shot my gf, shot her friend, then discovered my marker was acting up. No big deal, but my gf decided this sport wasn't for her. She's not an aggressive person by any stretch of the word.

This brings me to my first suggestion: If someone you know just doesn't enjoy the sport, don't pressure them to continue playing. It's definitely not a good idea to try to shame them into participating, and you can always invite them at a later date.

The friend and I continued to play four or five more games, and we both had quite a bit of fun. Since she had considerable experience with actual firearms, I did have to explain that paintballs are very, VERY different. We played a couple games of capture the flag, and in the first game, she stayed back, but wasn't eliminated; in the second game, she started pushing up and became more aggressive.

Second point: Let a new player discover what playing style suits them best; you can always offer pointers and tips, but to tell someone to be "Rambo" when they're timid, or telling an aggressive new player to "lighten up," is kinda pointless. The more they play, the more they're likely to understand their own preference to play style.

On the drive home, I told the friend that they also make nice little markers in her favorite color (purple), if she wanted to continue. She replied that while she enjoyed the day, and that she wouldn't hesistate to play again if someone had offered, she didn't feel like investing money into someone she didn't feel she would take up as a serious hobby. This is when I mentioned that I'm working on another marker (just building up a nice little backup Ion) that she could use, if we were to ever play, again; or she could just borrow it whenever.

Last point: If someone mentions that they like the sport, do everything in your power to make it easily accessible in the future. If you have backup gear, offer to let them borrow it in order to save money. This will enable them to play more, since they can just borrow your gear instead of having to rent or buy their own.

I'm actually planning on buying some G3s or G4s, possibly a Mini, in pink and purple in order to let them use them, if my GF ever wants to try, again, as well as her friend. (Also, it would be fun to rock a pink marker and get the double takes)

Side note: there was a 10 or 11 year old kid there playing with a pump. He was pretty decent, but definitely one of his first experiences with paintball. He'd shout "Cover me! Cover me!" even though he was barely tall enough to see over some of the bunkers. Before one game, he came up to me (being that I had semi-decent gear and a milsim marker, even though there were two tournament level players on our team) and asked, "What's the plan of attack." Okay, this was flipping adorable, but I just said, "You go that way, I'll go this way, and don't get shot."

Later, before the last round of play for the day, he sat down next to me and pointed at my TM-15 and asked, "So, how far does that shoot?"

Teachable moment here: Don't ridicule other people, especially new ones, for not knowing the fundamentals of paintball. I took the brief moment to let him know that his pump shoot just as far as mine, but there were specific differences that made them distinct markers, and that the player, himself, counted for more than the marker.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:22 AM #3
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and let the novices progress and play at their own rate. *

a bit of encouragement is fine - but it kills me do see some a$$hat yelling at the kids to move up.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:18 AM #4
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I'd like to see people's thoughts and experiences that led them to continue to want to play.
Three major factors for me.

1. It was fun.
2. It was the only legal way to put black and blue marks on my children.
3. We were able to turn our boys into our personal slaves in exchange for paintball money and transporation to the field. They learned to do laundry, vacume, cook, mop, clean gutters, change oil. And they got snatched up right away by a couple of girls that thought they would be easy to domesticate as husbands. They mistakenly thought they LIKED to do it.

Seriously, there were other items. Like all 'good' parents, we fell for the idea that organized sports for our children was what we were supposed to do. Everybody did it. So we did it. Well, it got to be a real chore chaufering them to practice and then trashing every weekend to go to games. The kids enjoyed it but they got tired of it too. Soccer, T ball, baseball, football did not turn them on.

Instead of organized sports, we moved into unorganized sports. Camping, fishing, canoes, boating, water sking, and rec ball. Instead of being taxi drivers, we got to be REAL PARENTS and spent time with our kids doing fun stuff as a family.

Now how to bring a new player along.

Yes, find a newbie friendly field where half the people playing are rentals and birthday parties. St. Louis was fortunate to have such a field. The only time I play it is to introduce someone to the sport. Just too easy.

My closest field is where are the serious tournament players hang. They have practice from 8-10 when the field opens to the public. Many drop into open play for a while and it would NOT be a good paintball experience for a newer player. I had a good day if I finnish the day with a 2 to 1 kill ratio. Tough competitive field with high end players.

Teaching paintball. Tell them that every time they get tagged that they made a tactical error. They should ponder and evaluate every time they get tagged to learn a lession about what they did wrong and how they might do it differently next time they are in a simular situation. Each game should be a learning experience. So many times I see players get tagged and just walk away, pop a soda, and chat. Not a moment of reflection. They seem to be slow learners. They make the same mistake over and over. I've had to go up to them and tell them how I am tagging them every game.

Frequent Newbie mistakes that I exploit.

If you aren't firing, make sure your barrel, hopper, stock, isn't sticking out from the cover. Hoppers are the worst mistake and easiest to hit.

Lets not forget to keep our heels, butts,, pods, toes, behind cover as well. Learn to play TIGHT.

Players tend to set up a rhythm how they fire. Pop out, fire three balls, and duck back into cover. Do that three times to me and I will have 3 balls on the way coming right where your mask will be the NEXT time you pop out. After 20 years, I still catch myself setting up a rhythm and have to remind myself to shoot left side, right side, top, Pop out kneeling, then standing, change the timing etc. so my opponent cannot predict when or where I will pop out of cover.

Practicing shooting on your non dominate side is a useful skill to acquire. Gives your opponet a 50-50 chance of predicting which side of that stand up you will shot out of. Why give him a 100% chance of knowing. If he has to change his point of aim, he will miss his target more often.

If they get HAD by an opposing player, tell him that was a great move and how they did it. What did they see to make that an opportunity for them.

Tell the Newbie to not stay in the back. He needs to learn how to MOVE UP.
Windows of opportunity open up and close a second or two later. The only way to learn is to try and move up. If your opponent sets up a rhythm, you can exploit it to move up on him. You can get a GOOD jump to the next bunker if your opponent stays down 2 seconds between firing and they often DO! You can extend that time with some suppression fire of your own or from a team mate.

The above is a VERY full plate for a new player to do in their first 10 games. Best to coach them to pick ONE skill to focus on today. Ask What did ya learn with that tag on you? Evaluate your own play so you can improve your game.

Practice, Practice Not JUST during competitive play.

The boys and I started with pumps 20 years ago. It wasn't until the Angels came out that we bought our Syder semi autos. We were the LAST players on the field using pumps. My boys were the FIRST to be picked when they choose sides with about 5 years of experience. Why? Because they learned to point and shoot. With a pump, your point of aim is disrupted every time you pump that action. You have to RE Aim for each shot. So you get very good at it after a while. They would take out a LOT of opposing players. When the day was over and they had paint left over, instead of painting the side of a bunker or tree trunk, they would play quick draw, 1 on 1 while I packed up. No hopper, one ball, point it at the ground, stand 20 paces apart. Get someone to say Draw. You point and shoot. Too fast and you miss. Too slow, you get nailed first. You learn how to point and shoot rather quickly. Then they moved to 30 paces, 35, then back to 20 with head shots only count, then to 30 again. They got really good doing that. Head shots at 30 yards with a pump.

They would go down into the woods. One would place5 -6 1 gallon milk jugs along the path not necessarily in plain view but clearly visible from somewhere on the path. Brudder would have to jog down the path and without stopping had to shoot as many as he saw using only one shot each. So they got good at shooting on the run, twisting, turning, running backwards, spinning around, etc. Shooting while moving at unexpected targets is a very useful paintball skill. Especially if you play scenario on big fields where players can be hiding anyway and you just have to REACT to defend yourself. You could do that drill on a paintball field with the field's permission. Not all of them are in use. Especially if you show up early.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:26 AM #5
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I would address some of the main conserns that potential new players almost always have.

1) Cost
2) Pain

If you are able to limit both, or assure someone that both will be limited then you have a better chance at bringing a new player to the field. If you can then prove to them that the cost and pain are not too bad and worth the amount of FUN they had, then you might get them to return again.

1) Cost. I see this differently for two different players. a) Normal Renters and B) your friend who you are trying to bring to the sport.

The random renter is already commiteed to paying the $50-100 for a day of paintball, they are only going to play once or twice a year so a day of paintball is seen as a special event and not as an ongoing cost. They don't care about the breakdown between $Z for rental equipment and $Y for paint...at the end of the day they look at their wallet and say "I spent $X" They key is to make them feel like that money was well spent!
- Did they enjoy them selves?
- Do they feel remorse over the money spent?
- Would they have spent more?

If you can ensure that the Renter has a great time then they wont regret spending the cash.

However, if you are trying to bring a friend to the game who you want to keep in the game, you may have to assure him/her that the cost can be as much or as little(to an extent) as they want.

Paintball is expensive. There is no doubt about that, but those costs can be limited if done right.
-Borrow equipment. Try out the game with a friends gear, try out as many set ups as possible so they can find one that suits them and their style of play.
-Buy used equipment. There is NO NEED for a new player to go out and buy the newest gear on the market, especially if they are not sure they want to come back...
-Buying quality used products are of greater value than cheap new stuff...
-Split paint and play hopper ball, it is cheaper and has a lot of bonuses I will expand on later.

I play every weekend, my average cost (excluding equipment purchases) over the course of a summer is probably about $25-30...Thats not bad, explain that is possible to play for cheap to a potential player if they choose too...but it is also easy to pay a lot more as well...


My second point. Limit the expectation of pain.

Paintballs leave bruises...sometime nasty ones...sometimes worse...

The uneducated will see these bruises an assume that paintball is going to hurt! Yes...but not that badly if done right!

Ideas for limiting the pain factor.
- Advise some kind of padding. The cheap chest protectors, sweaters, hats, gloves, whatever. If it makes a potential player more confident, let them wear it. Who cares if it promotes bounces or creates hard points for pait to break on. The new player is more interested in reducing the pain, and once they become more comfortable with the game and the pain they will add or take away padding as they feel necessary.

-Start with limited paint games. Hopper ball at the Most! And make sure YOU do that too! (or handicap your self even more) People like to shoot a lot. But new players do NOT like to get hit a lot! Less paint, means less shots being fired at them therefore less hits. Less paint results in more movement, more excitement for the player, ... more fun.
-It is easy to add a faster hopper, gun and pods when a new player is ready to step onto a more intense ROF field (<--Use this term loosely...as a pump player some of the most intense games I have ever played involved less than 10 shots...)

-If the new player ends the day and does not feel like they have just been beaten black and blue they wont be as worried about the pain the next time they come out! However, if they get lit up, chances are they wont return.



So LT;DR Try to assure a potential player that the cost and the pain is not as bad as they think and the amount of FUN they will have is well worth both!
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:57 AM #6
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Thanks guys. Good info here.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:37 AM #7
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The biggest problem new people have with paintball is the scary factor... And experienced players forget just how scary it was the first time you played. The fear of getting shot is real, and newbies don't know if it will hurt or not...

I remember years ago when I started, being in a game, and I was about to climb into the battle zone on my field. There was a HUGE firefight going on, and all I had to do was step up ONE more step and I would be in the action, and part of the firefight.

I remember sitting there, for AGES it seemed like (probably only a few seconds in reality) but it was scary... In my mind I saw myself being blasted over ad over. Very scary...

I faced my fear that day and went up into the fight and got a few guys out before I was shot out.

But, it changed me... I never had that fear after that. And all too often we forget that part of being a newbie is getting past that fear for yourself.

It is one of the reasons I still use my "face your fear" graphic on my videos. As that is a big part of paintball, and something every new player must face for themselves when playing.



And the guys that are screaming for people to just "move up" to new players... They are being jerks. Each person will be READY to move up when THEY face their fear. Those guys yelling at them to do something they aren't ready for is, exactly what shouldn't happen when playing for the first time.

If that guy wants to move up so bad, then he should DO IT himself. It is just a game, and some people play more aggressively than others. That doesn't mean the others aren't valuable or doing their part... Sometimes the person at the back SAVES the game for you when some aggressive player on the other team gets past all the front guys and gets stopped by the newbie in the back.

And each of us is at our own level of skill. To try and push other players to where "we" think they should be is just being pretentious.

Let them progress, and if you want to impress them, DO something impressive YOURSELF on the field. Pretty soon, you will look over your shoulder and a bunch of people will be following you. Because YOU get results.

The way I bring new players into the sport, is by being kind, and answering their questions, while filming and producing videos that show the sport the way I see it. In a fun, exciting way that anyone from a teenager, up to grandparents can enjoy together. Each at their own skill level as they build up their confidence.


(anyone is welcome to share that video with anyone that is thinking about playing).

Course, the public fields with bunkers so close together and guys shooting full auto doesn't help new players feel comfortable, but that is why I run my own private field... My new players come back after their first time playing because they had FUN!
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:15 PM #8
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Out local field has good turnouts and I think a big reason is they keep the costs low by not charging for rental gear.

The downside is they charge $10 field fee and $10 for all day air and you have to buy at least one bag of paint and then you can use your own.

So its the same cost for me to use my own gear but they are reasonable on using your own paint I can use their paint or take the bag home and use it as practice paint. Its all well worth it since they usually have plenty of people playing even in bad weather.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:13 PM #9
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Out local field has good turnouts and I think a big reason is they keep the costs low by not charging for rental gear.

The downside is they charge $10 field fee and $10 for all day air and you have to buy at least one bag of paint and then you can use your own.

So its the same cost for me to use my own gear but they are reasonable on using your own paint I can use their paint or take the bag home and use it as practice paint. Its all well worth it since they usually have plenty of people playing even in bad weather.
Trying to build a mentoring thread, not a where to play for cheap thread .
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:11 PM #10
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Anyone else?
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:21 PM #11
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Hmm...my biggest strategy is to make sure that they have fun. Once they find that it doesn't hurt (we often will have them stand about fifty feet out and shoot them once in the back so they know how it feels so they don't go overshooting people...that's how I started out and I think it helped tremendously with the fear of the game) then they'll have a lot of fun. It is a lot of fun, trying to outsmart your friends and family on the paintball field, and as long as you keep the games going and fun, your newbie will have a good day. I can say with pride I have brought at least 20 people into this sport for good and exposed nearly 50 to it over the years!
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:50 AM #12
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updated
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Old 03-11-2013, 10:20 PM #13
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I've been shooting 1 finger with rec ballets and only playing a hopper or less of paint. I do like putting a spray of paint over newbies heads as an introduction to paintball. I'm more into shooting less often and work angles, gain real estate, and work on left hand shooting.

I do think playing with better players instead of rec ballets is more fun. I pick rec ballers that are younger for my pickup team. I'm not into shooting kids under 13.
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:50 PM #14
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I'm not into shooting kids under 13.
Is it because of a maturity thing?
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:49 PM #15
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What kept me playing was the fact that I got into the game young and when it was still emerging in my area. As a result I was able to be a part of that experienced elite farther down the road. In part, I find that that is one of the problems of paintball; it is an elitist game that denies access more than it opens up. If paintball culture can be changed than perhaps more people will flock to the game instead of being feeling dominated by the experienced players which is what I think occurs.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:56 PM #16
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I got into the sport when I was 7 because I got a free Spyder (I've never had to rent gear before). I was pretty scared of getting shot, but I still really enjoyed it and played just about every other weekend. Some of my dad's friends had a homemade field that we played on and there were several other younger players that were out there too, so it made me feel a little bit better. Sometimes when I go play rec, I'll bring a random friend that wants to come. They almost always say they enjoy it (except for my friend Austin that I accidentally shot in the neck while going for a bunker. I meant to hit his mask). Even though they say they enjoy it though, none of them ever really get into it except for my friend Jacob. I've brought him the last 2 times I've played (one team practice, and another just open rec) and he already has a Shocker, Halo, PE 68/3000, Proflex, etc.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:43 PM #17
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I've always tried to share lessons with the wee ones and their parents, showed kids how to lane, communicate, in game troubleshooting, and how to clean and tech their own stuff. Some get lost in my slang but I pull back and correct myself. I also break out the cocker for rec-ball, you want to put yourself in most of the new kids position too.
Would you like to get hit with a rope of neverending balls coming from some ahole with an electro if it was your first time? didnt think so.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:45 PM #18
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In part, I find that that is one of the problems of paintball; it is an elitist game that denies access more than it opens up. If paintball culture can be changed than perhaps more people will flock to the game instead of being feeling dominated by the experienced players which is what I think occurs.
Which is part of the reason I built this thread. How do we teach people to be better at bringing new blood to the sport.
There are a thousand ideas/reasons against it with the biggest being that it supports gun violence ( I personally think those people need to wake up but some can't be budged).
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:59 PM #19
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Which is part of the reason I built this thread. How do we teach people to be better at bringing new blood to the sport.
There are a thousand ideas/reasons against it with the biggest being that it supports gun violence ( I personally think those people need to wake up but some can't be budged).
In my view elitism is the doom of the sport just like any other. My story on the issue: I always was heavy into the sport of fencing. Fencing is elitist as well particularly in Canada where so few people do it. My fencing club kept us, the original members of the club on the top of our game for years leading us to win multiple national events and even boasting junior team Canada members and candidates I among one of them. Problem: our club was so focused on getting us on top that it forgot about getting others into the sport. Result: my club shut down and paintball is the only sport I do now. The same is the case for paintball. Our community sells a dream; to play pro. But we are not willing to help athletes get to where they need to be sine the elites on top are unmoving in their positions. The paintball community will first need to change it's attitude and want to see new blood come in. Next we are going to have to create programs of development for players of all levels, backgrounds and play styles to have a chance and getting in through an institutional medium rather than by virtue of social connection or years of experience. The whole enterprise needs a change in tone and format the way I see it or else what we will see is paintball dying for a few years as all the gerontocracy (old guys) in the game will have left without having developed successors.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:48 AM #20
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That has been my argument for some time now, hence the thread.
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Old 03-22-2013, 02:05 AM #21
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Let them use your top end marker (within reason) and use the backup. They will thank you for it.
+1...
and what I think is even more important is that they use a decent mask the first time they play. I knew a guy who had a bunch of loaner gear and he would bring new people to play(outlaw), and would pretty much guarantee they would never come back by loaning them ****ty masks that fogged up within 5 minutes of play. It was like, "hey, do you want to come out to the woods and let me shoot the crap out of you with my awesome gear while you're blinded?"

I wonder if capture the flag, or any other game where the ultimate objective is something other than eliminating your opponent, might be less intimidating to new players because you're more focused on that goal, rather than just "omg I have to battle this guy or that guy".
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