I finally ventured down to Rock Hill to check out the local Paintball Central field as part of a Groupon, and I have to say it was not one of my better experiences. I'll say out front that I've heard really great things about this field, and they have a pretty good website and photos. I also like that they have a pro shop in Charlotte on Independence, as that's out closer towards me and the fields I normally play on. I guess I'll make this something of a review mixed in with my story.
For the day, PBC had one airball field closed and one had some kind of pro school going on that was off-limits to walk ons. This left the large woods field, medium sized mounds field, and smaller hyperball field open for play. I'll say right off the bat that every single game I played at the hyperball field was great and I have no complaints with a single game played there. There were a couple players that were obviously regulars and knew the refs well - their skill was above average from what I'm used to seeing in the Monroe area, but even better they were all nice guys that were fun to talk to and play with. We started out the day with one ref for 20+ players, Warren, and he was attentive and friendly. Later he was replaced by another ref that I did not catch the name of who also seemed on top of it and friendly. Further, nearly all of the rental players that were there that day were also fun to play with and friendly. I had problems with one group of four older teenage renters that kept wiping paint or not acknowledging marker tags, but they only stayed for about 3-4 rounds.
Okay, so hyperball was great every time, I'll just set that aside. I also didn't have any problems at the mounds field with the gameplay, though I did get bitten by some ants while hugging the hills. It was notable that one of the regulars refused to play at this field and instead would serve as a backup/assistant ref when we played there. That leaves the large woods field with the castle. In pictures and first walking up to it, this seems like a REALLY fun field to play on, and at first it seemed like it had lots of potential. Then we got the younger, 12-18 yr old milsim players on the field with us. First problem I had with them was that a couple of their guys walked to the exit calling themselves out, got past our line of defenses and turned around to shoot everyone in the back at close range. Second problem I had with them was when one guy that was tagged out in the open with his buddy intentionally screened me for his buddy to run to cover (I shot through him, hit him a couple of times to get his buddy - thankfully he didn't complain about being overshot). Third problem was the bonus balling. A couple of rounds I got an extra shot or two late, but only once was it obviously very late. On the other hand one of the guys I came with got tagged six or seven times after he'd loudly called out and was walking out with his arms in the air. Everyone that came with me got bonus-balled by these kids. Fourth problem is that I'm pretty sure they were shooting hot. Most of us had welts that were 2-4 inches in diameter for every shot we took from milsim kids - in comparison the rental markers were leaving nickel or quarter sized welts. As of today, I still have a 3 inch welt on my side from where I got a bonus ball.
I don't want to lay this on the feet of the field and refs, but to some extent I have to. It's clear that there was no requirement to chrono markers brought from home, and there was a group of 6-8 guys that were not playing on the honor system. The second problem was that, though the refs were really good, on the larger woods field there was just too much space and too few refs to observe the shenanigans going on. Some of my friends complained about these same kids wiping their shots when they were deep in the field away from the ref. One to two refs for 20-30 players just wasn't enough to keep track of everything going on, especially toward the edges of the field. I don't blame the ref for trying to stand in the middle of everything - under the circumstances I'd try to do the same, but with a bunch of problem players running around it seemed chaotic.
In the end, things got better the more we policed ourselves (verbally yelling at the kids to clean it up, bonus balling the wipers and those pretending to call out, etc.), but I'm not used to being on a field that is this much like the wild west. I'd rather go somewhere that the game is more in control. For those of you that have been to PBC-Rock Hill, did I just catch it on a bad day or with a shortage of refs? I don't think I'd call the bad apple milsim kids regulars in the same way some of the others were, but it appeared they'd been to this field a good bit and knew the layout well. I'm not sure today if I'd go back to PBC-Rock Hill after this experience, or if I did, I think I'd probably decide to take off all the games that were at the Woods Field. Which is a shame, it has the look and feel of a fun place to play, all of the employees were very helpful and friendly, and 95% of the renters were a fun group. What are your thoughts?
This post has been edited by Unfated33: 31 July 2012 - 09:55 PM