Address: 1680 East Main Street Rock Hill, SC 29730
Phone: (803) 366-1956
Field types: 7 airball fields (3 closed), 2 woods field, 1 hyperball field
Entry cost: $12 admission, $12 all-day air, $17 rentals, $4-6 for CO2 fills
Entry deals: $20 Groupon for entry, air, and 500 paintballs
Rental Equipment: Battle Tested BT-4 markers, Vforce Armor masks, gravity fed loader, and 48/3000 HPA tanks are standard for rent. They may provide tank and hopper rentals, but I've never seen them rent out equipment piecemeal.
Paint: Draxxus Field, field paint only, $65 per case or $17.95 per 500 paintballs. You can buy paint at a discount from the local PBC store in Matthews, NC
Special Rules: Semi-auto only. You can slap an obstacle protecting a player while calling "bunker" to force an automatic out. Hits to the marker count as out. Open Sundays 12-5pm.
Paintball Central Charlotte (formerly known as PBC Rock Hill and PBC South) has been a centerpiece of the paintball scene in Charlotte for over six years. It forms one third of the Paintball Central operation, with the other two locations found in Greenville, SC and mothership headquarters in Greensboro, NC. PBCC was the host to the first ever Mid-Atlantic Open in 2006 and currently hosts the D4/D5 and D6 Carolina Field Owners Association (CFOA) 3-man tournament series. They are also the home field for D3 team Carolina Breakout and former NXL team Baltimore Trauma. The field was designed by Trauma owner/member and PBC franchise owner Rob Staudinger. This field is heavily influenced by tournament play, with grass available for up to seven airball fields going at the same time. It also has room for scenario play, with a decent sized woods field called Mounds and a larger woodsball field simply called Woods that are adjoined and can be connected with the removal of the curtain netting between the fields. It seems like attendance has been lower at this field than others in the area, with the best rec play attendance I measured in the realm of 30 players while the worst day was only 16 players. However, PBCC is somewhat subsidized in players by the attendees to their CFOA tournaments, Breakout practices on Sundays, and the occasional airsoft competition.
For a given day of rec play, typically only one airball field will be setup for play. In fact, as of my last visit, three of the seven airball fields have been converted into grass lots with no poles or netting, and another two of the four remaining fields had problems with a fallen support pole knocking nets down between the fields. Whichever airball field is setup, the inflatables will be expected to be in tournament orientation with everything you'd expect - a snake side and dorito side, with cans and temples at each breakout point. The grass is well maintained and the fields are in good condition, making any airball game at PBCC an intense and fun experience. The only real con I can think of for the airball setup is that they are out in the middle of the open air in sunny South Carolina, so expect many summer game day temperatures over 100 degrees F. That will literally melt the paintballs in the pods on your back.
In the back corner of the complex, woodsball field Mounds sits carved out of the landscape. This field sports a number of low ridges and trench paths between the two starting points, creating a visibility nightmare and numerous assault and defend positions. The Mounds field does have a small number of bunker obstacles and trees to add to the natural terrain protection. There is a slight drop in terrain grade as you move from the entrance starting point to the opposite team's starting point. However, I've never noticed it having an affect on the outcome of matches - if anything, I've seen the opposite side starting point win more matches than the higher ground elevation. One thing to note on the Mounds field is there seems to be an abundance of fire ant hills throughout the playing area to be aware of. I've only ever been bitten by ants in one game on the field, but it can be a problem if you step into a hill and get swarmed while kneeling for cover. It's certainly no fun to get bitten and shot at the same time.
The Woods woodsball field is quite large, with a castle (or old west fort) built for one team near the entrance, and a number of potential staging areas for opposing teams to start from. For most days of rec play, I never see more than half the field in use, but it appears there's a car graveyard that would be a great shootout location for scenario play in the middle of the field. This field does have small "towns" of obstacles built into certain locations, and even a scalable corrugated pipe tower that can be used for assaulting the castle. As I've noted in a previous writing, I am concerned about the current layout and availability of obstacles in this field. It's all too easy to force a stalemate or outright rout the attacking team of the castle if the defenders are allowed to move at the start (by running out to control either the left or right corners at start). There's also a real dearth of obstacle cover as you approach the castle, making it difficult to coordinate assaults on the defender's location. The castle is also two-story, meaning you have to be aware of shooters from the high ground and the tight windows at the same time. The first few times I played this field, I had a lot of fun, but I think my opinion has gradually transitioned to the fact that I prefer to avoid the Woods field whenever I can if enough games are going at the same time.
The smallest field at PBCC may actually be the most fun, as they have established a well-designed hyperball course with corrugated piping on their "Tubes" field. The field has good defensive locations on both sides of the 50-yard line, but has been put together with unique features on both sides of the field. The far side of the field includes a couple of house structures to hide in and shoot through as well. Games at this field tend to be fast and furious, where a breakdown in defense of one side or the other can lead to players facing opposition from in front and behind. Because of the quick firefights and close proximity, I actually find I use less paint on this field than others because of the accuracy improvement of close distance and both teams dying off so quickly. With enough players on each side, this field is actually worth the price of admission at PBCC alone.
PBCC typically has 1-3 refs on the field for the day, and usually is running no more than 1-3 fields at the same time. I've written before that I feel like they have too few refs for the large woods field, but a single ref for Mounds, Tubes, or the airball fields is adequate. This is conditional on visitors playing the honor system, which hasn't always been the case from what I've seen of high school and college players. Family rec players are far better at this, but they haven't been there in the quantities I'd compare to other nearby fields in the area. Some of the refs have been very friendly and helpful, but I also had a bad experience with reffing that could be called absent or indifferent to players breaking the rules. The draxxus field paint tends to be a better quality paint to use, but occasionally has had excessive binding or dimpling out of the bag. Most visits it's been my favorite paint, but it's also had one of my worst paint experiences with quality and roundness. On my last trip to the field they were not able to supply 4500 psi air because of broken equipment. Hopefully this has been fixed in the past month.
PBCC does not have an onsite pro shop, but there is a proshop location in neighboring Matthews, NC (about a 45 minute drive from the field). Many of the refs at the field also work as store cashiers and mechanics at the pro shop. The proshop carries mostly mid-level gear, but certain items that are hard to find at other shops (pants, masks, a few high-end markers) can be found here. There is also an online store, but it has been down for at least 2 months for broken programming code.
The last time I wrote about PBCC, I wrote this: "I think the allure for me of PBC has always been that you're paying more for a better experience than many of the other fields. Losing so many of the airball fields and the 4500 psi HPA station is not a death blow, but it's certainly a knock when comparing it to Boss [or Paintball Kingdom]." Right now, I still stand behind that statement. If I'm going to go out to spend $60-$100 for a day of paintball play, PBC is going to be my third choice in their current condition. There's a lot to like at the field, it draws a good crowd of experienced and newer players, but the flaws in the Woods field, the lack of good field and air maintenance, and the small number of refs (who have been hit or miss in their quality) make it hard to consider a top field in the area. Look, I want to like this field - no, I want to LOVE this field - it has a great look, a great owner, and quality rental gear. Right now and until they can fix their problems with the field (and maybe their web site), it's just not at the level it should be. Yes, I'll keep coming back, but another visit with broken netting, a broken air station, or uncaring and unconcerned refs could possibly be my last.
This post has been edited by Unfated33: 04 October 2012 - 06:15 AM