HOW TO ASSESS YOUR POTENTIAL OPPONENTS (AND TEAM MATES)
Here's Durty Dan's Basic Lesson of Separating the Badasses from the Smartasses
(This is where tournament players have the advantage. You can't play in the tournament circuit and expect not to know what you're going to be up against. Sizing up your opposition is as simple as reading the team stats (wins, losses, placings, amateur/pro).
However, this isn’t a website for tournament players, is it?
Some people suggest you look for faded cammies and well worn clothing.
Players are buying new cammies all the time. Look for old patches on new cammies. Most time when teams get patches made, they get a limited number. By the time their cammies wear out, they've traded all their extra patches and have to take the ones off their old set of cammies and put them on their new set. Still, this is not a reliable indication.
The best way is to check out their footwear. Footwear is something that is personal. Once you break in a pair of boots or runners, you're hard pressed to throw them away until they're falling apart. There's something sentimental and downright comfortable about a good old pair of broken in runners or boots. They may have new cammies, but their boots may just tell you how long they've been playing.
Don't automatically think that if a player is wearing those "tournament jammies" that he's a pro. He could be one a TWiBs (tournament wanna be), and buying things the "pros use".
Again, most people will tell you to look at their harnesses for wear and paint stains. This is good, but limited.
Check out their loader pots in their harness. If you've been playing for a while, you'll eventually lose one or two loaders. Look for a mix of old AND new loaders. Players may get new hoppers for their paintmarkers, but a loader can be used for almost any hopper on any paintmarker. They'll keep the loaders, no matter how many new hoppers they have.
Are they bragging about past glories? Are they regaling their friends with amazing tales of daring do? Look for the players who are NOT talking paintball. The guys and gals who are discussing last night's TV movie or what happened at the office/job sight since they last spoke are the ones to watch out for. They don't need to impress anyone, they are secure enough in their playing abilities not to have to resort to "psyching-out" the opposition.
How long does it take them to get ready? The experienced players seem to sit down, unpack, kit-up and sit to wait for everyone else to get ready.
Also, experienced players will have everything they need for the day. They won't be bothering buddies for bug spray, paper towels, tools or other things.
Do they practice safety? Again, experienced players will be safe, as a matter of course. You'll also notice that experienced players will also "prompt" other players to be safe, as well. You'll hear experienced players say things like, "You forgot your barrel plug." or "Goggles on."
THE PAINT PER GAME LOAD
How much paint are they carrying on them? Are they loaded for bear? Do they have an 800 round hopper on their paintmarker? If they're carrying all that paint for a routine game of capture the flag, they're intending to use it. This is NOT an indication of skill, by any means. On the recreational level, it is a definite indication of LACK of skill. You may have to shoot a lot of paint at the Masters in the finals, but not at Trippsan Falls Paintball Field in a pick-up game.
BEWARE the player who is only carrying a couple of hundred rounds on them. They don't NEED a whole lot of paint to take a player out, so they don't bring it.
HANDLING THEIR EQUIPMENT
How familiar are they with their equipment? Are they fumbling about? Are they having problems with little things (finding the safety on their paintmarker, unsure of how to put something together, fumbling with loaders or harnesses)? Or do they look like they could load, shoot and maybe even play with their eyes closed?
WHAT NOT TO LOOK AT
Their paintmarker is not a good indicator. It could be rented, borrowed or purchased second hand. A new paintmarker does not indicate a newer player any more than an old paintmarker indicates an experienced player.
You should take into account all eight of these tips. The more of these tips apply to a specific player, the more experience that player has.
Durty Dan Sez:
There is one player to avoid at ALL costs: The player who is NOT wearing camouflage, is playing with twelve grams and a pump paintmarker (or worse a stockgun) and ten round tubes. This, despite the fact that everyone else is carrying semis. If this same player was ready 30 minutes before everyone else, and if the player just mentions once that they've played with oil based paint, years ago, when they first started playing -- pray you're on their side.